The first Pilatus PC-24 destined for launch customer PlaneSense has been registered in Switzerland by the Stans-based airframer, as certification and service entry of the superlight business jet draw near.
The all-metal aircraft – serial number 101 – carries the registration HB-VSB and will be delivered to the US fractional ownership company following European Aviation Safety Agency and US Federal Aviation Administration validation of the PC-24 programme, earmarked for December.
Following pre-delivery testing, the aircraft will be placed on the FAA registry of N-prefixed aircraft.
PlaneSense is already a long-standing Pilatus customer and the largest commercial operator of its PC-12NG single-engined turboprop, with a fleet of 35.
Based in New Hampshire, the operator acquired six PC-24s from the first order round, which sold out within 36h of opening in 2013. Pilatus has a backlog for 84 PC-24s, and plans to reopen the orderbook in 2018..
The seven-seat PC-24 is Pilatus’s first jet after almost eight decades of producing models such as the PC-12 – the best-selling single turboprop business aircraft, with more than 1,500 deliveries to date – and the rugged PC-6 Porter. Production of this short take-off and landing trainer will end in 2019 after 60 years and about 600 sales.
The company also produces the PC-21 turboprop military trainer, whose customers include the French air force.
However, the PC-24 is expected to top them all, with Pilatus forecasting production of 4,000 units over the next 40 years.