Pilatus delivers 100th composites-intensive jet
PC-24 Super Versatile Jet is now present on every continent and sold out for 2021.
Photo Credit: AOPALive
Less than three years after the first delivery, Pilatus Aircraft’s (Stans, Switzerland) 100th Super Versatile Jet, PC-24, is now in use as a business aircraft with new owner, Jetfly Aviation (Luxembourg). According to Pilatus, the composites-intensive PC-24 is now present on every continent, providing medevac flights in Australia and the U.S., for example, business travel for a German automobile manufacturer and transport for government officials in South Africa and Switzerland. This handover marks, says Pilatus, is another milestone in the history of the first Swiss business jet: the global fleet has clocked up more than 33,500 safe hours in the air so far, of which over 2,375 hours have been accumulated by the fleet leader.
The PC-24 is said to weigh only five tons due to carbon and glass fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP, GFRP) composites on interior and exterior components (Pilatus began using carbon fiber parts on its PC-6 aircraft many years ago). The PC-24 incorporates carbon fiber composites in the aircraft’s engine casings, wingtips and wind trailing edges, landing gear doors and air ducts, as well as various pipes and covers. Further, Pilatus processes roughly 90,000 square meters of prepreg per year, and more than half of the parts produced with these materials are installed in the PC-24. The company also produces the Pilatus Porter PC-6, the PC-12 single-engine turboprop, and the PC-21 training aircraft. Although Pilatus does not yet build load-bearing parts from CFRP, it is researching this option for future aircraft.
“We hit the bullseye with the PC-24,” says Oscar J. Schwenk, chairman of Pilatus. “I’m very encouraged by such high demand. We’re already sold out for 2021, but the order book is open for deliveries from 2022 onward. Investment in the PC-24 helps us to secure jobs at our Swiss site on a long-term basis. We are also working on further optimizations. In short, we will spare no effort to ensure that the PC-24 stays the undisputed leader in its class — exactly as the PC-12 is now.”
Offering up an interior that can comfortably fit up to ten passengers, the PC-24’s cabin size has earned its place in the “mid-size jets” category; in fact, according to Pilatus, customers who opt for a PC-24 actually end up with the same cabin size as in a model of the next higher price category. The Super Versatile Jet also offers modern, fuel-efficient Williams engines and smart Advanced Cockpit Environment (ACE).
The PC-24 is also said to provide access to almost twice as many aerodromes around the world as other jets currently on the market. It takes passengers closer to their actual destination, notes Pilatus, because the PC-24 is designed for use at small airports with shorter runways, so it can avoid the usual administrative complexities at larger airports and keep transfers on the ground to an absolute minimum.
By way of example, the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia flies missions on remote strips in the Australian Outback, daily proof that the PC-24 is perfectly suited for these assignments says Pilatus. Whether on grass, gravel, snow or asphalt, it is claimed that the PC-24 can land (almost) anywhere.
Jetfly Aviation itself has operated Pilatus aircraft for more than 20 years. With the handover of this 100th PC-24, Jetfly now runs a Pilatus fleet of 51 aircraft — the largest in Europe, it says. Cédric Lescop, CEO of Jetfly Aviation, says on the occasion of the ceremony: “We are excited and proud to take delivery of the 100th PC-24. All our customers without exception have been impressed by the quality of the PC-24, and the incredible performance of this aircraft. After two years of operation, our customers are still enthusiastic about their acquisition, which is a sign to us of the success of this new aircraft program which is well on the way to becoming another market bestseller, just like the PC-12.”
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