At NBAA on Monday, Blackhawk launched a PC-12 re-engine program called XP67P Engine+ Upgrade that will replace the stock Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67B engine in the big turboprop single with the PT6A-67P model, which has a higher thermal rating. The program will begin flight testing early next year, which means that Blackhawk is already hard at work on its first PC-12.
The PC-12 is a natural for Blackhawk, the Waco, Texas-based aftermarket modifications company that has done thousands of engine upgrades to various models over the years, though the aircraft the company is perhaps best known for is the Beechcraft King Air. The company’s engine upgrade for King Airs has been hugely successful, with just one of the programs for that plane, the XP+ Upgrade, recently notching its 1,000th customer since the program launched in 1999.
In many ways, the popularity of the PC-12, introduced in the early 1990s, is predicated upon the same factors that make the King Air lineup such a hit. Ruggedness, pure hauling power and a winning combination of great utility and decent speed add up to drive a steady stream of orders and to make the big Swiss single a much sought-after plane in the used market.
What makes the XP67P turboprop engine so compelling is simply that it’s built tougher with better metallurgy, allowing for higher operating temperatures, which, as turbine folks know, is what it’s all about. Specifically, the XP67P has an max Internal Turbine Temperature (ITT) limit of 850°C compared to the stock -67B’s 800°C limitation, which is specified for takeoff.
But the even bigger deal is that the max operating ITT is way better. The previous max continuous ITT (the setting used for climb and for cruise) is 760°C for the -67B and 820°C for the XP67P. So its max continuous ITT is higher than the previous engine’s max limited-time ITT.
This translates, of course, into more power. Rated at 1200 shp, the PT6A-67P puts out 142 more horsepower than the stock engine. The benefit to operators: -67P flyers can use full torque for longer and higher—it starts being unable to produce full power at 23,000 feet, compared to 13,000 feet for the stock engine. That means faster climbs to altitudes where fuel burn is greatly reduced, allowing longer times at cruise, as well, which will make most missions substantially faster to fly.
Blackhawk estimates that there are more than 600 PC-12s eligible for the program, which is available for aircraft with engines ready for overhaul or even before, as Blackhawk offers favorable core credit for the swap.