A “go anywhere” aircraft” is a rare exhibit in the EBACE static park, and, although beauty is not a claim that many would make of the Pilatus PC-6 Porter, this unique Swiss design has become a legend in its own lifetime. Capable of flying into and out of short unprepared strips, as well as operating on floats or skis, the Porter remains in production at the rate of between five and 10 each year. A total of 530 have been delivered to date.
The company is currently experiencing a big demand for the Porter, mostly from civil operators and a few from owner-pilots who like to display their skill in handling a powerful taildragger with an astonishing performance. But the Porter is no speedster and cannot compete with the sleek bizjets that surround it on the ramp.
Nevertheless, its very ability to fly slowly and in perfect safety makes it an ideal platform for aerial photography, and customers for this role have to get in line, as the next available delivery will not be before spring 2007. But if the chairman or CEO just has to get to a remote site to make an inspection, the Porter may well be the only way to get there by air.