The Pilatus Speed Cowl™
JetSwiss Aviation sat down with Jim Christy of American Aviation to discuss the new Pilatus Speed Cowl™ that has been a hot topic for Pilatus owners over the past year.
JS: Who are you and how long have you been with American Aviation?
JC: I am one of the founders of American Aviation Inc. The company formed in 1985 to make turbine engine cowling improvements to the Cheyenne series of aircraft followed by the early King Air 90 series of aircraft including the C90, E90, and the F90. We also make more aerodynamic exhaust pipes for those aircraft and for the Conquest I. I have an A&P license and have been flying since 1977. I handle the experimental and certification test flying for most projects and answer sales inquiries from aircraft owners.
JS: When did the Speed Cowl™ get certified?
JC: The Ram Air Recovery Cowling was FAA certified on July 31, 2019 and we received EASA certification on August 17, 2020.
JS: Roughly how many have been installed in the field so far?
JC: After certification, we started building tooling which took about six months, so deliveries didn’t start until 2020 and new vendors had to get up to speed so sales were limited by production. Currently there are a little less than thirty that have been installed (March 2021). That is similar to the Cheyenne when we started with that product and we have now done three hundred fifty-four Cheyenne aircraft which is more than half the fleet.
JS: What will the customer typically see for performance improvement?
JC: In icing conditions with the ice door open, the Pilatus Speed Cowl™ provides more torque at the same altitude which helps you climb out of the ice sooner still maintaining the higher icing climb speed. In non-icing climb, the Speed Cowl™ increases the aircraft’s critical altitude by a couple of thousand feet meaning you carry the normal climb torque higher. You then have more torque at every altitude above that, increasing the rate of climb about 25%. In cruise at altitudes where you can no longer maintain max continuous torque, we reduce the ITT at the same torque anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees C. We provide new power setting charts for Low, Medium, and Max cruise power so you cruise faster. Our Medium cruise charts result in approximately ten knots of true airspeed increase. If you operate there, the Speed Cowl™ will pay for itself more than twice during the engine TBO period. I have lots of performance tables and charts for all models of PC-12,s and am happy to provide those to any interested owner.
JS: Who does the installation and how long does it typically take?
JC: The installation can be done by any Pilatus maintenance provider and it can be installed at our facility at the Coeur d’Alene, ID airport. We initially provide a template so the installer can check that all the alignment pins and latches are in the normal location. If they are not standard, the installer can adjust the template and return it to us so we can finish a cowling that exactly matches the airplane. If the template fits as we shipped it, a standard cowling can be shipped. When a cowling needs to have custom pin or latch location, we can provide that in a couple of weeks. Installation will then take about and hour, after which it will need to be painted to match the existing paint scheme. That can take up to a week depending on the number of stripes.
If you are interested in putting the Speed Cowl™ on your Pilatus, or have additional question, please contact us today!
For more information on American Aviation, please visit their website: http://americanaviationinc.com/