The second Pilatus PC-24 prototype made its first flight yesterday morning from the company's headquarters in Stans, Switzerland. P02 is one of three test aircraft that will be used in the new jet’s certification program that is expected to last into 2017.
The first test aircraft flew in May. A third test aircraft will be used for function and reliability testing and will join the program next year. The aircraft that flew this morning will be used primarily to integrate the Honeywell avionics and autopilot and will be based in Deer Valley, Ariz.
To date aircraft P01 has made 100 flights and amassed 150 flight hours incrementally expanding the flight envelope and CG range. It will be moved to Spain in the coming weeks to take advantage of milder winter weather and better flying conditions there. The entire flight test program is based on 2,350 hours of flight time.
Andre Zimmerman, Pilatus vice president of the PC-24 development program, said the company intends to keep the order book for the PC-24 closed at least until 2017. He indicated that the company will continue its work with BMW Designworks on developing interiors for the PC-24 and will expand its completion facility in Broomfield, Colo., by at least 50 percent to handle the anticipated load from PC-24 completions. Pilatus currently employs 80 at Broomfield and is working with area technical colleges to establish an internship program there in anticipation of additional hiring. Here at NBAA Pilatus is exhibiting the various executive interior options it has developed for the PC-24 in cooperation with BMW Designworks.
Pilatus also is exhibiting its latest PC-12NG in the exhibit hall.