60th Anniversary of First PT6 Flight

Did you know that the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engine took its first flight 60 years ago?

On May 30, 1961,  John A. MacNeil, the Chief Test Pilot for United Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (now Pratt & Whitney Canada) and Bob Fowler Chief Experimental Test Pilot for deHavilland Canada took to the skies to test the PT6 engine in flight for the first time.

United Aircraft of Canada Ltd. (UACL) had borrowed a Beechcraft Model 18 Expeditor Test Aircraft, which deHavilland Canada had modified for UACL to accommodate installation of their prototype UACL PT6 turboshaft engine in the aircraft’s nose.

John A MacNeil (left) and Bob Fowler (right) stand in front of the nose of the modified Beech 18 Expeditor (HB709), equipped with the PT6 engine.

Happy Anniversary to the PT6!

Are you interested in seeing more historical insights like this? Let us know in the comments section below which aspects of Canadian Aviation and Space history you’d like to know more about!