There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has committed to a new agreement with Hawker Beechcraft Services to support its engines on both Beechcraft King Air twin turboprops and Hawker business jets. The engine maker will provide Beechcraft’s service division with comprehensive support including repair, hot section inspection and overhaul for the PT6As on the King Air family, as well as for the Hawker 1000’s PW305B turbofan, the Hawker 4000’s PW308A and the Hawker 400A’s JT15D-5.
Piper Aircraft is launching a new initiative here at NBAA to promote its flagship Meridian single-engine turboprop as a business aircraft. The six-seat, $2.176 million M-Class Meridian features a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A 500 shp engine and Garmin G1000 glass panel avionics. Top cruise speed is 260 knots and maximum range is 1,000 nm.
The Bell 412EPI will be cleared for more procedures at elevated helipads early next year, according to Bell Helicopter, which is launching an upgrade program next month to incorporate improvements to increase operational flexibility for CAT A Part B procedures. The program will cover the use of circular and rectangular elevated heliports and should be finished in time for initial deliveries of the 412EPI in the first quarter of 2014, said the company.
Beechcraft signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada for the latter to support the PT6A-60A engines powering the King Air 350i recently ordered by private aviation membership company Wheels Up. The agreement enrolls the fleet in P&WC’s Gold Eagle Service Plan and covers parts and shop labor for scheduled engine overhaul and hot-section inspection, unscheduled engine and line replaceable unit maintenance, ren
One result of the huge deal to sell up to 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin-turboprops to the new Wheels Up private charter membership company is that a comprehensive plan was required to support servicing of the airframes and engines. Thus both Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support (HBGCS) and Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) signed a long-term service agreement with Wheels Up here in Las Vegas on the eve of the show, covering support of the Wheels Up King Air 350i fleet and their PT6A-60A engines, respectively.
Timken, known for manufacturing precision roller bearings for a variety of industries, is highlighting its wide range of aerospace products and services at the NBAA show (Booth No. 1327), in particular an expanded turbine engine maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capability.
As it seeks to prolong the legacy of its 50-year-old PT6 engine dynasty, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is laying plans to refresh the epic product range at the top, middle and lower ends. Speaking with AIN ahead of this week’s NBAA show, P&WC president John Saabas confirmed that the manufacturer intends to cap the PT6 portfolio with a 2,000-shp version of the turboprop but indicated it is not yet ready to target a specific launch date.
Ah, that new airplane smell.
Cessna demo pilot Rip Lee and I climb aboard the factory-fresh Grand Caravan EX and I glance over at the Hobbs meter: 4.3 hours total time. Airplanes don’t get much newer than this.
Euravia Engineering and Greenwich AeroGroup have entered into a partnership to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A and PT6T turbine engines on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in the U.S. Through its MRO facilities (Atlantic Aero in Greensboro N.C., Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del., and Western Aircraft in Boise, Idaho), Greenwich AeroGroup will provide engine inventory and component storage, logistics and distribution services across the U.S. and also between the U.S. and the UK.