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I met Jan, who works for Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland, while he was here on an executive study abroad program in California. He reciprocated my invitation to go flying in my Cherokee with an invitation to come fly Pilatus aircraft in Switzerland. You can be assured that I’m getting the better end of this deal and will be reporting on that flight … when it happens … soon, I hope.

I occasionally scan the Pilatus website, and have always been intrigued by their PC-6 STOL aircraft. Maybe it’s that distinctive tail that always catches my attention. The lower 48 might not be the right market to see it very often, but when I walked inside the gates at AirVenture 2015 a few days ago … there it was.

IMG_6440 (1)

The Pilatus PC-6, also called the Turbo Porter, takes off and lands in short order. It takes to the air in as little as 640 feet, and returns to a stop in 427 feet. That might be a long way by the Valdez STOL championship standards, but wait. That’s while carrying a 2,646 pound payload. Ok, that’s a lot of utility. It has a pretty simple panel, so it’s an easy transition into the cockpit. (The six-pack, King radio stack, and Garmin 496 is identical to what I have in my Cherokee.) Its mission ranges from carrying or dropping 10 passengers (with parachutes, of course) to acting as air ambulance to hauling cargo into very pretty tight places. (That, my Piper won’t do.)


The PC-6 has been flying since 1959, so it has quite a history, actually. It’s in vast use throughout the world performing its big variety of missions. Here’s some info about the plane you might find interesting. And I’ll be talking to the folks at Pilatus more about this interesting plane … stay tuned.

Vintage sales video
This 10-minute video for the Turbo Porter is interesting, though rather dated. But it still shows what this plane is all about. (Spoiler alert:  I really dig the scene less than minute in where as it’s shutting down, and passenger after passenger comes pouring out the door. This thing really hauls the mail!)

Turbo Porter in Action
Check out what it’s like to fly this plane for hire. Professional pilot Matt Dearden’s site and his YouTube Channel show you what it’s like to fly this plane in the bush. In particular, check out his blog post about the 10 things you didn’t know about the PC-6.


To fly one of these things, you’ll need some training. Perhaps some specialized training. The following suggestions are not verified or known personally to us, so do your own due diligence. But here’s a start with a few promising possibilities.

Reni Aviation in Belgium claims to be one of the few companies worldwide with a complete-package PC-6 training program.

Aerosavoie has two locations in France, Chambery and Courchevel, and offers initial, reviewing, and renewing training for the PC-6.

Aviastar Helsinki operates in two locations: in Finland at Malmi Turku airports and at Arezzo Italy. They advertise operating mainly skydiving flights but also deliver approved training.

KBFS (Kachemak Bay Flying Service, a subsidiary of S3) advertises PC-6 training in Temple, Texas and Crestview, Florida.


“Goldeneye” PC-6 photo by Jerry Gunner licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

PC-6 photo at AirVenture 2015 by Marty Blaker.

PC-6 panel photo by Luigi Rosa licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.


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One Response to “A Lot of Utility: The Pilatus Porter PC-6”

  1. Gary v says:

    It looks very purpose built almost homely. But perhaps that’s the beauty in it?

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