PC-9 M Advanced Trainer
The commercial success of the PC-7 prompted competition in the form of the Brazilian EMBRAER Tucano, which first flew in 1980. This led Pilatus to consider options for a "bigger and better" version of the PC-7. The PC-9 program began in May 1982, with some aerodynamic elements tested on the PC-7 in 1982 and 1983. The first pre-production PC-9 flew on 07 May 1984, and the second followed two months later on 20 July. This one was almost fully representative of the production version, with electronic flight instrumentation and environmental control systems installed. Aerobatic certification was achieved in September 1985. In 1997, the PC-9M was introduced as the new standard model. It features an enlarged dorsal fin to improve longitudinal stability, modified wing root fairings, stall strips on the leading edges and new engine/propeller controls.
The PC-9 M has established itself as a leader among turboprop trainers, offering superior training value for air forces around the world. The PC-9 M is docile enough for a beginner, but with sufficient power available for the more demanding basic and advanced phases of training. Using a modern cockpit environment, the PC-9 M has become highly regarded by flying instructors as an aircraft with high performance, high energy, and agile handling, making it an ideal training platform for a wide range of training syllabi in use today.
Pilatus has continually upgraded the PC-9 M to improve its operation, while maintaining low lifecycle and acquisition costs. Optimised power mapping and a trim aid device result in outstanding airborne handling. The introduction of large primary and secondary active-matrix liquid crystal displays has transformed the PC-9 M into a true “glass cockpit” aircraft. The aircraft can also be equipped with a Head Up Display and Video Recording Sys- tem, which enable the operator to expose students to today’s fighter technology at a very early stage of their training.
As a manufacturer with a long history of assisting air forces to train their front line pilots, Pilatus develops completely integrated training systems. The PC-9 M package includes extensive synthetic training devices, computer-based training, and classroom instruction, which is a proven turnkey solution for today’s pilot training needs.
The PC-9 M is powered by a 900/950 shp (min./max.) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 engine and a 4-blade aluminium Hartzell propeller. Capping the original engine output (1150 shp) delivers low operating costs and a long service life. Access to the engine and associated systems is optimum. There is no need to remove the engine for hot section inspections (HSI), keeping costs to a minimum.
The PC-9, successor of the PC-7 Turbo-Trainer, is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 engine, which is flat rated from 1150 shp to 950 shp. The Hartzell four-bladed propeller turns at a constant 2000 rpm. Both cockpits are equipped with Martin Baker ejection seats. Its prominent windscreen configuration and single piece canopy resemble the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The Pilatus PC-9 two-seater turboprop trainer is primarily used by the Swiss Air Force as a target towing aircraft for anti aircraft artillery training. In a secondary role, the aircraft can be equipped with a jammer for electronic counter measures to avoid anti aircraft defence and other combat aircraft. The aircraft is flown mainly by pilots of the Target Mission Squadron 12, in the main operations areas of the AAA practice grounds in the Valais and the Engadin. The PC-9 can be fitted with a tow winch, with which a tow target can be deployed. The AAA units fire at these targets towed behind the aircraft and, if all safety requirements are met, live ammunition can be used. Gunnery missions are also practised at night. These trainer aircraft were acquired in three phases, the oldest aircraft having been operational since 1988.
The PC-9/A, designed by Pilatus Switzerland and built under license by Hawker de Havilland in Sydney, was introduced to the Royal Australian Air Force in 1987. Pilot training in the aircraft commenced in 1989. 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; and 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 Australian 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.
On June 22, 1995 a considerably redesigned version of the PC-9 was declared the winner of the JPATS competition to select a standard training aircraft type to be used by both the USAF and US Navy. Approximately 780 aircraft in total will be required under this program, built under license as the Raytheon T-6A Texan II.
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