Pilatus cuts down on cabin noise in the PC-12

NBAA officially starts tomorrow, but most of the important announcements are today.

“Pilatus Unveils NGX, Its Third-Generation PC-12” is interesting:

In what Pilatus is calling a first for turboprops, the new engine will be able to operate in a low-prop-speed mode, reducing the prop speed from 1,700 rpm to 1,550 rpm and lowering cabin noise.

This is potentially an enormous improvement for the PC-12. For passengers in the cabin it is about as quiet as a turboprop can get, but a similar-size true turbojet is as much as 10 dBA quieter. As noted in my Pilatus PC-12 review, the faster PC-12 NG is actually a little bit noisier than the original comparatively sluggish PC-12/45.

What else is new and exciting?

Additionally, the new engine will have a 5,000 hour time-between-overhaul period with hot section inspections only required on-condition and be able to transmit data on more than 100 engine parameters that are continuously monitored, adjusted, and recorded. “Building on the legacy of the PT6 family, the new engine is a leap forward in engine control and data management systems,” said P&WC president Maria Della Posta.

The old engine was 3,500 hours TBO and, unlike in a piston, that was a requirement for Part 91 operators. Fleet operators often got extensions to 4,500 or 5,000 hours, but this new engine will do it without the paperwork hassles and maybe without as many borescope inspections.

Too busy punching autopilot buttons to adjust the power lever? The new PC-12 will do it for you:

An option in the NGX cockpit is a fully integrated digital autothrottle.

The 15-year-old Honeywell avionics that everyone agreed were powerful, but that nobody loved, get a user interface update with a touch screen.

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