Honeywell improves Apex capabilities
Upgrade gives Pilatus PC12NG increased functionality.
By Woody McClendon
ATP/Helo. Challenger 604, Bell 222/412
Rwy 07L at DVT is shown clearly on the Honeywell Apex MFD. Nearby terrain appears along the horizon. Tire marks are evident on either side of the runway centerline.
At LOMBB—the missed approach point (MAP)—O'Hara selected go-around mode with the select button on the throttle and added power for the climb. Go-around, as with most autopilots, selects a fixed pitch attitude and wings level. O'Hara re-engaged NAV mode on the AFCS mode select panel and the PC12 tracked the nominal right turn direct to MINGY intersection.
The SVS clearly painted the daunting terrain in front of us as we navigated through the mountains. Here we were able to see the flightpath cue provide us vital information on potential terrain clearance. During the entire missed approach the flightpath cue showed that the PC12 would clear the highest ridges. Had we been in IFR conditions, this would have been critical, and we would not have known it unless we had the flightpath information.
Returning to DVT, I hand flew the PC12 on a visual approach to Rwy 07L. We purposely held the altitude high so we could explore the use of the flightpath cue to manage a very steep approach.
By then it was night time, and DVT is surrounded on 3 sides by uninhabited land. This makes for a sort of "dark hole" approach. But it was easy for me to point the flightpath cue at the end of the runway and adjust power and pitch for a comfortable ride.
Once we were on short final, Wyatt suggested I fly the PC12 down the runway at about 50 ft AGL and observe the runway picture in the SVS. While we saw nothing outside except airport lighting, the runway appeared vividly on the PFD screen, in full color, including tire streaks.
On a VFR arrival in marginal conditions the SVS would provide clear guidance not only to the runway but then, after landing, would help us with taxi guidance.
The PC12 has defined a significant niche for itself in aviation as a high-performance, high-utility single. After seeing the latest version of the Honeywell Apex system in operation, one can only conclude that Apex contributes largely to the PC12's success.
Woody McClendon has flown jets and helicopters in many different capacities and has contributed to Professional Pilot for many years.
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