by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
In 1959 the Swiss company Pilatus Aircraft built a single-engined light utility aircraft, the PC-6 Porter, with a Lycoming GSO-480 340 h.p. engine. The aircraft was built in relatively small quantities (72 units), but its construction, despite its basic nature, had great potential for a variety of tasks. Two years later there appeared the PC-6A Turbo Porter with a 520 h.p. Turbomeca Astazou engine which was better than its predecessor in all major performance indicators.
Later, another engine was installed in the aircraft - the 550 hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A. Now there were individual pilot doors on both sides of the fuselage in the PC-6B version, in addition to sliding side doors, which facilitated departure from the airport or evacuation of the cockpit in the air in case of emergency. As in the PC-6A, the nose displayed a characteristic straight and elongated shape. In the modified PC-6/B2-H2 a 680 horsepower engine was installed, which greatly improved the aircraft's capabilities.
Apart from Switzerland, the PC-6 was used for a long time by the Air Force of its neighbour, Austria. Taking into consideration that Switzerland and Austria and most of their territories are geographically located in the Alpine zone, there was a constant variety of work for the PC-6. The aircraft's distinctive features made it possible to take off and land on short strips and in extreme conditions, for many tasks as well as its primary purpose as a light transport or liaison plane. The PC-6 often undertook the mission of border patrol; and air ambulance or rescue craft for climbers falling into difficulties in the Alps.
One particular Austrian machine, 3G-EL, after some time in military service, was painted in a rather unusual scheme, the very opposite of camouflage. It depicted a bird like a griffin, in various bright colors over every surface - wings, fuselage, vertical and horizontal tail. This machine nicknamed "Der bunte Fredi" (The colourful Fredi) is very popular among spotters and each year it takes part in various air shows in different parts of Europe.
Half a century after its first flight, the PC-6 is still in military and civil service in many parts of the world, joining the same rare club as such famous aircraft as the Piper Cub or the Antonov AN-2, proving that sometimes a machine which at first sight seems basic and simple in design, can outlast many of its more sophisticated and advanced brethren.
It is a typically solid Roden boxing with 177 plastic pieces and a sheet of decals for the Air America versions. The 8 page instructions have the usual information, parts map exploded view format layouts. A template is provided for the specific locations for the identity lights, communications arrays and cabin air intake and exhaust ports. These are not molded into the cabin turtledeck for two reasons.
1. When uniting the fuselage halves you won't have to worry about erasing the details when blending the seam.
2. Roden has already punched out several versions,( Kit #439 released in March 2010, #440 in Oct. 2010, #443 in Jan 2011). This method allows for multiple kits with only a few sprue differences and some great decal schemes.
The fuselage and wing components were test fitted and go together nicely. This is the fourth issue of this kit series.
Pilatus PC-6/B2-H2 Turbo-Porter "Der Bunte Fredi" (The colourful Fredi), w/n 777, built by 1977 Service in AAF since 02.1977, 4.sta/FLR1. I found an image of this bird at the doppeladler.com. URL is posted here in the additional images tag.
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