The Pilatus PC-7 is a turboprop-propelled trainer aircraft with a tandem-cockpit. It is developed and produced by the swiss company Pilatus Aircraft.
The PC-7 is based on a previous aircraft, the Pilatus P-3, which had a combustion engine instead of a turboprop. The first prototype of the PC-7 was a modified P-3, which flew for the first time in 1966. However, after a crash the project was halted.
In 1973 the project was started again. A different P-3 was acquired from the Swiss Air Force, and underwent some heavy modifications:
- A wing in 1 piece with internal fuel tanks
- A modified elevator
- A different canopy
The first aircraft of this kind that rolled off the production line flew on august 18 1978. In that same year the plane was given the Swiss civil certification, and delivery of the PC-7 commenced.
The PC-7 in the Royal Netherlands Air Force (KLu).
The KLu uses the PC-7 since 1989 for the training of all it's pilots. The PC-7 is very well endowed for training helicopter and airplane-pilots, as well as F-16 pilots.
All 13 planes are based at Woensdrecht AFB. The Royal Military Aviation School is also housed at this base, and pilots in training follow the Basic Military Pilot Training here. After completing this training, a pilot can follow one of the specialised trainings to fighter-pilot or helicopter pilot.
The original colours of the PC-7 were yellow-white-red, but after research at the TNO research institute, it turned out that black was the colour with the most contrast in Dutch skies, and hence they are now painted black with some yellow stripes.
The KLu has a PC-7 Solo Display team consisting of 2 aircraft (one operational and one reserve). This team provides several airshows in Europe, among which a show during the open days of the KLu.
|Engines||1 Pratt&Whitney Canada PT6A-25A|
|Max TOW||2100 kg (4654 lb)|
|Max speed||494 km/h|
|Flight range||1047 km|
|Ceiling||FL250 (7620 m)|
|First flight||May 12 1975|