- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Pilatus PC-9
Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG - Pilatus PC-9M - HB-HPJ
1997 Pilatus Flugzeugwerke AG
Pilatus PC-9M
HB-HPJ (sn 605)
Photo taken Aug. 2009
Buochs Airport - Switzerland (LSZC)
Photo © AirplaneMart.com

The Pilatus PC-9 is a single-engine, low-wing tandem-seat turboprop training aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland.

Design and development

The PC-9 is a more powerful evolution of the PC-7. It retains the overall layout of its predecessor but has very little structural commonality with it. Amongst other improvements, the PC-9 features a larger cockpit with stepped ejection seats and also has a ventral airbrake.

The PC-9 programme officially started in 1982. Although some aerodynamic elements were tested on a PC-7 during 1982 and 1983, the first flight of the first PC-9 prototype took place on 7 May 1984. A second prototype flew on 20 July of the same year; this prototype had all the standard electronic flight instrumentation and environmental control systems installed and was thus almost fully representative of the production version.

Certification was achieved in September 1985. By this time, the PC-9 had lost the RAF trainer competition to the Short Tucano. However, the marketing links that Pilatus built up with British Aerospace during the competition stood them in good stead, as it soon led to their first order from Saudi Arabia.

As of 2004, more than 250 aircraft of this type have been built.

Operational history

The first production aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flew on 19 May 1987, under the Australian designation PC-9/A.

Condor Flugdienst of Germany uses 10 examples of the target-towing variant.


Two-seat basic trainer aircraft.

Two-seat basic trainer for the Royal Australian Air Force. Built under licence in Australia by Hawker de Havilland. Croatia ordered three second-hand examples from the RAAF in 1997.

Two-seat target-towing aircraft for the German Luftwaffe. This target-towing version has an increased fuel capacity enabling flight for up to 3 hours and 20 minutes as well as two Southwest RM-24 winches under the wings. These winches can reel out a target up to 3.5 kilometres.

This version was introduced in 1997 as the new standard model. It has an enlarged dorsal fin in order to improve longitudinal stability, modified wingroot fairings, stall strips on the leading edges as well as new engine and propeller controls. Croatia bought 17 new units in 1997; Slovenia placed an order for nine (nicknamed Hudournik - Swift) in December of the same year; Oman ordered 12 examples in January 1999; and Ireland signed a contract for eight in January 2003. Bulgaria purchased 12 aircraft in 2004. The last order was made by Mexico, which received at least two in September 2006.

Beech Pilatus PC-9 Mk.2
In order to compete in the United States JPATS competition, Pilatus and Beechcraft developed an extensively modified version of the PC-9, called the Beech Pilatus PC-9 Mk. II which beat out seven other contenders. It was later renamed the T-6A Texan II and is now built and marketed independently by Beechcraft. Over 700 are to be built for the United States Air Force and United States Navy, with Pilatus receiving royalties.


Military operators
- Royal Australian Air Force operates 67 aircraft - 2 were supplied directly by Pilatus, 17 were assembled from Pilatus-supplied kits and 48 were built in Australia by Hawker de Havilland. The type is also used by the Roulettes aerobatic display team of the RAAF.

- Bulgarian Air Force operates 6 aircraft delivered in 2004.

- Croatian Air Force operates 20 aircraft - 17 PC-9M delivered new from 1997, as well as three second-hand examples. PC-9s are used for advanced pilot training and as a national aerobatic aircraft in a group called Wings of Storm.

- Chad's Air Force operates 3 PC-7s and 1 PC-9. The latter was delivered to Chad to replace a PC-7 which it had purchased from France.

- Irish Air Corps operates 7 PC-9Ms delivered in late-2004. In 2005 planes were upgraded and each aircraft is now equipped with 2x rocket pods and 2x machine gun pods. On 12 October 2009 a PC-9M was involved in a fatal crash near Cornamona, Co.Galway killing both pilots.

- Mexican Air Force - operates 2 PC-9Ms delivered in late-September 2006, more possibly will be delivered.

- Myanmar Air Force received 10 aircraft delivered from April 1986.

- Royal Air Force of Oman operates 12 aircraft delivered from 1999 to March 2000.

Saudi Arabia
- Royal Saudi Air Force operates 50 aircraft delivered from December 1986. These examples were sold via British Aerospace.

- Slovenian Air Force and Air Defence operates 11 aircraft, designated PC-9M Hudournik. 3 aircraft delivered from 1995 (one was lost in a crash in 2004) and 9 aircraft delivered from November 1998. These examples have been upgraded by RADOM Aviation in Israel.

- Swiss Air Force operates 14 aircraft delivered from 1987. Two returned to Pilatus after evaluation.

- Royal Thai Air Force operates 23 aircraft delivered from 1991.

United States
- United States Army - operated 3 PC-9 from 1991-96 as chase and test aircraft, and sold to Slovenia in 1995.

Civil operators
- Condor Flugdienst operates 10 aircraft for target-towing duties.

United Kingdom
- BAE Systems operated 2 development aircraft in support of the Royal Saudi Air Force contract.

Specifications (Pilatus PC-9M)

General characteristics
Crew: one or two pilots
Capacity: two seats (tandem)
Length: 10.69 m (35 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 10.11 m (33 ft 2 in)
Height: 3.26 m (10 ft 8 in)
Wing area: 16.3 m2 (175 sq ft)
Empty weight: 1,725 kg (3,803 lb)
Gross weight: 2,250 kg (4,960 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 3,200 kg (7,055 lb)
Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 turboprop, 857 kW (1,149 hp)flat-rated at 708 kW (950 shp)

Maximum speed: 593 km/h (368 mph; 320 kn)
Cruising speed: 552 km/h (343 mph; 298 kn) KTAS at 10,000 ft
Stall speed: 141 km/h (88 mph; 76 kn) CAS flaps and gear up (Vs), 67 KCAS (124 km/h) flaps and gear down (Vso)
Never exceed speed: 593 km/h (368 mph; 320 kn)
Range: 1,593 km (990 mi; 860 nmi)
Service ceiling: 11,580 m (37,992 ft)
G limits: + 7.0 g + 4.5 g
– 3.5 g – 2.25 g
Rate of climb: 20.8 m/s (4,090 ft/min)
Take-off distance over 50 ft (15 m) obstacle at sea level: 1,300 ft (397 m)
Landing distance over 50 ft (15 m) obstacle at sea level 2,255 ft (687 m)

Last updated December 18, 2009
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pilatus PC-9".
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