Blackhawk's XP42A Caravan Upgrade Package Expands Around the World in 90 Days

Geneva, May 14, 2012From the South of France to the desert of Dubai, Blackhawk’s Pratt & Whitney-powered engine upgrade package (XP42A) for the 208B Cessna Caravan is an international success. Less than a year after the product was unveiled at AirVenture 2011, Blackhawk has sold and installed 15 systems, and operators are speaking out about how increases in speed, range and reliability are benefitting their businesses. 

What’s more, nearly 70 operators attended a recent demonstration tour of an upgraded Caravan in Brazil. 

Blackhawk executives and technical experts will be available at EBACE 2012 to discuss the XP42A upgrade and the company’s comprehensive line of performance improvements for many of the most popular turboprop aircraft in service today.  The company will exhibit in Stand No. 483, Hall Six, during show hours at the Geneva Palexpo Exhibition and Congress Centre, May 14-16, 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The new installations emphasize the versatility of the popular Caravan, providing improved capabilities for skydiving operations in both France and Dubai and a charter service in South Africa.  “Blackhawk’s XP42A upgrade package is taking the global Caravan fleet by storm,” said Blackhawk president and CEO Jim Allmon. “Our customers’ testimonials demonstrate that Blackhawk’s economical installation is making a great airplane even better.”

The XP42A upgrade package has already been installed on a Caravan flown by the Centre Ecole Parachutisme Sporif (CEPS) de l’Ariège in southeastern France. CEPS operates two aircraft at its skydiving center. The more powerful Caravan carries more students and instructors to higher altitudes more quickly and than ever before while reducing fuel consumption  According to CEPS president Franck Buisson, “The Blackhawk Caravan has greatly increased CEPS’s flight productivity, a significant addition to service and potential revenue.”

In addition to the CEPS installation, Blackhawk upgraded a Caravan operated by Skydive Dubai, from its private airstrip and facility near the base of the unique Palm Jumeira development in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. “Our Blackhawk Caravan is an outstanding performer even in Dubai’s extremely hot Persian Gulf climate,” said Skydive Dubai’s Heath Haley.  Also, Blackhawk’s approved installation facility, 208 Aviation at Wonderboom Airport, Pretoria, South Africa, delivered an upgraded Caravan to Flitecare Air Charters.  Flitecare, also based at Wonderboom Airport, provides business and general charter services as well as air safaris and leisure travel for clients throughout Africa. After his first flight in the improved Caravan, Flitecare’s owner, Dr. Eugene Meyer, said, "This is the most incredible Caravan I have ever flown!  I cannot believe the takeoff and climb performance. Simply amazing!" 

In Hawaii, Skydive Hawaii’s Frank Hinshaw, is pleased with a 100-percent gain in loads per day over a stock aircraft in the first weekend of operating his upgraded Caravan, adding that passengers praised the aircraft as fast, quiet and smooth.

The XP42A upgrade package features a factory-new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A engine with 850 continuous shaft horsepower (SHP), and a 1,000-hour, no-calendar-limit Pratt & Whitney warranty.  The system also features a new, wide-chord, 100-inch diameter Hartzell four-blade propeller; new composite cowling and high efficiency inlet duct; new 40 percent larger oil cooler; four-point engine mount ring assembly and all new engine mount isolators; new engine hose kit; new Blackhawk Hawkeye DigiLog engine gauges; and new Frakes exhaust stacks.    

The XP42A system contributes to higher potential operating revenue.  It effectively doubles the standard climb rate for the Caravan. Cruise speed also increases by up to 15 percent, or operators can enjoy decreased fuel flow.  Both take-off performance and safety margins increase, while operating costs are reduced.  Blackhawk 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 manuals.  In addition, Blackhawk offers full technical support for the life of the aircraft.

Blackhawk, founded in 1999 in Waco, Texas, is a recognized aviation leader in providing engine performance solutions to the turboprop fleet. The company has the largest installed fleet of STC twin-engine turboprop engine upgrades, making Blackhawk the largest non-OEM buyer of new Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines in the world. A worldwide network of approved dealers and service support centers complements Blackhawk’s U.S. facilities.  For more information, please visit