The Pilatus PC-24 made its full public debut at this week’s EBACE show when the Swiss manufacturer’s first prototype took a 24-hour break from an intensive flight test program to take a starring role on the static display. With just over 500 flight hours logged by two prototypes, and with a third due to join the campaign towards the end of 2016, the highly versatile mid-light twinjet is not quite a quarter of the way towards completing type certification, scheduled for around the end of 2017.
According to Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk, the aircraft is comfortably meeting, and in some cases exceeding, projected performance benchmarks. The two prototypes have been busy flying in Switzerland, Spain, Iceland and Scotland.
“In the past few months we have conducted numerous important tests to explore the flight envelope and observe how the aircraft handles in natural icing conditions,” said Schwenk. “The results are extremely positive and confirm that the PC-24 will be a superb aircraft, in line with the high standards of our ‘Pilatus Class’—exactly as our customers expect.
Pilatus (Booth K115) is on track to deliver on its promise of an aircraft with the short-takeoff and landing (STOL) performance of an advanced turboprop, with the speed of a light jet and the cabin of a midsize aircraft.
The PC-24’s exceptional performance on both paved and unimproved surfaces means that it can operate from as many as 21,000 airports worldwide, while also being suitable for operations in remote locations.
EBACE visitors are also getting a chance to see a full-scale mockup of a production standard interior. These have been developed in partnership with BMW’s Designworks, which has come up with six different color concepts, each named after a well-known ski resort. The design on show in Geneva is “the Vail.”
Pilatus launched the PC-24 two years ago at EBACE 2014. Famously, it hit its initial target of 84 orders—equivalent to three years of production—within just 72 hours. The Stans-based company promptly closed the order book and will not be taking reopen the order process until the October 2017 NBAA show, with type certification expected within a few weeks of that event.
PC-24 by the Numbers
Max cruise speed: 425 ktas (787 km/h)
Range (4 passengers): 1,950 nm (3,610 kilometers)
Max certified altitude: 45,000 feet (13,716 meters)
Takeoff balanced field length: 2,690 feet (820 meters)
[MTOW, ISA, sea level, dry paved runway]
Landing distance over 50-foot obstacle: 2,525 feet (770 meters)
Max takeoff weight: 17,650 pounds (8,005 kg)