The PC-9/A is a critical part of all Air Force pilot training.

Trainee Australian Defence Force (ADF) pilots must successfully complete the Basic Flying Course at the ADF Basic Flying Training School at Tamworth, before they can undertake the Advanced Flying Training Course with Number 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce. During this training, they fly 130 hours in the PC-9/A.

Upon successful completion, graduates are awarded their wings and posted to a flying squadron.

The PC-9/A is also based at RAAF Base East Sale where it is used to teach qualified RAAF pilots to become flying instructors. Qualified instructors who conduct this course are eligible to fly with the Roulettes - the Air Force's aerobatic display team.  

About the Aircraft

Based at RAAF Base Williamtown are four modified PC-9/A (Forward Air Control variant) aircraft in grey paintwork, fitted with smoke grenade dispensers for target marking. They are used to train ADF Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (formerly forward air controllers) who coordinate air support to troops on the ground.

The PC-9/A is designed by Pilatus Switzerland and built under license by Hawker de Havilland in Sydney. It was introduced to the Air Force in 1987, with pilot training commencing in 1989.

As part of the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System project, the PC-9/A will be replaced by the Pilatus PC-21, the world's most advanced pilot training aircraft.


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 Optional smoke grenade launchers
Avionics VHF omni-directional range/ instrument landing system, two multi-functional displays