The first customers have been flying the PC-24 for some time now. What are their experiences with the new Super Versatile Jet? And how has the PC-24 proven itself so far? Jetfly took delivery of its first PC-24 in mid-September 2018. CEO Cédric Lescop and pilot Philippe Ceretti talk about their first two months with the PC-24. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
Interview with Cédric Lescop
Cédric, what is your personal highlight with the PC-24?
It was in Stans on 1 August 2014 when I first set eyes on the PC-24. I immediately knew this aircraft was going to be an international success over the next 20 years. I remember saying to my team: “that plane is going to be a game changer.”
After the first hours of use, what are the advantages of the PC-24?
The PC-24 offers many advantages such as the large quiet 8-seat cabin, flat floor and cargo door. But the real added value is that it can fly fast and land short! Until now, only the 1970 Dassault Falcon 10 or the new 50 million US dollar Dassault Falcon 7X and 8X aircraft offered a similar performance.
How did the rollout go? Did you experience any difficulties? If so, where?
The integration of the PC-24 went smoothly overall. We’ve been preparing for the delivery for two years, working closely with the Pilatus team and Luxembourg’s aviation authorities. The main difficulty for us was finalising all our manuals and procedures without previous experience on the plane. Jetfly became the first European operator with an approved Air Operator Certificate by the date of delivery – it was a challenge to have it ready on time!
What do Jetfly customers say about the PC-24?
Customers realise that Pilatus has created a market niche and know there is no other aircraft comparable to a PC-24. The PC-24’s closest competitor is probably the ten million US dollar Embraer Phenom 300 which has a 50 percent smaller cabin, or the 15 million US dollar Cessna Citation Latitude with a 50 percent bigger cabin, but neither of them can land on an 2,600 feet (800 metre) runway with eight passengers.
What feedback did you get after the flights with the PC-24?
We are approaching 110 flight hours on the plane. The first 25 hours were dedicated to pilot training without passengers on board. We started passenger flights on 10 October and we have done approximately 30 customer flights since then. Feedback has been very positive. Passengers love the cabin size. Most of them thought that the PC-12 and the PC-24 would have similar sized cabins so it is a welcome surprise when they discover a cabin which is 50 percent bigger than the PC-12.
What do you think about the interior of the PC-24?
The cabin seems very long, especially when you are seated at the back of the plane – the pilots are 30 feet (ten metres) away! The cabin is also very quiet in cruise. Jetfly chose a two club four configuration. This setup is very convivial and allows eight passengers to socialise during the flight. If you are four only, you can recline the seats enough to sleep comfortably. The cabin also boasts advanced connectivity, so you can manage the lighting and follow the aircraft position on your smartphone. The only missing options are an integrated expresso machine and an easier solution to swap from big to small luggage compartment, but I heard that it is under development, which is great news!
What was your most beautiful flight in a PC-24 so far?
We recently flew in France from Saint Tropez to Annemasse (200 miles/330 kilometres) in just 40 minutes and I suspect we are the only midsize jet to have flown that route this year!
Would you choose the PC-24 again?
Of course YES, and I would have ordered more!
Interview with Philippe Ceretti
What are your personal highlights on the PC-24?
The high level of technology mixed with conventional and proven building.
How does the PC-24 fly?
Very well. This jet gives you an immediate feeling of confidence.
What aspects make the PC-24 a unique aircraft for pilots?
The PC-24 has the benefits of a much larger aircraft in term of avionics and comfort, combined with the versatility of the PC-12. A very unique jet!
What do you think about the performance of the PC-24?
I’m positively surprised. Runway performance is great. It climbs straight to flight level 450 to get above traffic and weather. I have years of flying on Dassault Falcons, and the PC-24 gives me the same feeling of confidence and efficiency.
How do you rate the ACE™ cockpit environment?
It’s nearly perfect. Of course, on a brand new aircraft, there is plenty of room for improvement and simplification especially in Electronic Check Lists (ECL) but I know that Pilatus is working on it. And what a pleasure to have the datalink to communicate with ground or load the latest weather in flight!
What was your first thought in the cockpit of the PC-24?
It was … that’s so pure! And it’s still the same every time I enter my new office! The design is neat, with nice curves on the side, and the cockpit is clear and optimised.
What is the biggest difference between the PC-12 and PC-24 cockpits?
There’s more room of course, screens are a bit bigger, fewer knobs as many things are now automatic, and without a long nose and the propeller, the view out the front is much better. But the transition from PC-12 to PC-24 is made easier by the avionics – APEX™ and ACE™ share the same roots.
What was your most beautiful flight in a PC-24 so far?
Just after delivery, we went for a promotional photo and video air-to-air shooting over Provence with Ov-10 Bronco, L-39 Albatros, Pilatus PC-7 and one of our PC-12s. It was superb flying in formation over such a beautiful area.
How many hours have you flown with the PC-24?
Well, I’m not an expert on the PC-24 (yet) ... 50 hours. But that’s enough to be addicted!
How many hours have you flown on other Pilatus aircraft?
I’m a newcomer to Pilatus, having flown pretty much jets only so far. I discovered the PC-12 18 months ago and flew 400 fantastic hours with this great aircraft. To be honest, if I win the lottery, I won’t buy a Waco ... I’ll buy a PC-12 NG.