A Pilatus party: the 100th PC-21 rolled off the final assembly line at Pilatus Aircraft in Switzerland on 20 February. Destined for the Royal Saudi Air Force training fleet, this PC-21 also happens to be the 1000th turboprop trainer to be produced at Pilatus.
Pilatus trainer aircraft are used by over 30 operators around the world to train the military pilots. The latest Pilatus trainer, the PC-21, was developed from ground up and delivers jet-like performance, cockpit equipment, flexibility and ease of maintenance for a turboprop aircraft. The PC-21 training system which consists of the aircraft, high-end simulator technology, comprehensive Computer Based Training and instructional documentation, offers one of the most advanced, integrated training systems available. Training hours previously assigned to jet trainers can also be completed on the PC-21 training system.
Three air forces currently use the PC-21: Switzerland (8), Singapore (19) and the United Arab Emirates (25). Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also selected the PC-21 and in 2012 ordered 55 and 24 aircraft respectively. The first of these aircraft have already been delivered and the instructors, having been through type conversion at Pilatus, are preparing for their first student courses.
In addition to the PC-21, Pilatus also produces the recently enhanced PC-7 MkII and PC-9 M. The latest customer to opt for the PC-7 MkII is the Indian Air Force. The order for 75 aircraft was placed in 2012 and with two thirds of the aircraft delivered to-date; the fleet has already flown well over 12,000 hours.
Featured image: The 100th Pilatus PC-21 (Image © Pilatus Aircraft)