VULCANAIR P.68 OBSERVER and P.68 DIESEL

TYPE: Light utility twin-prop transport; multisensor surveillance twin-prop.

PROGRAMME: Prototype (I-TWIN) first flew 25 May 1970. Production of P.68 Victor and P.68B by Partenavia in Italy started 1978, followed by P.68C in 1980. Partenavia manufacture ended in 1994, but assets subsequently acquired by VulcanAir; 10 assembled in India up to 1999 by TAAL. Improvements announced in 1999 include Garmin avionics.

CURRENT VERSIONS: P.68C: Basic version.
P.68C-TC: As P.68C, but with turbocharged engines for better hot-and-high performance.
P.68 Diesel: As P.68C, but with Snecma-Renault diesel engines.
P.68 Observer 2: For use by government and specialised services for patrol, surveillance and search; largely transparent nose section with lowered, compact instrument panel; 63 x 46 cm (2 ft 1 in x 1 ft 6 in) underfuselage hatch can carry variety of electro-optical sensors; slightly different equipment from other versions.
P.68 TC Observer TC: Turbocharged version of Observer 2 for hot/high performance.

CUSTOMERS: Total 401 P.68 of all versions built in Italy by end 1998; these comprised 12 P.68s, 196 P.68Bs, 91 P.68Cs, 47 P.68C-TCs, 39 Observers, seven Observer 2s, three Observer TCs and six untraced. VulcanAir began production batch of 20 (mainly Observer 2s) in 1998; eight Observer 2s sold to Italian police; first delivery (PS-B07) 11 November 1999; further four (including three Observer 2s) registered in USA 2000-02, excluding demonstrator. Total 19 Observer 2s built by mid-2002.

COSTS: US$475,000 (P.68C): US$485,000 (P.68 Observer 2); US$505,000 (P.68C-TC), US$515,000 (P.68TC Observer), all IFR equipped (2001).

DESIGN FEATURES: High wing with NACA 63-3515 aerofoil section and Hoerner tips; dihedral 1o; incidence 1o 3'.

FLYING CONTROLS: Manual. Pushrod and cable actuated, with all-moving tailplane and anti-balance tab; trim tab in rudder; electrically operated single-slotted flaps.

STRUCTURE: Light alloy stressed skin fuselage with frames and longerons; stressed skin two-spar torsion box wing; metal stressed skin tailplane and fin; fuselage/wing fairings mainly GFRP.

LANDING GEAR: Non-retractable, with spring steel main legs; oleo suspension for nosewheel, steered from rudder pedals; mainwheels Cleveland 40-142 with Pirelli 6.00-6 or 7.00-6 (8 ply) tyres; nosewheel Cleveland 40-77B with Goodyear 5.00-5 or 6.00-6 (6 ply) tyre; Cleveland Type 30-61 foot-powered hydraulic disc brakes; streamlined wheel fairings optional. P.68 Observer 2 has larger mainwheel tyres as standard. Minimum ground turning radius 5.70 m (18 ft 8 in).

POWER PLANT: P.68C: Two 149 kW (200 hp) Textron Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 flat-four engines, each driving a Hartzell HC-C2YK-2CUF two-blade constant-speed fully feathering propeller.
P.68C-TC: Two 157kW (210 hp) Textron Lycoming TIO-360-C1A6D; same propellers as P.68C.
P.68 Diesel: Two 171.5 kW (230 hp) Snecma-Renault SR305-230 turbocharged flat-four diesel engines.
Fuel capacity 696 litres (184 US gallons; 153 Imp gallons) in integral wing tank, of which 670 litres (177 US gallons; 147 Imp gallons) usable; overwing gravity refuelling. Oil capacity 7.5 litres (2.0 US gallons; 1.7 Imp gallons) for each engine.

ACCOMMODATION: One or two pilots and five or six passengers; cabin has two forward-facing seats in middle and three-seat rear bench; club seating optional; baggage door at rear and pilot door at front on starboard side; passenger door to port in centre cabin; baggage compartment accessible from inside cabin. P.68 Observer 2 has no front starboard door for pilots. Optional aerophotogrammetric floor hatch, 0.63 x 0.46 m (2 ft 0¾ in x 1 ft 6 in) on P.68C.

SYSTEMS: Two 24 V 130 Ah alternators and one 24 V 17 Ah battery; Goodrich pneumatic de-icing boots optional; air conditioning optional.

AVIONICS: Basic package includes IFR-equipped aircraft with two Garmin GNS 430 GPS and Bendix/King autopilot.
Radar: Weather radar optional in Observer 2.
Mission: Observer 2 can carry FLIR, ATAL video surveillance pod with data downlink and SLAR. Aerial cameras, thermal imager and video cameras can be operated through floor hatch.

 

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