Why We Fly The Pilatus PC-12

The Pilatus PC-12

Versatile. Safe. Reliable. Proven. These are terms operators of PC-12s frequently use to describe their aircraft, and why so many people around the world trust the PC-12 to fly their families, employees, customers and critical cargo. Add comfort, quality, efficiency and time savings to the list of benefits for those who travel on the world’s most popular single-engine business aircraft. High residual values, low operating costs, and proven safe operation of over seven million flight hours and over 1,700 aircraft easily explain why the PC-12 has earned an untarnished reputation as one of the best investments in business aviation. Encapsulating all the advantages of the new PC-12 within a single word is nearly impossible – but iconic seems fitting. The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 has a larger cabin, longer range, and lower operating cost than almost any jet. The Pilatus PC-12’s ability to cruise at 300 MPH and 30,000 feet but still operate out of short runways is unprecedented in private aviation. Additionally, this aircraft can get into and out of many more airports than any airline or jet. The PC-12 has 40 cubic feet of storage space for luggage as well as more cabin space than either a King Air 250 or a Citation Mustang, to name a couple. Additionally, the PC-12 is equipped with a fully enclosed lavatory. What does all of this mean for you? Carry what you want to travel with, ride comfortably with plenty of cabin space, take off closer to home and land closer to where you need to be to enjoy more of what is important to you. Many pilots want to fly a 1,000-mile trip nonstop. That’s about the distance from New York to southern Florida, or from Chicago to Miami, or from Atlanta to Aspen. And people want to take along all of their family, friends and stuff on these trips.

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A bunch of airplanes can fly the 1,000-mile trip downwind, or on that mythical flight-planning day when there is no wind, but very few can make it nonstop every time upwind, particularly in the winter months when the wind aloft at turbine airplane altitudes often exceeds 100 knots. And even fewer airplanes can make the trip upwind with a big payload. The exception is the Pilatus PC-12 NG single-engine turboprop, which can lug at least 1,200 pounds of payload over 1,000 miles against the strongest headwind and do it every time. And the PC-12 NG can fly the trip at a maximum cruise speed of around 260 knots, not the much slower long-range speed. The reason it can reliably make the flight so many pilots want is because the PC-12 has more than 1,500 miles of still air range with a 1,200-pound payload. That means the PC-12 has the range to nearly span the continent downwind, and can always make it across the country upwind with only one stop. Having great range is a terrific asset for any airplane, but there is an adage in aviation that an airplane can “outfly its cabin,” meaning the endurance of the passengers expires before the fuel supply does. While most pilots are willing to sit in a cramped cockpit for hours on end to avoid a fuel stop, non pilot passengers are not. They demand room to move around, a private and usable lavatory and access to drinks and food. Again, the PC-12 stands out for having a cabin almost 17 feet long and 5 feet wide, with 4 feet 10 inches of headroom. There is a private lav, and luggage is accessible in the rear of the cabin while in flight. The cabin equals, or at least rivals, some midsize business jets that have similar range. All of the size, range and payload capabilities of the PC-12 flow from the fundamental design choice of using only one engine. Carrying the fuel to feed a second engine, plus the weight and drag of the engine itself, all cut into range and payload. The second engine and its costs also mean the twin-engine turboprop that comes closest to the PC-12 in cabin size and full fuel range falls hundreds of miles short when the same payload is aboard, and costs at least a million dollars more to buy. It seems the Swiss engineers at Pilatus were thinking more of utility and operating flexibility than personal and business travel when they created the PC-12 in the early 1990s. That’s why the airplane has a huge cargo door in the aft fuselage, landing gear designed for the roughest runway, and a big fuselage to haul stuff. Early sales went to utility operators such as physicians in Australia who bought the airplane to fly into the bush to treat people in the remotest of areas. But when pilots in the United States learned what the PC-12 could do, they wanted to use it to fly their own missions that other airplanes just can’t accomplish.

Powerful. Intuitive. Safe. It’s what you expect from Pilatus. It’s what you expect from LIVT.

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