An aircraft type which was taken to war and performed very well for her crew and country has gone on display at the R.A.A.F Heritage Centre at Amberley in Queensland.
Pilatus PC-6B Turbo Porter A14-704 has been restored to display condition by the team at Amberley and is one of only two Porters on display in Australia. The Australian Government ordered six PC-6/B1-H2 Porters from the Swiss Manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft on 16th May 1967. Ordered to fulfil a need which the Cessna C-180 couldn’t meet it was quickly followed up with an order for another six in August of the same year. Before delivery had even commenced the order tally had risen to 14. Powered by the well-known and extremely reliable Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine the Porter was a favourite with its pilots.
The first aircraft which was serialled A14-652 was delivered to RAAF Amberley in February 9th 1968. Six aircraft were sent to serve in Vietnam by Australian Army No 161 Independent Reconnaissance Flight. The aircraft were involved with tasks such as Liaison and Air Courier Services, Command and Control, Psychological Operations – Leaflet Drops and Voice Ops Battlefield Flare Illumination Missions, Electronic Surveillance – Enemy Location Radio Re-broadcasting, Passenger and Road Reconnaissance Air Photography, Carriage of Freight, Personnel Rocket Ground Attack and RW Top Cover Missions Target Marking and AOP Missions.
A14-704 was originally serialled A14-730 and was delivered to the 1st Aviation Regiment at RAAF Base Amberley Qld in May 1971 after being flown to Australia from Stans in Switzerland. However as this serial clashed with a Bell 47G it was subsequently changed. A14-704 was deployed to Vanuatu in the early 1980’s and was used by the Army for various roles up until July 1990 when the aircraft crashed in a low flying area near Oakey. The aircraft was considerably damaged and was held in store before being allocated to the Museum of Australian Army Aviation in 1995 for static display.
Restored by the team at Amberley the aircraft will be repainted into an earlier scheme at a later date.
The aircraft is part of the RAAF Heritage Display at RAAF Amberley where it joins other noted displays such as, Boston, F-111s, Canberra, Sioux, Sabre, Mirage, Caribou to name a few.
The collection can be visited at RAAF Base Amberley South Amberley Road, Amberley, Queensland, and is open from 9:00am on Sundays only.