Sourced from: Lisa Gordon, Skies Magazine
Representatives from Pilatus Aircraft were in a celebratory mood on Nov. 16, following the first flight of the second PC-24 twinjet prototype earlier that same day. The jet took off from Buochs Airport in Switzerland and flew for a total of 82 minutes. The aircraft, designated PO2, will be sent for various systems tests in the United States and Canada, including cold weather and icing evaluations.
In the Swiss OEM’s first press conference since the PC-24 roll-out in August 2014, Pilatus Aircraft CEO Markus Bucher noted that North America is home to 70 per cent of the PC-12 fleet, and the OEM expects a similar success in that market for its first jet.
Designed with the capability to access short, unimproved runways, the PC-24 has inherited many functional qualities from its single-engine turboprop predecessor. Speaking of the PC-12, Tom Aniello, Pilatus’ VP of marketing, said the company will soon deliver its 1,400th aircraft from that family.
“We have made many subtle but important changes to the 2016 PC-12 NG,” continued Aniello. He said the new PC-12 NG is five knots faster than its predecessor, with a top cruise speed of 285 knots, thanks to several effective aerodynamic refinements. He pointed to a flush entry door handle, streamlined flap actuator fairings, antenna realignment, aileron servo tab fairings, and wing trailing edge gap sealing as being responsible for the performance improvements.
But, while these changes may be subtle, there is another that is definitely not: the addition of a five-blade Hartzell graphite composite propeller in the 2016 model boosts ramp appeal while delivering real improvements such as reduced takeoff distance, shortened climb to altitude time, less cabin sound and vibration, and lower propeller maintenance costs.
The PC-24 is currently on track for certification in mid-2017, with joint certification anticipated from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
Levaero Aviation is the exclusive dealer of Pilatus PC-12 and PC-24 aircraft, in Canada. To read the feature about Levaero Aviation in the launch issue of Ascend Magazine click here