First out of the box is the PT6E-67XP engine for the new Pilatus PC-12 NGX. The engine introduces the first integrated dual-channel electronic engine and propeller control system to the general aviation turboprop market. This means the pilot can command performance with a single power lever; the electronic controls adjust power, fuel flow and propeller while providing full digital envelope protection throughout flight.

The market has long awaited a “future” PT6 turboprop engine in this segment. The new family benefits from Pratt & Whitney’s long experience with digital electronic controls on engines of all sizes, including full authority digital electronic control (FADEC) on PT6 helicopter turboshaft engines.

The new PT6E replaces traditional mechanical controls and linkages with a dual-channel digital electronic system and an enabled digital autothrottle, bringing redundancy without a manual backup.

“It monitors more than a hundred parameters continuously to optimize engine operation and deliver maximum power in all phases of flight, with optimal efficiency and emissions,” says Nick Kanellias, vice president of marketing for general aviation at P&WC. “The E series engine raises the bar in engine performance, control systems, data intelligence and service solutions.”

The single power control greatly reduces the workload for the pilot, especially in critical phases of flight. Traditional turboprop engines are well known for requiring careful handling.

Digitization also brings considerable benefits on the maintenance end, allowing more precise trend monitoring and enabling predictive analytics. Along with technology improvements to the engine itself (mostly to the hot section, enabling 10% more power than the PT6A-67P), the PT6E-67XP will have a doubled maintenance interval of 600 hr., and a 43% longer TBO to 5,000 hr.

Kanellias explained that the PT6E is an evolution, if not a revolution. “We have over 1.5 billion hr. of experience, over 400 million of them on the PT6. We have electronic controls on existing PT6 turboprops. We have dual-channel FADECs on PT6 helicopters. But we didn’t just take what we already had – we stepped back and we created something unique based on all of our experience of electronic control systems, that is the first in general aviation

“We developed an engine that is simpler to use, flies faster and helps optimize operations.”

The engine is already certified by Transport Canada, and approval by the U.S. FAA and Europe’s EASA is expected soon.