The first Swiss business jet took to the skies from Buochs airport on Monday, with its developer describing it as "an emotional moment for sure, and another major milestone in the Pilatus and Swiss aviation history". "To see 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.
Today, at last, that 'Swiss Dream' became a reality," Pilatus chairman Oscar J. Schwenk said of the 55-minute maiden flight of the twin-engined PC-24 Super Versatile Jet. "The flight went exactly as planned with no problems whatsoever," a Pilatus statement said, adding the jet took off "in just under 600 metres and climbed to 3,000 metres in around three minutes, where the two pilots completed a series of meticulously planned tests".
Test pilot Paul Mulcahy, who has some 11,000 hours under his belt, flew the PC-24 as pilot-in-command. He has already test flown countless aircraft types and has acquired a wealth of experience on twin-engine business jets. "Everything looks great so far! Beautiful handling - the PC-24 flies just as expected - a real Pilatus aircraft," the second experienced test pilot, Reto Aeschlimann, reported by radio from the cockpit.
Three PC-24 prototypes will be built and used to complete a rigorous test programme of some 2,300 hours over the next two years. Fewer than half those hours will actually be flown in Switzerland, the remainder will be flown elsewhere. Certification and initial deliveries of the first aircraft to come off the production line are planned from 2017.