New Zealand aircraft manufacturer Pacific Aerospace is poised to open a new manufacturing facility for its P-750 XSTOL single-engined turboprop in Changzhou, eastern China, which will be dedicated to producing the extremely short take-off and landing type for the Chinese market.
The announcement comes as the Hamilton-based airframer prepares to deliver the first Garmin G600-equipped P-750 to Papua New Guinea, where it will be used for medical evacuation services.
“The glass cockpit replaces the P-750's analogue dials and is being offered as standard on all models ordered from October,” says Pacific's general manager, global sales, Mark Crouch. “The older system is still available on request, but it will be treated as a special order.”
Pacific has delivered 108 P-750s since the first iteration of the eight-seat, multimission type, then called the PAC 750XL, entered service in 2002. A further 12 units are on order.
“China is proving a really popular market for the P-750, and we are struggling to keep up with demand,” says Crouch. “That is why we decided to set up a 50-50 joint venture with local company Beijing Automotive to create a purpose-built final assembly base in the country,” Crouch adds. The venture will be operated under the company name Beijing Pan-Pacific Aerospace Technology.
The P-750s will be assembled from the kits supplied by Pacific's Hamilton headquarters. The first units are scheduled to roll off the Changzhou assembly line “in a couple of months", says Crouch.
The P-750 has found success in a range of markets from ad hoc charter and scheduled services to pipeline inspection and skydiving. “With its short take-off and landing capabilities, the aircraft has found its niche in very remote areas of the world where it can transport passengers and cargo into and out of the most isolated communities," says Crouch.
Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 engine, the P-750 can take off and land in under 800ft (244m). It has a maximum speed of 170kt (315km/h) and a range of 1,180nm (2,190km).