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Pilatus PC-12

Switzerland (1994)

Detailing the development and operational history of the Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft.

 Entry last updated on 1/31/2018; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©

  Pilatus PC-12  
Picture of Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft
Picture of Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft Picture of Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility AircraftPicture of Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft

The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 has proven popular with global operators and some 1,500 have been produced since introduction occurred in 1994.

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Global Operators
Model Variants
Swiss-based Pilatus Aircraft Limited is a long-time player in the world of aerospace, having set up shop as far back as 1939. Fast-forward to 1994, the concern introduced a new single-engine passenger-and-cargo-minded utility aircraft in the Pilatus PC-12. A first-flight of a prototype form was recorded on May 31st, 1991 and the design went into production that same year. Before the end of 2017, total production of the series reached 1,500 units with many committed to the civilian market - though some have been outfitted by military services to undertake special missions roles.

The United States Air Force currently (2018) makes use of the PC-12 series as the "U-28A".

PC-12 Variants
Variants in the family line include the original PC-12/41 with its PWC PT6A-67B engine. These were followed by the PC-12/45 of 1996 which increased MTOW from 9,040lb to 9,920lb. In 2005, the company was granted certification for the next iteration of the series, the PC-12/47. Design changes led to another increase in MTOW to 10,450lb. The PC-12M "Spectre" became a special missions aircraft used by military services.

Pilatus PC-12NG
The PC-12/47E then followed in 2008 and this model shifted to the PWC PT6A-67P turboprop engine. The mark is also known as the PC-12NG ("Next Generation"). This model sports seating for two crew and up to nine passengers depending on the internal make-up of the cabin. Overall length is 47.2 feet with a wingspan of 53.3 feet and a height of 14 feet. MTOW is 10,450lb. The avionics fit it the Honeywell Primus Apex series suite.

Picture of the Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft
Picture of the Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft

PC-12 Walk-Around
The PC-12 operates with a single turboprop engine installed at the nose - the globally popular 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67. This is used to drive a five-bladed Hartzell composite propeller. The aircraft can cruise at speeds nearing 330 miles per hour with a range out to 1,845 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 30,000 feet. Rate-of-climb is 1,920 feet-per-minute.

The basic arrangement of the aircraft is traditional. It has straight, low-mounted monoplane wing assemblies fitted ahead of midships and a single vertical tail fin. The tail fin supports a high-mounted horizontal plane. The undercarriage is of the typical tricycle arrangement. The cockpit is situated just aft of the engine compartment at the nose, offering good views for the two crew. An entry-exit door for passengers and crew is fitted to the portside near the cockpit. A cargo door is found along the same side of the fuselage just aft of the mainplanes.

With millions of flight hours recorded by the series, the PC-12 has enjoyed a stellar market run with the 1,000th airframe announced as delivered in June of 2010. It continues to see global sales.

January 2018 - The Irish Air Corps have ordered three PC-12NG model aircraft.

Cockpit picture from the Pilatus PC-12 Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft
Pilatus PC-12 Cockpit Picture
Pilatus PC-12NG (Next Generation) Specifications
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Year: 1994
Status: Active, In-Service
Type: Turboprop-powered Passenger / Light Utility Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Pilatus Aircraft - Switzerland
Production: 1,500
Supported Mission Types
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Airborne Early Warning
Electronic Warfare
Aerial Tanker
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Special Forces
Crew: 1
Length: 47.24 ft (14.4 m)
Width: 53.41 ft (16.28 m)
Height: 13.94 ft (4.25 m)
Empty Weight: 6,614 lb (3,000 kg)
MTOW: 10,461 lb (4,745 kg)

Installed Power
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P turboprop engine developing 1,200 horsepower and driving a five-bladed propeller unit at the nose.

Standard Day Performance
Maximum Speed: 329 mph (530 kph; 286 kts)
Maximum Range: 2,125 mi (3,420 km; 1,847 nm)
Service Ceiling: 30,003 ft (9,145 m; 5.68 mi)
Rate-of-Climb: 585 ft/min (178 m/min)


Operators List
Afghanistan; Argentina; Australia; Bhutan; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Finland; Ireland (ordered); New Zealand; Russia; South Africa; Switzerland; United States; Tanzania

Series Model Variants
• PC-12 - Base Series Designation
• PC-12/41 - Initial production model of 1994.
• PC-12/45 - Model of 1996; increased MTOW.
• PC-12/47 - Model of 2005; increased MTOW.
• PC-12/47E - Model of 2008; PWC PT6A-67P engine.
• PC-12NG "Next Generation") - Alternative designator for the PC-12/47E.
• PC-12M "Spectre" - Special missions military variant.
• U-28A - United States Air Force designation of the PC-12.

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