NBAA Convention News

Pilatus PC-24 Fleet Heads for Double Dozen in Early 2019

 - October 18, 2018, 4:11 AM
Thanks to its short- and soft-field capabilities, the new Pilatus PC-24 is becoming popular with operators and passengers alike. Cy Cyr

The worldwide, in-service Pilatus PC-24 fleet has now reached 12 aircraft, with an expected total of 23 by year-end, the Swiss aircraft manufacturer (Booth 4295) said on Tuesday at NBAA 2018. These aircraft are located in the U.S., Switzerland, Luxembourg, and South Africa.

The 12 Pilatus jets have accumulated 1,200 flight hours, with the fleet leader, a PlaneSense-operated PC-24, at 620 hours. George Antoniadis, the U.S. fractional ownership operator’s president and CEO, said, “Our clients absolutely love the PC-24 and it is a wonderful complement to our PC-12s. The jet has allowed us to expand our offering with a larger cabin and higher speeds.” He noted the ability to reach airfields that other jets cannot reach, “significantly reducing point-to-point travel time.”

Meanwhile, Western Aircraft, operator of PC-24 S/N 102 and authorized Pilatus dealer for the Northwest U.S., described the aircraft as a “true pilot’s airplane.” Chief pilot Scott Marshall continued, “The ergonomic cockpit layout paired with the ACE integrated avionics suite shows that Pilatus developed this aircraft with the pilot in mind. Whether hand flying in cruise or on approach, the aircraft is one of the most stable and forgiving that I have ever flown.”

Pilatus continues with post-certification activities to expand the operating envelope of the type, including steep approaches, air ambulance interiors and operation on unpaved runways, one of the key selling points that led to the initial flurry of more than 80 orders at EBACE 2014 in Geneva.

More than 150 takeoffs and landings have been conducted to date on dirt, grass, and gravel surfaces in Switzerland, Canada, Italy, and the UK, Pilatus said. Certification for operation from rough surfaces is expected before year-end, added Pilatus.

The company also said most PC-24 clients are opting for its “CrystalCare” maintenance support program. “We are very pleased with how well the PC-24’s entry-into-service program has progressed over the past nine months," said Pilatus CEO Markus Bucher.

Pilatus (Booth 4295, Static SD23) has both a PC-24 and PC-12 on static display at Orlando Executive Airport this week at NBAA 2018.