Pilatus Introduces PC-24 TwinJet

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Pilatus, best known for its PC-12 turboprop, on Tuesday released details of the PC-24, which will be the company's first jet. At the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, board chairman Oscar Schwenk said the "super-versatile" jet will be able to use very short runways, paved or unpaved, and a cargo door will be standard. The cabin can be fitted with up to 10 seats, or six to eight in executive configuration. Range is up to 2,243 miles with four passengers, and maximum speed is 425 knots. The PC-24 is powered by two Williams FJ44-4A turbine engines. The jet project was launched last summer and work on the prototype "is in full swing" in Switzerland, the company said. First deliveries are expected in 2017, at a price of about $9 million.

"Over ten years ago, we started asking our PC-12 customers what they would like to see in the next Pilatus aircraft," said Schwenk. "The answers were always the same: Further and faster -- whilst retaining the much appreciated strengths of the PC-12, such as the ability to use very short runways. It was a huge challenge for our development team!" The company has designed its own "Advanced Cockpit Environment" system, which aims to reduce workloads, and it will be single-pilot certified. The passenger cabin, at 23 feet long, is somewhat larger than the PC-12's, which is about 17 feet. The jet rollout is scheduled for the third quarter of 2014 and first flight is expected soon after. The program is financed "entirely from company funds," according to Tuesday's news release.

Click here for a video look at the new jet.