Socata, Pilatus Struggle with Twin Models
Turboprop-single business aircraft manufacturers Pilatus and Daher-Socata seem to be having trouble defining time frames for producing larger, twin-engine airplanes–respectively the PC-24 and NTX–both companies told AIN this week at EBACE.
The PC-24 was to be unveiled this year, according to Pilatus’ latest annual report, but this has apparently changed. Yesterday at EBACE, the company told AIN that an announcement is now planned for EBACE 2013–in a year. In any case, the PC-24 is the only civil project Pilatus design engineers currently have on the drawing boards. It is understood to be a twin-engine design, but Pilatus will not say whether it is a jet or a turboprop.
Meanwhile, Daher-Socata engineers have been evaluating the defunct Grob SPn business jet program as a possible basis for a Socata product. The three SPn prototypes are at the airframer’s Tarbes headquarters in France. The first has flown with Socata test pilots; the second is being used for system tests on the ground; and the third, in a disassembled form, has served a production assessment role.
A Daher spokesman said his company is “actively working on the project to meet the economic, market and technical conditions for a program launch,” but added that no time frame has been set. Other options, including a clean-sheet development, remain on the table, he said.