The RAAF and Pilatus are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Pilatus PC-9/A turboprop trainer entering Australian service.
First delivered on November 24 1987 and having since amassed 440,000 hours across a current fleet of 63 aircraft, the PC-9 is in service with the RAAF’s flying training units at East Sale (CFS) and Pearce (2FTS), 4 Squadron at Williamtown and the Aerospace Operational Support Group (with ARDU) at Edinburgh. The aircraft also plays a prominent public role as the mount for the RAAF’s Roulettes aerobatic team.
The first two PC-9 airframes were fully assembled by Pilatus in Switzerland, while the remaining 65 were built under licence by Hawker de Havilland at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport.
The PC-9/A is expected to remain in service at least through to 2016 until it is replaced under the AIR 5428 project, for which the Pilatus PC-21 and Hawker Beechcraft T-6 are likely to be contenders.