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Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Turbo-Porter

Single-Engine STOL Utility Aircraft

Switzerland | 1959

"Nearly 600 examples of the capable PC-6 have been built between Pilatus of Switzerland and Fairchild of the United States."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/26/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Pilatus PC-6 "Porter" is a single-engine, utility-minded small-market aircraft designed, developed, and produced by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. Around 600 of this versatile platform have been produced to date and the type has become a proven Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) aircraft thanks to its high-wing mounting, light-weight arrangement, and rugged construction. The type was sold for a time by the Fairchild Aircraft brand as well and remains in global circulation today - despite a first-flight in May of 1959. Production has run from 1959 until 2019 and operators include both military and civilian organizations as well as law enforcement.

The aircraft has a unique body shape with its tapered nose and tail sections. The cockpit/cabin takes up most of the volume at center with the engine installed at the nose. The wing mainplanes are monoplanes installed high atop the fuselage roof and braced along the lower sides of the fuselage walls. The tail unit incorporates a single vertical fin with low-mounted horizontal planes. The undercarriage, while wheeled, is fixed during flight (non-retractable). Bracing is also used here for ruggedness when landing on unprepared surfaces.

The cockpit sports the typical steam-gauge arrangement with central throttle console. The cabin, when equipped for passengers, features a single-aisle arrangement with forward-facing, single-seating to either fuselage wall.

The popularity of the PC-6 is such that there have been a plethora of variants generated throughout the flying life of this aircraft. Original models were piston-powered types, driven by the Lycoming GSO-480-B1A6 flat-six, and encompassed the PC-6/340 Porter and PC-6/350 marks. Then followed the turboprop models beginning with the PC-6/A Turbo-Porter. Fairchild marks included the PC-6/C2-H2 Porter with its Garrett TPE 331-101F turboprop engine.

A pair of Turbo-Porters served the United States Army from 1979 until 1991 as the UV-20A "Chiricahua", these operated in West Berlin during the Cold War period.

The PC-6 B2 "Turbo-Porter" form is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6A-27 turboprop engine of 550 horsepower driving a three-bladed constant-speed propeller at the nose. Maximum speed is 145 miles-per-hour with a cruising speed near 135 mph. Range is out to 1,000 miles (ferry) while its service ceiling is restricted to under 27,000 feet.

Notable former military operators include Australia, Israel, Iraq, and the United States while notable current military operators remain Algeria, Argentina, France, and Switzerland. Law enforcement organizations in Malaysia, Oman, South Africa, and Thailand operate the type.

Armed versions installed various ballistic weapons in the fuselage at side-firing mounts. This includes three-barreled Gatling-type systems.

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August 2017 - It was announced on August 18th, 2017 that Pilatus Aircraft would be concluding production of its PC-6 line, intending to support in-service models for some twenty more years.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Pilatus PC-6 B2 (Turbo Porter) Single-Engine STOL Utility Aircraft.
1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engine developing 550 horsepower and driving a three- or four-bladed propeller at the nose.
174 mph
280 kph | 151 kts
Max Speed
26,903 ft
8,200 m | 5 miles
Service Ceiling
454 miles
730 km | 394 nm
Operational Range
945 ft/min
288 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Pilatus PC-6 B2 (Turbo Porter) Single-Engine STOL Utility Aircraft.
36.1 ft
11.00 m
O/A Length
52.0 ft
(15.85 m)
O/A Width
10.5 ft
(3.20 m)
O/A Height
2,866 lb
(1,300 kg)
Empty Weight
6,173 lb
(2,800 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Notable series variants as part of the Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Turbo-Porter family line.
PC-6 "Porter" - Base Series Designation.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Turbo-Porter. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 595 Units

Contractor(s): Pilatus Aircraft - Switzerland / Fairchild Aircraft - USA
National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Austria National flag of Bolivia National flag of Canada National flag of Chad National flag of Colombia National flag of Ecuador National flag of France National flag of Hungary National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iran National flag of Israel National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Mongolia National flag of Myanmar National flag of New Zealand National flag of Oman National flag of Peru National flag of Slovenia National flag of South Africa National flag of Sudan National flag of Switzerland National flag of Thailand National flag of the United States

[ Australia; Algeria; Angola; Argentina; Austria; Bolivia; Canada; Chad; Colombia; France; Ecuador; Hungary; Indonesia; Iran; Israel; Malaysia; Mexico; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nepal; New Zealand; Oman; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Slovenia; South Africa; Sudan; Switzerland; Thailand; Untied Arab Emirates; United States ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (174mph).

Graph Average of 150 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Turbo-Porter
Image from official Pilatus Aircraft press release.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Turbo-Porter Single-Engine STOL Utility Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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