Paris Air Show

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

 - December 13, 2006, 12:42 PM

The Pilatus Porter never won any beauty contests and may look as if a committee designed it. But beauty is only skin deep and for some 46 years, the Swiss aircraft has wowed folk by its incredible STOL performance. From the land of the cuckoo clocks has come an aircraft that is at home landing and taking off from the sides of mountains, or spurning hard runways for grass, gravel or most other surfaces that would deter any other type.

The Porter is no leftover from an earlier age and remains in production, albeit at the rate of just five per year. But with more than 400 produced to date and no direct competition in sight, the Porter is set to remain on the wish list of those who need to carry passengers, cargo, litter cases and even VIPs in reasonable luxury, to sites that other aircraft cannot reach. And for those in a particular hurry, the Porter makes a great platform for parachute jumping.