The Pilatus PC-21 is the world's most advanced pilot training aircraft.

As part of the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System project, the PC-21 will replace Air Force's current PC-9/A. It will be based at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria and RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia.

Although the PC-21 is a key element of the AIR 5428 project, it is only one part of the story. The new Pilot Training System will be able to train more people faster and to a higher standard, with an:

  • advanced aircraft
  • state of the art simulation, and
  • an electronic learning environment.

The system will ensure undergraduate pilots develop the necessary knowledge and skills prior to progressing onto advanced military aircraft such as the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, and MRH-90 helicopter.

About the aircraft

The Pilatus PC-21 is equipped with:

  • a pressurised cockpit
  • air conditioning
  • an anti-G system, and
  • on-board oxygen generation.

It is capable of sustained low-level speeds over 320 knots, and hydraulically assisted ailerons and roll spoilers can produce fighter-like rates of roll in excess of 200 degrees per second.

A digital power management system and automatic yaw compensation makes the PC-21 easy to fly in the circuit, while still providing the performance required for advanced training.

The capabilities of the PC-21 make it ideally suited to a very wide training scope. 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.


Manufacturer Pilatus
Role Pilot training
Crew Instructor and student
Engine Pratt and Whitney PT6A-68B turboprop (1600 shaft horsepower)
Airframe Length: 11.2 m, height: 3.8 m
Wingspan 9.1 m
Weight 2280 kg basic, 4250 kg maximum
Range 1,333 km
Ceiling 25,000 feet
Max Speed 685 km/h (370 knots)