May 21, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
Calling it a “super versatile jet,” Pilatus on May 21 introduced its new, $8.9 million PC-24 twinjet at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exposition in Geneva. The airplane, which is still in the prototype stage, is set to roll out of the Pilatus factory in Stans, Switzerland, in the third quarter of 2014. Certification is planned for early 2017.
The PC-24 will be powered by two 3,400-lbst Williams FJ44-4A engines, which should enable max cruise speeds of approximately 425 knots, Pilatus said. The airplane’s maximum range with four passengers is projected at 1,948 nautical miles, and Pilatus says that the PC-24 will be “the first business jet worldwide with the ability to use very short runways, paved or unpaved, and with a cargo door standard.”
A choice of cabin layouts will be available, from six- to eight-seat executive floorplans to 10-seat commuter setups to emergency medical and passenger-and-cargo “combi” arrangements.
The PC-24 will have an avionics suite that borrows heavily from the Honeywell Primus Apex flight deck used in Pilatus’ PC-12NG single-engine turboprop. Pilatus calls the PC-24 suite an advanced cockpit environment (ACE). This will include four 12-inch display screens, the Smartview synthetic vision system, and TCAS II capability, along with an inertial reference system, WAAS GPS navigators capable of localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV), and graphical flight planning functionality.
Oscar Schwenk, chairman of Pilatus’ Board of Directors, said he had no doubt that the PC-24 will be just as successful as the PC-12, which has racked up more than 1,200 sales. “It’s not a ‘me too product,” he said.
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.
Aircraft Power and Fuel
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
L-3 Aviation Products plans to join the general aviation ADS-B world with its Lynx MultiLink Surveillance System. The new products will be “specifically tailored to fit the panel and budget of today’s general aviation aircraft and pilots,” said Larry Riddle, vice president of sales and marketing.
It was a big day for the newly resurrected Mooney International Corp. Mooney president Jerry Chen handed over the keys to the first airplane to roll out of the Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer’s newly reactivated factory site.
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