Pacific Aerospace upgrades P-750 as global downturn stimulates sales

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New Zealand manufacturer Pacific Aerospace is updating its P-750 XSTOL aircraft during the next 12 months with new features. The upgrades come as the Hamilton-based manufacturer starts to reap the benefits of global marketing of the type during the downturn. Some 74 examples of the single-engined P-750 turboprop have been sold worldwide in configurations including passenger, utility, skydive, medevac, surveillance and crop spraying.

The aircraft is operating in Africa, Europe, the USA and the equatorial band - "anywhere with hot and high conditions and rugged", says chief executive Damian Camp. During the downturn over the past couple of years, the company has demonstrated the type around the world, with marketing now beginning to pay off, Camp says.

In response to customer demand, Pacific Aerospace has introduced a wide tyre modification, primarily for operators in Papua New Guinea, as well as a Hartzell four-bladed propeller offering improved performance.

pacific aerospace p-750 xstol, pacific aerospace
 © Pacific Aerospace
The P-750 operates "anywhere with hot and high conditions"

To further increase its appeal, the manufacturer is now adding a Garmin G1000 electronic flight information system and adjustable crew seats. Production is now one aircraft a month, but will increase to 2.5 by the end of this year as it increasingly wins repeat business. Papua New Guinea-based Adventist Aviation Services took delivery of its second P-750 XSTOL in June 2010 and has ordered another for delivery in the middle of this year.

Fellow Papua New Guinea operator Central Aviation took delivery of its first aircraft in 2008, put a second into service in 2009 and will shortly take delivery of a third. There are nine P-750s flying in the country, while four aircraft will shortly operate across the border in the Papua region of Indonesia. Start-up operator Ersa Eastern Aviation in Indonesia will take delivery of two aircraft shortly, with plans for a fleet of six during the next couple of years.

Camp says that the company has partnered US government services provider DynCorp International for the US Air Force's light-lift requirement in Afghanistan. In addition, the Royal New Zealand Air Force is in discussions with Pacific Aerospace on a P-750 trial.