+VIDEO The Pilatus PC-24 jet has made its first landing on an unimproved rough field runway.

The twin-engine jet is undergoing a programme of post-certification tests with special emphasis on unpaved runway operations. Pilatus plans on obtaining ‘Rough Field’ certification in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Woodbridge Airfield in Suffolk, UK offers optimum test conditions. Pilatus spent two weeks there testing the PC-24’s landing and take-off capabilities on the airfield’s unpaved runway for the first time.

Pilatus designed the PC-24 for ‘off road’ operations, matching the performance of its PC-12 turboprop, and thus making it possible for the PC-24 to access almost twice as many airports worldwide compared to other jets currently available.

Oscar J Schwenk, chairman of Pilatus, said, “What a picture – the PC-24 in the toughest conditions, using an unpaved runway for the first time!

“This sort of mission would not be conceivable without the PC-24’s rugged landing gear, clever flap systems and special wing design. The PC-24 was designed with exactly this sort of operation in mind – that’s Swiss engineering at its very best.”

Pilatus PC-24 jet rough field ops
Pilatus testing the PC-24 jet at Woodbridge, a dirt strip in Suffolk, UK. Not only rough but dusty too!

Five PC-24 delivered to date

Pilatus obtained basic certification for the PC-24 on 7 December 2017. Since that date, five aircraft have been delivered to customers in Europe and the USA. A total of 23 PC-24s are scheduled for delivery in 2018. The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) will use the PC-24 for medevac missions in Australia from 2019, which will involve landing on and taking off from short unpaved runways. The PC-24 order book is closed for the time being. Pilatus plans to accept new orders in 2019.

Pilatus Aircraft