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Pilatus Aircraft

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Crestron md gains CAA type rating but puts work demands before personal enjoyment of piloting PC-12NG
Robin van Meeuwen has become the first owner of a PC-12NG in the UK to gain his CAA type rating after training at the new Pilatus facility at Bournemouth.

Robin van Meeuwen has become the first owner of a PC-12NG in the UK to gain his CAA type rating after training at the new Pilatus facility at Bournemouth.

Van Meeuwen, md of the Cobham-based control and automation system group Crestron, took delivery of the $4.2 million nine-seater aircraft after trading in the Piper Meridian he had flown for two years.

He says: "With the company trading within most European countries, the choice of using charter aircraft or becoming an owner operator required some serious consideration. Although I enjoy flying, and have wanted to fly since I was a boy, the budget had to include a company pilot so that I am able to spend time in the back working with my fellow directors."

Van Meeuwen adds: "We considered jets but realised that the operating costs were just astronomical. Many of the aircraft we considered that were double the cost of the PC-12 were perhaps faster but actually lacked the cabin space, versatility and range that is offered by the PC-12. There's no point in being even 100 knots faster if you have to keep landing for fuel."

In a typical week the aircraft is used to carry management or technicians from the aircraft's base at Fairoaks near Woking direct to destinations within the UK including Manchester, Doncaster and Edinburgh, and Dublin, Antwerp, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Madrid, Milan, Oslo and Stockholm.

Van Meeuwen says: "One important consideration for us choosing the PC-12 was that it could be operated in and out of smaller airfields and airports closer to your final destination, rather than larger international airports. Also the aircraft is based at Fairoaks, just 30 minutes from my home, and only 15 minutes from the office. Jet aircraft need to be operated from airports which are more than an hour away."

Bob Berry, chairman of the UK, Ireland and Spanish distributor of PC-12 range, says: "Robin is the latest of just a few of the 14 owners in the UK who have decided to pilot their own aircraft. I would say that it is unusual as most owners use these aircraft as a convenient way of getting from one place to the other without the hassle of airline schedules and airport terminals. Few have the ambition to self pilot - their interest is more about how much space is in the club class cabin and that there is a proper lavatory for business and family travel."

Other News
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Platoon Aviation averages one-and-a-half hour trips round Europe with its Pilatus fleet. The company has added two new aircraft this year and has four more on order at EBACE. Demand is picking up for its services.
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The companies aim to roll out sustainable solar fuels to the entire Pilatus customer fleet within the next 10 years.
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