Tag Archives: PT6

PT6 Celebrates Fifty Years Part 1

When it was developed in 1963, the PT6 was the first turboprop engine rated at 450 shaft horsepower, impressing Beechcraft to the point that the company chose to install the engine in their King Air line of turboprop twins.  Fast-forward 50 years, and Beechcraft still choose the PT6, although of ever-increasing power ratings, to power their engines.

 Before The PT6

beechcraftPratt & Whitney began development of the PT6 in the late 1950’s in an attempt to replace the manufacturer’s Wasp radial engines, developed during in the 1930’s.  In 1925, Frederick Rentschler, President of Wright Aeronautical, approached his brother, Gordon, and Edward Deeds, who were both on the board of Niles Bement Pond, convincing them that Pratt & Whitney Machine Tool, a subsidiary of Niles, should fund the creation of a new aircraft engine Rentschler and a colleage, George Mead, were developing.  The engine was to be a large, air-cooled radial design.  The executives at Pratt & Whitney saw an opportunity for growth and lent Rentschler $250,000, the use of the Pratt & Whitney name and space in their building to begin creating the new engine.  Rentschler left Wright Aeronautical and took over operations of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division, The first of the Wasp series debuted on December 24, 1925, quickly becoming one of the most widely used aircraft engines in the industry due to their superior speed, rate of climb and reliability.  Charles Lindbergh and Ameila Earhart both set records in Wasp-powered aircraft.

Wasp to Hornet

 With the development of the PT6 still a few decades away, Pratt & Whitney created the next line of radial engines, the Hornet, rated at 525 horsepower.  The dependability of both the Wasp and the Hornet made them very popular among commercial aircraft, and as the public use of air travel increased, so did the demand for Pratt & Whitney engines.  As it became apparent that the United States would enter World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on manufacturers to produce 50,000 aircraft a year for military use, requiring Pratt & Whitney to expand its workforce from 3,000 to 40,000.  Throughout the war, Pratt & Whitney continued to innovate, until, by the end of the war, their largest engine provided 3,600 horsepower.  However, radial engines were slowly being replaced by lighter turboprop engines.

Vision of the PT6

In 1957, Pratt & Whitney saw an opportunity to channel profits from the piston engine spare parts business to the development of smaller gas turbine engines than those currently being manufactured in the United States. The company gathered a team of 12 young engineers after conducting market studies that found there was a need for a 500 shaft horsepower engine that could replace piston engines, such as the Wasp and Hornet.  In December 1963, Pratt & Whitney shipped the first of the PT6 series, the PT6A-6, a highly innovative gas turbine representing technology advances that were significant at the time.  Because gas turbines have a higher power to weight ratio than piston engines, the PT6 was perfect for aviation engines.

pt6aThe PT6 has enjoyed a rich and colorful history since it began production in 1963, and Pratt & Whitney is proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this timeless aircraft engine.  Learn more about the colorful past, pioneers who flew this engine and continuing evolution of an engine ahead of its time.  For more information on the PT6 or about aircraft maintenance, contact Covington Aircraft online or by telephone today.

Best Gifts for Pilots or Airplane Enthusiast: (Hint: Buying a PT6 as a gift is a tough stretch)

If you ask them, they will get that far away stare and may never give an answer.

gifts for pilotsAnybody who is really into aviation knows that there is a whole world of wants out there.  Being practical is the difficult part (and buying a PT6 isn’t usually practical).  It is easy to want all the coolest and newest things, whether a pilot or a “wish-I-were-a-pilot” (WIWP).  The following is a list of suggestions for gifts for pilots.  Ask any aircraft owner and they will rattle off a list of what they would like to have, but we will try to keep it under $200.

Make your pilot happy with a hand held Airband scanner.

Give the gift of a hand held Airband scanner to your aviation enthusiast!  Available from many suppliers who specialize in aircraft or marine supplies, these can be a great gift for pilots or a WIWP!  Available for under $200, this enables the user to listen to air traffic it their area.  Many models also include weather bands so that keeping up with the latest weather reports for any event will also be fun and easy.

The next item is available for less than $100.

A trip computer is not only a great gift for pilots, but for the enthusiast as well.  While the pilot can appreciate how much easier all the calculations necessary for pre-flight can be using one of these, they can also bring a great deal of enjoyment to any enthusiast. Imagine the pleasure of being able to run practice computations of the same type required for the FAA exam.

Aviation apparel is always a good choice.

A shirt or hat sporting a logo for any aviation service or event will be a continuous source of pride for the wearer.  This allows them to show off their affiliation with a facility or an event.

An aircraft clock is sure to be the pride of any enthusiast.

There are many sizes and styles available, but our favorite is our own Covington Aircraft clock.  Made from refurbished parts of radial engines which have seen service, these clocks are sure to be a source of pride for any aviation devotee.  Imagine the feeling of owning and displaying this piece of actual aviation on the office wall or desk.

What says “aviation enthusiast” more than a lamp made in an aviation theme?

gifts for pilots lampsWhile, again, there are many to choose from, the Covington Aircraft lamp is one of the most exciting we have seen.  Made from refurbished retired radial engine casings, these give both a spark of nostalgia and furnishings made of parts which have been in the great and wild blue.  These lamps can be displayed with pride in the office, den or living room and is a stand out as the best gifts for pilots!

These and many other products can bring joy and pride to aviation enthusiasts everywhere!

But of course, nothing says you care like a Pratt and Whitney PT6A!  But seriously, let the aviation enthusiasts know about Covington Aircraft, a company who is committed to Integrity, Dependability, Affordability, and Customer Service. Covington Aircraft specializes in the overhaul and maintenance of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engine series and the Pratt & Whitney R-985 and R-1340 radial engines.  Covington Aircraft is a Pratt & Whitney Canada approved Distributor and Designated Overhaul Facility (DDOF).