Pilatus Refines PC-24 with New Cabin, Avionics Features

 - July 7, 2021, 11:25 AM
Pilatus has added a long list of new features to the PC-24's flight deck, including a now-standard touchscreen controller, automatic pitch and roll protection, autothrottle under- and overspeed protection, automatic yaw trim, and a "pilot-defined" visual approach function. (Photo: Pilatus Aircraft)

Pilatus Aircraft has announced a slew of new cabin and avionics features for its PC-24 twinjet based on customer feedback from more than 50,000 hours of fleet operations. PC-24s coming off the production line going forward will include these features, while “many” can be retrofitted to in-service airplanes, the Swiss aircraft manufacturer said.

In the cabin, new lie-flat seats provide more comfort, more intuitive controls, and lighter weight, in addition to quick-release mechanisms to facilitate rapid seating configuration changes. In lieu of the standard forward left-hand coat closet, operators may now opt for a galley with a microwave oven, coffee/espresso maker, work surface, ice storage, and/or capacity for standard catering units.

But the bulk of the new features are on the flight deck and were developed in partnership with Honeywell. To start, a touchscreen controller is now standard, replacing the previous multifunction controller.

Meanwhile, the PC-24’s flight control system now incorporates tactile feedback in both roll and pitch to prevent unintended unusual attitudes. This includes automatic roll limit and overspeed protection, even with the autopilot turned off, and can be manually overridden by the pilot with a quick-disconnect button. The standard autothrottle system also now includes automatic under- and overspeed protection as well as refined Fadec software to reduce power oscillations in cruise and descent.

A new automatic yaw trim function further reduces flight crew workload during departure and climb by holding the aircraft to zero sideslip. If one engine is inoperative or a large thrust asymmetry exists, the automatic yaw trim will attempt to maintain approximately one-half trapezoid indicated sideslip.

The new “pilot-defined” visual approach function allows the pilot to set up an autopilot- and autothrottle-coupled visual approach to any runway, as well as precisely track a left-hand, right-hand, or straight-in pattern down to the runway threshold. According to Pilatus, this feature increases safety at uncontrolled fields by allowing the pilot to keep attention focused outside the aircraft to look for other traffic.

Among the new avionics features on the PC-24 are Honeywell’s SmartRunway and SmartLanding advisory functions, which enhance safety and reduce pilot workload. Also available are VHF datalink with AFIS, ACARS graphical weather, SiriusXM satellite graphical weather, FMS takeoff and landing data (TOLD), CPDLC over the FANS 1/A+ network, KMA-29A Bluetooth 3D audio panel with record and playback functions, and Honeywell RDR-7000 weather radar with predictive hail and lightning functions.

In addition, Pilatus recently certified and began offering the True Blue Power lithium-ion batteries, which provide an 84-pound reduction in empty weight.