Launch operator PlaneSense has taken delivery of the first production Pilatus PC-24, N124AF (c/n 101). The jet, the first of six the US fractional firm has on order, was handed over on February 7. The relationship between PlaneSense and Pilatus’ stretches back to 1996 when the Colorado-based firm introduced its first Pilatus PC-12 turboprop.
“We are honoured to be the launch customer for the PC-24, and are excited to add this versatile and unique jet to the PlaneSense fleet,” George Antoniadis, PlaneSense founder, President and CEO, told guests at the handover ceremony. “We have greatly admired the quality and state of the art design of Pilatus aircraft, and are proud to have partnered with Pilatus for the last 22 years. This is an exciting day for us, as well as for our clients who are eager to start flying in this fantastic aircraft.”
The PC-24 builds on many of the key attributes of its turboprop sibling, including a cargo door and short field performance. It can also land on grass runways and access airfields that traditional business jets cannot.
Antoniadis explained: “Our share owners have enjoyed the ability to travel in and out of smaller airports with the PC-12. The PC-24 is the only jet that will be able to access many of these same airports, which saves clients a significant amount of time over commercial travel and provides tremendous versatility to the PlaneSense programme.”
PlaneSense’s pilots have gained type ratings for the PC-24 at FlightSafety International’s Dallas Learning Center, where the first full-motion, Level-D, PC-24 simulator is based. As the official provider of PC-24 maintenance training, FlightSafety is also conducting courses with PlaneSense and authorised Pilatus Service Centre personnel.
Before entering service, the aircraft will complete FAA requirements and undertake a short tour of the US and “international locations” for current and potential customers.
Pilatus CEO Markus Bucher said: “We’ve been eagerly working toward this moment since the conception of this innovative new jet a decade ago. On behalf of the 2,000 Pilatus employees who successfully designed, built, and certified the best business aircraft in our 80-year company history, we are proud to have our long-time customer and partner PlaneSense take delivery of the very first PC-24.”