The Spanish Ministry of Defence, through the General Directorate of Armament and Material (DGAM) will deliver to the Spanish Air Force, the Ejército del Aire, based in San Javier (Murcia), its first PC-21, and will immediately integrate the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus to be part of the 792 Squadron, the Basic Training School in the Spanish Air Force Academy. Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to Spain by June 2022, raising air force pilot training to state-of-the-art level. A highly efficient training aircraft to provide advanced training of Spain’s future military pilots to protect future generations: After a lengthy and exceptionally professional evaluation, Pilatus prevailed over all the international competition to win the contract with the PC-21 in 2020. The first PC-21 was handed over in San Javier on 14 September 2021.
André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, added: “We’re delighted that the first PC-21 in the national colours will take to the Spanish skies as of now. Spain – a renowned and highly professional air force – is already the third air force in Europe to have opted for the world’s most advanced training system and we are confident that others will follow Spain’s example.”
Brigadier General of the Air Force León-Antonio Machés, DGAM (Ministerio de Defensa de España) Deputy Director General of Programs commented at the handover: “We are very pleased to be able to integrate such an advanced training system. Not only will the PC-21 revolutionise our pilot training and take it to a whole new level, it will also allow us to reduce the cost of our pilot training.”
The Spanish Air Force will launch its first pilot training course in September 2022. The PC-21 will provide Spain with not only the most technically advanced training system, but a cost-effective, ecological training platform as well. Experience with existing PC-21 customers shows that the budget for training a student military pilot can be reduced by more than 50 percent with the PC-21. These single-engine turboprops require far less fuel than comparable jet trainers. Besides the actual aircraft, the PC-21 training system includes state-of-the-art simulators, computer-based training and virtual reality tools. Pilatus thus offers the most advanced, most powerful integrated training system currently available on the market.
The Pilatus PC-21 is a turboprop-powered advanced trainer with a stepped tandem cockpit. It is manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. . The type can be applied for various training capacities, including basic flying training, advanced flight training, full mission management training, and embedded simulation/emulation. The Pilatus PC-21 is an advanced single-engine trainer aircraft; it is often referred to by Pilatus as being the “Twenty-first Century Trainer”In order to perform these functions, the aircraft possesses a powerful, flexible, and cost-effective integrated training system; providing sufficient ease of use for inexperienced pilots while posing greater challenge to advanced pilots. According to Pilatus, upon product launch, the PC-21 possessed “superior aerodynamic performance when compared with any other turboprop trainer on the market”.