First Look: Pilatus breaks the mold

Adding a twinjet to the fleet

August 1, 2013


Swiss manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. has announced a new offering to what had been its all-turboprop line of airplanes. The company’s new, single-pilot-certifiable PC–24 will be a twin-engine, 425-knot “super versatile jet,” and “not a me-too product,” in the words of Pilatus Chairman Oscar Schwenk. Interior configurations can range from an executive layout featuring six or eight seats, to 10-seat commuter and cargo-hauling versions.

pc-24The PC–24 will be powered by two FADEC-controlled Williams FJ44-4A turbofans producing 3,600 lbst each and having 5,000-hour times between overhaul. Maximum takeoff weight is set at 17,650 pounds, max payload will be 2,500 pounds, and max payload with full fuel will be 915 pounds, Pilatus said. Maximum range with four passengers is anticipated as being 1,950 nm.

The Honeywell Apex avionics suite used in the PC–12NG serves as the basis for the PC–24’s four-screen cockpit, which Pilatus has dubbed ACE, for “advanced cockpit environment.” Avionics will include TCAS II, WAAS-LPV approach capability, Honeywell’s SmartView synthetic vision, electronic charts, and graphical flight planning capability. The airplane will have a stick shaker-pusher system for stall protection, and use bleed air for wing anti-ice and pneumatic boots for empennage deicing. A lift-dump system incorporating four large spoiler panels keeps landing distances to as low as 2,525 feet. And the PC–24—like the PC–12—will be certified for landings on unimproved surfaces.

In addition to a forward airstair door, Pilatus’ signature large aft cargo door also will be retained; it will measure four feet, one inch wide by four feet, three inches high and be capable of handling standard pallet sizes. A forward, externally serviceable lavatory is standard, as is a single-point refueling port.

First flight of the $8.9 million jet is expected in 2014, with EASA and FAA certification to follow in 2017.

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Spec sheet

Pilatus PC–24 $8.9 million

Engine | 2 Williams International FJ44-4A

Seats | 6-10

Max takeoff weight | 17,650 lb

Max cruise speed | 425 KTAS

Takeoff field length | 2,690 ft

Landing field length | 2,525 ft

Range (with IFR reserves) | 1,190 nm

Wingspan | 55 ft 9 in

Length | 55 ft 2 in

Height | 17 ft 4 in

Thomas A. Horne

Thomas A. Horne | AOPA Pilot Editor at Large, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.