Pilots dream about having more than one airplane. They’d like one that’s comfortable and fast for serious cross-countries and another that’s nimble enough to even play in the dirt for the sheer fun of flying. As long as we’re dreaming, let’s include a ridiculously huge useful load, enough to carry a boatload of friends or family, and whatever toys and goodies the mission requires. And just to keep the fantasy simple, let’s make our dream machines single engines, so we can just strap in with our private pilot’s licenses and go. Sound about right so far? Surprisingly, you may not be dreaming.
The single-engine Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 has room for about 1,000 pounds of gear after the seats are full. Even more impressive, the 1,200-shp turbine can leave its Denver, home and fly anywhere in the country on a single tank of gas, landing and taking off again anywhere there is 1,700 feet of available runway.