As part of a big celebration at the headquarters in Stans, Switzerland late last week, Pilatus handed over the 1,500th PC-12 to its loyal customer of many years, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS).
A fitting handover celebration was held to mark this milestone in the history of the Pilatus PC-12. Just under 2,000 Pilatus employees and guests took part, watching with pride as the 1,500th PC-12 with its special livery was handed over to the RFDS by Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of Pilatus.
The anniversary aircraft had been earmarked for the RFDS as a symbolic thank you for its longstanding loyalty. In the run-up to the handover, Pilatus employees were invited to write thank you messages to the customer, to be displayed on the 1,500th PC-12. The resultant PC-12 was resplendent in a unique livery with a very personal touch, in line with the Pilatus motto "Customer First"!
An RFDS delegation accepted the 1,500th PC-12. John Lynch, CEO Royal Flying Doctors Service Central Operations, said the RFDS was proud of the partnership and honoured to be the recipient of 1,500th anniversary PC-12.
"No other aircraft in the world compares to the PC-12. The PC-12 is perfectly tailored to the rigorous conditions in the Australian outback: we appreciate its special characteristics and recognise the indispensable role it plays in enabling us to meet the challenges of our mission as it is defined today.“
Back in 1994, the RFDS was amongst the first customers to take delivery of a PC-12. The charitable Australian institution currently uses 33 PC-12s to provide medical assistance to people living in the remotest areas, right across the continent. The RFDS transports around 18,000 patients yearly, operating in and out of short and unmade bush strips – ideal terrain for the PC-12.
Oscar J. Schwenk said the RFDS had believed in the merits of the PC-12 from the outset.
“The RFDS successfully uses our PC-12 for exceptionally difficult missions, delivering daily proof that it is optimally suited for such work.”
The handover celebration was combined with the inauguration of a new assembly hangar. The versatile assembly hangar provides a further 10,000 square metres (107,639 square feet) of space and will be used for series production from July onwards. The self-supporting construction was built using local timber from sustainable resources – a clear commitment to the Stans site.