To show the PC-12NG single-engine turboprop on the ABACE static display, Pilatus Aircraft production test pilot Beda Rohner flew a long way, beginning at Pilatus headquarters in Stans, Switzerland. The brand-new PC-12NG departed Stans and then stopped in Greece, Egypt, Bahrain, Karachi and Calcutta. But before the airplane landed in Shanghai, the Pilatus crew stopped in Kunming for a unique flight demonstration for a new PC-12 customer.
On its way to Shanghai, the Pilatus PC-12NG here on the ABACE static display stopped in Shangri-La (Tibet) for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Diqing Airport–elevation of 3,288 meters (10,787 feet)–it had a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds). Included in this payload were six passengers (two from the CAAC), one Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly needed only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off the ground.
Thanks at least partly to Asia’s explosive economic growth, its once-mysterious lands are now jet-close and high-rise-familiar. That’s good news if you want to do business there, but it makes your search a bit tougher if you’re in the market for an exotic getaway. Particularly for those who’ve traveled often to Asia on business, cities such as Shanghai and Bangkok are today about as enigmatic as Los Angeles.