Nesterov Aviation, the Pilatus dealer in Russia, is preparing for the first delivery of a PC-24 to a Russian operator, which it says will take place shortly after the Russian authorities certificate the aircraft for operation in the country.
Mikhail Alenkin, Nesterov Aviation’s owner, is expecting certification to be handed to the PC-24 before the end of the year and says that several PC-24s have been ordered by Russian customers for the delivery over the next few years.
For Alenkin, the PC-24 is a natural step-up for owners of the Pilatus PC-24. “I personally love the PC-12 and I am sure that everyone who knows this aircraft will agree, it is very cost-effective, and it combines numerous advantages. However, the PC-24 is a step up.” He says.
Part of that ‘step-up’ is a bump in range. The PC-12NG can fly for a maximum of 1,560nm, but the PC-24 can fly up to 2,342nm and at a much higher speed. That makes the PC-24 more attractive to Russian clients, who will be able to fly non-stop from Moscow to places like London or Nice.
The other is the ability to be able to land on unpaved strips, although Alenkin says that this is more of a ‘nice to have’ rather than a requirement However, he also says that because of the aircraft’s short-field performance it can land at almost any airport including St. Tropez, Gstaad and Lausanne, all of which have very short runways.
“A business jet, in my opinion, is not an aircraft you will constantly operate in harsh conditions (there is a PC-12 turboprop for this), although the Royal Flying Doctor, which ordered a large number of PC-24s along with PC-12s and is carrying out medevac in Australia and Africa, is planning to use unpaved runways, but this is more of an exception than the rule. At the same time, it’s nice to know that your business jet can land on gravel, grass, etc.” says Alenkin.
When it comes to deciding on the internal configuration, Alenkin says that most PC-12 operators choose to configure their aircraft in a six-plus-two format, with the two additional seats being added by removing some of the storage space towards the rear of the aircraft. However, he believes that the most comfortable configuration would be with eight seats, arranged in a double-club layout.
As Pilatus deliveries more aircraft, Alenkin believes that the company will focus increasingly on improving the PC-24 before even thinking about launching a larger aircraft, adding that the company’s home location in Stans is surrounded mountains, so operating from the airport might be challenging for a bigger jet.
“I think it is unlikely that within 10 years we will be able to see a completely new aircraft. Although Pilatus is constantly updating existing types,” Alenkin says.