Pilatus PC-12 Overview
At the launch of the single-engine turboprop era in the late 1980s, Cessna created a platform emphasizing rugged utility with the 208 Caravan,
and Socata went for the sleek, luxury transportation niche with its TBM 700. Switzerland’s Pilatus combined the two traits in its PC 12, an extremely rugged yet (often)
luxuriously equipped and well appointed low wing aircraft. Introduced in 1989, first flown in 1991 and certificated in 1994, The PC 12 has the power, payload and big cargo door
to haul oil drums to down-and-dirty destinations or jet skis to a seaside escape at 270 knots.
Pilatus PC-12 Characteristics
Physically large and sitting high off the ground, the PC-12 has a strong ramp presence, with an airframe that appears exceedingly robust. Nonetheless their handling
has often been compared to the lighter and faster TBM 700/850. Powered by a 1,200 shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67B, the aircraft has outstanding unimproved and short field capability.
With the throttle put into beta range for reverse thrust, at maximum landing weight the muscular turboprop can be wrangled to a stop in just 1,850 ft., and at gross weight it
can take off and clear a 50’ obstacle in just 2,650 ft. (both operations at sea level in standard conditions).
Pilatus PC-12 Special Features
The winglets were added late in development to ensure the aircraft met all performance guarantees. In 1998 a smaller winglet was introduced.
Maximum take off weight was increased to 10,495 lbs. in the 2006 model year. The cabin is a roomy 16’ 11” long, 5’ wide and 4’ 9” high. Most PC-12s are
outfitted in the six-seat executive interior configuration, but nine-seat airliner and four-seat/freighter combinations are also in operation.
Many are also outfitted with weather radar, in a pod mounted near the tip of the starboard wing.
A total of some 788 PC-12s were delivered before the PC-12 NG (Next Generation) was introduced in 2008. These airframes have aged well,
and avionics upgrades are available for owners and buyers who want to bring these rugged aircraft into the digital age.