Royal Australian Air Force Aircraft

The Royal Australian Air Force's Pilatus PC-9/A two-seat single-engine turboprop aircraft is the principal basic training aircraft of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It is flown by:

  • Central Flying School at RAAF Base East Sale, Victoria, where ADF fixed-wing flying instructors are trained
  • No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia, where ADF pilots are trained to 'wings' stage
  • Forward Air Control Development Unit at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, to train Joint Terminal Attack Controllers.

The PC-9/A is best known to the public as the aircraft flown by the Air Force Roulettes in aerobatic displays at major events throughout Australia.

At RAAF Base Pearce, trainee ADF pilots, having successfully completed the Basic Flying Course at the ADF Basic Flying Training School at Tamworth, undertake the Advanced Flying Training Course with No 2 Flying Training School, during which they fly 130 hours in the PC-9/A. Upon successful completion, graduates are awarded their wings and posted to a flying squadron.

There are also four modified PC-9/A(F) aircraft in grey paintwork fitted with smoke grenade dispensers for target marking. These aircraft are based at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle, and are used to train ADF Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs, formerly forward air controllers), who coordinate air support to troops on the ground.

The PC-9/A, designed by Pilatus Switzerland and built under license by Hawker de Havilland in Sydney, was introduced to the Air Force in 1987. Pilot training in the aircraft commenced in 1989.

Manufacturer Pilatus
Role Pilot training, forward air control and aerobatics
Crew Instructor and student or Pilot and observer
Engine Pratt and Whitney PT6A-62 turboprop (950 shaft horsepower)
Airframe Length: 10.2 m, height: 3.3 m
Wingspan 10.2 m
Weight 2250 kg basic, 2710 kg maximum (PC-9/A (F) max 3210 kg)
Range 1,850 km (with two underwing tanks), combat radius 650 km
Ceiling 25,000 feet
Max Speed 590 km/h
Equipment Two underwing smoke grenade launchers
Avionics VHF omni-directional range/ instrument landing system, two multi-functional displays