The PC-12 is a King Air class and size turboprop aimed at corporate transport and regional airliner operators. It is the latest in a line of single engined PT6 powered Pilatus products.
Pilatus announced it was developing the PC-12 at the National Business Aircraft Association's annual convention in October 1989. First flight of the first of two prototypes occurred on May 31 1991. Certification was originally planned for mid 1993 but a redesign of the wings with the addition of winglets to ensure performance guarantees were met pushed this back, with Swiss certification awarded on March 30 1994 and US FAA FAR Part 23 approval following on July 15 1994.
Compared to the King Air 200 twin, its major competitor, the PC-12's most significant design feature is its use of a single PT6A-67B turboshaft. Internally the PC-12's cabin is also longer (by 6cm/2.4in) and wider (by 15cm/6in) than the King Air 200's, and the same height. The cockpit features EFIS displays and the PC-12 is certificated for single pilot operation while each PC-12 built features a standard cargo door in the rear fuselage. Weather radar is an option but has been fitted to all production aircraft thus far. From 1997 the increased 4.5 tonne MTOW has been standard. New, smaller winglets were introduced in 1998.
The PC-12 is offered in standard nine seat airliner form, in a four passenger seat/freight combi version and as a six place corporate transport. A pure freighter model is under consideration. The PC-12 Eagle is a military special missions platform.
Most PC-12s built thus far have been corporate transports but recent important regulatory changes in Australia, Brazil, Canada and the USA have cleared single engine turboprops for IFR RPT operations in those nations. This has opened up new potential markets for the PC12 as a regional airliner, replacing older King Airs and elderly piston twins such as the Navajo Chieftain and Cessna 400 series.
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