Pilatus Unveils Rough-Field Cargo Jet

By Fred George fred.george@aviationweek.com
Source: AWIN First
June 12, 2013
Credit: Pilatus

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.

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

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.

The PC-24’s short-runway performance will enable it to use 1,300 more airports around the world than the Phenom 300. And its ability to operate from unpaved facilities—“It can land on all kinds of surfaces, except water,” says Chairman Oscar Schwenk—will give it access to 21,000 more runways globally than those available to aircraft restricted to using paved runways. A gravel kit on the nosewheel will deflect debris away from the engine inlets, and the wing flaps will be armored for protection from debris.

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. Unlike most midsize aircraft, though, it will have a flat floor plus both a forward passenger and a 51 X 49-in. rear cargo door, a feature similar to that on the PC-12. It will seat 6-8 passengers in an executive

configuration or 10 in commuter seating.

The aircraft will be powered by two Williams International FJ44-4A turbofans, rated at 3,400 lb. thrust for takeoff. Williams is engineering a new noise-attenuating inlet for the nacelle, along with a passive thrust-vectoring system that will use the Coanda effect to deflect thrust 23 deg. upward at takeoff for better aircraft pitch-control response. And it is developing a proprietary low-idle-speed mode that will enable the right engine to serve as a low-noise auxiliary power unit.

The flight deck will feature Honeywell’s second-generation Apex avionics, with four 12-in. landscape displays in a T configuration.


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