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".
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.
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.
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.
October 2019 - Pilatus has revealed its modernized PC-12 NGX model powered by the PW PT6E-67XP turboprop engine. The design also incorporates larger windows as well as an all-new interior finish.
Afghanistan; Argentina; Australia; Bhutan; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Finland; Ireland (ordered); New Zealand; Russia; South Africa; Switzerland; United States; Tanzania
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Special-Mission: Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
Specially-equipped platform providing over-battlefield Command and Control (C2) capability for allied aerial elements.
✓Special-Mission: Electronic Warfare (EW)
Equipped to actively deny adversaries the ElectroMagnetic (EM) spectrum and protect said spectrum for allied forces.
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
Serving Special Forces / Special Operations elements and missions.
47.2 ft (14.40 m)
53.4 ft (16.28 m)
13.9 ft (4.25 m)
6,614 lb (3,000 kg)
10,461 lb (4,745 kg)
+3,847 lb (+1,745 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Pilatus PC-12NG (Next Generation) production variant)
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P turboprop engine developing 1,200 horsepower and driving a five-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
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-12 NGX - Model of 2019; PW PT6E-67XP turboprop engine; enlarged windows for improved viewing; revised interior finish.
PC-12M "Spectre" - Special missions military variant.
U-28A - United States Air Force designation of the PC-12.
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