On May 11, 2015, the first Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet took off on its maiden flight at 10:00 local time from Buochs airport in Switzerland. Nearly 1,800 Pilatus staff involved in the PC-24 project were there to applaud Prototype P01, call sign HB-VXA, as it taxied for takeoff. The 55-minute flight went exactly as planned with no problems whatsoever.
The twin-engine business jet took off from Runway 7 in just under 2,000 feet and climbed to 10,000 feet in around three minutes. The maiden flight followed a route across central Switzerland – from Altdorf to Brünig via Engelberg.
Test pilot Paul Mulcahy flew the PC-24 as pilot in command. Mulcahy has test-flown countless aircraft types and has a wealth of experience on twin-engine business jets. “Everything looks great so far! Beautiful handling – the PC-24 flies just as expected – a real Pilatus aircraft!” reported the second experienced test pilot, Reto Aeschlimann, from the cockpit.
Throughout the flight, the PC-24 was accompanied and monitored by a PC-21. As is normal on maiden flights, the PC-24 landing gear was not retracted on this occasion. Twelve flight test engineers watched the flight from the ground.
The first Swiss business jet
“It’s an emotional moment for sure, and another major milestone in the Pilatus and Swiss aviation history”, says Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Seeing our new business jet take off on its maiden flight is something we’ve worked very hard for, and dreamt about for a long time. Today, at last, that ‘Swiss Dream’ became a reality!“
A total of three PC-24 prototypes will be used to complete a rigorous test program of some 2,300 hours over the next two years. Certification and initial deliveries are planned for 2017. Pilatus sold 84 PC-24’s in the space of just 36 hours at the 2014 European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (EBACE).
The PC-24 is the world’s first business jet to be equipped with a standard cargo door, with takeoff and landing performance allowing the use of very short and even unpaved runways. The jet also boasts a spacious cabin with an interior that can be customized to accommodate individual customer needs.
Further information is available from: www.pilatus-aircraft.com