The Slovenian army has grounded its fleet of 11 Pilatus PC-9/9M advanced trainer and light attack aircraft, pending the results of an investigation into a 10 March incident which saw a student pilot inadvertently ejected from his aircraft.

Participating in an advanced flying course, the co-pilot suffered minor injuries after departing the PC-9 turboprop at an altitude of around 9,840ft (3,000m) during a flight between Sevnice and the aircraft's home base at Cerklje ob Krki. The other pilot managed to land the damaged aircraft.

 © Dragon Lady/AirSpace

Army chief of the general staff Gen Albin Gutman says the accident is being investigated by a defence ministry commission, with assistance coming from Slovenian civil aviation experts. The incident comes four years after a Slovenian PC-9 crashed after its pilot suffered a heart attack.

In addition to supporting advanced flying training, Slovenia's PC-9/9Ms can also be used for air-to-ground fire support operations, using freefall bombs, machine gun pods and unguided rockets.