My wife asked me about this story earlier.  It’s about what the FAA calls a Pilatus PC12 with 17 people on board that crashed in Montana killing all on board. 

I’m not one to armchair quarterback usually but I’m wondering on this one.   A quick look on the net says that the PC-12 is powered by a single turboprop engine. It is certified for single-pilot IFR operations, though operators may choose to utilize a second flight crew member. The PC-12 is offered in standard nine-seat airliner form, in a four-passenger seat/freight Combi version, as a six-seat corporate transport, and as a seven-seat corporate transport with the inclusion of an aft three-seat bench.

So, my question to the more flight savvy folks is this:  If you assume that there were two crew and that there were 9 passenger seats (the max configuration) then you’re up to 11 people on board… where did they have the other six sitting?

I know that the PC12 is often retrofitted for skydiving so maybe it was a skydiving rig and they had them all sitting on the floor but even then if you include six extra folks and skiing gear (the article says they were probably going skiing) you’re still talking about Weight & Balance issues… if not weight, certainly balance… right? Besides, who’d want to fly from Ca to Montana sitting on the floor of a plane?

I dunno, it looked like a professional charter/leasing company that was doing the flying so I’m confident that whatever they did was probably legal… or maybe the model of the plane has been misreported… just struck me as odd.


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