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Pilatus completes production of PC-21s for France

Photo: The 17th and last PC-21 for France (c/n 309, HB-HVQ) during initial test flights on May 8. Stephan Widmer

 

Pilatus has completed the production of all PC-21 turboprop trainers ordered by France. The 17th and final example (c/n 309, HB-HVQ) began test flights at the company’s Stans-Buochs facility last week.

France selected the PC-21 in December 2016 when a deal was signed with the French subsidiary of Babcock, the company forming a joint venture with Dassault Aviation. The so-called FOMEDEC contract lasts 11 years and will provide fast jet pilot and navigator training for the French military. Simulation specialist CAE will provide ground training devices under a subcontract.

The Armee de l’Air’s new PC-21s and simulators will be based at Cognac-Châteaubernard, where they will replace the Grob G 120A and Socata TB-30 Epsilon. The PC-21s will also replace a part of the current fast jet training syllabus that is flown on Alpha Jets.

Surprisingly, no aircraft has been delivered to France to date. Some of the French PC-21s are temporarily parked in the old military caverns of the former Swiss Air Force base at Stans-Buochs. According to the French press, the PC-21s will arrive at Cognac in September. The first training course for French pilots is scheduled to begin in May next year.

PC-21 c/n 309, HB-HVQ prepares for departure at Stans-Buochs on May 8. Stephan Widmer

 

One of the French PC-21s temporarily parked in the old Swiss Air Force cavern at Stans-Buochs last October. Stephan Widmer

 

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