NBAA Convention News

Pilatus shows PC-12 singles next-generation upgrade

 - September 25, 2007, 4:14 PM

Pilatus Aircraft (Booth No. 757) unveiled its Next Generation PC-12 here at NBAA’07 yesterday. “We’ve taken a great airframe and changed almost everything from front to back,” said Thomas Hunziker, president and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft, introducing the aircraft.

The updated version of the Swiss-made single-engine turboprop features a Honeywell Apex integrated flight deck specially designed for the aircraft, a redesigned interior and a 1,200-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P engine.

The panel features two primary flight displays and two multifunction displays, providing integration of aircraft systems including navigation and terrain database information, graphical flight planning and safety sensors. The Apex also incorporates the latest communication navigation surveillance/air traffic management requirements. The system is designed to allow future functionality enhancements through software upgrades.

Company chief pilot Peter Duncan, who ferried the aircraft on display to the U.S., said Apex is revolutionary in providing pilots with situational awareness while reducing cockpit workload. The new powerplant delivers a maximum cruise speed of 280 knots, giving it an advantage of about 13 knots over the legacy version, Duncan said. Maximum range with NBAA IFR reserves is 1,573 nm. After landing at Greenland during the flight from the factory in Stans, Switzerland, Duncan texted a message to Hunziker: “freaking awesome.”

The cabin’s environmental systems have also been upgraded, and five interior configurations are available.

Pilatus CEO Thomas Bosshard noted the number of single-engine turboprop offerings is growing but welcomed the competition. “We are the standard of the single-engine turboprop,” Bosshard said, “it helps us to see others come along.”

According to Pilatus, the PC-12 has a direct operating cost about half that of most comparable business jets. The Next Generation PC-12 is priced at between $3.8 million and $3.85 million. Delivery positions are sold out until the end of 2009.