- 29 May 2018
- Mike Chase
- Turboprop Comparisons
Oriens Aviation’s CEO Edwin Brenninkmeyer has enjoyed many years in aviation. During that time, one particular aircraft has captured his interest. GA Buyer Europe spoke with Mr Brenninkmeyer to discover what it is about the Pilatus PC-12 that really stands out?Back to Articles
Oriens Aviation’s CEO Edwin Brenninkmeyer has enjoyed many years in aviation. During that time, one particular aircraft has captured his interest. GA Buyer Europe spoke with Mr Brenninkmeyer to discover what it is about the Pilatus PC-12 that really stands out?
GAB:Edwin, where did your involvement with Pilatus PC-12s begin? You’ve been flying a long time, but what was it about the PC-12 that really stood out and captured your interest?
Brenninkmeyer: A good friend of mine has been a PC-12 aficionado for many years and even though I have been flying for a long time, I was still astonished by the sheer size of the aircraft the first time I saw it up close at Biggin Hill in 2010.
Since then, I’ve flown with my owner/pilot friend in his PC-12 on short, VFR trips within the UK as well as longer trips around Europe. I was so impressed to see such a large aircraft operating routinely in strips such as Courchevel and became ever-more aware of their presence at the large international airports too.
I always thought the PC-12 was somewhat unobtainable, but when I learnt that the per-mile fuel costs and maintenance costs rival (even beat) the cost of operating my own six-seat piston-single, I never looked back.
GAB:One of the key selling points of the PC-12 is the versatile interior. On the one hand it’s spacious and comfortable, on the other it must need to withstand plenty of wear and tear from transporting just about anything (Kayaks, Motorbikes, even stuffed alligators per one Pilatus video). What is the secret of the PC-12 interior that allows it to offer the best of both worlds seamlessly? What did BMW get so right?
Brenninkmeyer: It’s the combination of the durable BMW quality with Pilatus’ design philosophy which allows rapid conversion from one interior to another. It’s the ability to quickly remove any seats that may become scuffed and separate the seating area from the cargo area with a strong net that acts as a barrier, allowing any cargo to be securely tied down not only for safety but also to ensure that nothing can move and damage any interior trim.
The completely flat floor facilitates cleaning and the huge cargo door at the back means that cargo can be very easily and conveniently loaded and unloaded in an area that is wholly separate from the plush seats. This makes it so easy to keep the interior looking absolutely fresh and ready for conversion back into the executive configuration.
The Oriens Aviation Team
GAB:Tell us how the PC-12’s safety record compares against similar aircraft…
Brenninkmeyer: The aircraft is still flown by a large number of owner/pilots around the globe - often with no commercial pilot’s licences. Despite this, the accident record is, hands down, better than any other owner-flown aircraft flying today. Indeed, the accident record is half as good again as that for the fleet of all US business jets between 1964 and 2015, most of which are professionally flown.
The PC-12 has been designed to be an easy aircraft to operate. It is large and very stable to hand-fly with sophisticated avionics and systems designed with a relatively low-hours, single-pilot in mind to enable him or her to cope in any emergency.
GAB:And how about the maintenance needs of the PC-12? This aircraft is built for durability and ruggedness - what advantages does it hold over similar aircraft on the market in terms of its maintenance costs/needs?
Brenninkmeyer: The best example is to consider the American PC-12 operator that flies approximately 2,000 hours per airframe, per year. That’s an average of over five hours of flying, per day, 365 day’s a year. This simply cannot be achieved in an aircraft that requires heavy maintenance (and usually aircraft that fly that hard, do require heavy maintenance). The PC-12 takes it all in its stride…
For the first five years of typical owner utilisation (approx. 300 hours per year), the total maintenance bills for the large 10-seater are similar to, or lower than for my ageing six-seat, complex, piston-single.
The airframe is simple and comes with a seven-year factory warranty. There is only one powerplant (under a five year warranty) and even the complex avionics can be fully covered under extended warranty programmes (once the initial three year warranty has expired) allowing for complete peace of mind.
The first major scheduled maintenance item occurs after seven years and the engine hot section inspection after 1,750 hours, both of which cost in the region of only £10-15k each.
GAB:Oriens Aviation is a Pilatus Approved Service Centre. How wide-spread are the maintenance services you offer? Are your clientele operating within a specific region with specific needs, or is your coverage more wide-spread?
Brenninkmeyer: Oriens Aviation is a one-stop shop for all your Pilatus warranty and maintenance requirements and can arrange everything for you. Most maintenance is done in-house, but for specialist work such as propellers, interior refurbishment, paint and engine overhaul, we work with trusted partners.
We are delighted to be supported by Goodwood (also an approved Pilatus maintenance centre). Though we only promote and market ourselves actively within the British Isles, any Pilatus customer may choose to use any Pilatus Service Centre, anywhere in the world.
More information from www.oriensaviation.com or www.pilatus-aircraft.com