Swiss-made Pilatus trainer touches down

Swiss-made Pilatus trainer touches down

Swiss-made Pilatus trainer touches down

Sqn Ldr Sushant Mitra and his Swiss co-pilot, Stefan Greub, flew the Pilatus PC-7 from Hyderabad to the Air Force Station at Yelahanka here on Tuesday, marking the new training aircraft’s first touch down on IAF Training Command Headquarters’ property.

With the induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mark-II trainer aircraft into the Air Force, IAF trainee pilots have a new mount to learn their basic flying skills. The Swiss-made Pilatus also known as ‘Astra’ would fill the void in basic flying training after the indigenously-made HPT-32 Deepak was grounded some two years ago.

Sqn Ldr Mitra described the Pilatus as, “An excellent training aircraft. Flying in new aircraft is always a fine experience. I enjoyed my flight from Hyderabad to Yelahanka.”

Greub, who came from Switzerland as a test pilot, described the Pilatus as a superior training aircraft. He said that the safety, instruments, controls systems and flexibility of avionics configuration are key features of the aircraft.

Named after a mountain in central Switzerland, Pilatus is an improved version of the PC-9’s airframe and avionics, fitted with the PC-7’s smaller turbine ensures lower operating and maintenance costs.

“It would provide Stage-I flying training and also help streamline flying training of Stages II and III which had to be modified earlier in the absence of a basic trainer,” a senior IAF officer said during an interaction.

He said that the Pilatus would provide better preparation during Stage-I flying training so that training for operational pilots can take place in quicker time frame.

While being the smallest aircraft in the IAF inventory, the Pilatus will shoulder the heavier responsibility in the form of building a future generation of the IAF pilots.

The Pilatus, which had landed in Hyderabad on Saturday, is expected to draw considerable  attention during Aero India-2013,