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Pilatus PC-6 Porter

The Pilatus PC-6 Porter is a single-engined STOL utility aircraft designed by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. First flown in 1959, the PC-6 continues in production at Pilatus Flugzeugwerke in Stans, Switzerland. It has been built in both piston engine- and turboprop-powered versions and was produced under licence for a time by Fairchild Hiller in the United States.
On 4 May 1959, the first prototype, powered by a 254 kW (340 shp) piston engine, made its maiden flight. In early May 1961, the first Turbo Porter, powered by a Turbomeca Astazou II turboprop engine, performed its initial flight. In comparison to its earlier piston engine-powered incarnation, the Astazou II-equipped Turbo Porter had an increased gross capacity and top speed, as well as benefitting from the engine's automatic handling functions. These benefits came at the expense of a greater initial purchase cost and higher fuel consumption. Both the piston and turbine-engine versions of the PC-6 became quickly known for their Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) capabilities, requiring only a very short takeoff run before being ready for rotation prior to taking off.
The initial turbine-powered models of the PC-6 were equipped with the Astazou II powerplant, however complaints of the reliability of this engine were made. Another early turboprop powerplant that became available for the PC-6 was the Garrett Air Research TPE 331. Some operators such as Air America chose to retrofit their Astazou II-powered PC-6s with the TPE 331 engine in its place. In May 1996, the first PC-6 to be equipped with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engine performed its maiden flight.
To offset rising labour and manufacturing costs in Switzerland, Pilatus distributed manufacturing work on the PC-6 to other countries; in 1993, Czech Republic-based Letov Kbely began manufacturing activity upon the type. In 2013, Pilatus formed a joint venture with Beijing Tian Xing Jian Yu Science Co., Ltd. to locally manufacture the PC-6 and the newer Pilatus PC-12 in Chongqing, China; initially this facility performed subassembly work on the fuselage, and later other elements such as the wings and moving surfaces, which were conveyed to Pilatus' final assembly facility in Stans, Switzerland. Global production of the PC-6 shall be eventually transferred to the Chongqing facility. On 11 December 2014, the first Chinese-assembled PC-6 fuselage was completed. In 2014, the majority of PC-6s delivered that year were to Chinese customers. By April 2016, around 20 PC-6s were in operation in the Chinese market; the type has often been used to replace the Antonov An-2, being reportedly cheaper to operate.
The Porter was also manufactured under license by Fairchild Hiller in the United States. Roughly 100 of these licence-produced aircraft would be completed, being mainly purchased by civil operators within the US. A number of Fairchild Hiller-built PC-6s were also procured for military operations during the Vietnam War. It received the designation AU-23A Peacemaker for service with the U.S. Air Force. The Peacemaker was fitted with a side-firing 20mm XM-197 Gatling cannon, four wing pylons and a centre fuselage station for external ordnance. However, the AU-23A proved to be troublesome in service. All of them were returned to the continental U.S. and placed into storage after only a single year of operation. In 1979, a pair of UV-20s were assigned to the aviation detachment of the Berlin Brigade in Germany due to their suitability for operating within the heavily restricted airspace; they were fitted for carrying either cargo, up to eleven passengers, or three litters with four medical attendants.


A PC-6/350 Porter

PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo-Porter. YL-CCQ is currently (2017) used by Skydive Estonia as a jump plane.

A Fairchild Porter

Pilatus PC-6/ B2-H4 in flight

PC-6/340 Porter
Initial production version, powered by a 254-kW (340-hp) Lycoming GSO-480-B1A6 flat-six piston engine. Max takeoff weight 1,960 kg (4,320 lb).
PC-6/340-H1 Porter
As PC-6/340, but with modified landing gear and increased weight (2,016 kg (4,444 lb)).
PC-6/340-H2 Porter
As for H-2, but with maximum takeoff weight increased to 2,200 kg (4,850 lb).
PC-6/350 Porter
As PC-6/340, but powered by a 261 kW (350 hp) Lycoming IGO-540-A1A piston engine.
PC-6/350-H1 Porter
As for /340 H1 but with O-540 engine.
PC-6/350-H2 Porter
As for 340 H2 with O-540 engine.
PC-6/A Turbo-Porter
Initial turboprop powered version, fitted with a 390 kW (523 shp) Turbomeca Astazou IIE or IIG turboprop engine.[4]
PC-6/A1 Turbo-Porter
This 1968 version was powered by a 427-kW (573-shp) Turbomeca Astazou XII turboprop engine.
PC-6/A2 Turbo-Porter
This 1971 version was powered by a 427-kW (573-shp) Turbomeca Astazou XIVE turboprop engine.
PC-6/B Turbo-Porter
This version was powered by a 410-kW (550-shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-6A turboprop engine.
PC-6/B1 Turbo-Porter
Similar to the PC-6/B, but fitted with a 410-kW (550-shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turboprop engine.
PC-6/B2-H2 Turbo-Porter
Fitted with a 507-kW (680-shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engine.
PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo-Porter
The B2-H4 has improved airframe structuring and extended, upturned wingtips.
PC-6/C Turbo-Porter
One prototype built by Fairchild Industries in the United States, powered by a 429-kW (575-shp) Garrett TPE331-25D turboprop engine.
PC-6/C1 Turbo-Porter
Similar to the PC-6/C, but fitted with a 429-kW (575-shp) Garrett TPE 331-1-100 turboprop engine.
PC-6/C2-H2 Porter
Developed by Fairchild Industries in the USA. It was powered by a 485-ekW (650-ehp) Garrett TPE 331-101F turboprop engine.
PC-6/D-H3 Porter
One prototype, fitted with a 373-kW (500-hp) avco Lycoming turbocharged piston engine.
AU-23A Peacemaker
Armed gunship, counter-insurgency, utility transport version for the U.S. Air Force. It was used during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. 15 were built under licence in the USA by Fairchild Industries.[31] All aircraft were sold to Royal Thai Air Force.
Designation for U.S. version, cancelled 1979.
UV-20A Chiricahua
STOL utility transport version for the U.S. Army. Two UV-20As were based in West Berlin during the 1970s and 1980s.
PC-8D Twin Porter
Twin-engined version flown in 1967, but not subsequently developed.
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