In Switzerland, the second Pilatus PC-24 prototype P02 took off from Buochs Airport on Monday 16 November for its maiden flight. The aircraft flew across Central Switzerland for a total of 82 minutes. Following on from the maiden flight of the first PC-24 prototype (P01) in May of this year, this first flight by P02 marks another step forward in the Pilatus PC-24 development program, Pilatus reports.
PO2 is the second PC-24 to join the test flight programme comprising a total of around 2,300 hours in the air. After completing initial test flights in Switzerland, P02 will be deployed mainly in the USA and in Canada, where it will undergo various systems tests and certification flights in partnership with the systems suppliers. Special scrutiny will be accorded to the avionics systems and the autopilot, but the programme will also include cold weather trials and icing tests.
Flights with the first prototype, the P01, have gone as planned thus far. The aircraft has completed a total of 143 hours in 87 flights since May. Numerous aerodynamic tests have been carried out in the air, including tests to determine slow-flight handling, centre of gravity and flutter testing, as well as high-altitude flights. An average of 15 points were tested during each flight. This comprehensive programme of airborne tests was supplemented by exhaustive ground testing.
Certification and delivery of the first series production aircraft to customers is planned from the third quarter of 2017. Furthermore, a 1:1 model of the PC-24 will be on display at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in Las Vegas from 17 to 19 November.
The brand new Pilatus PC-24 performed its first flight in the morning of Monday 11 May. The aircraft took off from Stans airfield in Switzerland, home of the Pilatus factory, around 10.00 am local time.
After 55 minutes of flying time, the PC-24 arrived safely back in Stans. The flight went exactly as planned with no problems whatsoever, says Pilatus.
The first flight comes nine months after the first unveiling of the PC-24, which is the first jet engine powered Pilatus aircraft. At the unveiling, Pilatus already stated that first flight would happen in Spring 2015, and the company has remained true to its word.
Data Throughout the flight the PC-24 was accompanied and monitored by a PC-21. As is normal on maiden flights, the PC-24 landing gear was not retracted on this occasion. Twelve flight test engineers watched the flight from the ground as they kept an eye on a stream of real-time flight data received from the PC-24.
A total of three prototypes will be produced for the PC-24 test flight program. Pilatus has sold at least 84 PC-24s already. Final certification and start of deliveries to customers are planned from 2017. The Swiss government has expressed the intention to buy a PC-24 for federal use.
A Pilatus aircraft of a different kind was rolled out of the Swiss aircraft builder’s facilities in Stans in central Switzerland on Friday 1 August 2014. The aviation world glanced its first looks at the prototype Pilatus PC-24, the first jet engine powered Pilatus aircraft. No less then 25,000 spectators witnessed the event, according to Pilatus. First flight is scheduled for next year.
The PC-24 is the world’s first ever business jet to come equipped as standard with a cargo door, with the kind of performance specification that allows it to operate in and out of very short runways or even unmade strips. The aircraft was 100 percent newly developed and in the words of Pilatus, it’s the first time traditional Pilatus values such as versatility, efficiency and Swiss precision were combined in a jet.
The unveiling took place exactly 75 yars after Pilatus was founded. The Swiss company is well known for producing trainer aircraft such as the PC-7, PC-9 and PC-21, plus business turboprop aircraft such as the PC-12. Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pilatus: “The PC-24 marks a really important milestone in our 75-year history. We have seen our activities grow and expand here in Stans, and this is where we want to be in the future: in Stans, producing our aircraft for sale to customers around the world.”
A total of three prototypes will be produced for the PC-24 test flight program. The maiden flight of the first prototype, which was presented at the rollout, will go ahead in spring 2015. Final certification and start of deliveries to customers are planned from 2017.
Pilatus sold 84 PC-24s at the European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (EBACE) in May this year. At the event on Friday, Swiss federal councillor and defence minister Ueli Maurer announced federal plans for buying a PC-24.
Source: Pilatus, with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest