The global fleet of nearly 1,200 Pilatus PC-12s reached a major milestone this month by accumulating four million flight hours since the first copy of the turboprop single was delivered in October 1994. According to Stans, Switzerland-based Pilatus, the highest time PC-12 has logged more than 24,000 hours in operation as an air ambulance with Air Bravo in Ontario, Canada.
Accompanied by stage smoke and theme music from the Superman movie, Pilatus Aircraft unveiled its long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24, today at EBACE. “The PC-24 is unique. It’s the only aircraft combining the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a midsize jet and the field performance of a light jet,” said company chairman Oscar Schwenk.
The Pilatus PC-12 turboprop single is gaining ground as a cost-effective alternative to helicopter air ambulances.
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 on static display this week at ABACE stopped in Shangri-La for a demonstration of the airplane’s high-altitude capabilities. When the turboprop single took off from Shangri-La Airport in Diqing (elevation 10,787 feet), it had a payload of 2,200 pounds. Included in this payload were six people, including two from the Chinese CAAC (aviation authority), a Chinese navigator and the pilot. The aircraft reportedly used only one third of the airport’s runway before lifting off.
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.
As the fleet of PC-12s approaches 1,200 worldwide, with approximately 70 percent of them in the U.S., Pilatus Aircraft is expanding its service network to meet the demand for customer support. The company recently named Northern Air, based at Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich., as a satellite service center under the sales and service region managed by Londonderry, N.H.-based Pro Star Aviation. Million Air Houston was also added as a satellite service center under Tempus Aircraft Sales and Service of Englewood, Colo.
FlightSafety International has begun training pilots in its new Pilatus PC-12NG simulator, located at the Dallas learning center. The FAA and Transport Canada have qualified the new full-motion simulator to Level D. EASA Level-D qualification is expected within months. The Dallas center also offers PC-12 maintenance training.
The FAA opened a number of Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) documents for comments from the public last week. The aircraft included are the Pilatus PC-12, Boeing 777 and Airbus A330.
Pilatus Aircraft has appointed Air Charter Services (ACSPL) as its official PC-12 sales and service center in India. The designation makes ACSPL responsible for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Burma and Thailand. The New Delhi-based facility will manage aircraft sales and carry out all aspects of PC-12 maintenance and warranty work. “Semoun Jolly, director of ACSPL, already owns three PC-12s. He knows and appreciates the aircraft’s outstanding flexibility and flying credentials,” said Fred Muggli, head of PC-12 sales and marketing at Pilatus.