The competitive field of light jets just got a new player. In early December, Pilatus received FAA and EASA certification for the PC-24 business jet, the first for a Swiss company. Pilatus expects to begin delivering the aircraft to the U.S. market in early 2018.
The $8.9 million clean-sheet jet was first publicly announced in 2013 and the Swiss company stuck to its aggressive development schedule like clockwork. The first PC-24 prototype completed its first flight in May 2015 and all three prototypes accumulated a total of 2,205 hours so far. Pilatus currently has eight PC-24s on the assembly line at its facility in Stans, with 23 deliveries to customer around the world planned throughout 2018.
“The PC-24 is the first-ever Pilatus business jet. Naturally, the requirements associated with obtaining certification for this sort of aircraft are extremely rigorous, and I need hardly mention that we faced some big challenges. In 2013, we announced that the PC-24 would be ready in 2017, and now, shortly before the end of the year, we have achieved exactly that. And all performance data promised to our first 84 customers have been achieved or even exceeded,” said Oscar J. Schwenk, chairman at Pilatus.
Pilatus invested more than 500 million Swiss francs of own funds in the PC-24 development program. A further 150 million francs went into buildings and state-of-the-art production machinery at Stans in order to expand our PC-24 series production capacity in parallel. In the United States, one of the most important markets for the company, Pilatus is investing in a new completions and support center located in Broomfield, Colorado. It is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
The first PC-24 was handed over to the American fractional aircraft ownership business PlaneSense in Stans in December. The aircraft will then be flown to the United States in January 2018, for the official delivery.
Pilatus calls the PC-24 a “super versatile jet,” or SVJ, because it combines the best features and capabilities of a light jet and a turboprop. With a 17,650 MTOW, the aircraft is designed to be operated from short and unimproved runways landing in as little as 2,525 feet over a 50-foot obstacle. At a 5,000-foot strip, ISA +20 and MTOW, the aircraft requires a balanced field length of 4,430 feet. At maximum landing weight, a PC-24 configured for landing has a stall speed is 82 kts.
Powered by two Williams FJ44-4A engines, the PC-24 can climb directly to FL450, its maximum altitude, in 30 minutes or less. The aircraft’s top speed is 440 kts at FL300. With four passengers on board, the aircraft can achieve a 1,950 nm range; at maximum payload, the jet can fly 1,190 nm miles.
The jet’s most unique feature is its large 4 by 4.25-foot cargo door. Other nice features are a pressurized baggage compartment, and the engines’ Quiet Power Mode that provides ground power with little noise, an industry first.
FlightSafety has certified the first full-flight simulator for the PC-24 located at its Dallas learning center. Pilot training in the Level C sim is scheduled to begin in January 2018.