Brand new model of business jet makes stops at Steamboat Springs Airport
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs Airport is used to welcoming unique aircrafts ranging from the CH-47 Chinook that landed from Fort Carson on Tuesday to a convoy of Blackhawk helicopters that made a pit stop here in December.
But it’s not too often the airport gets to welcome a brand new model of business jet.
Last month, the world’s first Pilatus PC-24 touched down at the city’s municipal airport at the start of a very busy travel day where the jet also traveled to Heber, Utah, Jackson, Wyoming, and Hailey, Idaho, before coming back to Steamboat.
Tom Aniello, Pilatus’ vice president of marketing, said Tuesday the brand new plane was making stops at high altitude runways with steep approaches in the mountains so that pilots could get certified flying it to such destinations.
Aniello predicted the plane would become a more common sight at runways near ski resorts.
The plane was engineered to be able to land and take off on shorter runways like the one at Steamboat Springs Airport.
The jet has also been designed so that it can land on unpaved runways, which would set it apart from other business jets.
City Manager Gary Suiter praised the use of the city’s airport as a testing ground for new models of aircraft last week.
“I have encouraged (airport manager Stacie Fain) to find more companies who can do more testing out at our airport,” he said.
The PC-24 that landed in Steamboat was the first model to be sold by Pilatus.
In February, Planesense, a company that offers pilots fractional ownership of private aircraft, purchased the plane.
Pilatus, founded in Switzerland, markets the jet as having a cabin “like having a penthouse on the 5,000th floor.”
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