The third prototype, PO3, which conforms to production standard and is outfitted with a plush interior, is taking a break from certification tests to appear here at EBACE.
Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk professed himself pleased with the aircraft’s performance, but said no details would be released until the PC-24 receives EASA certification in the fourth quarter of this year. “So far, so good,” he said. “We are still of the opinion it will meet that schedule” although some tests for certification have to be repeated on the conforming airplane as they were conducted earlier on the first two non-production-standard prototypes.
Plans call for delivery of the first aircraft to a customer just two weeks after certification.
Amid much fanfare, Pilatus opened and closed the order book for the PC-24 at EBACE 2014, notching up 84 sales, or three years’ production. “We will open it up again after certification,” said Schwenk, “with proven performance figures.” Already a long line of potential customers is showing strong interest, even though production is sold out through the beginning of 2020.
While developing the airplane, Pilatus has also been expanding its factories and preparing to ramp up for production. A new factory in Colorado will install all interiors for the U.S. market, while new production facilities and tools in Stanz, Switzerland, will be gearing up. Manufacture of airplane parts has already begun.
Schwenk estimates that Pilatus has invested some $500 million in the PC-24 program, and another $300 million on production facilities. This has all been funded internally, he said.
One last piece in bringing the PC-24 into service is training pilots to fly them. Pilatus has appointed FlightSafety to provide simulators first in the U.S., then Stanz, and lastly, Australia.
(Aviation Week - EBACE Show News)