Growing aviation capacity
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is wrapping up a year of celebrations with customers, partners and employees around the world to mark the 50th anniversary of the delivery of the first production version of the PT6, an engine that has changed the course of aviation. Special activities and events were held throughout 2013 to highlight the anniversary and thank employees who have played a vital role in the success of the PT6 over the last half-century, as well as customers for their continued loyalty to the iconic engine.
The first PT6 production engine was shipped to a customer on December 22, 1963, and few could have realized at the time what an impact it would go on to have. “The reputation and influence of the PT6 engine grew along with the size of its production run,” says Denis Parisien, Vice President, General Aviation, P&WC, noting that more than 52,000 PT6 engines have been produced. “Businesses have been created to support the engine while others capitalize on its capabilities: Colleges now offer courses in turboprop maintenance using the PT6 engine as a hands-on training tool. We tend to think of the engine in terms of powering some 140 aircraft applications, but its impact goes far beyond that.”
Now celebrating its 85th year, P&WC has grown into a global aviation player thanks, in part, to the tremendous success of its PT6 engine. Over the years, the company has expanded into powering business jets and helicopters and built a world-class service network with locations around the globe.
Looking at Canada alone, where the PT6 is assembled and tested, two of the major aircraft original equipment manufacturers – Viking Air, with its Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, and Bell Helicopter Textron – use versions of the engine, creating virtually thousands of jobs across the country. Vector Aerospace and StandardAero, two P&WC designated overhaul facilities, provide Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul services across Canada. Flight operator Kenn Borek Air Ltd., based in Alberta, uses PT6-engine-powered aircraft to conduct flights to some of the most inhospitable locations in the world. Also operating in Western Canada is Conair Group Ltd., which uses PT6-engine-powered aircraft to deliver a comprehensive range of aerial fire-control products and services, helping to ensure public safety.
“P&WC also supports an extensive network of research and development activities that involve leading universities across Canada,” says Parisien. “Our work in this area has fed technology advancements to all our engine families, including the PT6 engine, which continues its historic growth path and meets today’s needs of new aircraft applications.”
As the PT6 engine enters its second half-century, P&WC is looking forward to working with its global customers to build on the engine’s success and continue writing new and exciting chapters in aerospace.