For FSX/Prepar3D Published by Carenado
Reviewed by Andrew Godden
Pilatus Aircraft have been producing STOL utility and trainer
aircraft since 1939. With a reputation for designing and producing
quality aircraft, Pilatus have had success with a range of models
since the late 1950s, all of which are still in current production.
The PC-6 'Porter' and PC-7 trainer cemented Pilatus' reputation
early, with later success following with the PC-9 and PC-21
trainers. The Pilatus PC-12 was designed for corporate transport and
regional airline operators and has become Pilatus Aircraft's most
Carenado already have in their offering, three aircraft of a
comparable role and configuration to the PC-12, they being the
Cessna 208B, Piper PA-46T 'Malibu' JetPROP, and Socata TBM 850. It
seems fitting then, to add the PC-12 to this "increasingly
inaccurately named.....trilogy" of single engine turboprops. With
exemplary cruise speed, range / payload characteristics, and STOL
capabilities, the PC-12 is a brilliant aircraft.
The Pilatus PC-12 is a single engine turboprop passenger and cargo
aircraft. Powered by a Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop
engine, the PC-12 is certified for single pilot IFR operations. With
seating capacity for up to nine passengers in a standard
configuration, four passengers in a passenger / freight combi
configuration, and six passengers in a corporate transport
configuration (seven passengers with an option bench seat in the
rear row), the PC-12 is a very versatile aircraft for regional
airline and / or corporate transport operators.
Development of the PC-12 began in 1989, with the first flight taking
place on 31 May 1991. After a redesign of the wings, resulting in an
increase in the wing span and the addition of winglets to meet
performance guarantees, production deliveries commenced in 1994. The
Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in Australia was the launch
customer for the PC-12 and they continue to be the single largest
operator of the type. With over 1300 aircraft produced to date, and
plans for future upgrades and variants, the PC-12 will continue to
be the mainstay of Pilatus production for years to come.
Availability and Installation
The Carenado Pilatus PC-12 is currently available direct from
Carenado and Carenado resellers as a 'download only' product (some
resellers also offer a master back-up CD / DVD service for a minor
additional cost). It is priced at US$39.95, or the equivalent on
currency cross rates. The download file size is 236MB and it
requires 715MB of HDD space for installation. An ‘activation key' is
issued on purchase and is used during installation and the
installation process is intuitive and seamless.
The model features listed by Carenado for the Pilatus PC-12 are
typical of models in the Carenado range and include:
• high definition quality textures (4096 x 4096);
• original PC-12 EFIS, with EADI and EHSI;
• Avidyne multifunction display, with weather information;
• original PC-12 autopilot;
• Carenado Garmin GNS 530 GPS with Reality XP integration option;
• original alarm and warning sounds;
• stall pusher effect;
• dynamic environment gauges reflections;
• realistic and separate night light effects for the instruments,
panel, pilot, and cockpit flood;
• customizable panel for controlling aircraft windows transparency,
instrument reflections, and static elements;
• real weight and balance, and realistic behaviour;
• 3D high quality digital stereo sounds; and
• full FSX and P3D v2.0 compatibility.
General. Pilatus have a reputation for producing efficient and
highly functional aircraft. One look at the PC-12 and you can see
the practical functionality brimming from this aircraft. Not an
attractive aircraft by any stretch of the imagination, the PC-12
looks very apt for the role and capabilities it was designed for.
Carenado have modelled the PC-12/45 variant and, as regularly
demonstrated by Carenado, their modelling has accurately captured
the quintessential, practical design of the PC-12.
Exterior. The design of the Pilatus PC-12 is distinguished by its
T-tail, but is also reflective of similar single engine turboprop
designs, such as the Piper PA-46T and Socata TBM 850, with the Pratt
and Whitney Canada PT6A engine being prominent. For quality,
attention to detail, and sheer consistency, Carenado have become the
yardstick in this aircraft category by which other aircraft
developers are measured, and the modelling of the PC-12 displays all
of these attributes with the high definition textures and crisp
lines. A comparative review of photographs of real world aircraft to
Carenado's rendition reveal the exterior shape and dimensions to be
very accurate and a true representation of the real world aircraft.
There were noted variations in the shape and size of the winglets,
however, these are considered to be related to real world production
The P&W PT6A
Winglet & Weather Radar
Carenado have modelled the interior on the corporate
transport configuration. The cockpit has a highly functional layout
and follows the somewhat orthodox layout for EFIS equipped aircraft
of this category type. The cockpit layout makes for an easy
environment for that 1,500 nm flight. Whilst the quality of the some
of the textures, such as the leather on the seats and the wood
panelling, display the Carenado trademark, the carpet and, what
appeared to be lamb's wool seat covers on the pilots seats, appeared
lacklustre in their representation. Additionally, in the cabin, only
one foldaway table between the club seating is animated.
Nonetheless, a comparative review of photographs of real world
aircraft to Carenado's rendition reveal the interior shape and
dimensions to be extremely accurate and a true representation of the
real world aircraft. Any noted variations were minor are considered
to be related to real world production variations or a degree of
artistic licence on the part of the developer.
Flight Instruments and Systems.
Sit Back & Enjoy Your G&T
The EFIS cockpit helps make flying
the PC-12 a pleasure. Further supplemented with the Avidyne MFD and
two Garmin GNS 530 GPS units, they add to the ease of flying this
aircraft. All elements of the cockpit are highly accurate and very
detailed, and clear and easy to read. Naturally, at lower zoom
ranges, some of the clarity is lost on the LCD screens and panel
labelling and can be difficult to read, however, various alternative
cockpit camera views are available to provide more detailed views.
The various features of the EFIS, Avidyne MFD, and Garmin GNS 530
GPS units are fully covered in the supplied manuals and are
deserving of a read at some stage. It was noted that the operation
of the AV 1 switch, whilst providing electrical power to some
instruments, did not provide electrical power to the EFIS, MFD and
GPS units. The AV 2 switch, however, seemed to provide electrical
power to all instruments. An additional issue was noted with the
'click spots' for changing the frequency on the ADF receiver. These
were initially difficult to locate and make tuning the ADF receiver
a challenge at low zoom levels.
Avidyne MFD & Switches
There are six individual liveries (a selection only shown
below) provided with the Carenado Pilatus PC-12, each having a
unique aircraft registration number, as well as a blank texture for
aircraft painting enthusiasts. The liveries display the usual
Carenado high quality. Surface textures, reflections, and shadings
give the aircraft a crisp and realistic appearance, with additional
dirt, oil, and grease stains providing a very natural appearance.
Animations, Lighting and Sounds
The animations of the primary and secondary control surfaces and
other moving elements on Carenado's Pilatus PC-12 are all modelled
faithfully and include:
• primary control surfaces – ailerons, elevator and rudder;
• secondary control surfaces – flaps;
• others – retractable gear, trim tabs, rolling wheels, cabin door
open / close, baggage door open / close, cockpit window visors, and
cabin window shades; and
• various static ground elements.
The lighting and lighting effects on the PC-12 are a good, realistic
representation of the real world aircraft. In particular, the
interior custom lighting control, which provides detailed night
light effects for the instrument panel and the cockpit, are very
good. There were noted issues with the separate control of the
cockpit and cabin lighting and also the cabin flood and reading
light switches not operating the respective lighting correctly.
Nonetheless, the lighting in the PC-12 replicates the night lighting
seen in photographs of real world aircraft.
Cabin Flood Lighting
Cabin Reading Lighting
The PC-12 has more bells, whistles, and dings than an out of sync
primary school concert band, and all of them are totally functional.
The 3D stereo sounds are very effective and are representative of
the real world aircraft.
General Characteristics and Performance Specifications
The general characteristics and performance specifications for the
Pilatus PC-12 are provided in the table. This is based on data from
the official Pilatus PC-12 Pilot Operating Handbook, data provided
by Carenado, and general research sources. Some of this data varies
between sources and also may be an approximation due to variances in
data and the specific aircraft modelled by Carenado.
A specific Test Flight was conducted from Avalon (YMAV) to Telfer
(YTEF) to test the flight performance of Carenado's Pilatus PC-12.
The flight was conducted in clear weather with a full fuel load and
the aircraft at maximum take-off weight (MTOW). A cruise altitude of
FL280 was adopted and the route distance was approximately 1,509 nm.
The route was particularly chosen to provide a basis upon which to
test the range characteristics of the PC-12. Like most aircraft of
this type, adjustments must be made to fuel / pax loading to remain
within the MTOW limitations.
Long Distance Capability
The aircraft was easy to taxi. With a flaps setting of 'Flaps 1'
(15°), aircraft rotation occurred at approximately 70 knots
indicated air speed (KIAS) and the aircraft easily maintained a
normal climb speed at the specified initial rate of climb of
approximately 1,700 ft/min. Even with the PC-12 at MTOW, the STOL
characteristics make the take-off roll short, quickly establishing
the PC-12 on the climb to cruise. Established at the specified rate
of climb, the PC-12 climbs effortlessly, but as altitude increases,
it requires the natural adjustments to the rate of climb to maintain
an optimum climb speed until the aircraft was established at the
During cruise, with an NG setting of 95%, a torque setting of 24.8
was established. This cruise setting produced an average speed of
approximately 245 KTAS (155 KIAS), a fuel flow rate of approximately
310 lb/h, and an endurance consistent with the range characteristics
of the aircraft. This represented a variance in speed and fuel flow
performance compared to the Performance Tables provided by Carenado.
The Performance Tables indicate the performance settings, as used in
the Test Flight, should have produced a cruise speed of 252 KTAS
(150 KIAS) and a fuel flow rate of 350 lb/h. The Test Flight
confirms the modelling of the aircraft for range performance to be
reasonably accurate. The detected variances in the speed and fuel
flow rate do not significantly impact the range performance of the
aircraft and are not considered significant.
Configured for landing, with full flaps, and trimmed for a descent
rate of approximately 500 ft/min, the aircraft’s approach speed was
approximately 75 KIAS and it touched down at approximately 70 KIAS,
with a landing roll out comparable with the specifications for the
In testing the accuracy of the instruments, based on the measured
Test Flight, the speed indications on the airspeed indicator, were
consistent with the averages measured. Additionally, when
establishing a set rate of climb on the vertical speed indicator,
the respective gain in altitude on the altimeter was achieved within
the measured minute, and a standard rate turn was achieved within
the measured two minute period using the turn coordinator.
Turning for Finals
The performance of Carenado’s Pilatus PC-12 was excellent in flight,
displaying the true STOL performance and expected general flight
characteristics of this aircraft. The aircraft handles very nicely
and is a delight to fly. Overall, the aircraft model displays a very
accurate rendition of the flight characteristics and a reasonably
accurate rendition of performance of the real world aircraft.
There are eight manuals / documents provided in Adobe Acrobat format
(.pdf) for the Pilatus PC-12:
• Electronic Flight Information System - this seven page manual
details the operating of the EFIS avionics suite;
• Carenado Multifunction Display - this 13 page manual details the
operating of the Avidyne MFD;
• Carenado GNS 530 Users Guide - this two page document details the
operating of the Garmin GNS 530 GPS unit;
• Normal Procedures - this 26 page manual details the procedures for
the normal operation of the aircraft;
• Emergency Procedures – this 24 page manual details the emergency
procedures for the aircraft;
• Performance Tables – this three page document details the
performance tables and specifications for the aircraft;
• References - this three page document details the airspeed
limitations for the aircraft; and
• FSX Recommended Settings – this two page document detailed
recommended FSX settings for display and realism.
An additional document provides information on the integration of
the Reality XP GNS 530 GPS unit.
Value for Money
On a value for money assessment, the Carenado Pilatus PC-12 is
The aircraft model performed excellently within the existing
settings I have in FSX. I have most of my settings set very high and
there was no need to make any adjustments. FSX continued to perform
smoothly and as it would with any default aircraft.
This version of the Carenado Pilatus PC-12 is for FSX / P3D only.
Other specified technical requirements are as follows:
• Windows XP (with SP3 installed), Windows Vista, or Windows 7 (32
• Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX with SP1 and SP2 (or Acceleration
Pack) or Lockheed Martin Prepar3d Flight Simulator v1.4 or v2.0
• Pentium V, 3GHz or similar, 2GB RAM, 512MB graphics card, and
715MB available HDD space.
Review Computer Specifications
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted
are as follows:
• Intel i7 990X Extreme 3.46GHz;
• NVidia GTX580, 1536MB graphics;
• 12GB Kingston DDR3 2000MHz;
• Windows 7, (64bit);
• Microsoft Flight Simulator FSX Acceleration; and
• additional major add-ons include: Active Sky Next, REX Essential
Plus Overdrive; Ultimate Traffic 2; Orbx FTX Global BASE;
Global VECTOR; Orbx FTX Global openLC EU; Orbx FTX region series;
and Orbx FTX airport series.
Carenado have done an excellent job with the Pilatus PC-12 and it is
a fantastic complement to the other single engine turboprops in
their repertoire Displaying the hallmark Carenado traits of detail
and accuracy, the PC-12 displays an excellent balance of quality and
detail at an excellent price. With exemplary cruise speed, range /
payload characteristics, and STOL capabilities, the PC-12 is a
brilliant aircraft and one you will enjoy flying.
Displaying the usual high quality and attention to detail, the
Pilatus PC-12 is another fine product from Carenado which represents
excellent overall value for money.
Quality and attention to detail.
Realistic modelling and performance.
Excellent value for money.
AV 1 and AV 2 switch operation.
ADF Receiver 'click spots' difficult to locate.
Lighting switch controls.
● External Model:
● Flight Characteristics (does it fly by the numbers):
● Flight Dynamics (does it feel like what it looks like):
● Value for Money:
The Carenado Pilatus PC-12 is awarded an overall Mutley’s Hangar score of 9.6/10,
with an "Outstanding" and a Mutley's Hangar Gold Award.