PILATUS PC-24 EN­GINE CER­TI­FIED

Flying - - Sky Next -

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.

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