The CASA C-212 Aviocar is a turboprop-powered STOL medium cargo aircraft designed and built by CASA in Spain for civil and military use. The C-212 has a high-mounted wing, a boxy fuselage, and a conventional tail. The tricycle undercarriage is non-retractable. It has space for 21–28 passengers depending on configuration. Since the C-212 does not have a pressurized fuselage, it is limited to relatively low-flight-level airline usage (below 10,000 ft (3,000 m) MSL). It is thus ideal for short legs and regional airline service. Airlines took note of the type’s success with the military, so CASA developed a commercial version, the first examples of which were delivered in July 1975.
During the late 1960s, the Spanish Air Force was still operating a number of outdated piston-engined transports, including the three-engined Junkers Ju 52 and two-engined Douglas C-47. In order to meet the Spanish Air Force’s needs to modernise its transport force, CASA proposed the C-212, a twin engined 18 seat transport aircraft that would be capable of fulfilling a variety of military roles, including passenger transport, ambulance aircraft and paratroop carrier, while also being suitable for civil use. The first prototype flew on 26 March 1971. In 1974, the Spanish Air Force decided to acquire the Aviocar to update its fleet.
In August 2006 a total of 30 CASA C-212 aircraft remain in airline service around the world. The -400 was introduced in 1997 with a glass cockpit and more powerful engines. IPTN and Nurtanio assembled the type under license at Bandung, Indonesia, during the 1970s and 1980s. In mid-2011 Airbus agreed to collaborate with their successor PTDI, which holds a license to sell the C212 in Asia. PTDI built the NC-212-200 and the -400 upgrade, with new digital avionics and autopilot, and a cabin for up to 28 passengers. In 2014, PTDI stopped producing the -400 series and moved production to the improved NC-212i model. In 2010, Airbus Military said it could no longer afford to produce the C212 in Europe and after production in Seville slowed to four in two years, the last C-212 produced in Spain was delivered in late December 2012 to the Vietnam Marine Police. Over 42 years, 477 aircraft have been produced for 92 operators.
The C-212 is used as a transport, for rain-making, surveillance or search and rescue, and in 2013, 290 C-212s were flying in 40 countries with the most in Indonesia with 70. It has seen especially wide employment as a commuter airliner and a military aircraft, with its operators including numerous charter and short-haul aviation companies and several national air forces. The C-212 is also in the service of the United States Army Special Operations Command with the designation C-41A, which utilizes the aircraft for troop infiltration and ex-filtration, supply drops, and airborne operations. Due to the presence of a rear ramp, the C-212 has also gained popularity among skydivers and smokejumpers.