As 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the PT6 engines, they achieved another milestone in the history of the aircraft industry that no other engine has achieved yet with such remarkable aplomb. The first-ever turboprop engine that was rated at 450 shaft horsepower, the PT6 has carried forward its tradition of delivering impressive performance. Today, more than 51,000 PT6 engines are powering more than 130 different applications and have achieved over 380 million flying hours.
So, what exactly makes PT6 engines the undisputed choice of engines for so many applications?
The main reason why so many people are relying today on PT6 engines is the unmatched reliability they offer. Since the time they were created, the PT6 engines have kept up with the technological innovations to ensure the best performance in the industry. In some models of these engines, the MTBOs are on the order of around 9000 hours, contributing to the extreme high reliability attributed to them.
What started as a 450 shaft horsepower engine is considered to be a powerhouse turbo engine today, its multiple variants offering as much as 2000 shaft horse power for varied applications. The PT6 engines are classified as a classic design that has evolved since its inception to include 135 varied build specifications. The engine was initially designed by Pratt & Whitney Canada as a replacement for light piston engines that were used in aircraft.
However, the variations of PT6 engine that are manufactures today include an entire range of engines designed for fixed and rotary wing aircrafts. The company currently markets 69 different turboprop versions of PT6, all having a power range between 500 and 2,000-shp. Other than the turboprop engines, the company also offers turboshafts under the PT6 engine line that offer a power range of 1,000 to 2,000-shp.
The PT6 engines today incorporate the latest advanced technologies, which resulted in dependability and versatility being the hallmarks of these engines. The material and aerodynamic technology used in the designing of these engines makes them powerful without a significant change in their size. Moreover, innovation, research and development has resulted in several other improvements in PT6 like ease of operation, increased maintenance intervals and reduced emission levels.
The PT6 engine was also the first to introduce digital electronic control system to small turbine engines category. The PT6 engines are used to power a variety of applications today, including high-performance airplanes, helicopters, business jets and agricultural aviation. With its sturdy performance that has improved remarkably over the years, the PT6 engines are, without doubt, the most reliable and popular engines in the market today.