Pilatus is aiming to win half the 1,000 trainer sales predicted over the next 20 years with its PC-21, following its roll-out last week from the manufacturer's Stans, Switzerland factory. The PC-21 is set to make its first flight in July and will be available from 2004.

The PC-21 is a new design with life-cycle costs being the key driver, says Oscar Schwenk, Pilatus chief executive. Pilatus expects it to be offered at the same price per operating hour as the Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano and Raytheon T-6 Texan. "At least one air force" is considering using the aircraft for ab initio training as the operating costs are close to those of piston trainers, Pilatus says.

Pratt & Whitney Canada carried out "considerable re-engineering" to get its 1,200kW (1,600shp) PT6A-68B engine to integrate with the Pilatus power management system (PMS). This allows a cruising speed of 370kt (685km/h) to be maintained at low altitudes. PMS also acts to restrict the engine to a 670kW rating for take-off, before ramping up to full power by 250kt (460km/h).

The aircraft has an 8.8m (29ft) span and is equipped with a "complex flap system" to maintain an 80kt stall speed. The swept wing features double-extending Fowler flaps and has a combination of spoilers and ailerons to provide jet-like roll rates.

The trim gauge is the only analogue dial in the glass cockpit. The aircraft is equipped with software capable of mimicking fighters, allowing Pilatus to offer it as a flying simulator.


Source: Flight International