George Antoniadis wouldn’t have missed this “marriage” for anything in the world. The President and CEO of PlaneSense has the distinction of being the owner of the first Pilatus PC-24 (http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/) business jet, and so he made the journey to the manufacturer’s head office in Stans, Switzerland, to watch firsthand as his plane received its wings.
“We are excited to witness the fuselage-wing mating of the first production PC-24,” Antoniadis said of the visit. “We are proud to see the PC-24 sporting the PlaneSense colors, being the culmination of years of preparation. Its large cabin and exceptionally versatile performance are features greatly anticipated by our fractional owners. Additionally, its revolutionary design and manufacturing pedigree will set it apart in day to day operations, allowing PlaneSense to further exceed our commitment to operational excellence and superior service.”
The marriage of the fuselage and wings for the first production PC-24 will be followed by the installation of the cabin, and eventually the testing of the aircraft systems.
The first delivery is expected to take place later this year, shortly after FAA and EASA certifications are achieved. Since its maiden flight on May 11, 2015, the PC-24 has beat its original projections and the marriage process puts it one crucial step closer to joining PlaneSense’s Pilatus fleet, which includes 34 PC-12s.
This will be the first of six PC-24s for the fractional-ownership company, which was revealed as the initial buyer back in January. Pilatus sold 84 PC-24 jets at EBACE in 2014 and will begin selling the $9 million aircraft again when certification is achieved.
The PC-24 is regarded as a Super Versatile Jet for the way it can take off and land using very short runways and unimproved airstrips, as well as its unique large aft cargo door. The 10-passenger jet will boast a speed of 425 knots, a range of nearly 2,000 nm, a max operating altitude of 45,000 feet and a max payload figure of 2,500 pounds.