Paris Air Show

Inside The Pilatus PC-24

 - June 14, 2013, 12:50 PM
The PC-24’s 501-cu-ft cabin, larger than that of the midsize Cessna Citation XLS+, is said to evoke the beauty, uniqueness and versatility of Swiss crystals.

Is the new Pilatus PC-24 a light or midsize jet? That’s the question that baffled EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition) attendees ever since the twinjet was revealed on May 21. On one hand, the aircraft’s 17,650-pound mtow, nearly identical to that of the Embraer Phenom 300, places it firmly in the light jet category; but its 501-cu-ft cabin volume suggests it is midsize, since it is well above the 325 cu ft in the Phenom.

In fact, the PC-24’s cabin is larger than the best-selling midsize jet, the Cessna Citation XLS+, in almost every respect–it is wider (67 inches versus 66 inches), longer (23 feet versus 18.5 feet) and more voluminous (501 cu ft versus 461 cu ft). In this matchup, the PC-24 loses only in cabin height–61 inches versus the XLS+’s 68 inches. However, the PC-24 has a flat floor while the Citation has a drop-down floor, so seated passengers won’t have any more headroom in the XLS+ compared with the PC-24.

Dubbed “Crystal Class,” the Pilatus jet’s interior evokes the qualities of Swiss crystals: beauty, uniqueness and versatility, according to the aircraft manufacturer. The six-passenger cabin mockup demonstrates the first two qualities, while its versatility comes from no less than seven interior options, including three executive versions (six, eight and six/eight-seat quick change configurations); 10-passenger commuter layout; combi (forward club-seat cluster and aft cargo); cargo; and medevac. In the three executive versions, the externally serviced lavatory can be located in the fore or aft cabin, and there is a galley option as well.

No matter what configuration is chosen, operators are sure to appreciate the jet’s large 4.1- by 4.25-foot rear cargo door as well as the ability to remove seats quickly and move the aft partition to adjust the size of baggage compartment or cabin. With the partition in the forward position, the baggage compartment volume is 90 cu ft, large enough to fit a full-size motorcycle. In the aft position, the compartment encloses 51 cu ft. The cargo door height is 4 feet 3 inches and usable width 4 feet 1 inch, large enough to accommodate standard-size cargo pallets.

Pilatus has not yet selected a cabin management system (CMS) for the PC-24, saying that technology advances in these electronics are occurring so rapidly that it is still too soon to commit to a CMS for a jet that won’t be certified until 2017. But it has chosen Boulder, Colorado-based Air Comm to provide the PC-24’s environmental cooling and heating system.

Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) was chosen to supply the PC-24’s Utilities Management System (UMS), which uses a multi-line Ethernet network to monitor and control PC-24 mechanical and electrical systems and the jet’s avionics. The UMS consists of four identical IS&S Data Concentration and Processing Units, each with two channels but dissimilar hardware and software. The units control and monitor “navigation, autoflight, landing gear, surface positions, fire protection, ice/rain protection, electrical loads, lighting, environmental conditions, cabin pressurization and oxygen systems,” according to IS&S, as part of the company’s UMS-100 Utility Management System product family. Another UMS-100 feature is the ability to act as a central maintenance computer and transmit real-time fault reporting data via satcom or other data links.

In the jet’s front end, the Swiss aircraft manufacturer has selected the Honeywell Primus Apex flight deck but branded as the Pilatus Advanced Cockpit Environment (Ace). The standard version includes four 12-inch displays, Honeywell SmartView synthetic vision, autothrottles, Tcas II, inertial reference system, Waas LPV approaches, dual standby instruments and graphical flight planning on the moving map. Optional equipment includes infrared enhanced vision system and RNP < 0.3 capability.

The PC-24 will also feature the Integrated Navigation Data Service (INDS) data manager for the Apple iPad. The INDS, developed by Jeppesen and Honeywell, simplifies the Honeywell Apex database update process, allowing wireless updates through the iPad. An Aspen Avionics CG100P Connected Panel device is part of the INDS system, and this is the first selection of Aspen’s Connected Panel for a business jet.