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Milestone for aircraft manufacturer

Milestone for aircraft manufacturer

Pacific Aerospace has manufactured its 100th P-750 aircraft - a tough, reliable, high performing aircraft for the world's toughest environments.

The P-750XSTOLIII, with extremely short take-off and landing capabilities, is the latest flagship model to take off from the Airport Road, Hamilton, manufacturer.

The new aircraft will be on display at the Singapore Airshow, Asia's largest such event, from February 16 until 21.

The P-750XSTOLIII has a long lineage. The first P-750 model was developed by Pacific Aerospace a decade ago from the company's successful Cresco top dressing aircraft which had evolved from the FU-24 before it.

The company is more than 60 years old and has manufactured in excess of 600 aircraft.

"The P-750XSTOL is the only New Zealand manufactured aircraft to be operating all around the world," said Pacific Aerospace chief executive Damian Camp.

"From the Highlands of Papua New Guinea to the mountains of Nepal, to the Steppes of Russia, and the deserts of Australia. No other aircraft from New Zealand, is so widely flown around the world."

The success of the P-750XSTOL means that Pacific Aerospace can employ nearly 130 highly skilled workers in New Zealand in an otherwise very small industry sector.

Around the world the performance and reliability of the P-750XSTOL has changed the lives and living standards of hundreds of people. Through its ability to fly large payloads into and out of remote, unsealed airstrips in some of the most challenging flying conditions in the world, the P-750XSTOL performs where other aircraft can't.

In other parts of the world the P-750XSTOL takes passengers to 15,000 ft for tandem skydives.

Thanks to a joint venture with the Beijing General Aviation Company Pacific Aerospace is preparing for significant orders, including several multi-aircraft enquiries and is confident the 200th aircraft won't be that far away.

Pacific Aerospace global markets general manager Mark Crouch said the P-750 excelled as a utility aircraft for challenging flying conditions and as a skydive aircraft.

"Whilst those two markets will remain a key focus PAL is also looking to capitalise on current opportunities in other markets such as Aerial Survey, Photographic Survey, Medevac, Security and Surveillance, and Agricultural spraying – (Crop dusting). All these markets require the type of high performing, ultra-reliable, aircraft that the P-750 has become synonymous with. The P-750 is the only aircraft in its class that comes with a standard modular floor – allowing the aircraft to be quickly and easily converted from one mission to another. Other aircraft types require extensive 3rd party modifications to achieve the same functionality."

Crouch said Pacific Aerospace had one of the most highly qualified workforces in New Zealand.

"Aeronautical design, engineering, and manufacturing is a highly complex industry and without the skills and dedication of its workforce, PAL would not be in the position it is today. The workforce is nearly 130 strong and will increase further as new orders for the P-750 come in over the next year or two.

"From the early days of the Fletcher crop-duster to the P-750 XSTOLIII, the company workforce has changed as the complexity of modern aircraft manufacturing and systems has changed. The PAL workforce would not be out of place working for the likes of Boeing, Airbus, or British Aerospace – indeed many have already."

Crouch is bullish about Pacific Aerospace's future.

"Huge geographic markets such as China, Russia, India, and Brazil are moving towards the employment of General Aviation aircraft such as the P-750 to help deliver vital connectivity from the outlying regions to the main centres; to deliver social and humanitarian services; to help fight the encroachment of deserts or the devastation of insect plagues; and to generally increase the living standards and conditions of rural communities. With little roading infrastructure in many of these locations a rugged short take-off and landing (STOL) utility aircraft like the P-750 is of the only means of achieving these aims. In more developed markets, the superiority of the P-750 in Skydiving will continue to provide people with that Bucket List thrill!"