Pilatus Aircraft, a Swiss manufacturer founded in 1939, obtained type certificates from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on December 7th for the PC-24, the first ever Swiss business jet. This is a huge milestone that Pilatus Aircraft LTD has passed, allowing for sale and distribution of the PC-24 in Europe and the United State.
The PC-24, called “the super versatile jet”, has been in development for the past eleven and a half years, and completed its maiden flight in May 2015. It has notably outstanding short-field performance, comparable to very light jets (VLJ). The take-off distance is a mere 2,810 ft, or 856 m. In contrast, the take-off distance of the Cessna Citation CJ3+ is 3180 ft or 969 m. The cabin is impressive as well—it has the capacity to carry one pilot and up to eleven passengers in its 501 ft3 cabin.
Pilatus invested over $500 million in the development project and another $150 million into production expansion. Each unit costs $8.9 million. As of the PC-24 launch at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) 2013, the company has received 84 orders and will reopen the order book upon meeting customer expectations in 2018.
In preparation to deliver the bulk of North American purchases, Pilatus built a 118,00 ft2 completion and support center at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Colorado. The first PC-24 will be officially delivered to PlaneSense this month in the United States. PlaneSense is a fractional operator based in New Hampshire that already operates a fleet of Pilatus’ PC-12 single-engine turboprops. Twenty-two more planes are expected to be delivered by the end of the year.