Short Photo Report – Pilatus PC-12NG, OK-PPP

By me
All photos me too, copyrighted

With the weather here on the continent again going steadily from bad to worse – fog, snow, strong winds, the lot – and me in need of a few more flight hours to complete my CPL license requirements, I decided it might be a good idea to relocate myself down to the Adriatic coast for a few days and notch up some flight time where the worst the weather could throw at me was just an occasional shower and a cold northern wind :D. And despite the number of airports and airfields lining the Croatian coast, my chosen destination ended up being Portorož airport (ICAO: LJPZ) in neighboring Slovenia, a very nice – I could almost say “cute” – airport sitting almost right on top of the Adriatic Sea…

One of only three international airports in Slovenia, Portorož was always on my fly-to list – admittedly mostly because of its extremely fun, and steep, RWY 33 approach over the hills and the Croatia-Slovenia state border :D. But apart from this somewhat pikey attraction, this fantastic little airport has a lot more going for it, including a paved and lit 1300 m runway (whose one end ends in the hills and the other in the sea), customs, Avgas and Jet A1, and a quaint little terminal able to accept the odd regional prop during the summer. More importantly though, it also has a locator beacon (a low-power NDB) which allows for a non-precision instrument approach to RWY 15 – a simple approach, but an instrument approach nonetheless :).

All of this makes for an attractive IFR destination for many aircraft owners visiting the coast; indeed, even during my scant five days there, I was witness to an impressive list of foreign singles and twins flying in and out at all times of the day. But by far the most impressive was a brand-new Czech-registered Pilatus PC-12NG, whose pilot had made the very rewarding decision – for me at least 😀 – to land right in between two thunderstorms… 😀

A simply stunning aircraft, no other word for it :). Even though I'm normally a fan of brighter, livelier colors on aircraft, I must admit that metallic gray and black had suited the moment perfectly!

One of those shots where it all comes together - a PC-12, wet tarmac, and the sun shining through ominous clouds... 🙂

Crisp, cool and elegant in what could easily pass as a textbook promotional image :D. The aircraft was being refueled at the time, hence the fuel hose and the static line connected to the nose gear

The PC-12's party piece, the 1200 HP PT6A-67P turboprop, set against the Portorož airport terminal :). Along with a similar arrangement on the Cessna Caravan, the PT6/PC-12 combination is often cited as concrete proof that "single-engine commercial IMC/night" operations are perfectly doable and safe - a topic of contention among the world's aviation organizations for almost a decade...

Taxiing out for a sprightly departure down RWY 33. One of the few conditions where strong backlight and a contrasting skyscape can make for a good photo!

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