Pilatus’ PC-12 turboprop single will receive several upgrades next year, raising the base price of the aircraft by $80,000 to $2.79 million and a typically equipped aircraft to $3.4 million, according to a spokesperson for Pilatus Business Aircraft in Broomfield, Colo. The 2006 PC-12 will offer an additional 530 pounds of useful load, bringing it from 3,600 to 4,130 pounds for a typically equipped aircraft in an executive configuration.
Failure of the left engine was a factor in the November 8 crash of an Embraer EMB-110P1 shortly after takeoff from Manchester Airport in New Hampshire, according to the NTSB. The sole-occupant pilot was seriously injured when the cargo-carrying turboprop twin, N7810Q, hit a Wal-Mart department store’s garden center.
EADS Socata today unveiled the TBM 850, a slightly faster, re-engined version of its TBM 700 turboprop single. The new model will have a maximum cruise speed of 320 knots, 20 knots faster than its predecessor thanks to a higher-power 1,825-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66D engine (derated to 850 shp). The TBM 700 is powered by a 1,583-shp PT6A-64 derated to 700 shp.
An emergency AD issued Friday requires that before further flight operators perform a “detailed visual inspection to detect repairs, cracking or corrosion” of the wing spars and other structural components in Frakes Aviation turboprop-converted Mallard seaplanes. The directive follows the December 19 fatal crash of a Chalk’s Ocean Airways’ turboprop-converted Mallard when the right wing separated from the fuselage on takeoff.
Spokane, Wash.-based Rocket Engineering is developing the Turbine P/Baron in parallel with the Royal Turbine Duke program. The Baron conversion, which fits two PT6A-21 turboprops and Hartzell four-blade full-feathering-reversing metal props to the light twin, costs about $700,000 (airframe additional). The company plans to have an STC in about 12 to 18 months.
Last year the U.S. business jet fleet experienced fewer fatalities compared with 2004, according to aviation safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. However, the Part 91 corporate/executive segment’s previous two-year nonfatal streak came to an end early in 2005 with the crash of a Circuit City Citation 560 on February 16 last year. That accident took the lives of both pilots and the six passengers.
The general aviation industry in 2005 reached an all-time record for billings and a four-year high in new turbine airplane deliveries. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, billings of $15.1 billion on the shipment of 3,580 piston and turbine airplanes last year was a 27.2-percent increase from the $11.9 billion on the shipment of 2,963 airplanes in 2004.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA), the Addison, Texas-based subsidiary of the Japanese company that built the MU-2 turboprop twin, has acquired Intercontinental Jet of Tulsa, Okla. The company, which already provides support for about 50 percent of the 400-strong MU-2 fleet, will become MHIA’s first factory-owned service center. There are also five factory-authorized service facilities in the U.S.
Vulcanair’s display of its P68C Jet could confuse visitors until they realize that the installation of 227-hp SMA diesel engines enables the popular twin to use jet fuel. Shortages of avgas are directly affecting demand for aircraft fitted with standard piston engines. Indeed in the Middle East, where avgas is not refined, availability is so limited that sales of the standard P68 in the region are unknown.
The so-called regional jet revolution has in the minds of many rendered turboprops a quaint throwback to the days of “commuter” airlines. But this year’s spate of big orders for new turboprops has turned conventional wisdom on its ear, giving the last two Western builders of prop-driven airliners a renewed sense of vitality.