PC-24 makes first unpaved landing

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The PC-24 has made its first landing on an unpaved strip. The aircraft made the landing on the airstrip at the former RAF Woodbridge airfield in Suffolk, UK.

Although the PC-24 has already been certificated, the unpaved landing is part of post-certification testing needed to certify the aircraft for rough-field landing.

“What a picture – the PC-24 in the toughest conditions, using an unpaved runway for the first time!” said Oscar J. Schwenk, chairman of Pilatus. “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 say that certification should be gained in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The original images releases when Pilatus unveiled the PC-24 showed the aircraft using a rough unpaved landing strip. The aircraft has a large side-cargo door, which makes it attractive for operators looking to use the aircraft to ferry supplies or goods to remote locations.

The company’s orderbook, which ran on a live updated screen during the 2014 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) show, included several orders from Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS).

The RFDS currently operates a fleet of 69 aircraft, including several Pilatus PC-12 turboprops. The PC-24s, when delivered from the end of this year, will be based in Western Australia where the RFDS says they will be used to fly long distances over the Australian outback.

To be able to land on unpaved strips, the PC-24s undercarriage has been specially strengthened. This includes low-pressure tyres as well as chines on the nose wheel.

A chine tyre is specially designed to deflect water and any debris outwards and away from the aircraft on landing or take-off.

Pilatus has so far delivered five PC-24s to customers. The company says it will deliver a total of 23 PC-24s in 2018.

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