Pilatus PC-24 Takes Flight

Pilatus PC-24

Swiss airplane maker Pilatus has achieved a significant milestone in its PC-24 Super Versatile Jet program, taking the twinjet to the skies for its first flight on Monday morning at the Buochs Airport in Stans, Switzerland.

During the flight, second in command Reto Aeschlimann reported: "Everything looks great so far! Beautiful handling — the PC-24 flies just as expected — a real Pilatus aircraft!"

Paul Mulcahy was the lead test pilot for the 55-minute flight, which was conducted with the landing gear down — a common configuration for a first test flight. During the takeoff, the PC-24 used up less than 2,000 feet of runway and climbed about 5,200 feet in three minutes up to 10,000 feet MSL where the pilots put the airplane through some maneuvers to test the flight characteristics of the bizjet.

Before the flight, the design was put through extensive ground, simulator and wind-tunnel testing. Pilatus plans to build three prototypes and expects to fly approximately 2,300 test flight hours prior to certification, which it hopes to achieve in about two years.

While designed as a highly capable business jet, the PC-24 also offers a cargo door and the capability of landing on shorter, rougher airports than most business jets can.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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