Pilatus PC-12

Guides · 4 min read · Dec 03, 2021
pilatus pc-12

The Ideal Assortment in Turboprop Fashion

Let us elaborate on the term ‘Ideal Assortment’ and its relationship with the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. When something is packed with power, comfort, safety, and reliability, we call it an Ideal Assortment. Pilatus PC-12, the shiny and glamourous business aircraft or the protagonist of this article, resembles all the qualities required to be an Ideal Assortment or the aviation version of the Swiss army knife.

First Things First: A glimpse into the History

Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine utility aircraft with a pressurized cabin, manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd., an aerospace manufacturer based in Switzerland. It flew its maiden flight in 1991 and entered the service 3 years later in 1994. The aircraft was initially equipped with a turboprop, Pratt & Whitney Canada engine model (PT6), later upgraded to more powerful engines from the same manufacturer.

The aircraft’s cockpit can accommodate a flight crew of two, while the Pilatus PC-12 is certified for single-pilot operations making it an ideal fit for private aviation applications.

The aircraft is still in production, and more than 1,700 PC-12s have been sold to the customers, which sum up to a staggering seven million flight hours.

PC-12 Cabin

The spacious cabin of 9.34m³ has been an order winner for the Pilatus PC-12. Manufacturers have offered possibilities to configure the cabin mainly in six configurations depending on the operational requirements. It can be configured to a seating capacity of 10 passengers on board or fewer passengers with more cargo or convert the entire cabin into an ambulance by removing all the seats. A larger cabin with a cabin width of 1.52 m allows special boarding cargo such as stretchers or test equipment when used on special missions. The aircraft has one passenger door and a larger standard cargo door to ease boarding of oversized cargo into the cabin.

A central view of a sky blue and silver Pilatus PC-12 stationed at an airport.
Image source: Pavel Adzhigildaev

Available Variants

NG-Next Generation

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. announced the NG- Next Generation version in 2006 with further enhancements made on to the predecessor. The engine was replaced with a newer yet powerful, uplifting jet’s performance.

NGX

The ultimate variant of the Pilatus PC-12 comes with a bundle of amenities and is considered as one of the best single-engine pressurized aircraft with a higher versatility. First announced in 2019 with significant improvements compared to its predecessors. A multipurpose model was built named Pilatus PC-12M to cater to various multipurpose demands.

The maximum takeoff weight of the jet is 4,740 kg, with a maximum payload carrying capacity of 1,014 kg. Pilatus PC-12 can cruise at a speed of 290 KTAS at an altitude of 30,000 ft. The aircraft’s range may vary depending on the nature of the payload, and the aircraft can travel up to 1,803 nm with 04 passengers on board with their luggage.

Moving From NG to NGX

As mentioned earlier, the newest model has a powerful engine compared to its predecessors. The 5% increment of power compared to the older variants helps the NGX to fly faster and achieve higher climb rates.

Low Speed Propeller Mode

One of the significant improvements that can be found on the NGX is the low-speed propeller mode. This is a special functionality to reduce propeller speed from 1,700 rpm to 1,550 rpm once the aircraft reaches a certain altitude to reduce propeller noise, hence reducing the cabin noise. This special function can be activated with just a click of a button without reducing aircraft speed.

Enhanced Cabin

Manufacturers have undergone some serious upgrades with the cabin configurations when moving to the NGX model, which is quite pleasing. Seats of the NGX model have been updated, giving a piece of good news for all the passengers. In the new ultra-modern design, cabin seats are positioned a little lower to gain more headroom, eliminating the feelings of confinement within the passengers. Additionally, the seats can be fully reclined, allowing the passengers to experience more comfort during their precious flying times.

Whether flying for business or fun, Pilatus PC-12 offers unmatched operational flexibility as it is equipped with state-of-the-art communication devices on board. The aircraft is equipped with Wi-Fi that connects you to any location down below on earth.

The aircraft’s air conditioning system has introduced many air extraction points throughout the cabin, replacing the single point extraction architecture in the NG variant. Effective circulation of air keeps the cabin fresh and free from stale air. Moreover, the air conditioning system operates quieter, reducing cabin noise.

Cabin windows are 10% larger compared to the existing aircraft models, which is considered a must-have feature in business jets as weary travelers will always be allured by the view.

Enhanced Avionics

Touch Screen Controller (TSC) is the interface used for entering data to the flight computers for flight planning and many other tasks. Previous models employed a multi-function controller for the same purpose. Pilots can control the information displayed on the Primary Flight Displays (PFD) and Multi-Function Displays (MFD) through the TSC. NGX’s Advanced Cockpit Environment (ACE) assists pilots to operate the jet seamlessly, especially in critical flight phases when flown by a single pilot.

Apart from that, ACE offers safety modes such as Emergency Descent Mode (EDM) and Crew Alerting System (CAS) to improve the safety of the Pilatus aircraft.

The Role as an Air Ambulance

The aircraft’s ability to land on unpaved runways, larger cargo door, and the pressurized cabin, resemble ideal characteristics to become an air ambulance. Thanks to the decent cabin volume, up to three stretcher patients can be loaded into the aircraft cabin along with their medical equipment. Operators have prioritized the low operating costs incurred with the operation of single-engine Pilatus PC-12 in their medivac operations.

A sideways view of a silver Pilatus PC-12 with its pilot at an airfield.
Image source: böhringer friedrich

The All-Time Favorite FAQ Section

What does a Pilatus PC-12 cost?

A brand new Pilatus PC-12 would cost around $4.9 million. We recommend you to take these values with a grain of salt as the actual prices may vary depending on the cabin configuration and other customizations.

Does the Pilatus PC-12 have a bathroom?

Yes, it has one!

How many hours can a Pilatus PC-12 fly?

Roughly around 4.4 hours of flight time.

Can a private pilot fly a Pilatus PC-12?

Yes, with the PPL and the IR.

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Aeroclass Team
A team of professionals with a deep passion for the aviation industry bringing you the newest and the most striking industry-related news and content.

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