First Customer PC-24 Fuselage And Wings Married
The first Pilatus PC-24 destined for customer use crossed a major milestone on Wednesday when the wings and fuselage were “married” and the airframe was lowered onto its landing gear at the Pilatus headquarters in Stans, Switzerland. André Zimmermann, VP in charge of the PC-24 at Pilatus, told media representatives, “I am extremely pleased that today we successfully completed the fuselage to wing marriage of the first PC-24 for customer delivery. This is another very important and significant milestone in the PC-24's development program. We are now looking forward with great anticipation and tremendous pride to the very first customer handover later this year when PlaneSense will take delivery of their PC-24 and we witness the entry into service of our Super Versatile Jet.” PlaneSense is currently one of the largest operators of popular Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprops, with a fleet of 34 airplanes, and has committed to buying six PC-24s.
The PC-24 will be Pilatus’ first foray into jet aircraft. The Swiss manufacturer has been touting the ability of the new 17,000-pound twin-jet, equipped with a cargo door, to fly in and out of short, unpaved runways—places most operators are loath to take their current jets—with large or awkwardly shaped cargo. Pilatus advertises a takeoff balanced field length of 2,690 feet, driven largely by its 81-knot stall speed. The similarly sized Cessna Citation CJ4’s advertised takeoff field length is 3,410. For users less concerned with takeoff distance and need for a cargo door, the CJ4 does offer somewhat better range and top speed. Certification is expected by the end of 2017.