The initial Pilatus PC-21 for the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF’s) Roulettes display team was seen outside the factory in Stans-Buochs, Switzerland, for its final round of pre-flight tests on March 16.
PC-21 A54-019 (c/n 252, HB-HWS) is the 19th trainer for the RAAF. The first 16 Australian PC-21s were for 2 Flying Training School (2FTS) at RAAF Base Pearce, Western Australia.
Under the AUS$1.2bn Australian Defence Force Pilot Training System deal, signed in December 2015, Lockheed Martin Australia is delivering 49 PC-21s to the RAAF, along with seven flight simulators, learning aids, courseware and support for an initial seven-year term.
The first RAAF PC-21 made its maiden flight at Stans on July 21, 2016, followed by the second on August 8 of the same year. The first two aircraft commenced their delivery flight from Switzerland on February 10 last year. The initial training courses on the type are scheduled to begin early next year.
The Roulettes were established in 1970 and performed their first public display at RAAF Base Point Cook in the same year. The team flew Macchi MB326 aircraft, which were replaced by the Pilatus PC-9/A in 1989.
Roulette pilots are qualified flying instructors who work at the Central Flying School, based at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria.