Pilatus Introduces A Rough-Field Twinjet

By Fred George
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
May 27, 2013

Pilatus Aircraft is venturing into a new market segment by launching the PC-24, a single-pilot, midsize twin-turbofan aircraft that will be able to operate from short, unpaved fields yet cruise at 425 kt. It will be priced at $8.9 million.

The Swiss manufacturer touts the new model as unique, the first in a new “Super Versatile Jet” segment; its closest conventional competitor is the Embraer Phenom 300. Similar to the Brazilian jet, PC-24 will use aluminum alloys for the primary airframe, limiting composites to secondary structures.

Although unveiled at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), held in Geneva May 21-23, initial design studies on the aircraft began 4-5 years ago; Pilatus Chairman Oscar Schwenk says of the project, “We've kept it very confidential.” Most sales distributors were briefed on the aircraft just a week prior to the unveiling.

The newest Pilatus is the company's first production twin and will expand its offerings, which include the PC-21 military trainer and PC-12 business aircraft, both powered by single, Pratt & Whitney PT6A turboprops.

Similar to the PC-21, the new twin will have a low-drag airfoil that was developed in-house.

To achieve the balance of high-speed, high-altitude cruise and low-speed approach-and-landing performance, the wing will have modest sweep, inboard and outboard fowler flaps and large ground spoilers. Estimated stall speed at maximum landing weight is 81 kt. and projected landing distance is 2,525 ft. Standard takeoff field length is 2,690 ft. and 4,430 ft. when departing a 5,000-ft. elevation, ISA+20C airport.

“It's not easy to fly to [Flight Level] FL450 and have the spoilers and flaps needed for short-field operations,” says Schwenk.

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