December 4, 2012
By Jim Moore
With more than 50,000 engines delivered and 380 million hours flown, the PT6 has a track record like few others. King Airs, Caravans, and a host of others (130 different aircraft, including helicopters) have been fitted with variations of this time-tested turbine, and Pratt & Whitney Canada has launched a yearlong celebration of the PT6 golden anniversary. The company announced, in general terms, plans for a series of events during 2013 at the annual conference of the National Agricultural Aviation Association in Savannah, Ga., recently. The celebration will officially conclude during the next NAAA conference in December 2013.
Company officials noted that seven new versions of the PT6A have been certified in the past five years, including the PT6A-140—the first in a series of 1,075-shaft-horsepower models designed to deliver improved takeoff, climb, and cruise performance in “hot and high” environments. Modern versions of the PT6 family are significantly improved over the originals, with a 40-percent improvement in power-to-weight ratios, and better fuel economy, the company noted in a news release.
Pratt & Whitney Canada has also in recent years built a social media following for the PT6 family, with PT6 Nation, a community of 32,000 pilots, owners, operators, and enthusiasts.
Denis Parisien, vice president for general aviation for Pratt & Whitney Canada, said the social network launched two years ago helps the company improve customer service.
“It gives us a new way to connect with customers, learn more about how they are operating our product in the field, and deliver customized, flexible support to keep them flying,” he said in the news release.
AOPA Online Associate Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot who enjoys competition aerobatics.
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