The first flight of the $8.9 million Pilatus PC-24 business jet, announced in 2013 and originally expected to fly by late 2014, has completed its first flight in Switzerland. Deliveries are still expected in 2017 as originally announced two years ago.
The jet is designed to use unpaved as well as paved runways and comes with a cargo door as standard equipment. Cabin layouts include six- to eight-seat executive floor plans, 10-seat commuter floor plans, and emergency medical or passenger and cargo "combi" arrangements.
The jet powered by two 3,400 pounds-static-thrust Williams FJ44 engines took off in less than 2,000 feet and climbed to 10,000 feet in about three minutes. Engineers monitored the flight from the ground. The pilots reported no problems and excellent handling characteristics. The landing gear was left down per the flight test protocol for the 55-minute flight.
Onlookers burst into another round of applause as the wheels of the PC-24 gently came into contact with the tarmac. Paul Mulcahy earned more applause as he left the cockpit, saying to the crowd that this is "a real Pilatus aircraft!" Three PC-24 prototypes will be built and used to complete a rigorous test program of 2,300 hours over the next two years. Fewer than half those hours will actually be flown in Switzerland.
Pilatus sold 84 PC-24s in 36 hours at the 2014 European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (EBACE).