Aerial Warfare

Pilatus PC-21 Training Aircraft Achieves Historic Milestone with Over 500,000 Flight Hours

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Pilatus PC-21 Training Aircraft Achieves Historic Milestone with Over 500,000 Flight Hours

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Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer
Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer

The global fleet of just under 250 PC-21 training aircraft recently set a historic milestone with a total of over 500,000 successful hours in the air. Experience with current PC-21 customers shows that the state-of-the-art Pilatus training system can help reduce the cost of training future pilots by over 50 percent. Pilatus is proud that the worldwide fleet of exceptionally efficient and advanced PC-21 training aircraft has logged 500,000 hours in the air. In addition to the actual aircraft, the integrated PC-21 training system includes mission planning and debriefing systems, training materials, virtual reality tools and a flight simulator – an essential element in ground-based training.

Ioannis Papachristofilou, recently appointed VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, emphasizes: “The PC-21 provides air forces with a highly efficient platform for military pilot training. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment and smart avionics, the training aircraft delivers a high level of performance. With the PC-21, training hours can be flown with substantially less fuel, making it an exceptionally cost-effective, sustainable and intelligent training platform.”

Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer
Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer. (Photo by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd)

The Pilatus PC-21 is a turboprop-powered advanced trainer with a stepped tandem cockpit. It is manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. Worldwide, the current fleet comprises almost 250 PC-21s. Customers include some of the world’s leading air forces from Europe, Australasia and the Middle East. The Spanish Air Force also trains with the PC-21. With the purchase of 16 additional PC-21s and associated simulators in March 2023, the Spanish Air force is now the largest PC-21 operator in Europe. The Swiss Air Force has successfully used the PC-21 to train its future military pilots since 2008. The PC-21 possessed “superior aerodynamic performance when compared with any other turboprop trainer on the market”.

The PC-21 is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68B turboprop engine of 1,600 shaft horse power, which drives a five-bladed graphite scimitar propeller manufactured by Hartzell; it has been claimed by Pilatus that the PC-21 possesses speed and climb rates previously normally performed only by jet-powered aircraft. It is also fitted with a high-speed profile wing, rated for maneuvers up to 8g, complete with hydraulically-assisted ailerons and spoilers which enable the execution of fighter-like rates of roll and other maneuvers. The aircraft features a tandem-seating arrangement (student in front/instructor behind) in a bird strike-resistant glass canopy with allround vision.

Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer
Pilatus PC-21 turboprop-powered advanced trainer. (Photo by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd)

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