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Better Aircraft – Cessna Denali vs PC-12 NGX

The Pilatus PC-12 has been a proven success over the years. But now it may have met its match.
Cessnas new Denali and today were going to see how they compare.

The Cessna Denali is an American single engine-turboprop, aircraft under development by Textron Aviation. It will have 2 configurations. Both are Passenger configurations one being executive holding 6 passengers, and a high density configuration holding 9 passengers. Textron describes its cabin as a “Jet-Inspired cabin design that leverages decades of Cessna Citation experience which is is Cessna’s business jets line.
The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop passenger and cargo aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Stans, Switzerland, since 1991. The main market for the aircraft is corporate transport and regional airliner operators. The PC-12 is the best-selling pressurized single-engine turbine-powered aircraft in the world. So the Cessna Denali has some stiff competition. The cabins of PC-12 Around the world is inspired in part by the famous car manufacturer BMW. Pilatus says “Together with BMW Designworks we are pleased to offer the most comfortable and modern cabin experience ever in the
PC-12 NGX” which is too inspired by Pilatus’ own business jet the PC-24.
The PC-12 NGX has many configurations holding up to 10 passengers! But the most eye catching
configuration is a 2 seat, 2 lie flat bed configuration.

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  • My MAIN concern with the Cessna is the GE Engine! Once you commit to a single engine turbine, the PT6 is the most proven, reliable turbine engine in the world! Why would Cessna take such a risk, especially when introducing this new airframe to the market! They went with PT-6 on the Caravan series and it is one of the primary contributions to the aircraft's success! Why change horses in the middle of the race???

  • Cessna developed a whole new aircraft and doesn't even match the performance of the old PC12NG. Yes, it flies 1,000 ft higher – wow! And the cabin is 3in wider – wow again! …but that's about it. The PC12NGX has 15% more range at a higher top speed and – best advantage – takeoff and landing distances are significantly shorter than the Denali's, which makes the PC12 the much more versatile utility aircraft that can use shorter runways, which gives it many more operation opportunities.

    Weakest point however imho is the engine. The PT6 is a rugged, proven design, the newest of which has eliminated costly HSIs and has 25% longer TBO than the Denali's GE Catalyst. Also, GE and Cessna put emphasis on reliability, only citing GE's experience as proof. They advertise that GE has combined 855 parts into 12 components, which actually only means that GE is securing the after-market business, as instead of changing a single part that may be defunct, you have to swap a whole component. This naturally saves a few bucks in labor cost but pushes the price tag for spares manifold. That might reduce downtime for an aircraft in commercial operations, but that is only really relevant for airline-like utilization of the A/C. Neither Cessna nor GE state anything about HSIs in particular or maintenance cost in general on their website. …I wonder why?!?

    So – The Denali has an edge over the PC12 in few categories, but all in all the PC12 is far more versatile and has better performance at probably lower operating cost. 

    …and it's Swiss made!

    Is the Denali 'The New Leader' rising as Cessna advocates on its website?
    I don't think so.

  • Pilatus is a awesome plane to fly. I don't think Cessna will be able to take away much of the Market Share. I wonder the price difference is and the hourly cost.

  • The main selling point of the Denali is that Pilatus is not able to match demand and will have a significant backlog at the time the Denali is launched. Pilatus doesn't seem to be planning on increasing PC-12 production, focusing on the PC-24 instead.
    Other than that, the Denali doesn't seem to offer any real advantages. It aimed at trumping the NG model and Pilatus caught it on the wrong foot by setting the bar higher again with the NGX.

  • Pilatus has already ‘Denali-proofed’ the PC-12 with the introduction of the NGX model with autothrottle. Plus they have nearly 30 years of tech and experience. It will be hard to beat. The Denali is being endlessly delayed thanks to GE’s problems with the Catalyst engine, and that is not helping Cessna at all. The only thing that might eventually help the Denali is the Garmin 3000 suite which some pilots prefer.

  • Your statement "But the most eye-catching configuration is a 2 seat, 2 lie flat-bed configuration." mischaracterizes the purpose of the PC-12 in this layout. 
    They are not "flat-beds" for rest or comfort, but for medical patients.
    This configuration is for Air Ambulance use with each of the seats dedicated for medical attendants to monitor and treat stretchered patients who can be loaded aboard in a fully prone position through the PC-12's unique cargo door. This is the exact reason the PC-12 and subsequently, the PC-24, are employed by Australia's Royal Flying Doctor Service. Additionally, both planes being designed from the start to operate from short, unimproved airstrips makes them unrivaled in this capacity.

  • The G3000 is an advantage for Denali. A pilot friend of mine who flys the PC-12 NG and other G3000 aircraft said the glass in the PC-12 has issues. He said the G3000 is superior avionics. However, now that the PC-12 has FADEC for its PT6 engine, I see that as an advantage over the Denali. I’d still buy a PC-12 NG over the Denali.

    • @MarlinTheAviator and maybe the TBM 930 better too, you have to test the denali, TBM, PC-12 to know which is better, epic e1000, epic LT, piper M600/500/350 is pretty good too

  • The pc 12 is by far the better aircraft a no contest Cessna needs to go back to the drawing board the pc 12 only compitision is the TBM aircraft

  • Lousy video. When comparing two aircrafts, the images should correspond to the narrative. Here, the narrative rambles on while the images are from the aircraft maker’s advertisement having no correlation to anything the narrator is saying. And there is no summary spreadsheet tabulating the important data for one-to-one comparison. Waste of time.

  • From a former airline pilot….thanks for an interesting video.
    I'll take both 🙂
    The big question for me ….the GE engine of the Cessna……the PT 6 on the PC 12 is a known product, that's earned it's excellent reputation

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