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  • Writer's pictureJ.K. Caldwell

Pilatus PC-12 NGX

Updated: Dec 28, 2021

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Telluride, CO (9,070’ MSL)

First Impressions: Style and comfort meets practicality and capability. You can load passengers, bags, equipment or anything that fits through the main cabin door or pallet-sized cargo door and land on almost any paved or unpaved airfield in the world - all while while traveling in a luxurious cabin with full reclining leather seats!

Design Features: The NGX is the latest and greatest in the popular PC-12 family. Since 1994, the PC-12 has proven itself the leader in the short haul, single-piloted, single engine turboprop market. Based in Switzerland and designed with the Alps in mind, Pilatus is known for purpose-built rugged airplanes that can handle short and even unpaved airstrips anywhere in the world. Since it is a single-pilot capable plane, it is designed to be easy to fly. The Honeywell Apex avionics suite contains two primary flight displays and two MFDs (Multi-Function Displays). The Startup sequence on the electronic checklist leaves you wondering if you missed something because it’s so simple to start. A scroll wheel behind the throttle allows the pilot to select checklists, flight plans, approaches, airfield data, etc. The INDS (Integrated Navigation Data Service) allows automatic uploads of all Jeppeson publications to the Honeywell library. As long as the subscription is paid, you’ll always have the current charts and plates onboard!

Ergonomics: What can I say? This plane is designed to be luxurious, and it is; for both the passengers and the pilot(s)!

Powerplant: The Pratt and Whitney PT6E-67XP delivers 1,200 shaft horsepower and features a dual-channel EPEC (Electronic Propeller and Engine Control). The EPEC is a new innovation for the PC-12 family and autonomously optimizes the engine during all phases of flight and throughout the life of the engine. It also makes the pilot’s task of engine management extremely easy. For those familiar, with FADECs, the EPEC functions

very similarly. The PC-12 NGX has the same shaft horsepower as previous PC-12s, but Pilatus claims the EPEC allows the powerplant to deliver up to 10% more thrust and a top speed of 290 KCAS, an increase of 5 Knots. An additional NGX feature is the Prop Low Speed button on the center console. Depressing this button in cruise flight will dial the prop rpm from the normal 1,700 rpm to 1,550 rpm, decreasing cabin noise for both you and your passengers, while only losing 1-2 knots. Since the PC-12 was designed to fly to some of the world’s most austere locations, often where anti-ice fuel additives are not available, the oil lines are routed through the fuel tank. This feature provides cooling for the oil and heating for the fuel. All engine data is automatically sent to Pratt & Whitney whenever there is a cellular signal so they can monitor engine health and identify anomalies before they manifest themselves.

Cruise: Engage the autopilot after liftoff, confirm the cabin pressure schedule and simply sit back and monitor! Weather radar, ADSB and SiriusXM datalink make choosing weather deviations easy. Changes to the clearance, approaches and holds are easily handled via the scroll wheel and MFDs.

Landing: You can land with speed hold engaged or fly a manual throttle approach. Either way, the Pilatus is very stable and responsive. The PC-12’s trailing-link landing gear looks like it belongs on an FA-18 Hornet and would probably handle a no-flare carrier landing just as well! It’s hard to make a bad landing in the PC-12 so there should be passenger compliments aplenty!

Wrap-up: This airplane checks all the boxes for those in need of a capable, luxurious and efficient short haul plane that is a joy to fly!

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