Swiss air framer Pilatus successfully carried out the maiden flight of it’s new business jet the PC-24 yesterday. Prototype P01, which bears the registration HB-VXA took off from the company’s headquarters at Buochs Airport in front of around 1800 Pilatus staff. The aircraft flew for 55 minutes before returning to the airport. The aircraft was flown by Pilatus test pilots Paul Mulcahy and Reto Aeschlimann.
The PC-24 is the world’s first business jet to be equipped with a cargo door as standard. It’s design will allow it to operate from very short and even unmade runways. It is powered by two Williams FJ44-4A turbofan engines.
Reto Aeschlimann, Test Pilot, Pilatus Aircraft
Throughout the flight the PC-24 was accompanied and monitored by a PC-21. As is normal on maiden flights, the PC-24 landing gear was kept down for the duration of the flight. The PC-24 was accompanied by a PC-21 and monitored by twelve flight test engineers who kept an eye on a stream of real-time flight data received from the PC-24.
“Everything looks great so far! Beautiful handling – the PC-24 flies just as expected – a real Pilatus aircraft!”
Three PC-24 prototypes will be used to complete a test program of some 2,300 hours over the next two years. Certification and initial deliveries are planned from 2017.