FAA Issues Type Certificate To New Zealand Utility Aircraft

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Pacific Aerospace Corp. (PAC) announced last week it has been issued a Type Certificate from the FAA for its PAC 750 XL single-engine piston airplane, the first passenger aircraft to be designed and manufactured in New Zealand. Targeted for the skydiving industry, the airplane has generated interest among operators for a variety of uses, and PAC says it has options to deliver 260 of them. The 750 XL is a fixed-gear, low-wing utility plane powered by a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-34 rated at 750 hp. It has a 4,400-pound useful load and a high-lift wing. The company says it can carry 17 fully equipped skydivers to 12,000 feet in about 12 minutes, and sells for about $1 million. The first year's production has gone to buyers in New Zealand, Australia, America, England, France and Switzerland. PAC, a 45-year-old company, also produces the CT4 series of military trainers, and supplies subassemblies for the airline industry. The 750 XL was derived from the PAC 750 CRESCO agricultural airplane, in production since 1977. PAC says it will secure delivery for a $50,000 deposit, and if you want to see the airplane at work, talk to them about arranging a quick trip down under. The authorized U.S. distributor is Utility Aircraft Corp., in Woodland, Calif. They don't have an airplane for demo flights yet because theirs was lost last December, when it ditched in the Pacific Ocean on its way to California, killing ferry pilot Kelvin Stark. A replacement aircraft is on order. The ditching set back the certification after the FAA requested an independent evaluation of the airplane's systems. An investigation by the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand is still active.