Pilatus PC-12 post

Delivering complex projects for QinetiQ

Our work on PC-12 platform projects for QinetiQ GmbH led to us becoming appointed as a Structural Compliance Verification Engineer for the company’s internal projects.

Project 1: Reworking PC-12 platform to include an equipment bay

The Pilatus PC-12 is one of the world’s leading single-pilot business aircraft. It also affords operators the ability to cover a whole range of assignments with a single-aircraft type, including surveillance, medical assistance, cargo transport and search and rescue.

Working with EIS Aircraft, now part of QinetiQ, we were brought in when an existing supplier was unable to meet the project’s challenges. Our familiarity and experience with the Pilatus structural philosophy meant we were able to see the issues instantly and start work on an alternative solution.

Major modifications can have a significant impact on the original aircraft design and are not usually covered by OEM standard documentation. We therefore reverse engineered from the physical aircraft, using our engineering experience and knowledge to develop the necessary documents to help us advance the project.

“In this case, making a large three frame bay penetration in the fuselage of an aircraft is not to be undertaken lightly,” says Ben Barrass, MD at Cascade Engineering. “The issue was made more acute by the penetration being only one frame bay forward of the front spar carry through structure. We developed conservative designs while waiting for the OEM documentation, and then used the insights in that documentation to optimise the design further. This significantly reduced downtime on the project, and also delivered an effective and workable solution.”

Working alongside the EIS Aircraft team, we were able to meet the necessary deadlines. We delivered the concept that was CDR ready within four months and within a further three months had all components delivered into manufacture. We subsequently provided manufacturing and installation support and delivered all required certification paperwork to allow the STC to be granted.

Read the full case study here.


Project 2: Complete design-to-manufacture programme for airborne radar

QinetiQ wanted to investigate a modification that allowed an airborne radar to be integrated onto the PC-12 platform. The most efficient way to do this was to outsource the design and manufacture to a recognised contractor and so Cascade Engineering was brought on board.

Working alongside the QinetiQ team, Cascade developed designs which were refined alongside the changing internal systems configuration until a final design was selected. This design was the most efficient in terms of meeting all requirements, including minimum number of components, ease of manufacturing and cost-effectiveness.

“We were asked to manage the entire structural modification for this project, so we started with design and oversaw the selection of manufacturers, design alterations, pre-production, quality and final sign off,” explains Ben Barrass.

This level of autonomy helped the Cascade team to drive the project forward. Ben adds: “In our experience, the best people to advise us on keeping manufacturing costs down are the manufacturers themselves. They often suggest minor modifications that allow us to overcome production difficulties and bottlenecks. This lets us make savings on the project without compromising the quality or performance of the finished product.”

Read the full case study here.


A collaborative approach for a better outcome            

“Our approach is proven to deliver the best results for our clients, regardless of the project type,” says Ben Barrass. “Starting with concept solutions, we work with the client to agree a design that is both efficient in terms of time and cost and effective in terms of performance. We work closely with clients, manufacturers and other contractors to ensure that there is a clear route forward, transparent communications at all times and a collaborative way of working that helps our clients complete their projects successfully.”

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