Pilatus PC-24 Drops into EBACE

As the first prototype, P01, drops into the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva for a day, AW&ST report that: PC-24 Prototypes Are Keeping Busy:

The first aircraft, P01, is appearing at the show before flying to Spain for high-speed testing, while P02 has flown to the U.S. There it will undergo autopilot trials with Honeywell in Phoenix, and cold-soak tests in the chamber at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. It will return to Switzerland toward the end of the year. A third, production-standard aircraft will make its first flight before the end of this year.

PC-24 P01 (Credit: Pilatus)

As we previously reported, at EBACE 2014 the company took non-refundable deposits for 84 aircraft and sold out all 2017-2019 production slots.  The order book will not be reopened until the NBAA show in Oct 2017, just prior to certification.

PC-24 P01 and P02 Together (Credit: Pilatus)

PC-24 P01 and P02 Together (Credit: Pilatus)

AINOnline report that since P01 made its maiden flight on 11 May 2015:

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.

Pilatus and Designworks, a BMW Group Company, Unveil Cabin Concepts for PC-24 (Credit: Pilatus)

The PC-24 is an intriguing new aircraft.  It’s a twin engine business jet priced at $8.9 million (in 2017 dollars).  It can seat 6-8 in business configuration and up to 10 in high density seating. But it is more than just another business jet.

The PC-24′s unique selling point is mission flexibility.  It has with good field performance and a modest 81kt stall speed, capable of operating from 2,690ft / 820m strips, with a unpaved strip capability, giving access to 12,0o0 paved and 9,000 unpaved strips according to Pilatus.  It has a pallet-sized 51x49in / 1.30×1.25m PC-12 style cargo door and a flat-floor 501ft³ / 14.2m³ cabin, ideal for cargo, medevac missions and installing special mission equipment.

Aerossurance is convinced this is a versatile aircraft type that will make its mark in the oil & gas and mining sectors (among others).

The PC-24’s Advanced Cockpit Environment (ACE™) avionics suite was developed by Pilatus in partnership with Honeywell.  The aircraft has a Max Take Off Weight of 17,650lb / 8,005kg and a maximum payload of 2,500lb / 1,135kg.  With full fuel the payload is 915lb/ 415kg.  It has a range of 1,950nm / 3610km flown single pilot with 4 passengers (NBAA IFR reserves, 100-nm alternate).  Powered by two Williams FJ 44-4A engines with a max take-off thrust of 3,400lbf each, high-speed cruise speed is 425kts at 30,000ft.

UPDATE 19 July 2016: Pilatus Business Aircraft has broke ground on a new 10,900m² facility at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, Broomfield, CO (its US home since 1996) on 14 July 2016.  The facility, due to open in spring 2018, will become the centre for Pilatus’ completions, sales and support activities in the Americas.  It is reported that:

The facility was sized to accommodate an increase in employment and completions work as Pilatus brings its new PC-24 light jet to market, Pilatus said. The company expects to hire 60 more people, in addition to the 80 already at Broomfield, as it ramps up full production of the jet by 2020.

Tom Aniello, VP of Marketing for Pilatus North America says the first eight PC-24s will be completed in Switzerland.  He says:

After that, only aircraft to be delivered in North and South America will be completed in Colorado. Stans will supply aircraft to the rest of the world.

Over the past 20 years of PC-12 deliveries, approximately 70% of the fleet has been sold into the USA, and we expect a similar proportion of PC-24s will be delivered into this market.

UPDATE 24 October 2016Water ingestion certification testing has been conducted at Cranfield.

High Speed PC-24 Water Ingestion Run at Cranfield (Credit: Cranfield Aerospace Solutions Limited [CAeS])

UPDATE 31 October 2016: P02, which had been undergoing testing at Honeywell’s Phoenix-Deer Valley facility, will be on show at the NBAA show this year on Orlando, FL, as the aerodynamic design is frozen:

The two PC-24 prototypes have logged more than 600 flights and 1,000 hours, leading to October’s aerodynamic design freeze. More than 300 engineers in Stans are at work on the program.

If you are considering selecting and introducing new aircraft, contact Aerossurance to discuss how we can help you identify clear requirements, evaluate options, make informed decisions and navigate some of the pitfalls: enquiries@aerossurance.com