Buoyed by EASA’s approval to allow single-engine turboprops to fly commercially in IFR conditions and at night, two leading Pilatus PC-12 operators, Hendell Aviation of Finland and Fly7 of Switzerland, are at EBACE, Geneva this week to share their experience with operators and meet with European airports.
Top of the agenda is a potential UK base, which Hendell Aviation has identified as ripe for commercial operations, within the next six months.
“Our aim is to create a bridge between Switzerland, France and the UK,” said Hendell Chairman Matti Auterinen. “Considering Finland has a population of just 5m people opportunities are somewhat limited in our home market.”
Hendell Aviation and Fly7 are now doing more business together. Fly7’s CEO Yves Roch and Hendell’s Matti first met in Lausanne when Matti undertook type rating and ground course training on the PC-12. They agreed to look for opportunities to pool resources to offer management and operations expertise to PC-12 owners.
Since last year, Hendell’s CEO Mikael Lees, who is also heavily engaged in EASA work, has been based in Lausanne and runs Operations and CAMO services for Fly7.
Fly7, as well as having a fleet of seven PC-12s, runs a large PC-12 training centre in Europe, accredited by the US FAA, EASA and JAA. It offers qualifications including CPL, ATPL and IR and all its instructors fly as commercial executive pilots.
Hendell and Fly7 say that good flight training on single-engine aircraft is going to be the most crucial element of this sector’s success. as more and more aircraft come under commercial operator AOCs.
Matti Auterinen advocates the use of a shared simulator with visual flight displays for PC-12 pilots in Europe, because EASA demands that a single engine turboprop pilot must achieve more than the minimum number of hours a commercial pilot must attain (700 hours plus).
With more than 10 years’ experience on the PC-12, including humanitarian operations in East Africa, Matti has become a recognised authority on PC-12 procedures and standards. He helped EASA define the challenges of SET-IMC and how best to overcome them.
For example, in SET Ops IMC he insists on two pilots. “Striving to adopt the best standards set for the airline industry is another key objective for us,” he says.
“We have studied the EASA CAT SET Ops and the document is very solid, enabling a good operating framework and terrific opportunities for operators.”
Hendell Aviation is willing to assist other operators just as they helped Abu Dhabi-based GI Aviation with securing their GCAA AOC. GI Aviation is now operational and is looking forward to introducing a second PC-12NG next month.