Message 08.04.2024

New PC-24 – More range, more payload, and even more possibilities

Swiss engineering skills and an incredible team effort have made it possible: the new PC-24 has more range and a higher payload. In addition, customers will be offered a range of new interior options. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd

The new PC-24 delivers a payload increase of 272 kilograms (600 pounds). And the maximum range with six passengers on board has also been increased by 370 kilometers to 3,704 kilometers (2,000 nautical miles). With full fuel and single pilot operation, the maximum payload is 596 kilograms (1,315 pounds). On shorter routes, the Super Versatile Jet provides a maximum payload of 1,406 kilograms (3,100 pounds), which is top of the range in its class.

Focus on payload and range The Pilatus engineers carried out an extensive campaign of flight tests to expand the entire envelope for the higher design weights. At sea-level and maximum takeoff weight, the takeoff distance required is just 941 meters (3,090 feet). Tobias Waeber, Project Leader, explains: “We did what the project name says – ‘Payload Range Increase Program’, or ‘PRIP’ for short – and focused on increasing the payload capacity and range of the new PC-24. At the same time, we absolutely wanted to retain the PC-24’s aerodynamic characteristics and excellent flight handling, so that meant no major changes to the external shape. Instead, we concentrated on weight, aiming to increase maximum takeoff weight whilst also reducing the empty weight. Improvements to the wing and fuselage structure seemed to be the most effective way of increasing the PC-24’s payload and range.” With these technical innovations, the engineers took the Super Versatile Jet to a new level. Customers will enjoy significantly more flexibility: “It will now be possible to transport more luggage and passengers on shorter routes. And on longer routes, the crew may be able to avoid a refuelling stop.”

Over 1,000 modifications

Like every major project, the PC-24 upgrade was confronted with challenges. Tobias Waeber: “We had to rethink and admit to ourselves that a few modifications simply wouldn’t be enough to achieve our goals. We struggled to shave off every gram wherever we could. It was only at the end, when we were able to verify the sum of over 700 modifications to the structure alone, that we realized we had actually exceeded our initial targets.”

The engineers also achieved a masterstroke in terms of performance – as revealed by a comparison with competitor aircraft. As Tobias explains, “on short routes, the PC-24 significantly exceeds the maximum payload of its closest competitors by over 15 percent, and maximum range with four passengers is slightly better as well. Astonishingly, the PC-24 achieves this with a significantly larger cabin and smaller fuel tanks. And we remain the only aircraft in this class able to operate at so many airfields.”

Now with divan and bed

Besides the technical improvements, the interior has been redesigned as well. The noise level in the cabin has been reduced through various optimizations, e.g. of the ventilation system and engine intake. The cabin interior and welcome center now offer even greater flexibility, ergonomy and freedom of movement. There is also additional storage space and a large work surface. Flavia Vianna, Director Product Management, explains: “All the features which make the PC-24 a genuine Swiss quality product – the craftsmanship, the premium materials, the precision – are clearly recognizable, but were chosen in such a way that they don’t appear too obtrusive. The end result is more free space and customers who can also bring their own personality and character to the table.” Customer feedback is essential when developing a new concept, says Flavia: “We take customer input very seriously, and design the cabin according to their wishes. There’s no point in developing a product or design that is neither wanted nor needed. New technologies are only of interest if they solve problems and make processes simpler, more efficient and more agreeable.”

Pilatus has developed a new Inflight Entertainment System in collaboration with Lufthansa Technik. It features a ten-inch touchscreen with 3D map displaying the real-time position of the PC-24 at all times, four high-quality cabin loudspeakers including a subwoofer, mood lighting, USB ports and dedicated media storage.

In addition, the new PC-24 offers the option of a large side-facing divan – a first in this class. Just under two meters in length, it can be converted into a bed during the flight, and includes drawers for pillows and blankets. Flavia Vianna tells us the divan is the first seating arrangement to be completely developed in-house: “From the idea and the design right through to production – everything is the result of exemplary teamwork. Even though production planning was a challenge, the excellent collaboration between the various departments laid the foundation for the success of the project.”

Predictive Maintenance

All PC-24s from serial number 501 onward will also feature a new function enabling the provision of predictive maintenance services. Immediately after landing, aircraft data will be forwarded to Pilatus for analysis and, if required, a predictive maintenance recommendation can be made to the operator.