In the aftermath of July’s well publicized engine-out ditching of a Pilatus PC-12 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Russia, industry observers are asking how this and other recent accidents have affected the statistical reliability of single-engine turboprops and if sales of these aircraft are suffering.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6
AeroCourier Group of Minneapolis plans to introduce a low-wing, single-engine turboprop utility airplane that the company claims will have lower acquisition and operating costs and better performance and specifications than the current leader in the category, the Cessna Caravan. The company is also designing a unique LDX container for the airplane that will be stackable and locked together for “easy loading” into industry-standard containers.
When Charles Lindbergh began planning one of the first truly long cross-country solo flights in 1927 everyone understood the risks inherent in a 3,000-mile journey in an airplane powered by a single 223-hp Wright J5 engine. Failure meant he’d probably end up as a shark snack. Luckily, he didn’t have the boss on board.
When Piper introduced the Meridian in 2001, it marked the return of the Vero Beach, Fla.-based manufacturer to the turboprop market and the end of a nine-year hiatus since the Cheyenne production line went quiet in 1992.
AOG Air Support of Kelowna, B.C., Canada is undertaking a program to convert Cessna 208 Caravans from their original 675-shp P&WC PT6 to the 751-shp Walter M601E turning a five-blade Avia propeller. The company, which expects to complete the program in about 12 months, said the Czech engine and propeller will improve the turboprop single’s performance on both wheels and floats. Conversions are expected to cost $400,000.
Ibis Aerospace expects to have its second prototype (S/N 003) flying on November 2 for a demonstration to the board of directors, as long as the weather cooperates in Prague. The single turboprop’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A was being tested last month in preparation for the flight. Earlier this year the company said the airplane would fly in February, then June and then September.
In a bid to expand its capabilities to service larger turbine engines, Standard Aero has purchased turbine engine component overhauler TSS Aviation of Cincinnati, Ohio, for $65 million. Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation were purchased by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) from private-equity firm Carlyle Group last month for $1.9 billion.
While it is the cold, hard numbers that decide our readers’ verdict on how well companies support the products they sell, it is the readers’ written comments that flesh out the picture and help those companies identify where, in their customers’ opinions, they could improve.
Pilatus Aircraft (Booth No. 757) unveiled its Next Generation PC-12 here at NBAA’07 yesterday. “We’ve taken a great airframe and changed almost everything from front to back,” said Thomas Hunziker, president and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft, introducing the aircraft.
Transport Canada has granted type certification for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P that will supersede the PT6A-67B on the Pilatus PC-12 production line, the turbine engine manufacturer announced here in Atlanta.