Swiss airplane manufacturer Pilatus has earned FAA and EASA type certification for its PC24 twinjet, and the model is set to disrupt the light jet segment mightily. The new aircraft is unlike any jet currently being built, and its closest analogs might be specialty jets once built for military use, but even then the PC24 is far more versatile, that being the name Pilatus has for its new product, the SVJ, for “Super Versatile Jet.” Looking at the specs and its capabilities, it’s hard to argue that claim.
The program also highlights a core strength of Pilatus, its attention to detail and reliability. At the launch of the PC24 more than four years ago, Pilatus said that it would certify the plane by the end of 2017, which has already happened. First customer deliveries are imminent.
The designation “PC24” is kind of an inside joke. The PC12 is Pilatus’ remarkably popular big turboprop single; with two turbofan engines, the PC24 has twice as many as the PC12. The engines on the ’24 are the Williams FJ-44-4A turbofans, the same powerplants as on the Textron Aviation Cessna Citation CJ4, which, along with the Embraer Phenom 300, will be the PC24s primary competitors.
Here’s why the PC24 will be so different and why it will likely win a big market share of the biggest of the light jets niche.
- It’s fast. At 440 knots, the PC24 is the fastest in the segment.
- It’s Swiss. Why does that matter? Well, ask people who buy Swiss watches, famous for their craftsmanship and reliability. The PC12 would not be the big seller it has been without it being a great product. The fact that it’s a status symbol too, doesn’t hurt a bit.
- It’s rugged. The reason that Pilatus calls the PC24 the Super Versatile Jet is because it can take off and land on non-paved surfaces. With beefy trailing link landing gear and high, rear-fuselage-mounted engines, the plane is ready to take on some gravel. Plus, it’s got that famous giant cargo loading door, just like the PC12.
- It’s slow. I know we said that it’s fast, and it is, but it’s also slow, with a stall speed of just 81 knots at max landing weight. Along with its high-lift flap system, the PC24 has a balanced field length of 2,810 feet, giving it the capability of utilizing many airports that previously were suitable only for some turboprops.
- It’s got range. With a maximum range of 2,035 nm, the PC24 can stretch it out. And with its spacious cabin, it won’t seem like a hardship to the passengers.
Pilatus has eight PC24s on the assembly line in Stans, and it plans to deliver the first plane early in 2018 and to hand over a total of 23 deliveries in 2018.
Learn more at Pilatus Aircraft.