Pilatus PC 24, smarter than your average business jet
The Pilatus PC 24 may just be the smartest business jet out on the market in 2018. What makes this jet so smart? The ACE™ by Honeywell avionics system paired with four Data Control and Processing Units (DCPUs), called the Utilities Management System (UMS).
If the UMS sounds complex, just think of it as four computers that are linked via a local network for redundancy and control of most of the aircraft systems. This simply means that a network of computers help run the systems in the PC 24. So what exactly does this UMS do for a pilot? It will not make you a cup of coffee, but tasks like balancing fuel, even when operating on a single engine is a breeze. Simply put, fuel balancing is automatically done – oh, and a fuel crossfeed valve is thrown in just for redundancy too. Pilatus also thought of the single pilot accidents caused by pressurization issues. A UMS controlled autopilot mode named the Emergency Descent Mode, will automatically close the throttles and descend the aircraft to a safe altitude of 15,000 feet if the single pilot loses consciousness above a 30,000 feet cruising altitude. A handy feature to have considering the maximum certified operating altitude of 45,000 feet. The UMS will also automatically shed electrical loads appropriate to electrical power sources. Even if you had to operate in flight on battery power only, the autopilot will still function to help reduce a single pilot’s workload. The PC 24 ACE™ avionics system by Honeywell is truly a single pilot’s dream. The UMS computer system handles most of the routine tasks once required by a crew of two pilots, but a crew of two pilots can still be used to enhance flight safety.
Other standard features that help a single pilot are the Honeywell Smartview™ Synthetic Vision System, (which is essentially a 3D picture of the terrain outside the aircraft) as well as Runway Advisory and Alerting System (voice alerts to prevent taxiway takeoffs and landings as well as other alerts).
The big brother to the already famous PC 12 turboprop, the PC 24 was also designed with short runway operations and the large cargo door loved by PC 12 users. To top it all off, Pilatus is also carrying out unimproved runway operation certification which will allow an option for operating off of unpaved runways for special needs customers.
The PC 24 gained its initial FAA type certification in December of 2017 and has already begun deliveries with the first PC 24 being delivered to PlaneSense, an aircraft management/fractional ownership company. The aircraft is currently sold out of the original 84 aircraft offering. Flight training is being handled by FlightSafety International at their Dallas Fort Worth training center where the only PC 24 full flight simulator resides. The PC 24 is a mid size business jet that is approximately 55 feet long and wide by 22 feet tall. It is powered by two Williams International FJ44-4A-QPM engines developing a maximum of 3,600 pounds of thrust. The PC 24 can currently carry up to 8 passengers. Cabin configurations for up to 10 passengers or cargo and passengers as well as cargo only and specialty cabins such as air ambulance are planned.