The first PC-21 turboprop trainer for QinetiQ (serial 310, G-ETPA) has entered final assembly. It was seen outside the Pilatus facility at Stans-Buochs, Switzerland, on November 14.
Pilatus Aircraft announced signature of a contract to provide two PC-21 turboprop trainers to QinetiQ in December last year. The aircraft will be operated by the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) based at MoD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. According to the manufacturer, the PC-21s will feature modified flight instruments to train test pilots and flight test engineers.
Modernisation of the ETPS fleet will be completed through the introduction of two Grob G 120TP trainers. QinetiQ confirmed the £6m deal on September 12. The Grob aircraft will join the ETPS fleet alongside the two new PC-21s, and four Airbus H125 helicopters, ordered in March. The G 120TPs will be used to train flight test engineers throughout all stages of their development.
QinetiQ will continue to manage ETPS until at least 2028, under a £1bn deal with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced on December 2. The contractor is investing £85m in the school to modernise the UK’s test aircrew training.