Great big party for a great little airplane

The Austrian air force painted this PC-7 in special colours, celebrating 30 years of flying the PC-7 in Austria. (Image © Austrian Armed Forces / EStZ/ZINNER Markus)
The Austrian air force painted this PC-7 in special colours, celebrating 30 years of flying the PC-7 in Austria. (Image © Austrian Armed Forces / EStZ/ZINNER Markus)

A great big party was held last week in Austria for a great little airplane. At Zeltweg airbase, the Austrian air force celebrated 30 years of flying the Pilatus PC-7 trainer, made in next door Switzerland. Even more special, it has been 30 years without any serious accident whatsoever. A bit of Swiss and Austrian perfection right there.

In 1983, the first of a total of 16 PC-7s entered Austrian service. In 2012, four aircraft were sold but the remaining aircraft still fly day in day out, providing basic training, instrument training and tactical training for new pilots. At Zeltweg, it was said that the PC-7 can easily go on for another 20 years or so in Austria. Several avionics updates will take care of that.

During the celebration, a PC-7 in ‘Jubiläumslackierung’ (yeah, we like how that sounds) flew over the crowd, which included representatives of the Pilatus factory in Stans. What that Jubiläumslackierung looked like? Well, exactly like the one above.

© 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest