The Pilatus PC-24 has completed its first flight in Switzerland, two years after the jet was announced.
It was originally thought that the PC-24 would make its first flight in late 2014, but after some delays it was finally able to make its maiden voyage. Deliveries are still expected to be on time - some time in 2017 - as was first announced back in 2013.
The jet is a versatile one, as it is designed to have the capabilities of using paved and unpaved runways. This could be helpful for emergency landings or landing in places normal planes cannot. The two standard floor plans are a six-seat and eight-seat executive floor plan. There is also a ten-seat commuter floor plan, and combination arrangements to suit emergency medical or passenger and cargo situations. It also comes with a cargo door as standard equipment.
The jet is powered by two 3,400 pounds-static-thrust Williams FJ44 engines. It posted good takeoff numbers as noted by engineers monitoring the flight from the ground. It took off in less than 2,000 feet and climbed to 10,000 feet in approximately three minutes. The pilots reported no problems and excellent handling characteristics. Standard protocol for the 55-minute test flight mandated that the landing gear be left down the entire time.
The testing group was overjoyed with the results that they were waiting years for, as Pilatus Aircraft board of directors chairman Oscar Schwenk stated,
"It's an emotional moment for sure, and another major milestone in the Pilatus and Swiss aviation history.
"Seeing our new business jet take off on its maiden flight is something we've worked very hard for, and dreamt about for a long time. The flight went exactly as planned with no problems whatsoever."
The company will build three PC-24 prototypes to test, and hope to get certifications and initial deliveries by 2017.
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