Fletcher in the USA originally developed the FU-24 largely for agwork in New Zealand.
The FU-24 flew for the first time in June 1954, and production and deliveries began during 1955, following certification on July 22. Seventy 195kW (260hp) Continental IO-470-D powered FU-24s and dual control FU-24As were built in the USA before Fletcher ceased production in 1964, and Air Parts (now Pacific Aerospace) of New Zealand acquired the production rights.
Initial New Zealand production was of two models, one powered by a 215kW (285hp) Continental, the other a 225kW (300hp) unit. The subsequent FU-24-950 was powered by a 300kW (400hp) eight cylinder Lycoming IO-720, and was followed up by the similarly powered FU-24-954 from 1979.
Like many ag aircraft, the Fletcher was a natural candidate for conversion to turboprop power. The resulting Cresco first flew on February 28 1979 powered by a 450kW (600shp) Avco Lycoming (now Textron Lycoming) LTP-101. Nine such aircraft were built, while a tenth was fitted with a 560kW (750shp) PT6A-34AG.
Although PAC announced it would cease aircraft manufacture in 1994, PAC's new owners have placed the Cresco back into production. Initial production was of the LTP-101 powered Cresco 08-600, now the focus is on the PT6A powered Cresco 08-750.
PAC also offers turbine FU-24 conversions with PT6s or Walter 601s.
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