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The company was established on 16 December 1939, and construction of a new production building started in March 1940. The first work for the new company was assembly of EKW C-35 reconnaissance biplanes from spare parts, and overhaul work on other types.
The first design project was a single-seat trainer, designated the P-1, although it was abandoned before being built. The next project was the construction of the SB-2 Pelican which had been designed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The SB-2 first flew on 30 May 1944 only one of the five-seat light transports were built.
In 1942, the company won a contract from the Swiss military to modify 33 EKW C-3603. Following on from the abandoned P-1 design, the company started again on the development of a two-seat trainer, designated the P-2. The P-2 first flew on 27 April 1945, and the company won an order for the Swiss Air Force.
During 1945 the company produced a prototype single-engined light transport, designated the P-4, the P-4 first flew on 22 March 1948 but only one was built. During the late 1940s the company produced a number of wooden glider designs and went on to produce fuselages and tail-booms for the licence-produced De Havilland Vampire and Venom.
In 1951 the company worked on the P-5, a design project for an artillery observation aircraft, it was not built. With production of the P-3 for the Swiss Air Force in progress the company achieved its first export order for six P-3s for the Brazilian Navy.
In 1958 design work started on a short takeoff and landing (STOL) light civil transport aircraft, this emerged as the PC-6 Porter which first flew on 4 May 1959. In 1965 a twin-engined variant of the PC-6 was built as the PC-8 Twin Porter, although it first flew on 15 November 1967 it remained an experimental and one-off type, and development was stopped in 1972. Another project for the PC-10 16-passenger twin-engined transport was started but was not built.
In a departure from the production of trainers and Porters the company bought the rights to the all-metal B-4 glider, Pilatus re-designed the B-4 for easier production and redesignated at the B-4/PC-11. The PC-11 first flew on 5 May 1972 and the company went on to built 322.
In 1966 a turboprop-powered variant of the P-3 was flown, and was designated the PC-7. The aircraft crashed and development was put on hold until the 1970s. In 1975 a further prototype was flown, and after further development it was marketed as the PC-7 Turbo Trainer.
In 1982 development of an improved variant of the PC-7 was started, it emerged as the Pilatus PC-9 in 1984. Development of what was to become the companies best selling type the Pilatus PC-12 was started in 1987, a single-engined turboprop transport that could carry up to twelve passengers or freight. The prototype PC-12 was flown on 31 May 1991.
The first PC-12 Eagle surveillance aircraft was built in 1995, further developments led to the PC-12 Spectre, and in recent years adoption of the PC-12 by the USAF as the U-28A.
To further the family of military training aircraft, the turboprop PC-21 was developed and first flown in 2002.
In December 2000, the owners Unaxis (previously called Oerlikon-Bührle) sold Pilatus to a consortium of Swiss investors. In July 2010 the company delivered its 1000 PC-12.
- Pilatus SB-2 Pelican
- Pilatus P-1 - 1941 project for a single-seat trainer, not built.
- Pilatus P-2 - 1942
- Pilatus P-3 - 1953
- Pilatus P-4 - 1948
- Pilatus P-5 - proposed artillery observation aircraft, not built.
- Pilatus PC-6 Porter - 1959
- Pilatus PC-7 - 1966
- Pilatus PC-8D Twin Porter - 1967 twin-engined variant of the PC-6, prototype only
- Pilatus PC-9 - 1984
- Pilatus PC-10 - 1970 twin-engined transport project, not built.
- Pilatus PC-11/Pilatus B-4 - 1972
- Pilatus PC-12 - 1991
- Pilatus PC-21 - 2001
- Pilatus PC-24 - Proposed twin-engined jet.
The company's wartime founding called for a location far from Switzerland's borders and right up against a ridge of Mount Pilatus. Original plans actually called for the factory to be built inside the mountain.
Besides its day to day role as an aircraft factory, the Stans plant is perhaps best known for its use as a location for the film Goldfinger, and particularly the exterior shots where James Bond crashes his DB5 and is captured.
- "Personnel Figures". Pilatus Aircraft. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- Pilatus Aircraft Ltd - Chronicle
- Aviation Week & Space Technology: 60. 23 October 2013.
- Jerram, Mike. Pilatus PC-24 is a Jet. Air International, Vol. 84, No. 1, January 2013. p. 17.
- Wallace, Lane "Pilatus in a Whole New Light", Flying Magazine , 2004-10-09, viewed 2013-09-14
- "About Us". Pilatus Group. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
- "Location Guide - Goldfinger". mi6-hq.com. Retrieved 2013-01-19.