WACO, Texas, January 17, 2012 – Blackhawk, the innovative aviation industry leader in performance improvement systems for single- and twin-engine turboprop aircraft, won praise from the owner of FliteCare Air Charters of Pretoria, South Africa, after delivering Africa’s first XP42A Cessna 208B Caravan upgrade system to the charter service last month.
Dr. Eugene Meyer, FliteCare’s founder and CEO, took the upgraded Caravan’s controls for its inaugural flight. He told other Caravan pilots who witnessed the upgraded 208B’s performance that they would never want to fly a stock Caravan again after experiencing the power and capability of the XP42A upgrade package.
FliteCare’s fleet of five single- and twin-engine turboprop aircraft, including the Caravan, a Quest Kodiak 100, Piper Seneca II, Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90 and Cessna C402, is based at Wonderboom National Airport in Pretoria. The company provides professionally managed business, leisure and general air charter services, including air safaris, throughout the region.
Dr. Meyer is a successful ophthalmologist and eye surgeon and an experienced commercial instrument pilot with 3,500 hours in a variety of aircraft and gyrocopters. After his first flight, he commented, "This is the most incredible Caravan I have ever flown! I cannot believe the takeoff and climb performance. Simply amazing!" Blackhawk CEO Jim Allmon, who attended the delivery ceremony, added, “The upgrade is being very well received, and I think it will be hugely successful here. We even had a mini-air show featuring the Blackhawk Caravan that wowed and amazed everyone.”
“The entire African continent is a burgeoning market for Blackhawk,” Allmon continued. “The XP42A upgrade makes a great utility aircraft even better, and we look forward to working with many other Caravan owners throughout Africa.”
The XP42A upgrade package was completed by 208 Aviation CC, based at Wonderboom National Airport. 208 Aviation, an authorized Blackhawk installation facility, is a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO 1148) that specializes in the service and repair of Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine-powered aircraft.
The XP42A system includes a factory-new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A engine with 850 continuous shaft horsepower (SHP), with a 1,000-hour, no-calendar-limit Pratt & Whitney warranty, exchanged for the Caravan’s existing engine. The package also features a factory-new, wide-chord, 100-inch diameter Hartzell four-blade propeller; a new carbon-fiber composite cowling and high efficiency inlet duct produced by Blackhawk Composites; a new 40-percent larger oil cooler; a four-point engine mount ring assembly and all new engine mount isolators; a new engine hose kit; new Blackhawk Hawkeye DigiLog engine gauges; and two new Frakes exhaust stacks.
Thanks to the upgrade, FliteCare’s Caravan has increased engine power by 25 percent. Its power to weight ratio is 10 lbs/SHP compared to the standard 208B ratio of 13 lbs/SHP. The system also doubles the Caravan’s standard rate of climb with less fuel consumption, increases take-off weight by four percent, improves take-off performance and safety margins and increases cruise speed by 15 percent. The XP42A also reduces operating costs and increases revenue potential. In addition, the package provides a 3,600-hour TBO or 5,000-hour TBO (for qualified operators) with a qualified trend monitoring program. Documentation includes a flight manual supplement with full flight test-certified performance and maintenance and repair manuals. Blackhawk offers full technical support for the life of the airplane.