Pilatus’s PC-24 made a fleeting US debut at NBAA on 2 November with the Swiss manufacturer insisting that its first jet is running to schedule for certification next year.

At a ceremony at the static display just before midday, Pilatus chief executive Markus Bucher said: “We stand here on American ground. For the next 10 years about 50% of these aircraft will be delivered to North America.”

With more than 1,000h of flight tests racked up by its two PC-24 proto­types, Pilatus bosses say they “expect it to exceed” all its published performance characteristics.

“When we launched the PC-24 in 2013 we published the performance data – now we can guarantee to buyers that we can achieve it,” says Andre Zimmerman, vice-president of the PC-24 programme. These include range of 1,950nm (3,610km) with four passengers, or 1,800nm with six, a maximum cruise speed of 425kt (787km/h), and a payload of 2,500lb (1,130kg).

The two existing flight-test prototypes will be joined by a third, production-standard aircraft in early 2017, which will also be the first to have a cabin installed.

Certification and service entry – with launch customer Plane­Sense – for the Williams International FJ44-powered PC-24 are scheduled for late next year.

A subsequent certification campaign will look to validate its unpaved runway performance.

With the first three years of production sold out, Pilatus has temporarily closed the order book for the type, although it is likely to revisit this after certification, Zimmerman says.

The first customer aircraft is now on Pilatus’s Stans final assembly line, he says, with production scheduled to eventually ramp up to about 40 aircraft a year.

Although the initial tranche of 84 aircraft are destined solely for civil customers, Pilatus has eventual ambition to sell the PC-24 into the military market, says Bucher.

However, he stresses that it will not focus on this segment until all the certification work on the civil model is complete.

Source: Flight Daily News