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Thu, May 04, 2023

Pilatus PC-12 Fleet Surpasses Ten-Million Flight Hours

Single and Loving It

Swiss aerospace manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. is renowned for the outstanding aircraft it produces for both niche and mainstream markets. The company’s PC-6, PC-12, and PC-24 are among the world’s most capable and popular STOL-utility, single-engine turboprop, and light business jet families respectively.

On 01 May 2023, Pilatus announced the global fleet of more than 1,900 Pilatus PC-12s had—since the type’s 1994 introduction—surpassed ten-million flight hours.

In a statement addressing the milestone achievement, the Swiss plane-maker asserted: “Pilatus is proud to announce that with almost 2,000 PC-12s delivered, the global fleet of the popular single-engine turboprop has officially accumulated more than ten-million flight hours. The fleet leader, based in Canada, has flown more than 35,000 hours, while 71 PC-12s have logged over twenty-thousand hours of flight time. As a whole, the PC-12 fleet has recorded more than 9.3-million landings, with four aircraft reporting over fifty-thousand landings.

Pilatus CEO Markus Bucher remarked: "The PC-12s past, present, and future success boils down to its appeal to a wide range of operations, its solid reliability, and its proven outstanding safety record. As an additional benefit, these attributes have resulted in PC-12 owners enjoying one of the highest levels of value retention among all business aircraft."

Pilatus business aviation division vice-president Ignaz Gretener set forth: "When the PC-12 was launched, this milestone seemed light-years away in the future. You must give credit to the engineers who designed this incredibly robust airframe, the production team that builds outstanding quality into each unit, the sales team that found so many markets eager to adopt this versatile aircraft, and the support team so dedicated to keeping them in the air. We are especially grateful to our ownership base for trusting in Pilatus and helping us continuously improve the PC-12 so that it leads the market in sales year after year."

Pilatus delivered eighty new PC-12s in 2022 and, for purpose of meeting increasing demand, plans to increase production of the type in 2023

The latest iteration of Pilatus’s storied PC-12 family is the PC-12 NGX, which improves on its forebears by dint of a new 1,200-shaft-horsepower PT6E-67XP powerplant, which—in addition to motivating the aircraft to a cruise-speed of 290-knots—features dual-channel, Full-Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).

The PC-12NGX’s single power-lever governs both engine power output and propeller RPMs, thereby reducing pilot workload and significantly diminishing perishable flying skills. What’s more, in cruise flight, pilots may select a propeller low-speed mode, the activation of which reduces the model’s cabin and over-flight noise.

The PC-12NGX cockpit features Honeywell avionics with outstanding babysitting functions such as tactile feedback in unusual attitudes, an Emergency Descent Mode (EDM), and a Crew Alerting System (CAS) that automatically populates the aircraft’s Multi-Function-Display (MFD) with electronic checklists the aircraft deems situationally appropriate.

All told, PC-12NGX pilots will enjoy availing themselves of four ten-inch LCD displays, Honeywell’s SmartView Synthetic Vision System with HUD-based performance symbology, an Interactive Navigation (INAV) system, fully-integrated Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), dual Flight Management System (FMS) installations, Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System I/II (TCAS), graphical flight-planning, touch-screen controllers, and a Cursor Control Device (CCD).

In 2023, Pilatus’s PC-12 aircraft family, to include the NGX model, is operated by corporate flight departments, individual owner-operators, fractional and charter companies, air ambulance service providers, and numerous world militaries which make use of the aircrafts’ toughness and expansive capabilities. The PC-12’s large cabin, standard cargo door, docile handling characteristics, and low operating costs make for a uniquely attractive and useful machine, at once conducive to transporting executives between major city centers, hauling cargo between remote and austere environs, and advancing tactically against threats to national security.

Mr. Gretener concluded: "The secret to the PC-12's success is really no secret at all. We continuously listen to our customers and strive to provide them with features, capabilities, and technologies to support the missions which are critical to them. With each aircraft and every individual owner and operator of a Pilatus aircraft, our goal is to become incrementally better."

FMI: www.pilatus-aircraft.com

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