Pratt & Whitney JT-12 Jet Engine


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The JT-12 engine was designed and built for a Royal Canadian Air Force requirement of a small single engine jet trainer. The winning airframe was designed and built by Canadair,  later becoming the CL-41 Tutor. Three engine manufacturers were vying to provide the power-plant for the trainer, including the General Electric J85, Fairchild J83 and the Pratt & Whitney DS-3J (later known as JT-12).

Design and Testing:

For the competition, Pratt & Whitney fielded six design teams, one Canadian and five American teams. In the end, company senior staff in Hartford CT. would choose the Canadian team’s design for development. Further design and testing progressed rapidly, although there were some setbacks due to the cross- border patents and exports of technology. The JT-12 proved to be a capable engine and the U.S. parent company became more and more interested in the engine’s potential. By January of 1958, Hartford took over the project and all work was moved south of the border. While it was a harsh blow for many of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s employees, it allowed the company to concentrate on a bigger project; the PT6.

JT-12 and the Tutor:

The JT-12 was test flown in the Tutor in 1960 and Canadair was pleased with the performance results. However, it was a marriage that was not to be. In the end, Ottawa chose the GE J85 built under license by Orenda for the Tutor. It was seen as political decision to split the work between Montreal and Toronto. License construction of the GE J85 helped keep Orenda busy after the Arrow fiasco. Eventually 212 Tutors were built. The Tutor was recently retired from the Canadian Forces with the exception of the Snowbirds aerobatic team.

JT-12 In Service:

The JT-12 was not allowed to die, however, it was later chosen to power the four-engine Lockheed Jetstar (162 examples of the Jetstar were built including the example here at the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum) and the two engine Rockwell Sabreliner (over 500 built). Additionally, there was a successful industrial version of the JT-12 built. All production of this Canadian designed engine was carried out by Pratt & Whitney America.

ACAM’s Four JT-12s:

The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum owns the four JT-12A-6 engines that powered our Jetstar when it was acquired from the D.O.T. in the mid 1980’s. Of the four engines in the aircraft, one is seen here in the engine display. One engine remains in the Jetstar. Two others have been removed from the aircraft. One is with the N.S. Community College Akerley Campus and the other is at the Aircraft Maintenance School at the Moncton Community College. These engines are providing students with the opportunity to develop their repair skills for future employment.

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