Sounds Air has chosen the Pilatus PC12 aircraft to supplement its fleet of Cessna Caravans for a very good reason. We needed an aircraft from a reputable manufacturer, with a proven track record that delivers excellent safety, reliability and passenger comfort, as well as offering gas turbine/jet engine smoothness and reliability.
The engineers at Pilatus certainly, got the formula right when designing the PC12. The aircraft has become one of the most successful turboprop designs in the world with over 1200 aircraft having been delivered by Swiss manufacturer Pilatus since deliveries began in 1994. The Pratt and Whitney PT6 engine chosen to power the aircraft has provided legendary reliability for many years, and continues to this day to make the aircraft a desirable choice for a huge segment and business and commercial aviation.
If you had to pick the airplane’s forte (out of its many great qualities) it would have to be its versatility. It is equally capable of carrying oil drilling equipment to remote strips in Alaska, or carrying nine passengers from Wellington to Westport in air-conditioned comfort. The aircraft can depart from a short unimproved runway, climb quickly to high altitude, cruise at over 270 knots for over 3000 km, and then arrive in style. In fact, these are the very reasons The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) of Australia, and the US Air Force both operate the PC12 for their specific missions.
The RFDS operate over 36 PC12 aircraft throughout Australia, and in fact were the launch customer for the aircraft type following initial production. The PC12 was selected to replace ageing twin engine piston types, and the RFDS is currently the largest single operator of the aircraft type in the world.
The US Air Force operate the PC12 under the designation U-28A, and use it for tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of Special Operations Forces. Approximately 12 U-28A aircraft are currently operated by the US Air Force.