Design and development
The Cresco is a low-wing monoplane which, like the Fletcher but unlike most topdressers, has tricycle undercarriage and places the cabin forward of the hopper, at the leading edge of the wing - which gives the pilot of the Cresco a good field of vision. The high-lift wing has pronounced dihedral on the outer span. The prototype Cresco had an all-moving tailplane, but the aircraft was lost when the tailplane separated in flight, (the pilot parachuting to safety). Subsequent aircraft have had conventional tails.
Sales of the Cresco were not as impressive as those of the piston-engine powered Fletcher, with only 39 examples being built before production was terminated. The Cresco has been sold in several nations and has pioneered new utility roles not explored by the Fletcher. Although primarily used to spread superphosphate fertiliser, the Cresco is also used in the utility role, especially as a sky diving platform, where its fast rate of climb (1,560 ft/min) has made it popular, and as a firefighting water bomber, a role it can perform with little alteration from its standard agricultural layout. One airplane has been converted for magnetic survey. A disadvantage in the utility role is the low internal volume available for the relatively high powered engine.
The PAC 750XL, a utility aircraft aimed at the skydiving market, was derived from the Cresco, and retains its high-lift wing.
Published in July 2009.
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