Photos: B Sateesh
By SKM/Sanjeev Sharma
With induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mark-II trainer aircraft, the Indian Air Force trainee pilots will now get a new set of wings to learn their basic flying skills. Swiss made Pilatus also knows as ‘Astra’ would fill the void in basic flying training after indigenous HPT-32 Deepak was grounded around two years back.
Pilatus would also draw a lot of attraction during Aero India-2013, Asia’s premier Air Show being held at Air Force Station, Yelhanka, Bangalore between February 6-10, 2013. “It is an excellent training aircraft. Flying in new aircraft is always a fine experience. I enjoyed my flight from Hyderabad to Yelhanka ”, said squadron leader Sushant Mitra of Indian Air Force after landing at Yelhanka in the Pilatus. His co-pilot Stefan Greub, who came from Switzerland as a test pilot described Pilatus as a superior training aircraft. He said that “safety, instruments, controls systems and flexibility of avionics configuration are key features of the Pilatus”
Pilatus named after a mountain in central Switzerland 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 absence of the basic trainer.” said a Senior Officer of IAF during interaction on condition of anonymity. He said that “Pilatus would provide even better preparation during Stage-I flying training so that training for operational pilots can take place in quicker time frame.”
Pilatus would thus lay the foundation for future generations of Indian Air Force pilots. While being the smallest aircraft in the IAF inventory, the Pilatus would shoulder a much heavier responsibility in building future generation of the IAF pilots. (Press Release)