Pilatus PC-21

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Pilatus pc-21 hb-hzc lands arp.jpg
The PC-21 demonstrator lands at RIAT 2008, England.
Role Advanced Trainer aircraft
Manufacturer Pilatus Aircraft
Designer Pilatus Aircraft
First flight 1 July 2002
Introduction April 2008
Status Active service
Primary users Swiss Air Force
United Arab Emirates Air Force
Number built 131+

The Pilatus PC-21 is a single-turboprop, low wing swept monoplane advanced trainer with a stepped tandem cockpit manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland.


In November 1997 Pilatus flew a modified PC-7 Mk.II in order to test improvements for a next generation turboprop trainer. As a result of these tests, Pilatus funded the development of a new training system in November 1998. Development of the PC-21 started in January 1999. Roll-out of the PC-21 prototype was on 30 April 2002 at Pilatus' factory in Stans, Switzerland, with the first flight taking place on 1 July of the same year. The second PC-21 prototype flew on 7 June 2004. One of the prototypes, HB-HZB, crashed on 13 January 2005, in Buochs, Switzerland on an aerobatic training flight, killing the pilot and injuring another person on the ground. The other prototypes: HB-HZA, HB-HZC and HB-HZD, are still flying.


The PC-21 is a completely new aircraft design.[1] The aircraft features a tandem-seating arrangement (student in-front/instructor behind) in a bird strike resistant glass canopy with all round vision, glass cockpit with three large colour liquid crystal displays (LCD), head-up displays (HUD), Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) controls and Zero-zero ejection seats for student and instructor.

Operational history[edit]

Six PC-21 have been delivered to the Swiss Air Force, the first four being delivered in April 2008.[2] In December 2010, the Swiss air force ordered another two.[3]

On 21 January 2008, the first PC-21 for the Republic of Singapore Air Force completed its flight test prior to being accepted into service.[4] On 13 July 2008, the type began to provide the RSAF with basic flying training.[5] A further six aircraft have now been delivered with the remaining seven expected to be delivered in August 2008.[5]

During the 2009 Dubai Airshow, UAE announced an order of 25 PC-21 for the United Arab Emirates Air Force to replace their aging fleet of Pilatus PC-7s.[6] UAEAF's first PC-21 made its maiden on 22 November 2010, deliveries expected to commence from first quarter of 2011.[7]

The PC-21 was offered to the Royal Australian Air Force as part of project AIR 5428 to replace its Pilatus PC-9s;[8] the consortium comprising Lockheed Martin, Pilatus and Hawker Pacific ("Team 21") are reported to have won the bid.[9] Moreover, the PC-21 has been evaluated by the Spanish Air Force, along the T-6 Texan II and the PZL-130 Orlik III, as a possible substitute for its ENAER T-35 Pillan and CASA C-101 Aviojet trainer aircraft.[10]


 Saudi Arabia
  • Republic of Singapore Air Force: launch customer; operates 19 PC-21 on Basic Wings Course (BWC) as part of a contact for availability, together with Lockheed Martin and Hawker Pacific.
  • Swiss Air Force operates 8 PC-21s for advanced training, replacing the BAe Hawk which had been retired since 2003.
 United Arab Emirates

Specifications (PC-21)[edit]

The Pilatus PC-21; note the stepped tandem cockpit

Data from Pilatus Aircraft[14]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 685 km/h (370 knots, 428 mph)
  • Stall speed: 170 km/h (92 knots, 106.25 mph) gear and flaps up (20 km/h less with flaps and gear down)
  • Range: 1,333 km (720 nm, 828 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 11,580 m (38,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 1,219 m/min (4,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 208 kg/m² (42.7 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.39 kW/kg (0.23 hp/lb)
  • g limits: + 8.0 g to - 4.0 (aerobatic) / + 5.0 g to - 2.5 g (utility)


  • Hardpoints: Provisions provided for 4× under-wing and 1× centerline external store stations, capable of mounting up to 1,150 kg (2,540 lb) of payload of air-to-ground weapons to operate in the Counter-insurgency role.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ "PC-21: Aircraft Data". Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Acceptance of the first four Pilatus PC-21 by armasuisse" (Press release). Swiss Federation. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Stans (17 December 2010). "Pilatus Wins PC-21 Follow-up Order From the Swiss Air Force". Pilatus Aircraft. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "RSAF Pilatus PC-21 Makes its Maiden Flight" (Press release). Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). 15 February 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Basic Flying Training on the Pilatus PC-21 Aircraft Trainer Commences" (Press release). MINDEF. 13 July 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  6. ^ Craig, Hoyle (17 November 2009). "Dubai 09: UAE signs deal for 25 PC-21 trainers". Flight Global. Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "UAE's first PC-21 flown". Air Forces Monthly. No. 274 (Key Publishing Ltd). February 2011. p. 26. ISSN 0955-7091. 
  8. ^ Pittaway 2010, p. 20.
  9. ^ Australian Defence Magazine "Lockheed Martin Wins Air 5428" 13 May 2015
  10. ^ "Evaluación del PC-21 Pilatus como entrenador Elemental/Básico/Avanzado", Ejército del Aire de España (Revista de Aeronáutica y Astronáutica) (778), noviembre de 2008  line feed character in |title= at position 45 (help); Check date values in: |date= (help);
  11. ^ "Lockheed’s “Team 21” finally confirmed as AIR 5428 winning bidder". Australian Aviation. australianaviation.com.au. Retrieved 27 October 2015. 
  12. ^ Craig, Hoyle (23 July 2012). "Qatar signs deal for 24 Pilatus PC-21s". Flight Global. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  13. ^ Craig, Hoyle (23 May 2012). "Saudi Arabia signs 102-aircraft military training deal". Flight Global. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Pilatus: PC-21 fact sheet" (PDF). Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. Retrieved 29 April 2010. 
  • Pittaway, Nigel (March 2010). "ADF pilot training under contract". Defence Today (Amberley: Strike Publications) 8 (2): 20–21. ISSN 1447-0446. 

External links[edit]