For many years, Pilatus has been the benchmark of European exceptionalism in the aviation industry. They have been a producer of high performance turbine-powered aircraft for a wide variety of different missions. From their ultra-robust PC-6 Porter STOL performer of Air America lore, to the market-dominating PC-12 single (1,700 units and counting), to their nimble PC-21 trainer which trains thousands of budding military pilots the world over. But now they have come up with a real, genuine gamechanger: the PC-24.
A Whole New Category
The PC-24 is far more than just a pretty face for the traditionally robust namesake of Pilatus. It is not just a carbon copy of a Citation; no, it is more of an iconoclast than a direct competitor.
The PC-24 ushers in an entirely new breed of personal jet and private jet, one with the performance you expect from a compact biz jet, but with a twist: the PC-24 is designed to operate places where traditionally only propeller-driven aircraft could, i.e, grass strips, dirt and gravel runways, and so on. Enter the Super Versatile Jet. Manufacturing began in 2014 and continues to this day.
So, how does the PC-24 compare to its competitors? This is actually a tough question because it has so many competitors. During the two critical phases of takeoffs and landings, it competes with turboprop aircraft, but once in the air it competes with other jets.
Short-field and Rough-field Competition
The Beechcraft King Air 350i is the most similar in terms of payload and capacity to the PC-24. However, the PC-24 gets off the ground in about 400’ less than the turboprop! Once it has departed, the PC-24 can travel 200nm farther, and about 130 knots faster. In practical terms, these two aircraft can depart rural Blythe Airport (KBLH) in Western Arizona at the same time, and the PC-24 will arrive in Orlando 1,742nm later in 3:39 as opposed to 4:54 for the King Air 350i. And consider that this rural airport doesn’t really even stretch the envelope of the PC-24!
The PC-24 is a game changer. Imagine beating out a turboprop in short- and rough-field takeoff performance with the same ability to load palletized cargo, and then cruise 130 knots faster! Coming from a proven and highly popular manufacturer will only further the success of the PC-24, and may even spawn an entirely new subgenre of business-class jets.