Pilatus PC-6 Porter

Pilatus PC-6 Porter
PC-6 Porter/Turbo-Porter
A PC-6 Turbo-Porter, B2-H4 PT6A-34 variant, used for skydiving in Spain
Role STOL Passenger and utility aircraft
Manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft
Built by Fairchild Aircraft
First flight Porter - 4 May 1959
Turbo-Porter - 1961.
Primary users Civil aviation
United States Air Force
United States Army
Number built 562 (as of August 2011)[1]
Variants Fairchild AU-23 Peacemaker

The Pilatus PC-6 Porter is a single-engined Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) utility aircraft designed by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. First flown in 1959, the PC-6 has been built in both piston engine and turboprop powered versions, and has been built both by Pilatus and by Fairchild Hiller in the United States. It remains in production as of August 2011.


Design and development

The first prototype made its maiden flight on 4 May 1959 powered by a 254 kW (340-shp) piston engine. The first Turbo Porter, powered by a turboprop, flew in 1961. The Turbo Porter received an engine upgrade in 1963, which increased its power to its present value of 410 kW (550-shp).

In the United States, the Porter was manufactured under license by Fairchild Hiller. In service with the U.S. Air Force, it received the designation AU-23A Peacemaker. In U.S. Army use, it was designated UV-20 Chiricahua.

Operational history

A Fairchild Porter, a licensed version of the Turbo Porter

The PC-6 is noted for its Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) performance on almost any type of terrain - it can take off within a distance of 640 feet (195 m) and land within a distance of 427 feet (130 m) while carrying a payload of 2,646 lbs (1,500 kg) (The length of a soccer field is enough, Pilatus test pilots were able to land on not much more than 164 feet (50 m) of space). Thanks to its STOL performance, the PC-6 holds the world record for highest landing by a fixed wing aircraft, at 18,865 feet (5,750 m), on the Dhaulagiri glacier in Nepal.

Due to these characteristics, they are frequently used to access short grass mountaintop airstrips in the highlands of Papua Province (Indonesia) and Papua New Guinea.


PC-6/340 Porter
Initial production version, powered by a 254-kW (340-hp) Lycoming GSO-480-B1A6 flat-six piston engine. Max take-off weight 1,070 kg (2,360 lb).[2]
PC-6/340-H1 Porter
As PC-6/340, but with modified landing gear and increased weight (2,016 kg (4,444 lb)).[2]
PC-6/340-H2 Porter
As for H-2, but with maximum take-off weight increased to 2,200 kg (4,850 lb).[2]
As PC-6/340, but powered by a 261 kW (350 hp) Lycoming IGO-540-A1A piston engine.[2]
As for /340 H1 but with O-540 engine.[2]
As for 340 H2 with O-540 engine.[2]
PC-6/A Turbo-Porter
Initial turboprop powered version, fitted with a 390 kW (523 shp) Turboméca Astazou IIE or IIG turboprop engine.[2]
PC-6/A1 Turbo-Porter
This 1968 version was powered by a 427-kW (573-shp) Turbomeca Astazou XII turboprop engine.
PC-6/A2 Turbo-Porter
This 1971 version was powered by a 427-kW (573-shp) Turbomeca Astazou XIVE turboprop engine.
PC-6/B Turbo-Porter
This version was powered by a 410-kW (550-shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-6A turboprop engine.
PC-6/B1 Turbo-Porter
Similar to the PC-6/B, but fitted with a 410-kW (550-shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turboprop engine.
PC-6B2-H2 Turbo-Porter
Fitted with a 507-kW (680-shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop engine.
PC-6/C Turbo-Porter
One prototype built by Fairchild Industries in the USA, powered by a 429-kW (575-shp) Garrett TPE331-25D turboprop engine.
PC-6/C1 Turbo-Porter
Similar to the PC-6/C, but fitted with a 429-kW (575-shp) Garrett TPE 331-1-100 turboprop engine.
PC-6/C2-H2 Porter
Developed by Fairchild Industries in the USA. It was powered by a 485-ekW (650-ehp) Garrett TPE 331-101F turboprop engine.
PC-6/D-H3 Porter
One prototype, fitted with a 373-kW (500-hp) avco Lycoming turbocharged piston engine.
AU-23A Peacemaker
Armed gunship, counter-insurgency, utility transport version for the U.S. Air Force. It was used during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. 35 were built under licence in the USA by Fairchild Industries. All aircraft were sold to Royal Thai Air Force.
Designation for U.S. version, cancelled 1979.
UV-20A Chiricahua
STOL utility transport version for the U.S. Army. Two UV-20As were based in West Berlin during the 1970s and 1980s.
PC-8 Twin Porter
Twin-engined version flown in 1967, but not subsequently developed.


Military operators

  • Gendarmeria Nacional Argentina
FlagofBophuthatswana.png Bophuthatswana
Later transferred to South African Air Force
 Burma (Myanmar)
  • Chad Air Force
  • Slovenian Air Force and Air Defence
 United Arab Emirates
 United States

Law Enforcement operators

 South Africa

Civil operators

Continental Air Services PC-6 Porter in Laos, ca. 1970
  • Thomas Air
 New Zealand
  • Mount Cook Airlines
 Papua New Guinea
 United States

Specifications (PC-6 B2 Turbo-Porter)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993–1994[3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Capacity: up to ten passengers
  • Payload: 1,130 kg (2,491 lb)
  • Length: 11.00 m (36 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 15.87 m (52 ft 0¾ in)
  • Height: 3.20 m (10 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 30.15 m² (324.5 sq ft)
  • Airfoil: NACA 64-514
  • Aspect ratio: 8.4:1
  • Empty weight: 1,270 kg (2,800 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,800 kg (6,173 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop, 410 kW (550 shp)(downrated from 507 kW (680 shp))


See also

Related development
  • Fairchild AU-23 Peacemaker
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Herzig, Marcus. "PC-6 Production List". PC-6.com. 27 August 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Taylor 1965, pp. 126–127.
  3. ^ Lambert 1993, pp. 358–359.
  4. ^ Taylor 1999, p. 489.
  • Lambert, Mark. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1993–1994. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Data Division, 1993. ISBN 0 7106 1066 1.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Janes's All The World's Aircraft 1965–66. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1965.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft& Systems Directory 1999/2000 Edition. London: Brassey's, 1999. ISBN 1 85753 246 7.

External links

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