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Pilatus PC-6 Porter / Turbo-Porter

Single-Engine STOL Utility Aircraft (1959)

Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from official Pilatus Aircraft press release.

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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.
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.

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.


Service Year

Switzerland national flag graphic

In Active Service.


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 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
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.

Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
Beyond a pilot, the aircraft takes advantage of additional crew specialized in specific functions aboard the aircraft.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
Design incorporates feature(s) that facilitates loading / unloading of cargo / personnel from the aircraft.

36.1 ft
(11.00 m)
52.0 ft
(15.85 m)
10.5 ft
(3.20 m)
Empty Wgt
2,866 lb
(1,300 kg)
6,173 lb
(2,800 kg)
Wgt Diff
+3,307 lb
(+1,500 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Pilatus PC-6 B2 (Turbo Porter) production variant)
monoplane / high-mounted / straight
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted at the upper-most position allowable along the dorsal line of the fuselage.
The planform involves use of basic, straight mainplane members.
(Structural descriptors pertains to the Pilatus PC-6 B2 (Turbo Porter) production variant)
Installed: 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engine developing 550 horsepower and driving a three- or four-bladed propeller at the nose.
Max Speed
174 mph
(280 kph | 151 kts)
26,903 ft
(8,200 m | 5 mi)
454 mi
(730 km | 1,352 nm)
945 ft/min
(288 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Pilatus PC-6 B2 (Turbo Porter) production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)

PC-6 "Porter" - Base Series Designation.

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