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End of an era for multi-role aircraft

Pilatus PC-6. Image via Pilatus Aircraft Ltd.

One of the world’s longest-running production stories in the aviation industry will come to an end in 2019 when production ceases for the multi-role aircraft, 19 of the which saw service with the Australian Army Aviation Corps.

The Pilatus Porter PC-6, a multi-role short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft, has been produced in Stans, Switzerand since 1959, with a total of 500 PC-6s made. The Australian Army operated the aircraft from 1968 until 1992 as part of the 6th Aviation Regiment. 

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Pilatus said reliable ongoing PC-6 operations will be provided to existing customers for the next 20 years at least. Due to the age of the PC-6 and other certification parameters, it is no longer possible to provide this ongoing development in the scope Pilatus would wish, a company statement said.

Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk said the PC-6 has delivered the company recognition worldwide for many decades, but the aircraft has reached the end of its life-cycle.

"I am proud that the PC-6 featured in the Pilatus product portfolio, this aircraft has earned us fame and recognition worldwide," he said.

"But the time has now come to take a dispassionate look at the facts and admit that every product has a life-cycle which must come to an end sooner or later. That moment has arrived for the PC-6. With an eye on the future, however, we now look forward to the imminent market launch of the PC-24 Super Versatile Jet, which embodies, and carries forward, all the original values of the PC-6."

In a record for the aircraft, the Pilatus Porter has flown several cargo and passenger trips at maximum useful load to an altitude of 5,700 metres above sea level.

Pilatus will accept orders for the PC-6 until mid-2018. The number of aircraft available is limited.

End of an era for multi-role aircraft
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