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Pilatus PC-12 As A Commuter Aircraft?  
User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 21363 times:

Would the PC-12 be a good commuter aircraft? A new generation replacement for an ATR, B1900, Cessna Caravan, etc? A single engine airplane, very fast, must not be a lot of upkeep dollars. Also a cargo variant. Could a handful of these airplanes allow a company to make a good profit (which in the airline industry seems to be breaking even)

47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 21298 times:

The PC-12 is a fantastic airplane for all the reasons you mentioned, but acquisition costs and availability are a real issue right now. I talked to a dealer a few months ago that indicated PC-12 production was sold out through at least next year, and the Stans plant recently expanded just to accommodate all the orders. Used PC-12's don't exactly go for "bargain" prices, sadly, and I think this would be a big barrier for an airline...especially a cargo airline. It is an interesting idea, though.

[Edited 2009-02-25 13:35:35]


I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15749 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 21293 times:

Not likely to be used as a commuter aircraft. The costs both to operate and acquire are too high. But the PC-12 is a superb bush plane and VIP transport. It is quite a plane that could possibly replace both a King Air and a Twin Otter reasonably.


Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 21275 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
It is quite a plane that could possibly replace both a King Air and a Twin Otter reasonably.

Absolutely. Tit for tat the PC-12 really kills the King Air on the new airplane market.



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineCommander_Rabb From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 771 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 21277 times:

SeaPort Airlines operates Pilatus PC-12 aircraft from Boeing Field to Portland.

www.seaportair.com


User currently offlineWedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5912 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 21174 times:
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Quoting Commander_Rabb (Reply 4):
SeaPort Airlines operates Pilatus PC-12 aircraft from Boeing Field to Portland.

Seaport Air will use the PC-12 to other destinations/routes in addition to PDX-BFI.


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5815 posts, RR: 28
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 21112 times:

Community Air was a startup that was going to use the PC-12 for commuter ops in California. The company tried to organize in 1998/1999 and placed orders for about a dozen aircraft. But they never could find enough investor money.

There is a picture of one of the aircraft in Community Air livery here:
http://www.aeroworldnet.com/pilatus.htm



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2559 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 21093 times:

I've thought this would be a good replacement for Cape Air's Cessnas but I bet the cost would make it unfesable. I owuld think they would need to begin thinking about a replacement. The Cessna fleet has got be be getting old.

User currently offlineHatbutton From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1500 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 21087 times:



Quoting Wedgetail737 (Reply 5):
Seaport Air will use the PC-12 to other destinations/routes in addition to PDX-BFI.

They are already flying PDX-PDT and BFI. And March 15th to AST and ONP. However, it still remains to be seen whether or not they will be successful. The AST/ONP service is kept up at first by a subsidy and PDT is EAS. They recently had to get another round of funding because the BFI-PDX run isn't doing as well as they'd hoped.

As much as I love the PC-12...it will either need more than 9 seats, or cost at least half of what it costs to acquire. New PC-12s are between $3-4 million as opposed to that of a Carvan which is $1-1.5 million. Sure it's faster and pressurized. But unless you can get people to pay premium prices, good luck making money with it as a commuter.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6398 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 20994 times:



Quoting Hatbutton (Reply 8):
As much as I love the PC-12...it will either need more than 9 seats,

Sadly, not gonna happen (in the US, at least). The current FAR's state that 9 passenger seats is the maximum for a single-engined aircraft.

There are plenty of Cessna Grand Caravan operators in South America and Africa flying with 13-14 seats, but the most a US operator can even legally install is nine  Sad .



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6398 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 20991 times:

Also, don't forget Westward Airways, who operated PC-12 commuter ops in Nebraska and New Mexico for about a year before they folded...


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineHatbutton From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1500 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 20951 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
Sadly, not gonna happen (in the US, at least). The current FAR's state that 9 passenger seats is the maximum for a single-engined aircraft.

There are plenty of Cessna Grand Caravan operators in South America and Africa flying with 13-14 seats, but the most a US operator can even legally install is nine

Interesting. Thanks for that tidbit. I always thought the reason operators in the US kept it to 9 seats was to stay within Part 135.

So is it perfectly okay for a private owner to install as many seats as they can fit in the US?


User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5472 posts, RR: 30
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 20927 times:

Peace Air, in Alberta, Canada flew the PC-12 until they went out of business in 2007. I flew in one of them. I recall it was a nice ride.

I believe they had 9 seats.



What the...?
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25459 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 20927 times:



Quoting Hatbutton (Reply 11):
Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
Sadly, not gonna happen (in the US, at least). The current FAR's state that 9 passenger seats is the maximum for a single-engined aircraft.

There are plenty of Cessna Grand Caravan operators in South America and Africa flying with 13-14 seats, but the most a US operator can even legally install is nine

Interesting. Thanks for that tidbit. I always thought the reason operators in the US kept it to 9 seats was to stay within Part 135.

Several small regional carriers serving remote parts of Canada use the PC-12 extensively.


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User currently offlineRaginMav From United States of America, joined May 2004, 376 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 20849 times:

I flew one for a while, it was an awesome ride! although expensive to purchase

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 10):
Also, don't forget Westward Airways, who operated PC-12 commuter ops in Nebraska and New Mexico for about a year before they folded...

Bingo... The track record of PC-12 operators in scheduled service is pretty poor. I have a couple friends that were put on the street when Westward folded.

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 3):
Absolutely. Tit for tat the PC-12 really kills the King Air on the new airplane market.

Having flown both, I can't believe anybody would ever buy a new King Air... except for the two engine thing. Some people just can't get over that!  Wink

Quoting 413X3 (Thread starter):
A new generation replacement for an ATR, B1900

As others have stated, the airplane is not even close to being that large, let alone the 9 seat limitation others have mentioned.

I would love to get another chance to fly one, though!

Quoting Hatbutton (Reply 11):
I always thought the reason operators in the US kept it to 9 seats was to stay within Part 135.

Not to split hairs... but Part 135 does not limit the aircraft to 9 or less seats; that limitation is spelled out in the TCDS.

(Page 2): "Number of seats. 9 PAX and 2 pilot seats"

Of course, I think you could change it's certification to 'Expiramental' and do whatever you want to it!


User currently offlineHatbutton From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1500 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 20784 times:



Quoting RaginMav (Reply 14):
Not to split hairs... but Part 135 does not limit the aircraft to 9 or less seats; that limitation is spelled out in the TCDS.

(Page 2): "Number of seats. 9 PAX and 2 pilot seats"

Of course, I think you could change it's certification to 'Expiramental' and do whatever you want to it!

Are you referencing it can have 11 seats? I just thought part 135 for scheduled service couldn't carry more than 9 pax? Not necessarily total seats.


User currently offlineTDubJFK From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 20765 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 9):
There are plenty of Cessna Grand Caravan operators in South America and Africa flying with 13-14 seats, but the most a US operator can even legally install is nine .

Yes, but lets also remember how many overloaded planes in Africa have crashed over the ears. Lets stick with 9 seats!


User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2439 posts, RR: 3
Reply 17, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 20736 times:



Quoting RaginMav (Reply 14):
Not to split hairs... but Part 135 does not limit the aircraft to 9 or less seats; that limitation is spelled out in the TCDS

I believe that the TCDS has the limitation because of some FAR regulation, I am just not sure right now which one it is. But I know that single engine aircraft can only be operated commercially with up to nine seats based on more than just the TCDS limitation.



Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineJBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4491 posts, RR: 21
Reply 18, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 20707 times:



Quoting RaginMav (Reply 14):
Having flown both, I can't believe anybody would ever buy a new King Air... except for the two engine thing. Some people just can't get over that!

Bingo!  checkmark  It's hard to justify dragging around another extremely reliable (not to mention insanely expensive) turboprop engine when one will do the job so well.

I grew up with the King Air B200 as my favorite GA aircraft, but flying the PC-12 has such amazing sex appeal...that plane is a dream.

Plus with the Primus Apex now it's even more like your own little Dreamliner.  Wink



I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
User currently offlineRaginMav From United States of America, joined May 2004, 376 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 20650 times:



Quoting Hatbutton (Reply 15):
Are you referencing it can have 11 seats? I just thought part 135 for scheduled service couldn't carry more than 9 pax? Not necessarily total seats.

I think we're saying the same thing, I was just referencing a different 'limiting factor' (TCDS v. FAR part 135), and I'm not entirely sure I'm correct on that anyway!

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 17):
But I know that single engine aircraft can only be operated commercially with up to nine seats based on more than just the TCDS limitation.

I was unaware of that... thanks!

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 18):
Plus with the Primus Apex now it's even more like your own little Dreamliner.

Yes it's like a dream! I was at Simcom in MCO when they first powered on their PC-12NG sim about a year ago (I was there for King Air training, not PC-12), I asked if I could take it for a spin... no dice!

Big version: Width: 800 Height: 600 File size: 71kb


Favorite PC-12 moment for me: I had a 135 trip to Johnson County airport in Olathe, KS, once upon a time. The 4100 foot runway was shortened for construction leaving ~3050 feet. It may be possible in some King Airs, but it was not even a problem in the Pilatus. IRRC a Flaps 20 takeoff = 73 knot rotation speed, and runway to spare!

But that's enough thread hijacking... back on topic.

I have two friends that flew for Westward back in their day, BFF-LBF-GRI(?)-LNK-OMA and back twice a day. They said the aircraft was operationally suited (plenty of cargo room, adequate payload etc.), but the airline failed anyway. Then again various combinations of these routes have been tried several times in the past, in a variety of aircraft, to no avail.


User currently offlineMtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2464 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 20601 times:
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Well first, if I has choice of PC-12 and King Air, I'd probably go with a Cessna Citation!
But anyway, being here at BOI I get to see my fair share of -12s due to Western Aircraft selling and servicing them here. As well as few cargo flights going to BFI and such.
I haven't been in one but would like to try it out someday.



"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 20568 times:



Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 1):
Used PC-12's don't exactly go for "bargain" prices,

Ain't that the truth! Many on the used market are fetching nearly the same price they did when brand new.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6398 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 20327 times:



Quoting RaginMav (Reply 14):
Bingo... The track record of PC-12 operators in scheduled service is pretty poor. I have a couple friends that were put on the street when Westward folded.

Wonder why that is? Is the aircraft simply uneconomical from a CASM/RASM perspective? Is the dispatch reliability in scheduled ops a little less than optimal? I realize the PC-12 is a phenomenal aircraft, but it might be better suited to private/nonscheduled operators than to being used in scheduled ops...

I'd love to know the direct operating cost per hour of the PC-12 if anyone has that  Wink



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 23, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 20318 times:
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Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 20):
Well first, if I has choice of PC-12 and King Air, I'd probably go with a Cessna Citation!

Even if you're footing the bill?  eyebrow 

2H4



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineHatbutton From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1500 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (5 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 20268 times:



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 22):
Wonder why that is? Is the aircraft simply uneconomical from a CASM/RASM perspective? Is the dispatch reliability in scheduled ops a little less than optimal? I realize the PC-12 is a phenomenal aircraft, but it might be better suited to private/nonscheduled operators than to being used in scheduled ops...

I'd love to know the direct operating cost per hour of the PC-12 if anyone has that

Well let's look at Seaport's PDT EAS proposal.

They used the following numbers for just DIRECT operating costs.

Hours flown - 2336
Fuel Costs - $864,468 (at $5/gal)
Insurance - $151,562
Maintenance - $588,773
Aircraft Lease - $299,059

That's a total of $1,903,862
At 2336 hours that'll cost you $815/hour

If you throw in their flight crew cost of $61.75/hr it'll bump your average hourly cost to $876/hour.

Now if you throw in what they put down for indirect expenses ($1,126,474), now your hourly cost is $1358/hr. For only 9 seats!

Are you freaking kidding me? Even at just direct operating costs you'll need an average fare of at least $100 per hour and a full pax load to make money. Yet on most of Seaport's routes, they are charging $49-99 one way on most of their flights for the first seats sold on the plane. Problem is they will rarely fill a plane full, so they are only really selling those low end buckets of seats.

Sure they can get people on right now because they are being subsidized by the US government and the state of Oregon to keep fares lower. But once the Oregon subsidy runs out, good luck getting people to pay over $150 one way on a 30 minute flight.


25 Adam42185 : There are reasons for such limitations. Probably written in red ink.
26 KELPkid : Okay, this is driving me nuts. I've looked up the definitive answer to this in the FAR's before, and come up with the answer being the FAA says "thou
27 Hatbutton : Yeah they will eventually. I believe the bags aren't even separated by even a net. I remember reading an article about someone who flew on a Seaport
28 BMI727 : The PC-12 simply costs too much to be used as a commuter airliner. Where it excels is as a very comfortable business or cargo aircraft able to use eve
29 MtnWest1979 : [quote=2H4,reply=23]Quoting MtnWest1979 (Reply 20): Well first, if I has choice of PC-12 and King Air, I'd probably go with a Cessna Citation! Even if
30 KELPkid : Man, I sure hope they've negotiated a fueling deal with someone and aren't paying FBO rates for their fuel...what are the airlines paying these days
31 RaginMav : I just went to Cessna's website and found the following regarding the Caravan: which seems to back your hunch a bit, as well. Best of luck.
32 413X3 : Ok so hauling passengers isnt a good business plan for a pc-12. But what about cargo flying in the states?
33 Hatbutton : Well let's see. The PC-12 useful load is about 4500 pounds. A Caravan is about 4100 pounds. So for half the price, and more than half the operating c
34 BMI727 : The PC-12 isn't ideal as a freighter with a couple of exceptions. First, sometimes speed is and an extra 500 miles of range are important. Also, the P
35 Speedbird2263 : Ive seen the PC-12 up close and personal at Air Show's as well as the King Air. My preference is for the PC-12 as well due to the perceived design an
36 PC12Fan : I realize this is a "fantasy input", but give me the benefit of the doubt for a second. I have the hots for the PC-12 that some would question my ment
37 Post contains images Viscount724 : If they're all like this one operated by Pascan Aviation in Quebec, looks like a net.
38 MD-90 : I wonder when the Primus Apex will be getting synthetic vision? If Garmin can do it in a 172, Honeywell can do it in a PC-12.
39 Post contains images RaginMav : Well the BE-350 will probably out-perform the Pilatus in pretty much every way (exception: runway performance), so the argument is mostly at directed
40 PC12Fan : In a word, yes. Pilatus is currently working on it, if they haven't done it already.
41 KELPkid : I love how you say that, and then the first pic you post shows the characteristic PC-12 "smile", which, IMHO, gives the PC-12 a clown face The PC-12
42 BMI727 : It kinda looks like a P-51 all grown up.
43 CitationJet : The "local regulations" in the US do not include an N-registered Caravan. The FAA will not allow it. .
44 2H4 : While we're discussing the capabilities of the PC-12, I thought it might be fun to share this little nugget. It's a job posting for U-28 pilots. The
45 KELPkid : Here's one for y'all to ponder... Can the right front seat be occupied by a passenger? I'm guessing that Part 135 wont' allow for that... I did fly s
46 Hatbutton : Cape Air does it all the time. So 135 I'm guessing is a yes.
47 CitationJet : Looks like FAR 135.113 allows it: Sec. 135.113 Passenger occupancy of pilot seat. No certificate holder may operate an aircraft type certificated aft
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