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  Aircraft History, Specification and Information
Pilatus PC-12
HB-FVL - 2011 Pilatus PC-12/47E (Experimental)
2011 Pilatus PC-12/47E (Experimental) - HB-FVL (sn 1300)
First PC-12 with an Electric Landing Gear. Stopped for the night at Iqaluit Airport for some cold weather testing before heading to Thunder Bay ON Canada.
Photo taken March 08, 2012
Iqaluit / Frobisher Bay, NU - Canada (YFB / CYFB)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. The main market for the aircraft is corporate transport and regional airliner operators. The US Air Force's designation is the U-28A.

Pilatus PC-12 - N473PC - Single Engine TurboProp
2002 Pilatus PC-12/45
N473PC (sn 473)
Photo taken July 25, 2010
Spokane Airport, WA - USA (GEG / KGEG)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Pilatus PC-12/45 Air Engiadina HB-FOI TurboProp Aircraft
Pilatus PC-12/45 HB-FOI (sn 157) Air Engiadina Photo taken August 15, 2006 Zurich-Kloten, Switzerland (ZRH / LSZH)
Photo Copyright & Thanks to
Jerome Zbinden - www.airimage.ch.vu
Cockpit view Pilatus PC-12/45 G-TRAT Flightdeck
Pilatus PC-12/45 G-TRAT (sn 710) Cockpit view of G-TRAT Photo taken October 05, 2007 Sabadell, Spain (LELL)
Photo Copyright & Thanks to
Gustavo Bertran - Iberian Spotters
Pilatus PC-12 N462PC Turboprop
2002 Pilatus PC-12
N462PC (sn 462)
Picture taken July 13, 2007
Everett, WA USA (PAE/KPAE)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Pilatus PC-12/47 Dexter Aero RA-01501 TurboProp Aircraft Airplane Photo
Pilatus PC-12/47
RA-01501 (sn 841)
Dexter
Image taken December 19, 2007
Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky) - Strigino Airport, Russia (GOJ / UWGG)
Photo Copyright & Thanks to
MilanNN - Russian AviaPhoto Team
Pilatus PC-12/47 C-GODE NAC - North America Construction
2006 Pilatus PC-12/47
C-GODE (sn 707)
NAC - North America Construction
Photo taken September 29, 2007
Penticton, BC Canada (YYF / CYYF)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Pilatus PC-12/45 University of Utah Airmed N299AM Air Ambulance Aircraft Airplane
Pilatus PC-12/45
N299AM (sn 236)
University of Utah Airmed
Photo taken November 28, 2007
Provo Municipal Airport, Utah USA (PVU / KPVU)
Photo Copyright & Thanks to
Jeff Rodeback
Pilatus PC-12/45 N695PC - PC12 Turbo Prop Airplane
1999 Pilatus PC-12/45
N695PC (sn 305)
Photo taken April 24, 2007
St. Petersburg, FL USA (SPG / KSPG)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Pilatus PC-12/47E - RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police - C-GMPE - PC12 TurboProp
2008 Pilatus PC-12/47E C-GMPE (sn 1073) RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police Photo taken May 23, 2007 Prince George, BC Canada (YXS / CYXS)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

Design and development

Pilatus announced the development of the PC-12 at the annual convention of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in October 1989. The first flight of the first of two prototypes took place on May 31, 1991. Certification of the type was originally planned for mid-1991 but a redesign of the wings (increase of wing span and addition of winglets to ensure performance guarantees were met) delayed this. Swiss certification finally took place on March 30, 1994, and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration approval followed on July 15, 1994.

As with many other Pilatus aircraft, the PC-12 is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engine (the PT6A-67B). It is certified for single-pilot IFR operations, though operators may choose to utilize a second flight crew member. Pilatus offers the PC-12 in a standard nine-seat airliner form, in a four-passenger seat/freight Combi version, and as a six-seat corporate transport with an option for a seven-seat by adding a three-seat bench in place of seats five and six. A pure freighter model is under consideration.

The PC-12M (Multipurpose) is based on the PC-12, but equipped with a more powerful electrical generation system that enables addition of additional power-consuming equipment. This enables the PC-12M to perform missions such as flight inspection, air ambulance, parachutist dropping, aerial photography, and aerial surveillance. This version is marketed in the United States as the PC-12 Spectre paramilitary special missions platform.

Pilatus announced the PC-12NG (Next Generation) at the 2006 NBAA meeting in Orlando, and officially launched it during the NBAA 2007 in Atlanta. The NG features a more powerful Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67P engine with better climb performance and an increase in maximum cruise speed to 280kts TAS. The NG also features a Honeywell APEX glass cockpit. The revised cockpit includes automatic pressurization control as well as cursor controlled inputs to the navigation system. The PC-12 NG winglets have also been modified from the original version.

Operational history

Commercial, corporate, and private use

Most PC-12s are used as corporate transports, but recent regulatory changes in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States have cleared single engine turboprops such as the PC-12 for regional passenger transport operations in those countries. This opens a new market for the PC-12 as a regional airliner that would replace older twin piston-engined aircraft.

PlaneSense, a New Hampshire-based fractional ownership company, is the largest fractional operator of PC-12s in the world, operating 34 PC-12s.

In 1994 the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia was the launch customer of the PC-12.

US Air Force operations

The U-28A is the United States Air Force variant of the PC-12 for intra-theater support of special operations forces. The 319th Special Operations Squadron is stationed at Hurlburt Field, Florida at the headquarters of the Air Force Special Operations Command. The 34th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) was activated on 9 April 2010 as the second U-28A unit at Hurlburt Field. Both squadrons operate as part of the 1st Special Operations Wing/ 1st Special Operations Group (SOG) at Hurlburt Field. The U-28A / Pilatus PC-12 is also operated by the 318th Special Operations Squadron as part of the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Variants

  • PC-12/41
    Original production variant certified in 1994 has a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67B engine. Most, if not all of the /41's have been upgraded to /45's.
  • PC-12/45
    Certified in 1996 has a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67B engine, maximum takeoff weight increased to 4,500 kg (9,921 lb).
  • PC-12/47
    Certified in 2005 has a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67B engine, maximum takeoff weight increased to 4,740 kg (10,450 lb).
  • PC-12/47E
    Variant certified in 2008 has upgraded avionics and a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P engine. Sometimes known by its trade name PC-12 NG (Next Generation)
  • PC-12M Spectre
    Paramilitary special missions platform marketed in the United States, originally called "Eagle".
  • U-28A
    United States military designation for the PC-12.

Operators

Civilian

More than 1000 PC-12s have been sold as of June 2010; most are used in the civil market.

Present airline operators:

  • Image Air
  • Nakina Air Service
  • North Star Air
  • Pascan Aviation
  • SeaPort Airlines
  • Wasaya Airways
  • Private Air
  • Expressair

Former airline operators:

  • Bearskin Airlines
  • NAC Air
  • Peace Air

Other:

  • AirSprint Inc. (Fractional ownership)
  • Royal Flying Doctor Service - operates 31 PC-12 for transport.
  • Air Bravo Corp - Operates 9 PC-12s for medevac/charters in Ontario, Canada
  • India Flysafe Aviation Limited- Operates one pilatus pc-12/47 for medevac/charter in Raigarh,India

Government

  • Argentina
    Argentine National Gendarmerie - operates one PC-12 for VIP and MEDEVAC transport
  • Australia
    Western Australia Police - operate two PC-12s for staff transport, search and rescue and disaster relief.
    Northern Territory Police
  • Canada
    Ontario Provincial Police - PC-12/45 with a camera mounted under the fuselage
    Ornge - is operating 6 PC-12 NG for aeromedical transport
    Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service
    Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • United States
    Customs & Border Protection - Office of Air & Marine (U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
    Phoenix Police Department (Arizona) - PC-12 Spectre on order
    State Of Wisconsin - PC-12/45

Military

  • Bulgaria
    Bulgarian Air Force operates one PC-12 for VIP transport.
  • Finland
    Finnish Air Force operates six PC-12NG aircraft as liaison aircraft.
  • South Africa
    South African Air Force operates one PC-12 with 41 Squadron for VIP transport.
  • Switzerland
    Swiss Air Force operates one PC-12 for research flights and VIP transport.
  • United States
    United States Air Force operates 20 PC-12/47s (designated U-28A) for special operations, another three are on order.

Accidents and incidents

On March 22, 2009, a PC-12/45 with the aircraft registration number N128CM, owned by the Eagle Cap Leasing of Enterprise, Oregon, crashed on approach to the Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Montana. The aircraft had departed from Oroville, California, and diverted from the original destination of Bozeman, Montana for unknown reasons. The NTSB recovered a computer memory chip from the aircraft that contained essential aircraft and engine performance data. From it, they concluded that icing in the fuel system had prevented the normally balanced flow of fuel from the wings. The pilot had delayed a precautionary landing until one wing was full of fuel and the other was empty, and then lost control of the PC-12 while maneuvering to land. All 14 people on board were killed: one pilot and 13 passengers, seven of whom were young children.

On July 5, 2009, a Pilatus PC-12 crashed in Rockbridge County, Va., after the pilot reported the loss of the instrument panel and subsequently requested vectors to get out of weather. The pilot, Daniel Dorsch, owner of Papa John's Pizza chain in Florida, Fun Bike Center of Lakeland, FL and former CEO of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants (1999–2003), his wife Cynthia Dorsch and at least two other passengers were killed. According to ATC, the pilot was flying above the max altitude of the aircraft at 31,000' when he reported his loss of the instrument panel.

On July 24, 2009 the NTSB issued its preliminary report on the Rockbridge County, Va. accident. On July 25, 2009, the Roanoke Times published an analysis of the NTSB report subtitled Without being conclusive, it [the NTSB report] suggests failure of navigational instruments as the main cause. This article argues that the accident was caused not by the loss of a structural panel from the aircraft, as had been suggested by early accounts, but from the failure of the pilot's primary instrument panel. This failure, the author speculates, resulted in the pilot's becoming spatially disoriented, which consequently caused him to lose control of the aircraft.

On February 8, 2011 at 4:31, a Pilatus PC-12 belonging to the South Africa Ceramics company, Italtile, disappeared from Air Traffic Control's radar. On Wednesday 9 February, wreckage believed to be that of the missing plane was found just off the shore of Robberg Nature Reserve, close to Plettenberg Bay. All on board, including the CEO of Italtile, were killed in the accident.

On May 25, 2011 a PC-12 air ambulance en-route to New Delhi crashed in Faridabad killing all seven on board, as well as three people, all women from the same family, in a two-story residential building.

On February 18, 2012 a U.S. Air Force U-28 crashed near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti during a routine flight, killing all four Hurlburt Field-based Airmen aboard.

Specifications (Pilatus PC-12)

General characteristics
Crew: one or two pilots
Capacity: 9 passengers standard, 6-8 executive
Payload: 1,500 kg (3,502 lb)
Length: 14.40 m (47 ft 3 in)
Wingspan: 16.23 m (53 ft 3 in)
Height: 4.26 m (14 ft 0 in)
Wing area: 25.81 m² (277.8 ft²)
Empty weight: 2,761 kg (5,867 lb)
Loaded weight: 4,700 kg (10,450 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 4,740 kg (10,450 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P turboprop, 895 kW (1,200 shp)
Maximum landing: 4,700 kg (10,450 lb)
Maximum payload full fuel: 539 kg (1,189 lb)
Tail wingspan: 5.20 m (17 ft 1 in)
Propeller: Hartzell HC - E4A - 3D/E10477K – 4 blade aluminum
Propeller diameter: 2.67 m (8 ft 9 in)
Propeller RPM: 1,700 rpm

Performance
Cruise speed: 500 km/h (312.5 mph/270 KTAS/280 KTAS @ 20000 ft (PC-12NG))
Stall speed: 120 km/h (74.8 mph/ 65 KCAS/66 KCAS (PC-12NG))
Service ceiling: 9,150 m (30,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 512 m/min at sea level (1,680 ft/min)
Wing loading: 174.3 kg/m² (35.7 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 3.7 kg/shp (8.2 lb/shp)
Range 0 passenger: 4,149 km (2,593 mi) (2,239 nm)
Range 9 passenger: 2,804 km (1,753 mi) (1,513 nm)
Takeoff distance over 15 m (50 ft) obstacle: 701 m (2,300 ft)
Takeoff distance ground roll: 450 m (1,475 ft)
Landing distance over 15 m (50 ft) obstacle: 558 m (1,830 ft)
Landing distance ground roll: 228 m (945 ft)

Avionics
Honeywell Primus APEX (PC-12NG)

Last updated March 16, 2012
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pilatus PC-12".
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