PC-24 Rollout
 First Businessjet „Made in Switzerland“


Andreas Herzog


Andreas Herzog





Pilatus PC-24

This year on August 1st, our Swiss national holiday, meant especially for the Pilatus Aircraft Ltd a special day. Not only its 75th anniversary but also a "milestone" in the company's history with the rollout of the first ever built business jet in Switzerland. Around 25,000 guests have seen a fantastic show to remember on this memorable day in Stans. Just after the motto Pilatus unveiled her latest product the PC-24 to its customers, partners, employees and the large public. Even the weather showed themselves in the best mood. But read for yourself and enjoy the colorful image impressions.

  Proud to be the latest member of Pilatus (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) VIP and Media tent, showing also the mock-up of the PC-24 (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Cockpit view with large displays in the center (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  Cabin layout of the PC-24 mock-up (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Showing the large cargo door in the rear of the fuselage (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Powered by two Williams FJ44-4 engines (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  




"Typical, unique, unmistakable - Pilatus!"

Already in the early morning families, including children, as well as aviation enthusiast and the invited guests where pilgrim to Stans in Nidwalden, to attend the headquarters of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd for the big event. The traffic on the highways and the access roads to the airport was like, to say the least, to the rush hour in Manhattan, New York after work. Getting through was almost impossible but exemplary achieved by the additional forces of the local police and their counterparts from the other cantons. Locally it was quiet easy to find your way.


Arrived on the site and in the media lounge, a coffee was announced to strengthen. There in the VIP tent, was also the mockup of the PC-24 that I had unfortunately missed in May in Geneva at the EBACE once more. Now I wanted to give myself a first impression of the interior of the future business jet. And then it was time to embark on the Tribune: "The show will start"


Hardly taken our seats from the other side of the airport appeared 75 agricultural tractors all made ​​in Switzerland over the past decades, the well should also symbolize the anniversary "75 Years of Pilatus". An impressive parade. Shortly thereafter the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter, V-622, of the Patrouille Suisse was flying in at a steep maneuver towards the airport field. On board our Defense and Federal minister, Ueli Maurer, including his Guide welcomed in a great and happy mood by Pilatus CEO Oscar J. Schwenk.

  Show stage painted as a huge Swiss flag (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Thousands of spectators came to Stans to see the rollout of the PC-24 (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Also folk performances marked the celebration (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Hunger had to have none of the invited guests. Supply was guaranteed (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  




75 years anniversary

Moderated by Kurt Zurfluh, known as a moderator for Swiss television, the aeronautical history of Pilatus brought the audience close in an impressive way.


All of Pilatus aircraft ever built in series gave a "come together" at this summer holiday. Starting the P-2 (1945) to the predecessor of the PC-7 P-3 (1953), the B4 / PC-11 (1970) Glider flown by the officiating world champion Johan Gufstafsson  to the legendary basic trainer the PC-7 / PC-7 MkII (1960-1990), the PC-9M (1996) and the latest model PC-21 (2002) showed the pilots their best skill in the sky over central Switzerland. But the civilian aircraft were not neglected. In a fantastic way the almost legendary PC-6 "Turbo-Porter" showed its impressive properties as an STOL aircraft! In a three formation Pilatus showed probably his most successful product in the civilian sector; the PC-12NG the best single engine aircraft on the market. With 1,300 aircraft sold, the PC-12 is an important pillar of the Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG.

  Kurt Zurfluh by Swiss Television hosted the festival program (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) At last! The show can begin (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) The PC-6 Turbo Porter brought our Defence Minister Ueli Maurer to Stans (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) 75 tractors from past decades opened the festivities  (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  Here, the support aircraft of the Patrouille Suisse, PC-6 Turbo Porter with Federal Ueli Maurer (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) A of cheerful Ueli Maurer rises from the aircraft (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  and ... is warmly welcomed by Pilatus CEO Oscar J. Schwenk (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Three alphorn players show the closeness to their canton of Nidwalden (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) In his speech, Oscar J. Schwenk stressed the importance of the work site of Switzerland (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Ueli Maurer thanked Pilatus for the performance and the success of the company (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  Oscar J. Schwenk in the typical folklore Tracht (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Hundreds of doves symbolized this memorable day (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Also a performance of about a dozen parachute jumpers were part of the framework program. (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  




The highlight of "The Rollout"

Around 1pm, it was time and the PC-24 was presented to the public.
Pulled by 24 horses of the Swiss Army Trains (Symbolic of the number "24") the newest member of Pilatus made its way to the festival arena on the other side of the airport. On a large Swiss cross on the Tarmac of the Arena, the prototype HB-VXA finally came to a stop in front of the audience. The completely newly developed PC-24 combines the traditional values ​​of Pilatus as versatility, efficiency and Swiss precision for the first time in a jet. The PC-24 is the world's first business jet equipped to the standard with a cargo door (1.25 mx 1.30 m) and can take-off and land on short, unpaved nature runways.


In his memorable speech Chairman Oscar J. Schwenk underlined the importance of the Swiss location. We quote: "With our today's celebration we are committed to thinking and working in Switzerland. Here in Stans our company was founded exactly 75 years ago. Here in Stans, we have grown and here in Stans, we want to produce and sell aircraft all over the word in the future." End of the quote.


Also, Federal Councilor Ueli Maurer could hardly keep his feelings within limits. On the occasion of his speech, he praised the achievements and the success of Pilatus, and gave the thousands of spectators feel that they can be proud of such a Swiss company. At the same time he officially announced that the Swiss government has ordered the PC-24 as a new Federal-Jet and the contracts have been signed with Pilatus in July this year. The new Federal jet will replace the Cessna 560XL Citation Excel, T-784 in the next few years.

  Pulled from 24 horses of the Swiss Army, the PC-24 prototype reached its stand on the arena (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  In a special livery for the first time the public could take a look at the PC-24 (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  Elegance and versatility are the characteristics of the new business jets (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  

Preparations for the maiden flight

After over six years of development, probably the hardest time for Pilatus will show up in the next few months; the preparations for the first flight in March 2015. Dozens of engineers, technicians and mechanics are once again checking the PC-24 prototype to "Heart & Kidney" and prepare him for the first flight. After the maiden flight two further prototypes are to join the test program. Around two years will take this test phase to achieve all the international suitability certificates for operations. From 2017, then the first deliveries to customers around the world will begin. The staff of Pilatus and the customers, the fans, the public and the aviation enthusiasts should be excited!

  Elegance and versatility are the characteristics of the new business jets Typically Swiss - typical Pilatus  
  Details of the newly designed landing gear for take-off and landing on unpaved runways (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) A great fireworks finally ended the official ceremony (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  Enjoy this great and colorful pictures (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  




And now we will celebrate!

Over 120 artists, choirs, Alphorns folklore groups and more than 160 employees' children have made this event unforgettable to all the high-profile guests from politics, economy and army, as well as all other guests, customers and fans of Pilatus. The grand finale fireworks with gold / silver confetti’s and streamers, accompanied by fog that fell on the hard arena and the PC-24 were one unique spectacle to all the visitors.


So the official ceremony came to an end. Subsequently Oscar J. Schwenk invited the loaded media representatives to a press conference to face the questions of journalists. Meanwhile the celebration was carrying on till late afternoon.

  The PC-7 Aerobatic Team of the Swiss Air Force showed off their skills in the sky over Stans (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  




Looking back on 75 years of tradition

How did it come that a small business could achieve such success in the highly competitive market of aviation giants? In fact quiet simple and clever; at least from my point of view. Expertise, attention to detail, quality awareness, dominating the latest technologies and knowledge to be part of a great family is probably the most crucial cornerstones for the success of Pilatus.


Founded in 1939 by Emil Buehrle and the Electrical Bank Pilatus first activities were maintaining aircrafts. Already in 1940, the company dealt with the construction of an own aircraft for use in mountainous regions. This created the SB-2 Pelican the only prototype which crashed in 1948 during an air show and could not be repaired. To a production run, it never came.


However, the company gained importance only in the 1945s years until the mid-1950s with the construction of the P-2 and P-3 training aircraft. Of the P-2 55 copies were sold and the P-3 standing with 73 aircraft sold. In addition to some other studies, such as the P-4, P-5, PC-8D, PC-10 they all does not exceed the status as a project or prototype. Followed on May 4th, 1959 the first flight of the Pilatus PC-6 Porter was a major breakthrough. Only two years later, the new PC-6 Turbo-Porter made ​​his debut which is still built up in the present days in Stans. Followed by the PC-7 / PC-7 MkII as a new training aircraft the success of Pilatus abroad is still unabated. As a logical extension the PC-9 / PC-9M was a modernized version sold in 1985 to the first customers. Even a glider, called B4 / PC-11 was sold 322 times in all over the world. The PC-12 / PC-12NG are certainly the mainstay of Pilatus in the civilian sector. With over 1,300 aircrafts sold, he is in service on all five continents; often as a life saver such as by the Australian Flying Doctors in the outback of Australia. The newest type of aircraft next to the PC-24 is the PC-21 jet trainer. The aircraft made ​​its first flight on 1st July 2002. To date, Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have the PC-21 ordered or already in service. And: "Last but not least," Our birthday kid, the PC-24 Jet! With the latest order of the Swiss Federal Council, the first production line reaches its maximum of 85 aircrafts and is sold out until the year 2020!

  Pilatus P-2 training aircraft from the early days of the company (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) P-3 private aerobatic team P3 Flyers from Ticino (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  P-3 private aerobatic team P3 Flyers from Ticino (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) The aerobatic team P-3 Flyers in action (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  Pilatus PC-7 Mk II.  in Special livery (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog) Pilatus PC-21 shows its amazing maneuverability as a jet trainer (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  
  The Glider B4 / PC11 on flying display by the current world champion Johan Gustafsson About 1,300 aircrafts sold of the Pilatus PC-12NG, the main product of Pilatus (Picture courtesy Andreas Herzog)  


Surely I must say that it was a memorable August 1st and once more a success of an innovative Swiss company. The reason for their 75th anniversary and the rollout of its latest product Pilatus has probably set in terms of "Celebration" also a milestone. Now we look forward to when her latest type of aircraft will take-off next year in March 2015. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" Pilatus.






last update 10. August 2014

Written 6. August 2014


- Corrections, additions and remarks please send to the Webmaster Michael E. Fader -
- If information from this site is used as source material please credit www.wings-aviation.ch  -
- If this page does not have a navigational frame on the left, click HERE to see the rest of the website. -