More than 60 years after the first copy rolled off the assembly line, the last Pilatus Porter PC-6 has been delivered, ending an era for one of the longest production runs in aviation.
The final Turbo PC-6 was delivered to an Indonesian customer Monday, Pilatus said.
“This multi-role aircraft has been produced at Stans [Switzerland] without interruption since 1959,” the company said in a social media post December 12. “The PC-6 is one of the world’s longest-running production stories in the aviation industry. Its short takeoff and landing capabilities and general versatility earned it worldwide fame and a reputation as a robust ‘all-rounder.’
“Amongst its many achievements, the Pilatus Porter has flown several cargo and passenger trips at maximum useful load to an altitude of 5,700 meters above sea level—a world record that has not been bettered even to this day,” the company added.
In 2017, as Pilatus said it made only about 10 of the PC-6s each year, the company announced it would be discontinuing the model. It predicted, however, that the production line would stop in 2019.
The PC-6 “has earned us fame and recognition worldwide,” Oscar Schwenk, then chairman of the board of directors of Pilatus, said at the time of the announcement as the company looked toward the launch of its PC-24 Super Versatile Jet. “But the time has now come to take a dispassionate look at the facts and admit that every product has a life cycle which must come to an end sooner or later.”
Pilatus has built 604 PC-6 models—including all variants—since production began in 1959, airdatanews.com reported. The majority are powered by versions of the Pratt & Whitney PT6A ranging from 550 to 680 shp, but early turbo versions used the Turbomeca Astazou series engines, and a handful saw Garrett TPE-331s.