PILATUS PC-24 ENGINE CERTIFIED
Pilatus Aircraft recently leapt over the last major hurdle toward the certification of the highly anticipated PC-24 Super Versatile Jet as Williams International achieved certification for the FJ44-4A-QPM engine. Two of these engines will power the airplane, the first business jet in Pilatus’ fleet.
The QPM in the engine’s name stands for Quiet Power Mode, an alternative to the auxiliary power unit, which can produce a lot of disturbing noise on the tarmac. Williams claims the QPM provides quiet and economical power from one engine to the electrical system for such things as heat, air conditioning and avionics systems to allow the crew to comfortably set up the cabin and get the flight plan going without the need for a separate APU.
This is the first time Williams has certified a complete engine package, including its in-house-designed and -manufactured QPM, full-authority digital engine control system, heated inlet and Exact thrust vectoring exhaust nozzle, which Williams claims comes with significant performance benefits over standard exhaust nozzles.
Pilatus recently announced progress on the first customer PC24, and the company is ramping up production at its facility in Stans, Switzerland. Pilatus enjoyed such a successful introduction of its bizjet that it has not taken any deposits since the order book was briefly opened at the European Business Aviation Convention and Expo in 2014, where 84 contracts were signed, accounting for about three years’ worth of production.
Now that the FJ44-4A-QPM engine has been certified by both the FAA and EASA, Pilatus will soon be able to fulfill those orders. Engine certification can cause major delays, as experienced by Honda Aircraft with its HA-420 Hondajet, which ended up being several years behind schedule due to delays in the certification of the GE Honda Aero HF120 engine, among other things.
With the engine now ready to go, Pilatus is likely to hit its year-end target for certification. The two FJ44S that will power the PC-24 will allow it to climb at more than 4,000 fpm at sea level, carry the airplane as high as 45,000 feet and boost it to a top speed of 425 ktas.
DYNON’S UPWARD PUSH
Dynon Avionics, the maker of low-cost cockpit gear installed in more than 20,000 Experimental aircraft, has made its upwardly minded ambitions known with the introduction at Airventure Oshkosh of a version of its Skyview HDX avionics system for certified airplanes. Known as Dynon Certified, the avionics platform is designed to replace older analog instrumentation with the Ifr-capable Skyview HDX package, without altering the aircraft’s certification basis or operating limitations. Individual components include primary flight displays with synthetic vision and an angle of attack indicator, an autopilot, an engine monitor with EGTS/CHTS, a leanassist function and a fuel computer.
Additional offerings include mapping with flight planning, ADS-B traffic and weather, an electronic flight bag and a Mode S transponder with 2020-compliant ADS-B Out transceiver as well as battery backup.
Once the initial STC becomes available, installing Skyview in a Cessna 172 is expected to cost about $20,000, with the company handling the initial aircraft modifications in-house. According to Dynon, upgrade work for a Cessna 172 could be completed in 40 hours of labor. The company says it will add more Part 23 aircraft to the STC in the future.
LOW-COST AUTOPILOTS DOMINATE AT OSHKOSH
It was the year of the budget autopilot at Airventure Oshkosh this past summer as a wave of low-cost systems made their debuts, the result of more lenient certification rules adopted by the FAA. Many of the products were previously offered in the Experimental market.
Trio Avionics received STC approval for its Pro Pilot autopilot (pictured) in the Cessna 172, 175 and 182, through an approval program led by The STC Group. The installation kits are available for $2,000, and the Trio Pro Pilot autopilot kit is $5,000. The STC includes the autopilot, servos, harness, circuit breaker, power switch and override switch. The company expects parts-manufacturer approval soon.
Trutrak Flight Systems, meanwhile, completed the STC for its Vizion autopilot system in the Cessna 172. The autopilot system cost with installation kit is $5,000, and the STC from EAA is $100.
Autopilots from Bendixking, Genesys Aerosystems and Dynon also emerged at Oshkosh, and followed on the heels of the retrofit GFC 500 and GFC 600 autopilots announced by Garmin the week before Airventure.