Pilatus Improves PC-12 NG, Makes Progress on PC-24

Upgraded turboprop spins new five-blade propeller.

Pilatus PC-12 NG

Pilatus PC-12 NG

Stans, Switzerland-based Pilatus announced improvements to the 2016 model of its single-engine turboprop-powered PC-12 NG, upgrades the company says will provide its customers with greater speed, climb performance, range and cabin comfort.

Without increasing the horsepower of the PT6A engine, but rather through several drag-reducing modifications, the max cruise speed has been increased to 285 knots, an improvement of five knots compared with the previous PC-12 NG. The max range has been stretched to 1,840 nm with four passengers and VFR reserves.

Additionally, at max gross weight the time to climb to 28,000 feet has been cut by about 10 percent, Pilatus said. This performance improvement was achieved through the most obvious modification - a five-blade scimitar propeller produced by Hartzell specifically for the Pilatus. The propeller blades are made of carbon fiber with nickel cobalt leading edges. Not only does the new prop improve performance, it makes the airplane quieter in flight as well.

While no major changes have been made to the cockpit, pilots will likely enjoy the new software for the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics. Flight plans can be uploaded wirelessly and the software now includes airways, SIDS and STARS in the flight plan mode, temperature compensation for Baro VNAV approaches for greater accuracy.

The PC-12 NG also received a facelift inside and out. The cabin has been thoroughly modified with six executive interior themes to choose from, all designed by BMW Designworks, and six new paint schemes are offered as well.

The base price for the PC-12 NG is $4,055,000; however, typically equipped the airplane will roll out of the factory doors for $4,850,000.

In addition to the PC-12 NG improvement, Pilatus made a leap forward in the progress of the development of its PC-24 business jet, taking the second test airplane to the skies this week. Test pilots have accumulated about 150 hours on the first test airplane since it first flew in May.