Operator Report: Pilatus PC-12

 - May 6, 2008, 10:53 AM

PlaneSense, the Manchester, N.H.-based fractional ownership provider launched in 1996 by parent company Alpha Flying, continues to expand. According to Alpha Flying president George Antoniadis, PlaneSense added two more Pilatus PC-12s to its fleet in the past year and a third is scheduled to arrive this month, bringing the fleet total to 11.

PlaneSense is the only fractional operator with a fleet consisting solely of PC-12s, which Antoniadis said has proven to be an exceptional performer with 100-percent dispatch reliability. He also pointed out that the 1,750-nm range and max cruise speed of 270 kt make the PC-12 highly competitive with light jets over the shorter routes favored by the PlaneSense share owners.

The PlaneSense fleet rang up 720 missions in July, well over the 480 missions logged in July last year. In August–traditionally a busy month–the company expected to see that number rise to nearly 1,000.

Operational control of the PlaneSense fleet resides at Alpha Flying headquarters at Manchester Airport. With Epps Aviation at Atlanta Dekalb-Peachtree Airport as a Southeast marketing arm and support center, the PlaneSense market is primarily the Eastern Seaboard.

While some business aviation companies were adversely affected by Sep-
tember 11 and the continuing economic slump, Antoniadis said the perception of safety and convenience of business aviation travel has helped PlaneSense continue “a constant and controlled growth.” He said the company has orders for more PC-12s, but declined to say how many. Instead, he said, “We’re focusing on steady and controlled growth that allows us to improve training and standardization, upgrade dispatch and operations and run a quality program for our customers.” Expansion to other geographic regions of the U.S., he noted, won’t come until PlaneSense has solidified its client base along the Eastern Seaboard.