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From this year onward, all Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jets rolling off the production line will be equipped with “numerous new features,” including smarter avionics and increased comfort in the cabin. Pilatus made the announcement on July 6, stating the upgrades are a result of “customer feedback from over 50,000 hours of fleet operations.”
In an effort to “provide more comfort” in the cabin, the PC-24 is now equipped with new, lighter weight, executive seats that fully recline to a flat position and feature more intuitive controls. “The seats are attached to the cabin’s flat floor with quick-release mechanisms to facilitate rapid seating configuration changes on the ground.”
On the avionics front, Pilatus said it has continued to refine the Advanced Cockpit Environment (ACE) in partnership with Honeywell. A touch-screen avionics controller — which assists with entering and editing flight plan data, changing radio frequencies, and controlling the weather radar — replaces the multi-function controller as standard equipment. The touch-screen controller was first introduced in the PC-12 NGX, and features a “slip-resistant design around the bezel for stability and input precision in turbulence.”
Now incorporated in the PC-24’s flight control system is Tactile Feedback in both roll and pitch to prevent unintended unusual attitudes.
“If the aircraft rolls through 51 degrees bank angle, roll limit protection will engage to bring the aircraft back to 31 degrees bank angle. If the PC-24 is predicted to exceed the Vmo/Mmo limits, the pitch servo will engage until the aircraft exits the potential overspeed condition,” Pilatus said.
Tactile Feedback continues to provide protection even with the autopilot turned off, and the feature can be manually overridden by the pilot with a quick-disconnect button.
Also new to the PC-24 are Honywell’s SmartRunway and SmartLanding advisory functions, intended to reduce pilot workload and enhance safety with audible callouts for On Runway, Approach Runway, Runway End, Excessive Approach Angle, and Taxiway and Landing Advisories.
A new automatic yaw trim function “further reduces flight crew workload” during departure and climb phases. According to Pilatus, “This auto-pilot mode is automatically activated when the yaw damper is engaged, and will attempt to hold the aircraft to zero sideslip. If one engine is inoperative or a large thrust asymmetry exists, the automatic yaw trim will attempt to maintain approximately ½ trapezoid indicated sideslip.”
As well, the standard auto-throttle system now includes a new Automatic Speed Protection function. “This function provides both under and over-speed protection by automatically engaging the auto-throttle to adjust power, so that the aircraft always remains inside the entire speed envelope for all flight phases.”
The Williams FJ44-4A engine FADEC software, which works in conjunction with the auto-throttle, has also been fine-tuned to reduce power oscillations in cruise and descent.
Another new feature in the Advanced Cockpit Environment is the Pilot-Defined Visual Approach function, which allows the pilot-in-command to easily set up an autopilot and auto-throttle coupled visual approach to any runway, and accurately track a left-hand, right-hand, or straight-in pattern down to the runway threshold.
“This is a very useful feature for operations into smaller, remote airports, which the PC-24 is designed to use,” said Pilatus. “It increases safety at uncontrolled fields by allowing the pilot to keep attention focused outside the aircraft looking for other traffic.”
Additional features available for the PC-24 include: VHF Datalink with AFIS; ACARS Graphical Weather; basic and advanced satellite graphical weather (S-XM); FMS Takeoff and Landing Data (TOLD); Controller to Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) over the FANS 1/A+ network; KMA-29A Bluetooth 3D audio panel with record and playback functions; the Honeywell RDR-7000 solid state weather radar with predictive hail and lightning functions, and more.
While the newly announced features are being incorporated into brand new Super Versatile Jets, Pilatus said many of the upgrades can be retrofitted in earlier serial number PC-24s.