Photo Report – A Short Hop on a Classic PC-6

By me
All photos me too, copyrighted

While the annual Lučko Airshow, held over the weekend of 15 & 16 September, was just as lackluster as expected, it did have one bright spark which had immediately drawn me in :). Among the usual blend of Cessnas, Pipers and gliders – most of which are native to the field – we’d also been graced by a visit from the second turboprop of the month, a mint white Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4.

Registered S5-CMA and owned by the air service provider Aviofun of neighboring Slovenia, this fantastically charismatic aircraft had been tasked with almost round-the-clock skydive operations at the show, and had stayed on an additional day to do the same during the follow-on skydive competition. Unfortunately for it, Lučko is completely dry as far as Jet A is concerned, which had necessitated several trips to nearby Zagreb Intl. to refuel. Fortunately for me though, a couple of friends and I had managed to hitch a ride on one of these flights – with many thanks to the pilot! – giving me my first opportunity to enjoy the PC-6 in flight… 🙂

The most interesting – and hardworking – aircraft at the show taxiing out for another skydive flight. Like the Caravan that visited during the run-up to Jackal Stone 2012, the PC-6 is incredibly quiet compared to our piston-powered skydive aircraft
A clean, simple and neat cockpit. Part of an earlier iteration of the Turbo Porter, CMA sports slightly different instrument types and cockpit layout than newer-build PC-6s – a layout, reminiscent of the versions used during the Vietnam era, that actually gives it even more character
Despite its age, the cockpit looks almost brand new, and is equipped with a few extras – such as a Mode S transponder and a Garmin GNS430 unit – to help it cope better in today’s crowded airspace. Decidedly a VFR aircraft, CMA’s only radionavigation aid is the single CDI, which came in the same package as the GNS unit
“Where we’re going we don’t need runways!” Diving on the midpoint of Pleso’s RWY 23 for a cracking landing on the last quarter of the 3252 meter strip. With the GA apron located at the extreme end of the airport right by the RWY 05 threshold (obscured here by the windshield frame), light aircraft often practice “long landings” when RWY 23 is in use, touching down on the last third of the runway to save on taxiing times. I myself, when flying in with a Skyhawk, usually start the flare when passing taxiway C (the nearest taxiway in the photo), leaving me enough space to comfortably land and coast up to taxiway B (middle one), which leads almost directly to the GA apron
Entering final for Lučko’s RWY 28L at 3,000 ft (as opposed to the usual 900), full flaps, 120 knots indicated and going down 5,000 ft per minute for a perfect landing right on the threshold… welcome to PC-6 World!

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