At a celebration in Stans, Switzerland, on
Friday (30th June) Pilatus handed over the 1,500th PC-12 to its loyal customer
of many years, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS).
2,000 employees and guests were present as
Pilatus Chairman Oscar J. Schwenk
handed the anniversary aircraft over to
John Lynch, CEO Royal Flying
Doctors Service Central Operations.
"We are very proud of our partnership with
Pilatus and would like to say how honoured we are to accept this anniversary
PC-12 today," said John Lynch. "No other aircraft in the world compares to the
PC-12. The PC-12 is perfectly tailored to the rigorous conditions in the
Australian outback: we appreciate its special characteristics and recognise the
indispensable role it plays in enabling us to meet the challenges of our mission
as it is defined today.“
The anniversary aircraft had been earmarked
for the RFDS as a symbolic thank you for its longstanding loyalty. In the run-up
to the handover, Pilatus employees were invited to write thank you messages to
the customer, to be displayed on the aircraft. The resultant PC-12 was
resplendent in a unique livery with a very personal touch, in line with the
Pilatus motto 'Customer First'!
In 1994, the RFDS was amongst the first
customers to take delivery of a PC-12. This charitable Australian institution
currently uses 33 PC-12s to provide medical assistance to people living in the
remotest areas, right across the continent. The RFDS transports around 18,000
patients yearly, operating in and out of short and unmade bush strips - ideal
terrain for the PC-12.
Oscar J. Schwenk commented: "We are very happy
to be able to hand over the 1,500th PC-12 to an exceptionally loyal customer who
believed in the merits of the PC-12 from the outset. The RFDS successfully uses
our PC-12 for exceptionally difficult missions, delivering daily proof that it
is optimally suited for such work. I am thankful and extremely proud that we may
count the RFDS amongst our customers. I am equally pleased that the RFDS is
amongst our first customers for the PC-24, which it plans to use for ambulance
operations – once Pilatus, always Pilatus!"