Pilatus PC-24 to Make U.S. Debut at NBAA-BACE

Versatile twinjet progresses toward certification.

Pilatus PC-24
The PC-24, which will debut at Orlando Executive Airport on Wednesday, undergoes a runway water test.Pilatus

If you plan to visit NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition on Wednesday, make sure to stop by the Pilatus display at the Orlando Executive Airport. The company is bringing in its “super versatile” PC-24 for the day, the first public display of the twinjet in the U.S.

Much testing has been accomplished around the world, including extreme heat testing in Phoenix, Arizona; hot and high testing in Angel Fire, New Mexico; water spray testing in Cranfield, U.K.; and ice testing in Iqualuit, Canada.

Through its extensive testing program, which has accumulated 1,032 hours over 600 flights, Pilatus has been able to confirm the targeted performance figures that it guaranteed when it launched the PC-24 in 2013. Test pilots have seen max cruise speeds of 425 knots, stall speeds of 81 knots and a max range of 1,950 nm. At this point, the aerodynamic design has been finalized and the jet is on track for EASA and FAA certification in the third quarter of next year.

Pilatus has taken more than 80 deposits for the PC-24, which makes the order book full through 2019. Pilatus is not taking deposits at this time, but Pilatus’ CEO Markus Bucher said it will likely open up the order book again toward the end of next year.

About 85 percent of PC-24 deposit holders are owners of the company’s single engine turboprop, the PC-12, a greater percentage than expected, Bucher said. While the PC-12 continues to show great success — sales have increased by 20 percent over last year — Pilatus is decreasing its PC-12 production rate slightly for 2017. The strategy is to prevent saturation in the market to keep the resale value high, Bucher said. He said a 10-year-old Pilatus PC-12 is currently worth about 80 percent of its original cost, a fact that is integral to keeping customers happy long term.