Pilatus PC-24

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PC-24
Pilatus PC-24, P01, HB-VXA (18743050229) (cropped).jpg
Pilatus PC-24 first prototype landing at Stans, 2015.
Role Light jet
National origin Switzerland
Manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft
First flight 11 May 2015[1]
Introduction 7 February 2018[2]
Status in production
Primary user PlaneSense
Produced 2015-present
Number built 8 delivered by August 2018[3]
Program cost 500 million Swiss francs[4]
Unit cost
US$8.9M (2017)[5]

The Pilatus PC-24 is a twin-engine business jet produced by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. Designed to combine light-jet speed, climb and altitude capability with twin-turboprop capacity, short-field / rough-field capability, and general utility, the airplane was viewed as a twin-engined, jet upgrade of their single-engine, turboprop PC-12, and a competitor to the Cessna Citation CJ4 and Embraer Phenom 300.

The aircraft was first revealed to the public on 21 May 2013, with the maiden flight on 11 May 2015. The PC-24 received EASA and FAA type certification on 7 December 2017 and the first customer delivery was on 7 February 2018.

Development[edit]

During the 1990s, Pilatus Aircraft had brought to market the Pilatus PC-12, a single-engine turboprop-powered business aircraft. As the PC-12 quickly proved to be a commercial success, Pilatus sought to follow up with a complementary aircraft and began gathering feedback from customers of the type. In response to this request, several customers reportedly expressed a desire for an aircraft that would possess both a greater range and top speed than the existing PC-12, while retaining the type's overall ruggedness and ability to make use of very short runways.[6] Based on this feedback, Pilatus elected to pursue development of such an aircraft. In 2007, Pilatus initiated work on the program.[7] Development of the aircraft was conducted using existing company funds.[6] The design program was first mentioned by Pilatus in its May 2011 annual report.[5]

Designated as the PC-24, Pilatus decided to power the type using a pair of Williams FJ44 engines; the PC-24 is the company's first jet-powered aircraft.[8] Several competing business aircraft were identified early on, including Embraer's Phenom 300 and Cessna's Citation CJ4.[6]

Beyond the propulsion choice, several other unique features were developed for the PC-24; Pilatus and Honeywell cooperatively designed the Advanced Cockpit Environment for the type. This is intended to reduce pilot workload and allows the PC-24 to be single-pilot certified. The avionics system is based on Honeywell Primus Epic 2.[9]

On 21 May 2013, the PC-24 was introduced to the public at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva. At the time, Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk claimed the PC-24 did not fit into any existing business jet categories, and stated that the aircraft was the only one that combined "...the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a medium light jet, and the performance of a light jet".[8][10]

PC-24 prototype during its roll-out ceremony

On 1 August 2014, which is also Switzerland's national day, P01, the first of the three PC-24 prototypes, was rolled out.[11] Each of these three prototypes serve different functions in the development program; P01 is intended for exploring the flight envelope of the type, P02 is mainly for trialling the avionics and autopilot integration, and will spend much of its testing life in the US, while P03 is to be representative of production aircraft and will incorporate improvements made based upon the development work performed with the other two aircraft.[7]

Flight testing[edit]

The first flight of the prototype had been originally anticipated to take place in late 2014, but this was delayed.[12] On 11 May 2015, P01 conducted its first flight from Buochs Airport, Switzerland, for a total of 55 minutes. The occasion marked the start of test flights for the aircraft's two-year certification campaign.[13][14] On the date on which P01 made its first flight, type certification of the PC-24 and subsequent initial deliveries of production aircraft were anticipated to occur in 2017.[15][16]

On 16 November 2015, P02, the second prototype, performed its maiden flight, lasting for 82 minutes; by this date, P01 had accumulated a total of 150 flying hours and had performed over 100 flights.[17][18] In May 2016, P01 took an brief intermission in the test program to appear on static display at EBACE; by this point, P01 and P02 had accumulated more than 500 flight hours between them.[19] During EBACE 2016, it was commented that the program was on track and test flights had been free of surprises; during a transatlantic crossing to the US, P02 had achieved a cruise speed in excess of 800 km/hr (432 kt.), which was better than expected.[16]

The PC-24 flight-test fleet was completed with the addition of the third prototype of P03 in March 2017; by May they had logged 950 flights and 1,525 hours.[20] In August 2017, Williams International received type and production certification from the EASA and FAA for its FJ44-4A-QPM while the three test aircraft accumulated over 1,700h of flight tests, on schedule for certification and introduction in the fourth quarter.[21] By October 2017, more than 2,000 hours had been flown, with the P01 prototype flying 626 times and 900 hours. The P03 prototype will complete a functional and reliability program, including 150 hours over six weeks before certification is completed and initial deliveries commence.[22]

The three prototypes flew 2205 hours including icing conditions and very hot temperatures, outside its flight envelope, bird strikes, structural stress tests and noise tests before it received EASA and FAA type certification on 7 December 2017. Its performance goals were met or exceeded, like its maximum speed raised from 425 to 440 knots (787 to 815 km/h).[4] “Rough Field” certification is planned for the fourth quarter of 2018 and unpaved runway testing began in June for two weeks in Woodbridge Airfield, north east of London, as the Australian RFDS will start medevac in 2019.[23]

Production[edit]

The interiors of the PC-24 have been designed by BMW Designworks; interiors for the Americas are to be completed at a facility in Broomfield, Colorado, which will be expanded by 50% to cope with the extra demand.[17] In late 2014, an agreement between Pilatus and FlightSafety International will see the latter conduct US-based PC-24 pilot and technician training in Dallas, Texas.[24] In May 2017, series production was under way for a fourth quarter first delivery to PlaneSense, following certification.[20]

In December 2017, eight PC-24s were on the assembly line and 23 deliveries were planned for 2018.[4] The first customer delivery was completed on 7 February 2018 to PlaneSense.[25][2] In 2018, 23 to 24 are planned for delivery, with 40 planned for 2019 and then 50 per year.[26]

Design[edit]

The PC-24 business jet is a low-wing cantilever cabin monoplane powered by two Williams FJ44-4A turbofan engines, each mounted in a nacelle on the side of the rear fuselage.[27] It has a T-tail and a retractable Tricycle landing gear.[27] The cabin has room for eight passengers and two pilots, although it is certified to fly with only one pilot.[27] The cabin has three exits, a passenger door on the left-hand side near the front, two overwing emergency exits and a cargo door on the left-hand side at the rear.[27] According to Pilatus, the PC-24 is the first business jet to be fitted with this standard pallet-sized cargo door.[28]

The aircraft is designed to operate from short and rough airstrips and incorporates an advanced wing design, with a large double-slotted flap system to achieve the necessary performance, having a stall speed of only 81 knots at the maximum landing weight.[29]

Operational history[edit]

At the May 2014 EBACE, Pilatus sold the initial production run of 84 units 36 hours after orders opened. This first batch of orders is to be delivered until early 2020. Orders were to reopen after publishing the aircraft’s final performance data and assessing operators' feedback, on or before the 2018 National Business Aviation Association conference in Orlando. Throughout its 40-year lifecycle, Pilatus plan to produce 4,000 units.[30] New orders should be accepted in 2019.[23]

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia has ordered at least four aircraft for rapid medical evacuations and hospital transfers, three to be based in Australia's largest state, Western Australia.[31][32][33]

Potential customers include the Swiss Air Force, which intends to use the jet as an executive transport for the Swiss Federal Council.[34][35]

Operators[edit]

Specifications[edit]

Data from Pilatus[36]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one or two
  • Capacity: 8 passengers[27]
  • Length: 16.85 m (55 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 17.0 m (55 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 5.4 m (17 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 30.91 m2 (332.7 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 9.35
  • Empty weight: 4,965 kg (10,946 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,005 kg (17,648 lb)
  • Fuel capacity: 2,705 kg / 5,965 lb, 888.5 US gal (3,363 L)
  • Max payload: 1,135 kg / 2,500 lb
  • Cabin: 7.01 m × 1.69 m × 1.55 m long × wide × high ( 23 ft 0 in × 5 ft 7 in × 5 ft 1 in)
  • Cabin altitude: 2,438 m at 13,716 m (8,000 ft at 45,000 ft), 8.78 psi (0.605 bar)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Williams FJ44-4A turbofans, 15 kN (3,400 lbf) thrust each

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 815 km/h (506 mph; 440 kn) [4]
  • Stall speed: 150 km/h (93 mph; 81 kn)
  • Range: 2,200 km (1,367 mi; 1,188 nmi) , Max Payload (2,500 lb)[a]
  • Ferry range: 3,610 km (2,243 mi; 1,949 nmi) , 4 passengers (800 lb payload)[a]
  • Service ceiling: 13,716 m (45,000 ft) , single engine ceiling 7,925 m (26,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 20.67 m/s (4,069 ft/min) at Sea level, 1,850 fpm / 9.4 m/s at FL 300
  • Time to altitude: FL 450 in 30 minutes
  • Wing loading: 259 kg/m2 (53 lb/sq ft)
  • Fuel consumption: 1.98 kg/km (7.0 lb/mi) Mach 0.72/416 kn (770 km/h) cruise, 15,375 lb (6,974 kg) weight, FL 450, ISA+3C[37]
  • Thrust/weight: 0.39
  • Take-off: 820 m / 2,690 ft (MTOW, ISA, sea level, dry paved runway)
  • Landing: 770 m / 2,525 ft (Over 50 ft obstacle, MLW, ISA, sea level, dry paved runway)
  1. ^ a b NBAA IFR reserves of 100 nm + 30 min VFR, LRC, Single Pilot Ops

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sarsfield, Kate (11 May 2015). "Pilatus PC-24 'super versatile jet' takes to the skies". London: Flightglobal. 
  2. ^ a b "Pilatus Delivers PC-24 Super Versatile Jet to Launch Customer, PlaneSense" (Press release). Pilatus. 7 Feb 2018. 
  3. ^ Kate Sarsfield (30 Aug 2018). "Pilatus on track to hit PC-24 delivery target". FlightGlobal. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Historic Milestone in Swiss Economic History: Pilatus Obtains PC-24 Type Certificates" (PDF) (Press release). Pilatus. 8 Dec 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Ian Sheppard and Mark Huber (December 8, 2017). "Pilatus PC-24 Awarded EASA and FAA Certification". AIN. 
  6. ^ a b c Grady, Mary (21 May 2013). "Pilatus Introduces PC-24 TwinJet". AVweb. 
  7. ^ a b "PC-24 Gets Off to a Flying Start". Aviation International News. 19 May 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Sarsfield, Kate (21 May 2013). "EBACE: Pilatus joins the Jet Set with PC-24". Flightglobal. 
  9. ^ "Pilatus PC-24 Advanced Cockpit Environment powered by Primus Epic 2.0". Honeywell. 
  10. ^ Whyte, Alasdair (22 May 2013). "The Pilatus PC-24 versus the Cessna Citation CJ4 and the Embraer Phenom 300". Corporate Jet Investor. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  11. ^ Perry, Dominic. "PICTURES: Pilatus PC-24 is rolled out at Stans ceremony." Flight International, 2 August 2014.
  12. ^ Perry, Dominic (19 February 2015). "Pilatus begins engine ground runs on PC-24". London: Flightglobal. 
  13. ^ Trautvetter, Chad (11 May 2015). "Pilatus Jets into the Future with PC-24 First Flight". Aviation International News. 
  14. ^ Sarsfield, Kate. "VIDEO: Pilatus PC-24 'super versatile jet' takes to the skies." Flight International, 11 May 2015.
  15. ^ Niles, Russ (18 May 2014). "Pilatus Opens Order Book On Jet". AVweb. 
  16. ^ a b "PC-24 Prototypes Are Keeping Busy". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 25 May 2016. 
  17. ^ a b Huber, Mark. "Second Pilatus PC-24 Flies." AIN Online, 17 November 2015.
  18. ^ Sarsfield, Kate. "NBAA: Pilatus marks flight of second PC-24 and upgrades PC-12NG." Flight International, 16 November 2015.
  19. ^ Alcock, Charles. "Certification-chasing PC-24 Does EBACE Touch and Go." AIN Online, 24 May 2016.
  20. ^ a b Chad Trautvetter (May 21, 2017). "Pilatus Starts Production of PC-24 Jets". Aviation International News. 
  21. ^ Kate Sarsfield (8 Aug 2017). "Williams gains approvals for latest FJ44 engine variant". Flightglobal. 
  22. ^ Guy Norris (Oct 11, 2017). "Swiss Timing For Pilatus PC-24 Program". Aviation Week Network. 
  23. ^ a b "First Landing on an Unpaved Runway for the PC-24" (Press release). Pilatus. 22 June 2018. 
  24. ^ Huber, Mark (22 October 2014). "Pilatus Gears Up for PC-24". Aviation International News. 
  25. ^ a b Niles, Russ (8 February 2018). "First PC-24 Goes To PlaneSense". AVweb. Retrieved 9 February 2018. 
  26. ^ Matt Thurber (May 30, 2018). "Pilatus Ramping Up PC-24 Deliveries". Aviation International News. 
  27. ^ a b c d e "EASA Type Certificate Data Sheet for PC-24" (PDF). EASA. 7 December 2018. 
  28. ^ "Cargo." Pilatus Aircraft, Retrieved: 4 June 2016.
  29. ^ Patrick Veillette (26 October 2015). "Pilatus Designs The PC-24 To Do Everything". Aviation Week Network. 
  30. ^ Kate Sarsfield (23 May 2017). "PC-24 orderbook to re-open by NBAA 2018". Flightglobal. 
  31. ^ "RFDS buys Pilatus PC-24 for Adelaide-based Central Operations". Retrieved 10 January 2017. 
  32. ^ "Our services - Royal Flying Doctor Service". www.flyingdoctor.org.au. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  33. ^ "New jets to bolster the essential RFDS fleet". thewest.com.au. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017. 
  34. ^ "Ueli Maurer darf Pilatus-Jet kaufen" [Ueli Maurer authorised to purchase Pilatus jet]. 20 Minuten (in German). Tamedia AG. 2 July 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015. 
  35. ^ Raths, Olivia (1 August 2014). "Der PC-24 von Pilatus wird der neue Bundesratsjet" [The PC-24 from Pilatus will be the new parliamentary jet]. Der Bund (in German). Tamedia AG. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  36. ^ "PC-24 Brochure" (PDF). Pilatus Aircraft. 
  37. ^ Fred George (Jul 27, 2018). "Aviation Week Puts The Pilatus PC-24 Through Its Paces". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 
  38. ^ a b Whyte, Alasdair, "Aircraft Comparison: Pilatus PC-24 vs Cessna Citation CJ4 vs Embraer Phenom 300," March 9, 2015, Corporate Jet Investor, retrieved October 2, 2017

External links[edit]