View Full Version : Any PL-12 Airtruks still working?

10th Feb 2010, 19:46
Question for you Ozzies: are any Transavia Airtruks still in service doing "top-dressing," as you call it? (We do that to salad here in New York...)

tail wheel
10th Feb 2010, 21:01
There are nine (9) PL-12's with four (4) operators showing as currently registered in Australia on the CASA Register of Aircraft (http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/airsresults.asp?VHin=&framein=all&manuin=&modelin=PL-12&regholdin=&regopin=&serialin=&num_results=10&Search=Search&session=1762214413).

Whether they are airworthy and operating may be another question.

10th Feb 2010, 21:09
Joneses here at Kempton keep their three fairly busy spraying. AUL, JDS and TTV.

10th Feb 2010, 21:17
I regularly see one or two near hangers at Albury airport when visiting relatives but I've no idea if they're still used for crop-spraying.

(Stepwilk, if your research leads to diagrams of the military COIN and turboprop design versions I'd love to see them! Lovely looking aircraft, not ugly at all!)

tail wheel
10th Feb 2010, 21:31

10th Feb 2010, 22:14
Slight thread (spray?) drift, I lived in Kenya when a nipper in the early 70s and there was one at Wilson Airport sporting a 5Y- reg. The only one I've ever seen and I gather that shortly after I returned to the UK it met the sad fate suffered by many a crop duster.

Used to be a Danish registered example maybe 20 years ago, what happened to that one?

11th Feb 2010, 00:21
Developed from the Bennett Airtruck designed in New Zealand by Luigi Pellarini. Has a 1 tonne capacity hopper. Room for two passengers when positioning. Can be used as a cargo, ambulance or aerial survey aircraft. One passenger in the top deck and four in the lower deck.

The Airtruk is also sometimes known as the Airtruck. Because the name "Airtruck" was registered by the New Zealand companies Bennett Aviation Ltd and Waitomo Aircraft Ltd, for their PL-11, Transavia found another name for their PL-12 ("Airtruk").

July 1978 saw the first flight of an improved model, the T-300 Skyfarmer, which was powered by a Textron Lycoming IO-540-engine. This was followed in 1981 by the T-300A with improved aerodynamics.

At least 120 had been built by 1988.

The PL-12 was famously seen in the 1985 movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

As at 2008, there are at least three examples in museums in New Zealand, with an additional one being restored to airworthy status. The second prototype is preserved in the Powerhouse Museum collection, Sydney, Australia.

There is one airworthy Airtruk in Ecka airfield near Zrenjanin, Serbia.


11th Feb 2010, 02:31
Don't believe everything you read in Wiki, the Encyclopedia of Amateurs. It perpetuates the myth about the Airtruck/truk that the twin-boom tail was designed for ease of loading, so you could back a truck up between them.

Which is baloney. As the designer often tried to explain, he eliminated the aft fuselage because it was a major weak spot in conventional dusters, suffering substantial corrosion from inevitably spilled chemicals. It had nothing to do with "ease of loading." Fact is, the _only_ way you can load an Airtruk is from behind, which is no easier or harder than loading a Pawnee or a Grumman from the side.

tail wheel
11th Feb 2010, 21:04
Was there only ever one built with a radial engine?

11th Feb 2010, 21:07
Two, and I believe both crashed. Certainly the second one did.

12th Feb 2010, 02:38
Let's not forget the Kingsford Smith PL7, the PL12's near ancestor. It had a radial and was as ugly as a hat full too. Think biplane with a tubular fuselage the diameter of the engine having a big hopper/tank in the middle and a cockpit stuck on the very back end. It also had Luigi's trademark twin boom empenage as I recall it.

It always did one hell of a display at the airshows during the 50's when I was a boy. It was lost in a hangar fire at Bankstown about 20 some years ago.

12th Feb 2010, 17:40
The danish Airtruk should be on it's way bach to airworthyness.
Danish register of civil aircrafts - OY-DVZ - Transavia PL-12 Airtruk (http://www.oy-reg.dk/register/2329.html)

12th Feb 2010, 22:19
How does a pilot reach the cockpit? Through the back door and climb up somehow or climb up the wings to the door at the top?

I have only ever seen one which is preserved at the Cuatro Vientos Museum Madrid Spain which was supposidly used in the "Mad Max" film.

12th Feb 2010, 23:31
I have only ever seen one which is preserved at the Cuatro Vientos Museum Madrid Spain which was supposidly used in the "Mad Max" film.There use to be an aircraft museum in Wangaratta called "Air World" which housed amongst other aircraft a Transavia Airtruk. I don't have it's rego details but I have a flyer from the defunct museum that claims it was this Airtruk that appeared in "Mad Max 2". Maybe it went to Spain afterwards?

Wangaratta Tourist Attraction, Air World (http://www.albury.net.au/%7Etim/wgairw.htm)

http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/3858/wgairw1.jpg (http://img718.imageshack.us/i/wgairw1.jpg/)

or climb up the wings to the door at the top?That's how I see the entry happening. There appears to be a foot hole in the rear fuselage to assist the pilot onto the wing?

13th Feb 2010, 02:08
I've paxed in the back of one on a ferry flight in South Australia, after take off the rear cabin filled up with dust from previous loads and the air vent was the size of a jam tin lid , the only way to get rid of the dust was to crack the pax door open in flight.

On that particular aircraft there was no way to communicate with the pilot once you were down the back , it was a weird feeling.

It seemed to fly ok and ground run was short on take off and landing as it was empty, just carrying 2 people and fuel.

The pilots who flew it 'liked' it rather than loved it, they were all dreaming of turbine Air Tractors.