Docking says he's also worked in the mining industry, a market segment that historically has operated STOL turboprops from “rudimentary dirt strips” during the early phases of new mine development. The PC-24 is designed to perform the same mission as smaller turboprops, carrying as many as ten passengers in a high-density seating configuration. “These aircraft fly in and fly out with shift changes. I think Pilatus is really onto something good. PC-24 is a vast improvement over a King Air or a PC-12.”
Conservative, Evolutionary Design
The newest Pilatus is the firm's first production twin, and a twin turbofan at that. High-strength aluminum alloys will be used for the primary airframe. Similar to the company's PC-21 advanced military trainer, it will have a low-drag airfoil that was developed in-house. The PC-24 will be capable of both high-altitude, high-speed cruise and operating out of short fields. Notably, the aircraft will be fitted with dual-wheel main gear with low-pressure tires and anti-skid brakes.
To achieve the balance of high- and low-speed 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 BCA's 5,000- ft. elevation, ISA+20C airport. That kind of short runway performance will enable it to use 1,300 more airports around the world than the Phenom 300.
“It's not easy to fly to 450 and have the spoilers and flaps needed for short field operations,” says Schwenk.
Extensive wind tunnel tests were conducted in Prague, at the National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands and at RUAG's facility in Switzerland. The final wind tunnel results weren't compiled until early May 2013.
Being able to operate out of short, unpaved landing fields will give the PC-24 access to 21,000 more runways around the world than aircraft limited to using paved runways. A gravel kit will be fitted to the nosewheel to deflect debris away from the engine inlets and the wing flaps will be armored for protection from debris thrown back by the main landing gear.
The 501-cu.-ft. cabin is 5.1 ft. high, 5.6 ft. wide and 23 ft. long from the cockpit to cabin partition to the aft pressure bulkhead. The cabin windows will be the largest in the midsize jet class. Maximum cabin altitude is 8,000 ft. at the aircraft's 45,000- ft. maximum cruising altitude. There is a fully enclosed, forward cabin, externally serviced lavatory and 51.0-90.0 cu. ft. of internal luggage capacity, depending placement of the aft cabin partition.
Interior volume will be bigger than Citation XLS+, but smaller than that of the Hawker 900XP. Unlike most midsize aircraft, though, it will have a flat floor plus both a forward passenger and rear cargo door. Fitting the aircraft with a dropped aisle would have offered more center aisle headroom, but it would have hindered cargo handling.
Six cabin layouts will be offered, accommodating six to eight passengers in executive configuration, ten passengers in commuter seating, pure cargo configuration and half passenger/half cargo combi.