First RAAF PC-21 completes maiden flight

PC-21-Australia-First-Flight-Media-Release (3)The first Pilatus PC-21 advanced trainer for the Royal Australian Air Force has completed its first flight.

Bearing both Swiss civil registration HB-HWA and its ADF military serial A54-001, the aircraft completed its first flight from Pilatus’s Stans, Switzerland facility on July 21.

“This initial flight of the first Australian PC-21, only seven months after contract signature, is a remarkable achievement and illustrates both the commitment of Pilatus and the hard work of all those involved in the project,” said Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk in a statement.

The first of 49 PC-21s being built for the ADF’s AIR 5428 Pilot Training System program, the aircraft is due be handed over to the RAAF at East Sale in June 2017 after completion of testing and verification work in Switzerland and Australia.

Prime contractor for the AIR 5428 project is Lockheed Martin, which has teamed with Pilatus and Hawker Pacific to deliver the new ADF pilot training system under a seven year, $1.2 billion contract signed in late 2015.

“This is a true testament to our teammate Pilatus and a proven aircraft that will form the backbone of future pilot training for the Australian Defence Force for the next 25 years. We offer our congratulations on this first significant step,” said Raydon Gates, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand.

Under AIR 5428 the PC-21 will replace both the ageing PC-9 advanced trainer, which has been in service since 1988, and the CT-4 currently used for basic training. The PC-9 is due to be withdrawn in 2019 after 30 years of service and more than 500,000 flying hours.

“Having worked directly with the Australian Defence Force for many years, I am delighted to see Pilatus continuing to deliver outstanding service,” Markus Bucher, CEO of Pilatus, said.

“The first flight of this aircraft, the very first Australian PC-21, marks a very significant chapter in the continuing relationship between the Commonwealth and Pilatus. We look forward to many more.”

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Comments

  1. Andrew says

    I’m curious if any of the PC9s will be released the civil market. Don’t want to see another long serving RAAF aircraft turned into landfill

  2. Graham says

    Quote:
    Andrew says
    July 22, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I’m curious if any of the PC9s will be released the civil market. Don’t want to see another long serving RAAF aircraft turned into landfill.

    Andrew, that will be highly doubtful. Many of the airframes are reaching their maximum life limit.
    It is actually becoming a problem for RAAF engineers.
    Even if you could buy one, you wouldn’t want to fly it!
    Satisfying CASA civil airworthiness requirements, would be an incredibly costly venture.

    Once 2019 comes around, these airframes will only be useful as a museum piece, instructional airframe, or scrap metal.

  3. Daryl says

    I am curious about this being called a replacement for the CT4.This thing is a bit high performance for a basic trainer isn’t it.They used to say the PC9 had a performance similar to a P51,I assume this new aircraft is even better.

  4. Fabian says

    I heard that Germany, Italy and Spain were creating new trainer aircraft, both prop and jets for certain air forces around the world. Plus South Korea as a new jet trainer aircraft. The RAAF has many options to choose from although it will happen in 2020. 4 years away. The defence force has time.

  5. Paul says

    I will be interested in watching the success, or otherwise, of AIR 5428. I seem to recall that the CT-4A was phased out for ab-initio pilots to go straight to PC-9’s, but then had to reconsider hence the BFTS and CT-4B.

  6. Raymond says

    I understand the PC-21 can be detuned / derated to provide characteristics more suitable for basic training, then reconfigured to high performance for advanced training.

  7. George B says

    Is 49 enough to supply replacement “Roulettes” aircraft? Or do they get to to keep the PC-9 aircraft with the lowest hours?

  8. David P says

    Regarding the basic training comments… The sim component of the overall PTS is large.

    I think the ab-initios will get a LOT of sim hours under their belt before they feel the wind beneath their wings (so to speak)

  9. Jason says

    Wish I had a dollar for every time someone had asked on AA’s pages whether the PC-21 will be operated by the Roulettes!

  10. Fabian says

    It will be operated by the roulettes. The roulettes always move on to other advanced aircraft.

  11. says

    Good to see another RAAF acquisition going ahead smoothly. Perhaps its time for the Roulettes to go back to jets? A Hawk team would be something to see!