Pilatus was due to arrive at NBAA in Orlando in high style on Wednesday, that is, in a new jet aircraft of its own design, the über-cool PC-24. The pretty twinjet is almost a segment of its own. So unusual is it—a 425 knot (at least) twinjet that’s optimized for short and rough strips—that perhaps its closest competitor is the Beechcraft King Air 350.
Pilatus reported that it had already started production of the first PC-24, which will be delivered to charter provider PlaneSense. That first delivery is scheduled for soon after certification, which Pilatus anticipates in the third quarter of 2017. Pilatus has more than 80 orders for the $8.9 million jet (the current price in constant dollars). The airplane is on track to meet all guarantees, the company said, with a top speed of better than 425 knots, a stall slower than 81 knots, a range of 1,950 nm with four passengers and a landing distance of shorter than 2525 feet. The company said that it will announce final performance figures at the European business aviation gathering EBACE in the spring. Training will be at sim centers in Dallas and the company’s headquarters in Stans, Switzerland.
Pilatus North America President Tom Aniello said that the twinjet will for the most part be flown by professional pilots and not the owner. Aniello expects around 20 percent of the initial orders to be owner-flown. He also commented that many of the PC-24 operators who currently operate PC-12s will keep their singles and simply add the twinjet to their portfolio.
On the PC-12NG front, Pilatus announced that it will deliver 90 of the popular single-engine turboprops to customers in 2016. He also said that progress is being made on the construction of the company’s new assembly and completions facility at Rocky Mountain Regional (the former Jeffco).
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