Pilatus PC-7 Mk II

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Pilatus PC-7 Mk II Blog Image


Recently, two Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots were killed after their Pilatus PC-7 Mk II trainer aircraft crashed during a routine training sortie from the Air Force Academy at Dundigal, Telangana.

About Pilatus PC-7 Mk II

  • It is a trainer aircraft.
  • It is a low-wing, turbo-prop aircraft with tandem seating (the cadet sits in the front, the instructor behind him).
  • While the original aircraft has been in service since the 1970s, the Mk II version was introduced in the 1990s, with a newer airframe and more advanced avionics.
  • It is Powered by a Pratt & Whitney turbo-prop engine, it has a maximum speed of 412 km/h and can fly to a height of slightly more than 10,000 m.
  • It has a range of 1,200 km without external tanks, which translates to slightly more than 4 hours of flying time.
  • There are 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft in service with the IAF.

What is a trainer aircraft?

  • A trainer is a class of aircraft designed specifically to facilitate flight training of pilots and aircrews.
  • Modern military aircraft are notoriously difficult to master for rookie pilots. Hence, they must first be trained on other, more basic aircraft.
  • Trainer aircraft are far more forgiving than the aircraft military pilots will eventually fly — they fly slower, have less complex systems, and are designed to be resistant to and recoverable from stalls and spins, a common challenge for rookie pilots.
  • They are also much cheaper, allowing air forces to buy them in bulk to train cadets.

Q1) What is a turboprop engine?

It is a variant of a jet engine that has been optimised to drive a propeller. Turboprop equipped aircraft are very efficient at lower flight speeds (less than mach 0.6), burning less fuel per seat-mile and requiring significantly less runway for takeoff and landing than a turbojet or turbofan powered aircraft of the same size. 

Source: Pilatus PC-7 Mk II crash: 5 things to know about the trainer aircraft