- 24 Mar 2021
- Matt Harris
- AvBuyer Africa Articles
With a history dating back to 1939, Pilatus primarily produced military trainers before the 1990s when it launched the PC-12 single-engine turboprop. Suited for executive or cargo transportation (or a combo of both), the PC-12 was a success with almost 2,000 delivered worldwide. Today, Pilatus builds the PC-12 NGX.
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A 2021-model Pilatus PC-12 NGX single-engine turboprop costs $5.443m, according to Aircraft Bluebook’s summer 2021 data. Depending on the age and condition, buyers can purchase a used PC-12 model for less. For example, Aircraft Bluebook’s summer 2021 data shows that a 2010-model PC-12 NG retails for approximately $2.8m, while a 2000-model PC-12/45 is $1.65m. An original 1995-model PC-12/41 costs $1.15m.
In April 2021, there were 1,739 Pilatus PC-12s flying worldwide, per JETNET. The PC-12 NG has the largest in-operation fleet, with 925 units. At the time of writing, there had been 51 retirements from a total 1,818 units built (28 were at the manufacturer waiting to be delivered).
Pilatus PC-12s offer maximum ranges in the region of 1,650nm, according to Conklin & de Decker, based on four passengers and available fuel aboard.
The Pilatus PC-12 models offer more range than other single-engine turboprop models. Therefore, buyers may also be considering twin-engine models in their purchase decision, including the King Air 250 and King Air 350iER.
Pilatus Turboprops Overview
By Gerrard Cowan
Pilatus has been a well-known manufacturer on the civilian turboprop market since the early 1990s, with the OEM now looking to the future with the latest version of the Pilatus PC-12 and a first step into the business jet market with its PC-24.
The Swiss company is a well-established developer of turboprops, and also offers two turboprop trainer aircraft (the Pilatus PC-7 MkII and the Pilatus PC-21). However, it is arguably best known for the successful PC-12 range.
The Pilatus PC-12 marked the company’s successful entry into the business aircraft market, with the aircraft being certified in 1994. It provides a spacious cabin for up to ten passengers, in a package that combines first-class flying characteristics with low operating costs, and the ability to operate on grass and other unpaved surfaces.
Powered by a single 1,200shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67B engine, this versatile aircraft has proved popular in a number of roles, including passenger transport.
The Pilatus PC-12/45 was certified in 1996, and improved on the original model in several ways, including the provision of a greater take-off weight. Manufactured until 2005, almost 600 platforms were produced, with its operators including PlaneSense, Inc, a US fractional ownership company. Most of the original PC-12 models were subsequently converted to PC-12/45s.
Next came the Pilatus PC-12/47, certified in 2005, and again offering an increase in takeoff weight, which now stood at 4,740kg. This upgrade brought a number of aerodynamic changes, including new winglets, to help improve the performance.
Pilatus PC-12 NG
The Pilatus PC-12 NG was introduced in 2008, and incorporates a new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P engine and a glass cockpit avionics suite to the aircraft.
Over the years of production, approximately 940 platforms were produced until the launch of the PC-12 NGX, and the aircraft proved a hit with operators like Jetfly. The PC-12 NG has a maximum range of about 1,845nm and can carry up to ten passengers.
Pilatus PC-12 NGX
Today, the PC-12 range is represented by the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, which was introduced in 2019. It brings an improved engine, a redesigned cabin with larger windows, and smarter avionics.
The aircraft features the PT6E-67XP turboprop engine by Pratt & Whitney Canada, which has an Electronic Propeller and Engine Control System, including Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) – which Pilatus claims to be a worldwide first in this market segment.
Additionally, the new propeller low-speed mode results in a significant reduction in cabin noise, boosting passenger comfort.
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