Happy Birthday, PT6! NAAA Members Join in on Video Tribute
Dec. 22, 2013, marked 50 years to the day that Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) shipped the first production engine of the PT6 turboprop to Beech Aircraft Company for its Beech 87. Departing from the traditional piston configuration, Pratt & Whitney Canada took a significant technological step forward by engineering the original PT6 as an innovative gasoline turbine engine. In the late 1970s and ’80s, P&WC began working with Air Tractor and Thrush Aircraft, the two main agricultural aircraft manufacturers, to develop PT6A-turbined power applications. To date, more than 51,000 PT6 engines have been manufactured, including thousands of engines for the agricultural aviation sector.
Pratt & Whitney Canada celebrated the 50th anniversary of the PT6 engine at NAAA’s 2013 Convention & Exposition in a big way last month by providing a special 50th anniversary PT6A-34AG engine to NAAA’s Live Auction and marking the occasion at its booth and a festive reception. P&WC captured several well-wishers on video at the NAAA Trade Show who delivered a series of happy birthday messages to the PT6. The video of the birthday greetings is available below.
In another nod to the enormous success of the PT6, NAAA presented Pratt & Whitney Canada with the 2013 Agrinaut Award, which recognizes “state of the art” achievements in the field of ag aviation operations. NAAA member Mike Schiffer of Al’s Aerial Spraying in Ovid, Mich., put the significance of P&WC’s contributions to the aerial application industry into perspective in a tribute piece in the January/February 2014 issue of Agricultural Aviation. As Schiffer wrote, “The PT6 puts money in the pocket and brings us home safely each night.” For more, check out Pratt & Whitney Canada: Keeping the Ag Aviation Industry’s Motors Running.
From all of us at NAAA, happy birthday, PT6!