PL12U - One 225kW (300hp) Continental IO520D fuel injected flat six piston engine driving a two blade constant speed McCauley propeller. T300A - One 225kW (300hp) Textron Lycoming IO540 fuel injected flat six driving a three blade constant speed Hartzell prop.
PL12U - Max cruising speed 188km/h (102kt). Initial rate of climb 800ft/min. Service ceiling 10,500ft. Range with max payload 1205km (650nm), with max fuel 1295km (700nm). T300A - Max speed 196km/h (106kt), max cruising speed (75% power) 188km/h (102kt). Initial rate of climb 515ft/min. Service ceiling 12,500ft.
Single pilot in all versions. PL12, T300 and T400 - Seats for two passengers and fitted with a chemical hopper. PL12U seats five with no hopper.
Total production of 120 plus, including 18 assembled in New Zealand. Production complete.
The Airtruk and Skyfarmer owe their origins to New Zealand's first commercial aircraft, the Waitomo Airtruck.
The original Waitomo Airtruck was designed by Luigi Pellarini in the mid 1950s, and used a number of components from the North American T6 Texan/Harvard series of piston engine military advanced trainers. These components included main undercarriage wheels, the front undercarriage assembly, fuel tanks and the 410kW (550hp) Pratt & Whitney R1340 radial piston engine. The Airtruck also featured a fairly tall and squat fuselage that accommodated a pilot, two passengers and a chemical hopper, tricycle undercarriage, a high mounted wing and boom mounted twin tails. The unusual twin tail configuration was adopted as it solved the problem of chemicals contaminating the rear fuselage, while it also allowed easier loading of the chemical hopper. The Airtruck first flew on August 2 1960.
The Airtruck was not built in New Zealand, and instead was further developed in Australia by Transavia as the PL12 Airtruk. The Airtruk differed from the Airtruck in having a flat six Continental engine and additional lower stub wings. It was delivered from December 1966.
The PL12U utility seats five and has the chemical tank deleted. It was delivered from 1971. The T300 and T300A Skyfarmers are improved developments of the PL12 with a Textron Lycoming IO540 engine; the T300 first flew in July 1971, the T300A, which introduced aerodynamic improvements, first flew in 1981. The final development was the 300kW (400hp) flat eight IO720 powered T400, four were delivered to China. Production ceased in 1993.