Pilatus Aircraft completed a significant milestone in the PC-24 twin jet development program in mid-October when it froze the aerodynamic design portion of the project. The move allows the Swiss-based company to move into final flight test and production development as it works toward a planned third quarter 2017 certification schedule.
Two prototypes have flown some 1,000 hours and 600 flights since the program was announced in 2013. A third airplane will join the effort in early 2017. The second prototype, PO2, was scheduled to be on display Nov. 2 at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando, Florida, its public debut in North America. First delivery is planned for the fourth quarter of 2017 to PlaneSense, a fractional ownership program based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The PC-24 includes a large cargo door, similar to the one on the turboprop, and is also designed for rough field operations. Zimmermann said in addition to PC-12 step-up customers, the jet is getting the attention of military services for special ops missions.
The company in 2013 guaranteed key performance data, including a 425-KTAS maximum speed, a maximum of 81-KIAS stall speed, a six-passenger range of 1,800 nautical miles, and a four-passenger range of 1,950 nm. Zimmermann said the airplane will meet or exceed those parameters.
Production of the PC-24, priced at about $8.9 million, is sold out through 2019. Pilatus says it will begin accepting additional orders in 2017 for deliveries after 2019.