The latest two Pilatus PC-21 turboprop trainers for the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) have arrived at Base Aérienne 709 Cognac-Châteuabernard. The two aircraft, 16/HB-HVP (c/n 308) and 17/HB-HVQ (c/n 309), departed the factory at Stans-Buochs, Switzerland on September 10.
Previously, the first two PC-21s were delivered to Cognac on August 30. These aircraft were 03/HB-HVC ‘709-FE’ (c/n 295) and 15/HB-HVO ‘709-FQ’ (c/n 307). These aircraft used the callsigns ‘PCH095T’ and ‘PCH07G’ respectively, and the Armée de l’Air ‘709-xx’ codes and roundels were taped over for the ferry flight.
France signed a contract on December 30, 2016, with Babcock Mission Critical Services France to provide 17 PC-21s for pilot training, prior to moving on to the Alpha Jet and then Rafale. The aircraft will replace the TB30 Epsilon with the Ecole de Pilotage de l’Armée de l’Air (EPAA) 315 at Cognac. Pilatus completed manufacture of all French PC-21s in May and further deliveries are expected to follow shortly, with all aircraft due to be in service before the end of next year.