Designed in Australia by Luigi Pellarini and first flown on 22 April 1965, as a liquid chemical sprayer, the Airtruk can carry up to 180 Imp gallons (818 litres) and can dispense chemical over a swath width of 100ft (30.2m). First powered by a 285 hp engine, later models were fitted with the 300 hp Continental IO-520-F. The PL-12 entered production by Transavia Corporation in Australia in 1966.
Around 120 were made in the 23 years from its first flight in April 1965. Transfield manufactured the wholly-Australian designed multi-purpose aircraft for over twenty years. Initially designed as a specialised agricultural aircraft, it was refined over the years and used for many purposes including military surveillance and medivac roles.
The last planes built by Transfield were made up of spare parts from many of the 117 planes produced at the company’s Seven Hills, Australia, workshop. Many were exported to countries such as Denmark, Yugoslavia, Spain, Africa, China and New Zealand.
Flight Engineers Ltd was a joint company formed by agricultural operator Barr Brothers and Marine Helicopters Ltd. to maintain own fleets, but also undertook license-assembly of Transavia PL-12 Airtruk agricultural aircraft from 1973.
The T-320 model were assembled in Auckland, New Zealand. They featured increased side and head room, electric flaps and new ailerons. T320 version powered by Continental Tiara engine introduced 1977. Production ended 1980.
Transavia PL12 Airtruk
Engine: One 285HP Rolls Royce Continental IO-520-A
Wing span: 12.15 metres (39 ft 10 in)
Length: 6.35 metres (20 ft 10 in)
Accommodation: One pilot
Engine: Continental IO-520-D, 300 hp
Prop: 7 ft 4 in (2.23 m) dia 2-blade
Wing span: 39 ft 10.5 in (12.15 m)
Length: 21 ft 0in (6.40 m)
Height: 2.79 m
Wing area: 256 sq ft (23.79 sq.m)
Gross weight: 4,090 lb (1,855 kg)
Max cruising speed: 121 mph (195 kph)
Maximum speed: 208 km/h
Ceiling: 10,500 ft
Max range: 380 miles (610 km)
Accommodation: Crew of 1 and 2 pas-sengers.
Engine: Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, 300 hp
Prop: Hartzell 3 blade, 84in
Engine: 1 x RR/Continental Tiara 6-320B