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  En Route
Pilatus Unveils the PC-12 NGX by Rich Pickett
Standing next to an airplane shroud- ed in black fabric, we eagerly await to see what hides underneath the cloth. Editor Rebecca Groom Jacobs and I are attending the debut of the new- est Pilatus at Henderson Executive Airport during NBAA in Las Vegas.
Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus Aircraft, stands at the podium, ex- tolling the virtues of the new air- craft and detailing the lineage of the PC-12 and PC-24. With 1,700 PC-12s now in the market, a fleet that has amassed more than 7 million f light hours, Pilatus partnered with sup- pliers like Pratt & Whitney Canada and Honeywell to advance its PC-12 turboprop further. The result of this development: the PC-12 NGX.
Engine
The PC-12 NGX is probably the most extensive update of the venerable PC- 12 aircraft since they started building the aircraft. As Bucher mentioned, Pilatus Aircraft was determined to improve the safety, performance and cabin experience with the NGX. One of the first features highlighted was the new Pratt & Whitney Canada
(PWC) PT6 E-Series engine – the PT6E-67XP. Maria Della Posta, presi- dent of Pratt & Whitney Canada, also took the podium and was aptly proud of this new engine.
It is the first production turbo- prop engine with a dual-channel EPEC (Electronic Propeller and Engine Control) that controls both the engine and the propeller. This af- fords the pilot a single power control lever (PCL) that is now electronic, servo-controlled rather than mechani- cal. The pilot now has three detents – Idle, Maximum Continuous Power (MCP) for cruise and Takeoff (T/O). It is another feature that reduces pilot workload but still offers full control when necessary.
With optimum control of the engine and propeller for all phases of flight,
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PILATUS AIRCRAFT
the engine can be optimized to op- erate at even higher recommended ITT temperatures. This can result in a faster climb to altitude, greater speed and a 10 percent increase in power (at sea level compared with the PT6A-67P). Another unique fea- ture of this new engine is the ability to operate in quiet mode. By simply pushing the Prop Low Speed button, the EPEC can operate the propeller at 1550 RPM rather than 1700 RPM. The quiet mode is even available for takeoff with available runway length. The EPEC optimization of the propel- ler, through an electronic governor, should also help reduce maintenance on this component.
An additional benefit of the new engine installation is a reduction in maintenance costs. The new Data Acquisition Unit collects over 100 data signals for trend monitor- ing. This information should prove invaluable to operators and mainte- nance personnel. If the owner is en- rolled in PWC’s engine maintenance plan (ESP), it can also be sent wire- lessly to PWC for trend monitoring. The existing 300-hour maintenance schedule has increased to 600 hours, and the TBO interval increases from 3,500 to 5,000 hours with the new E- Series engine.
Autothrottle
The NGX incorporates not only a new engine but also an autothrot- tle. This feature involved an exten- sive development effort between Pilatus Aircraft, PWC and Honeywell.
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