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It’s Kiwi-made, vibrant regal purple and the coolest aircraft to be seen jumping out of if you’re a tourist in Thailand chasing a tandem skydive thrill.

A P-750 XSTOL from Hamilton, New Zealand aircraft manufacturer Pacific Aerospace, will soon be creating a stir in the skies above a new parachuting drop-zone south of Bangkok as the must-have exit photo opportunity for tourists jumping with an experienced skydiver.

The aircraft, custom painted in Royal Thai Purple for skydive operator Freefall Thailand, is Pacific Aerospace’s first sale to Thailand, although the P-750 XSTOL is already one of the most popular skydiving aircraft in the world, working in drop zones in the United States, Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

XSTOL stands for extreme take-off and landing capability. The turbine engine-powered P-750 can carry 17 skydivers and is in demand by the sport’s operators for its ability to climb fast to jump height and land again in quick smart time to pick up another load of jumpers.  

Pacific Aerospace has now manufactured and sold more than 40 P-750s for skydiving.  

Pacific Aerospace general manager global markets Mark Crouch says the sale to the Thailand operator, whose pilots and engineers trained on the P-750 in New Zealand and spent a day with veteran company Skydive Taupo, is another measure of Pacific Aerospace’s growing success in the skydive market.  

“It’s also a reflection of the striking growth of the skydiving market globally, particularly tourist tandem skydiving. All of our sales have been going to drop zones for tandem jumps. Most major tourist areas now have drop zones or will have soon.

“We are heavily committed to helping develop the skydiving industry and we anticipate up to 50 per cent of our aircraft production this year will be configured for skydiving.”

Crouch says tourist jumpers want great photos as they exit the aircraft and the vibrant Royal Thai purple colour helps deliver. Freefall Thailand is also caught by cameras under the aircraft fuselage.

In a market point of difference, Pacific Aerospace offers buyers of its aircraft customised painting before delivery.

“We can do fantastic colours and we encourage companies to paint their aircraft before delivery to save time. With the Thailand sale it meant after being inspected by Thailand civil aviation on arrival and registered, the aircraft could be flying the next day and earning money for the operator.”

The aircraft sold to Thailand also includes the latest GARMIN G600 electronic flight instrument system. The new electronic instruments, often referred to as a “glass cockpit”, replace the traditional analogue instruments and are part of the continued evolution of the P-750 to stay at the top of the skydiving aircraft market.     

The export success story of the P-750 XSTOL doesn’t stop with its flourishing name in the international skydiving market. The aircraft is recognised as the world’s most versatile utility aircraft because it can be configured for multiple other aviation tasks including survey, firefighting, medical evacuation, passenger and freight transport, specialist geophysical mapping and photography, agriculture and security surveillance.  Its flexibility makes it particularly suited to the variable and challenging terrain of the Asia-Pacific region.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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