The first Australian pilots to undertake conversion training on the Pilatus PC-21 recently arrived in Switzerland. These pilots will form the transition team responsible for development of the new training curriculum and PC-21 simulators being acquired under Project AIR 5428 Pilot Training System.
The Pilatus PC-21 is the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft. As part of the AIR 5428 project the PC-21 will replace Air Force’s current PC-9/A and CT-4B aircraft, and will be based at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.
The capabilities of the PC-21 make it ideally suited to a very wide training envelope. It can be used from day one in the training system, eliminating the need for an elementary flying training fleet, but also bridges the performance gap between traditional turboprop trainers and lead-in fighters.The PC-21 is capable of sustained low-level speeds in excess of 320 knots and hydraulically assisted ailerons and roll spoilers can produce fighter-like rates of roll in excess of 200 degrees per second.
Australia is acquiring forty-two PC-21 aircraft and seven Flight Training Devices (simulators) for the new Pilot Training System, with a further three PC-21s being acquired for the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) and four Forward Air Control variants for Number 4 Squadron.
Project AIR 5428 is scheduled to deliver it's first aircraft and simulators in mid 2017.