First PC-24 Lands On Unpaved Runway


Image: Pilatus

Pilatus has announced the first successful landing of its PC-24 business jet on an unpaved runway as part of a post-certification test program that specifically emphasizes unpaved runway operations. The first two weeks of testing, some highlights of which can be seen in the video below, took place at Woodbridge Airfield near London. Pilatus believes the aircraft’s “off road” capabilities will allow it to access approximately twice as many airports as it could get to if it stuck to paved fields alone.

“This sort of mission would not be conceivable without the PC-24’s rugged landing gear, clever flap systems and special wing design,” said Pilatus Chairman Oscar J. Schwenk. “The PC-24 was designed with exactly this sort of operation in mind.” The company says it plans on obtaining “rough field” certification for the PC-24 by the fourth quarter of 2018.

According to Pilatus, the PC-24 “Super Versatile Jet” combines “the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a medium-light jet, and the performance of a light jet.” It has a maximum cruise speed of 440 KTAS and can make its way up to 45,000 feet in a little over 24 minutes. Landing distance—on a paved runway—is 2,355 feet over a 50-foot obstacle.

The single-pilot-certified jet has places for 12 (including the pilot) and a maximum payload of 2,522 pounds. It received its FAA and EASA type certifications in December 2017. So far, the company has delivered five PC-24s, the first of which went to New Hampshire-based PlaneSense in February. Pilatus plans to deliver a total of 23 PC-24s this year.