Next May, the first of ten Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) Pilatus PC-7 turboprop trainer aircraft will return to its Swiss birthplace of Stans for an update of its analogue cockpit. Student pilots will be presented with a digital cockpit in the future.
The RNLAF owns a 13-strong fleet of Pilatus PC-7 trainers, the first of which were delivered in 1989. The air force plans to use the aircraft as a platform for basic flight training for quite some time to come. Service life should last until 2027 at least.
The update also involves reinforcements to the wings and landing gear, securing another 60,000 flight hours for the modernized fleet in total. The update for the remaining three trainers is still being discussed.
Lockheed Martin and Swiss Pilatus Aircraft joint bid – together with Hawker Pacific – to supply the Royal Australian Air Force with a new basic trainer has finally had its confirmed success.
Canberra confirmed on Sunday 6 September that it has choosen this “Team 21” to deliver 49 new Pilatus-designed PC-21 turboprop aircraft to replace the aging PC-9/A fleet of Training Command’s Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and the 2 Flight Training School at RAAF Pearce. Both bases will likely manage a fleet of 22 aircraft, with 5 additional PC-21s used for testing and as a reserve.
Officially the Australian government still calls Team 21’s bid “the preferred choice”, but nobody doubts that when the details of the deal have been worked out another plane would be choosen. The choice seems to mark the end of 4 Squadron flying the PC-9/As out of RAAF Williamtown and which is not mentioned in the modernisation program. Currently Williamtown helps putting the 63 aircraft strong PC-9/A fleet in the air.
Already in May there seemed no other option left than the PC-21, which clearly won from the BAE Systems, Beechcraft and CAE Australia counter-bid to bring the Beechcraft T-6C Texan II into the RAAF’s ranks.
Australia has had a taste of the PC-21 already, since the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Basic Wings Course (BWC) program has been running at RAAF Pearce for eight years now as part of a 20-year program, with the RSAF having a total of 19 PC-21s on strength. Hawker Pacific and Switzerland’s Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, are principal subcontractors to Lockheed Martin, the training systems integrator.
The first pair of Royal Australian Air Force PC-21s is expected in 2017.
The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) has signed a contract for the purchase of nine PC-9M training aircraft, Swiss company Pilatus announced on Monday 10 August. The order also includes a simulator, training equipment and a comprehensive logistics support package.
Keen to modernise its pilot training facilities, the RJAF has opted for the Pilatus PC-9M for basic and advanced pilot training. The order was only awarded after several years of hard negotiations, from which the PC-9M finally emerged as the winner. The RJAF now uses the Slingsby T-67 Firefly for basic flight training and the CASA C-101 jet trainer for advanced training. Both operate for Mafraq airbase, home of the RJAF King Hussein Air College.
Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Pilatus, commented: “We are very pleased to welcome the Royal Jordanian Air Force as a new member of the Pilatus family. I am equally happy that Pilatus won the deal against several other international competitors and that, in the final round, the Royal Jordanian Air Force chose our PC-9 M over all other aircraft.”
Who’s counting? Pilatus is! This month, the global fleet of over 1,300 Pilatus PC-12 aircraft reached 5,000,000 flight hours since the first aircraft was delivered in October 1994.
“We are very pleased to mark this significant achievement,” said Ignaz Gretener, Vice President of the General Aviation Business Unit of Pilatus. “The fleet is extremely active, accumulating over half a million hours per year, with some individual PC-12s flying more than 2,000 hours annually.”
Since making its debute in the market, the PC-12 has become a best seller for Pilatus, and built a proven record as one of the safest business aircraft on the market. The PC-12’s success can be attributed to many factors, but the diversity of its operator base is considered the most predominant reason for its continued strong sales. PC-12s around the world are used for executive transport, special missions, air ambulance, surveillance, airlines, cargo transport, fractional ownership, law enforcement, charter, fire spotting, and relief aid roles.
Gretener continued, “We are especially grateful to our customers for their confidence in Pilatus and their commitment to the PC-12. Our close relationships with operators have helped us continuously improve the aircraft. We look forward to celebrating the next 5,000,000 hours.”
Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus will deliver the five PC-7 Mark II aircraft ordered by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF/TUDM) at the end of 2016, sources in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur confirmed on 18 May 2015.
The prop trainers will be added to the 16 PC-7 Mark IIs already operated by the Air Force’s 1 Flight Training Centre and Flight Instructor School based at Alor Setar / Sultan Abdul Halim RMAF Base. The other aircraft were purchased between 1999 and 2006, but the RMAF has a wish to replace all 32 older Mark I versions of the Swiss trainer that have served the Asian country since the 1980s.
According to Malaysian media the Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia will outsource the basic training of helicopter pilots to a private company that flies six Eurocopter EC120s. Much more on the Royal Malaysian Air Force you can read
in our extensive ↑ Overview: Air Forces of Malaysia.