USAFHummer
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Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Wed Dec 18, 2002 11:58 am

Hello all,

I was reading a book today, "Climbing the World's 14 Highest Mountains" when I came across an interesting passage regarding the operations of a Pilatus Porter in support of an expedition in 1960 to climb Dhaulagiri in Nepal, at 26,794 ft. (8,167m) the 7th highest mountain in the world...I will quote the relevant portions here...

"The reason there was so few Sherpas was that the expedition was supported by a Pilatus Porter glacier plane (painted red and yellow and christened 'Yeti') whose pilot and co-pilot/mechanic Ernst Saxer and Emil Wick became critical members of the team.

The plane was to be used to fly equipment and climbers to the north-east col, though an early acclimatization camp was first set up on the Dambush Pass. The pass is at 5,200m (17,050 ft), a world-record height for a plane landing. The north-east col is at 5,700m (18,700 ft) and when landings were made there it (obviously) set a new world record. The use of the plane allowed the team to avoid a tedious walk-in and any possible disputes with porters, but the rapid height gain (from Pokhara to 5,200m in about an hour) caused all the climbers and Sherpas problems with altitude sickness. The plane was also not without its problems. Having successfully flown from Switzerland to Pokhara and made numerous flights to Dambush and the Col, it blew a cylinder forcing an emergency landing at Pokhara from which the pilots escaped unscathed. A replacement engine was obtained in a very fast time, but the plane later crashed on the Dambush Pass. Again the pilots escaped unharmed...

...The early arrivals on the Col (the northeast) forced the route upwards, though one of their earliest tasks was to stamp out a runway for Yeti when its skis sank in soft snow. The take-off along this makeshift runway was a do-or-die effort by Ernst Saxer flying alone: fail to take off and he and the plane would disappear into a crevasse; make insufficient height in time and he would crash into seracs (added by me: large ice walls for those not mountain oriented). Take-off was successfu and represented the most courageous act of the trip."

If there ever was a plane that defined STOL performance, the Porter is it...but this is astounding...does anyone know more about this or could figure out more (ie takeoff lengths, etc?)...or also provide insight into how this is possible, please reply...

Thanks,
Greg

Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
PPGMD
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Wed Dec 18, 2002 12:26 pm

The Helio Courier had much better STOL preformance, it would take off in a plane length and it had no published stall speed. Quite a preformer, I could only think what kind of preformance it could have gotten with a turbine engine.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
Arrow
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Wed Dec 18, 2002 2:47 pm

"Having successfully flown from Switzerland to Pokhara and made numerous flights to Dambush and the Col, it blew a cylinder forcing an emergency landing at Pokhara from which the pilots escaped unscathed."

Blew a cylinder? I thought the Porter had a PT6 turbine engine. Am I mixing it up with something else?

Porter is a spectacular performer, but I think the Beaver defined STOL, or maybe the Westland Lysander. Beaver can claw its way to 18,000 feet too.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
PPGMD
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Wed Dec 18, 2002 3:49 pm

Early porters were piston.

From what I understand Porters were piston and the Turbo Porter is turbine. But it seems that they only configuration that they sell new now days is the turbine version.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
sllevin
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Wed Dec 18, 2002 11:25 pm

The turbo-porter (the only version I know personally) is truly a fantastic STOL performer. I have personally witnessed it operate from an RC-plane runway (150') with plenty of room to spare (if you can get ahold of Clay Lacy's 1998 or 1999 calendar, there's a picture of him taking off with his Turbo Porter from the RC field.

The Porter can also do in-flight beta (reverse) thrust, meaning it can approach at incredibly steep angles and land in essentially zero feet.

I don't know what the high-altitude performance would be, but at sea level, it's remarkable.

Steve
 
707CMF
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Thu Dec 19, 2002 1:34 am

The paragliging club of my local airport uses a Porter, and can confirm. Every tiimes, it descends at an incredibly steep angle, and usually lands at the same moment the first paraglider touches the ground. Quite amazing.


Also I'm not sure it's good for the pilot's ears  Wink/being sarcastic

Antoine
 
Ikarus
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Thu Dec 19, 2002 9:25 am


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Charles Falk



So, this plane can take off in 50 metres of runway? What's its secret? T/W ratio? Can't be the high lift devices or the aspect ratio, can it?

This post has truly stirred my curiosity...

Regards

Ikarus
 
pmk
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Fri Dec 20, 2002 2:48 pm

As an owner of it's older brother a PC-12, I can tell you this.

We can take off at MTOW in 1200ft.

Peter
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Sat Dec 21, 2002 6:32 am

Umm...the PC-12 and Porter share a common manufacturer but besides that Id say its safe to say they are not even close to each other in terms of design, performance, etc...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Mon Dec 23, 2002 1:01 am

Pmk,

How do you like your PC-12? I must say that I am impressed with it. On paper anyway, because unless I hit the lottery or acquire the cash from your industry  Laugh out loud, I have no chance of owning one. The performance is truly impressive.

I have a fried that now works for Cessna, and we were talking about the CJ1, new Mustang vs the Eclipse and other "personal jets". I then asked him how Cessna's small jets can match up with the PC-12. Without skipping a beat he said we don't have anything that can compete with the PC-12. I was surprised when he said that. "Speed is the only thing we have vs the PC-12."

USAFHummer,

Your comparing apples to oranges there dude. But tell me this, you know of another fixed wing aircraft that weighs 9,000+ lbs that can get off the ground in 1,200 ft? There aren't many, I assure you of that.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
avt007
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Mon Dec 23, 2002 5:39 am

A small footnote; Nepal no longer allows single engine commercial ops, so no more Porters are there. I see them fairly regularly, and the performance is impressive.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Mon Dec 23, 2002 2:31 pm

Boeing nut,

Im aware of that, thats what I was trying to say, that the PC-12 and PC-6 cant be compared to each other, two different planes completely...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Tue Dec 24, 2002 2:20 am

USAFHummer,

It's all good. The way I read it I interpreted it as you telling Pmk that he wasn't aware of the performance of both aircraft.

Either way, performance of both aircraft are impressive.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
mcdonobr
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Thu Dec 26, 2002 12:58 am

Boy, does this discussion bring back some very fond memories. While living in Bangkok as a young teenager from '63-'67 I used to hitch rides on
Air America, Bird Air, & Continental Air Svs. Pilatus Porter/turbo Porter and Helio Couriers doing daily personnel & supply runs to Thai Border Patrol Police camps. Some of the airstrips were very, very short dirt runways "more like paths" cut out on the top of mountaintops at unbelievable angles (very few level ones and often ending at a cliff edge). I was always amazed at how slow they could fly and still stay airborne, guess that's where those huge Porter wings came in handy. This was the real beginning of my life as a "plane nut".
 
ukair
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RE: Pilatus Porter Performance...simply Unreal!

Thu Dec 26, 2002 4:04 am

I think the Fiesheler Stork outperformed the Lysander at least in landing and take off distances.

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