Civil Aviation

PILATUS PC-6 PORTER PRODUCTION TO STOP IN 2019

Pilatus has built 500 PC-6 Porter aircraft in Stans, Switzerland, since 1959. Additional 100 Porters were produced under licence in the U.S.

As recently announced by Pilatus, the company world famous PC-6 Porter is to stop production.

According to Pilatus news release “This multi-role aircraft has been produced at Stans without interruption since 1959, currently in small numbers, i.e. ten machines per year at most. The PC-6 is one of the world’s longest-running production stories in the aviation industry. That will come to an end in early 2019 when production will be ceased. Support will be provided to existing customers for the next 20 years at least, thereby ensuring reliable ongoing PC-6 operations.”

Pilatus has built 500 PC-6s in Stans, Switzerland, since 1959. Additional 100 Porters were produced under licence in the U.S. This aircraft represented an international breakthrough for Pilatus: its short take off and landing (STOL) capabilities and general versatility allowed the Porter to bring cargo and passengers at maximum useful load to an altitude of 5700 metres above sea level – a world record that still stands today.

Noteworthy Pilatus has decided to stop PC-6 production after 60 years, not only because of the age of the Porter but also because PC-24 Super Versatile Jet production is gearing up in Stans. Actually Employees previously assigned to PC-6 production line will shift to that of other aircraft.

“I am proud that the PC-6 featured in the Pilatus product portfolio, this aircraft has earned us fame and recognition worldwide. 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,” said Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pilatus.

Pilatus will still accept orders for a limited number of PC-6 Porters until mid-2018.

Keith Woodcock Oil on Canvas, 2010 Donated Courtesy of Owen Lee Gossett Continental Air Service, Inc. (CASI) provided essential contract flying during the war in Southeast Asia in support of the CIA and other US Government organizations. Included in CASI’s fleet was the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter depicted in the painting. This single-engine turboprop aircraft was known for its unique STOL (short takeoff and landing) capability, making it ideal for “up country” missions operated from primitive dirt landing sites, often flying in poor weather, with few navigational aids, under the constant threat of enemy fire, and in the midst of towering mountains and unforgiving karst formations. CASI played a vital role during the war, delivering food, medicine, and other essential supplies to isolated outposts as well as rescuing downed airmen throughout the war-torn Lao Kingdom. CASI pilot Lee Gossett flew his trusty PC-6 Turbo (shown in the painting with Lao registration XW-PCI) during the late 1960s and early 1970s, fondly recalling, “The old girl brought me home every night.” The painting is a tribute to this historic aircraft and CASI’s support to CIA operations in Southeast Asia.

Photo credit: Aldo Bidini and The Central Intelligence Agency via Wikipedia

Gabriele Barison

Gabriele Barison is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Co-Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. He has flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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