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Walk around any ramp at any airport and there are bound to be a few planes that stand out as slightly different from the rest. As I taxied my Caravan onto the ramp in Surkhet, Nepal one day last March, I saw a plane that looked like a cross between a Piper Cherokee and a Thrush.
I’m more used to the high wing bush planes in Alaska, so the low wing configuration looked a bit odd for rough field duties. Then I started thinking about how well cropdusters perform with a similar wing design. The last clue was the large “XSTOL” written on the nose. The XSTOL confirmed that this was a plane made for operating out of short rough strips.
However many questions remained, and it wasn’t until I finally caught up with the pilot, James Burgess, that I started to get some answers. The aircraft was a Pacific Aerospace P-750 XSTOL, and James flew it for a Surkhet-based airline called Air Kasthamandap. I convinced him to give me a tour of the plane, and I got it all on video for you.
In this aircraft walkthrough you’ll learn:
- What “XSTOL” means.
- Why the P-750-XSTOL wing is so fat.
- Why the wing tips tilt upwards.
- What the metal plates on the wheels are for.
- What sort of cargo the unique belly pod door lets you carry.
- Why skydivers like the P-750 XSTOL.
- How the “semi-automatic” start sequence works.
- What the “IPS” air bypass system does.
- The advantages of the combined analog/digital engine gauges.
- Why most P-750 XSTOL agricultural pilots fly from the right seat.
- Why Daniel thinks the air strips in western Nepal are actually more challenging to fly into than Lukla (which seems to get all the glory).
- About the development of the P-750 XSTOL, and its predecessors.
Pacific Aerospace (manufacturer)
Utility Aircraft Corporation (U.S. distributor)
Air Kasthamandap (operator in Nepal)
Skydive Las Vegas (operator in Las Vegas)
Skydive Suffolk (operator in Virginia)
Vertol Systems (operator in Oregon)
Adventist Aviation Service (operator in Papua New Guinea)
To hear more about Daniel’s experiences as a pilot, check out this interview.