The RFDS has a long history of operating Pilatus aircraft and currently has 31 PC-12 in operation across the country.
|RFDS PC-12 VH-NQB at Rockhampton Airport (File photo taken by 'IAD' ©)
Pilatus conducted extensive market research before launching the new PC-24, consulting PC-12 fleet operators, including the RFDS. The PC-24 is designed to perform the same mission as smaller turboprops, carrying as many as ten passengers in a high-density seating configuration. Pilatus considers that the PC-24 is in a category of its own, known as the 'Super Versatile Jet' (SVJ).
The PC-24, which is powered by two Williams FJ 44-4A turbofan engines, has been designed to operate from unpaved runways as short as 820 metres (2,690 feet). Pilatus claims it can access more than 21,000 airports worldwide, 100% more than current jet aircraft. Pilatus also boasts that no other business jet offers this much cabin space (14.2m³) at this price level, or a large cargo door as standard (1.30 x 1.25 metres) for ease of loading. Range with 4 passengers and reserves is 1,950 nautical miles (3,610 km).
The aircraft is still in development with FAA and EASA certification expected in 2017. First flight is scheduled for late-2014. Deliveries are expected to start in 2017.