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|PL-12 Airtruks of Hazair at Albury airport, New South Wales, in March 1988
||22 April 1965
The Transavia PL-12 Airtruk is a single-engine agricultural biplane aircraft designed and built by the Transavia Corporation in Australia. The Airtruk is of all metal construction with the cockpit mounted above a tractor engine and short pod fuselage with rear doors. It has twin tail booms with two unconnected tails. Its first flight was in 22 April 1965, and was certificated on 10 February 1966.
It was developed from the Bennett Airtruck designed in New Zealand by Luigi Pellarini. It has a 1 tonne capacity hopper and is able to ferry two passengers as a topdresser. It can be used as a cargo, ambulance or aerial survey aircraft, and carry one passenger in the top deck and four in the lower deck.
The Airtruk is also sometimes known as the Airtruck. Because the name "Airtruck" was registered by the New Zealand companies Bennett Aviation Ltd and Waitomo Aircraft Ltd, for their PL-11, Transavia found another name for their PL-12 ("Airtruk").
July 1978 saw the first flight of an improved model, the T-300 Skyfarmer, which was powered by a Textron Lycoming IO-540-engine. This was followed in 1981 by the T-300A with improved aerodynamics.
At least 120 had been built by 1988.
The PL-12 was famously seen in the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
As at 2008, there are at least three examples in museums in New Zealand, with an additional one being restored to airworthy status. The second prototype is preserved in the Powerhouse Museum collection, Sydney, Australia.
There is one airworthy Airtruk in Ecka airfield near Zrenjanin, Serbia.
Transavia PL-12-300 Airtruk preserved at the Museo del Aire at Cuatro Vientos airfield near Madrid|
- PL-12 Airtruk
- Single-engined agricultural aircraft. Powered by 300 hp (224 kW) Rolls Royce Continental IO-520-D
- Multi-purpose utility transport, air ambulance, aerial survey aircraft.
- T-320 Airtruk
- Powered by a 320-hp Rolls-Royce/Continental Tiara 6-320-2B piston engine.
- Skyfarmer T-300
- Powered by Lycoming O-540 engine.
- Skyfarmer T-300A
- Improved version of the T-300.
- Skyfarmer T-400
- Enlarged, more powerful (400 hp (298 kW) Lycoming O-720 engine.
- PL-12 MIL
- Proposed multi-role utility transport, air ambulance, forward air control, light attack, counter-insurgency aircraft. Also known as the M-300.
- PL-12 550T
- Proposed variant powered by a 550-hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A turboprop engine.
Data from Jane's All the Worlds Aircraft 1988-89
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 907 kg (2,000 lb) dry chemicals or 818 litres (216 US Gallons, 180 Imp Gallons) liquids. Two passengers.
- Length: 6.35 m (20 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 11.98 m (39 ft 3½ in)
- Height: 2.79 m (9 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 24.5 m² (264 ft²)
- Airfoil: NACA 23012
- Empty weight: 1,017 kg (2,242 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 1,925 kg (4,244 lb)
- Powerplant: 1× Textron Lycoming IO-540-K1A5 flat-six piston engine, 224 kW (300 hp)
- Donald, David (editor). The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. Leicester, UK: Blitz, 1997. ISBN 1-85605-375-X.
- Taylor, John W R. (editor). Jane's All the Worlds Aircraft 1976-77. London:Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0 354 00538 3.
- Taylor, John W R. (editor). Jane's All the Worlds Aircraft 1988-89. Coulsdon, Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group, 1988. ISBN 0 7106-0867-5.
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Published - July 2009