Tag Archives: Pilatus

The Spanish Air Force Receives Its First PC-21

The Spanish Ministry of Defence, through the General Directorate of
Armament and Material (DGAM) will deliver to the Spanish Air Force, the
Ejército del Aire, based in San Javier (Murcia), its first PC-21, and will
immediately integrate the world’s most advanced training system by Pilatus
to be part of the 792 Squadron, the Basic Training School in the Spanish Air
Force Academy. Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to Spain by June
2022, raising air force pilot training to state-of-the-art level.


A highly efficient training aircraft to provide advanced training of Spain’s future
military pilots to protect future generations: After a lengthy and exceptionally
professional evaluation, Pilatus prevailed over all the international competition
to win the contract with the PC-21 in 2020. The first PC-21 was handed over in
San Javier on 14 September 2021.


Brigadier General of the Air Force León-Antonio Machés, DGAM (Ministerio de
Defensa de España) Deputy Director General of Programs commented at the
handover: “We are very pleased to be able to integrate such an advanced
training system. Not only will the PC-21 revolutionise our pilot training and
take it to a whole new level, it will also allow us to reduce the cost of our pilot
training.”


André Zimmermann, VP Government Aviation at Pilatus, added: “We’re
delighted that the first PC-21 in the national colours will take to the Spanish
skies as of now. Spain – a renowned and highly professional air force – is
already the third air force in Europe to have opted for the world’s most
advanced training system and we are confident that others will follow Spain’s
example.”

First PC-21 training course from 2022

The air force will launch its first pilot training course in September 2022. The
PC-21 will provide Spain with not only the most technically advanced training
system, but a cost-effective, ecological training platform as well. Experience
with existing PC-21 customers shows that the budget for training a student
military pilot can be reduced by more than 50 percent with the PC-21. These
single-engine turboprops require far less fuel than comparable jet trainers.
Besides the actual aircraft, the PC-21 training system includes state-of-the-art
simulators, computer-based training and virtual reality tools. Pilatus thus
offers the most advanced, most powerful integrated training system currently
available on the market.

SAAF Change of Command Parade

A cold frosty morning on the 4th June 2021 we made on way to Airforce Base Swartkop in Valhalla. This is has been our home grounds for years for Airshows, flying training days and parade as such this being the new chief acceptance parade from Lieutenant General Fabian Zakes Msimang to pass on his task as the new chief of the South African Airforce, Lieutenant General Wiseman Simo Mbambo.

Thanks to the South African Media Liaison officers. We were kindly given gift bags and made surely welcome to base and had a fantastic position for photo opportunities for both members of the parade and aircraft flying overhead.

SA Defence News provided live streaming via YouTube for Aviation Enthusiasts and other guests which weren’t able to attend the parade due to covid 19 restrictions. AFB Swartkop made sure all protocols were made for screening and sanitizing all invited guests and media.

A general salute was first up of the sequence of events of cannon gun fire while a pair of Oryx Helicopters carried both the South African National flag and South African Airforce (SAAF) flag. Once again great flying by the crew from various helicopter Squadrons in such windy conditions.

During this time Chaplin Melanie Smit provided the parade with a Religious observance and a code of conduct also mentioned.

Lt General (Retired) Fabian Zakes Msimang continued with his speech as he passes on his command to Lieutenant General W. S Mbambo as said :

I leave an Air Force that centers its behaviour around the needs of the next generation. An Air Force that lived by the slogan “We serve with Discipline, Dignity, Professionalism and Patriotism”.

The mass Flypasts began with a helicopter formation of five Oryx Helicopters from various Squadron from around South Africa and one BK117 from 15 Squadron “Charlie” flight.

The pointer formation was next led by 1 Pilatus PC12 and four Cessna 208A Caravans from 41 Squadron bSed at Airforce Base Waterkloof.

Nine Pilatus PC7s MKIIs led by Major Sivu Tangana, current leader of the Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team of the South African Airforce, flew directly over the parade podium showing the abito-nitio trainer for student pilots to qualify to get their wings in the SAAF.

28 Squadron with two C130BZ Hercules in linerstern formation flew over with not far behind them the Combat Formation with two JAS39 Gripens from 2 Squadron and three Hawks from 85 Combat Flying School, both Squadrons based at Airforce Base Makhado in the Limpopo Province.

After the parade we we treated to a wonderful spread of refreshments at the Centre of Aviation Awareness Hanger at AFB Swartkop, where Lieutenant General Mbambo, addressed media and invited guests.

The SAAFs Combat Readiness

THIS IS OUR CORE BUSINESS AS THE AIR FORCE – TO BE ALWAYS COMBAT READY WHENEVER WE ARE REQUIRED TO DELIVER ON OUR MANDATE. WE MUST DO EVERYTHING TO REMAIN AT OUR SHARPEST READINESS LEVEL. NO DOUBT – THERE ARE MANY STORMS AROUND US BUT AS EAGLES WE CANNOT AFFORD TO COW DOWN TO THEM. WE SHALL CONTINUE TO FORGE AHEAD IN LINE WITH OUR INTRINSIC EAGLE CHARACTERISTICS AND OUR MOTTO ASPERA PER SPERA AD ASTRA – FROM THE ADVERSITY TO THE STARS

We’d like to welcome the new Chief of the South African Airforce to his position and look forward to working with him in the future. Till then this “an Airforce that inspires Confidence”

Thanks to the contributors to this article Jarryd Sinovich, Vincent Nagel, Dian Townsend & Gerrit Mynhardt

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Pilatus Appoints TAG Maintenance Services as Authorised Service Centre for PC-24

Pilatus has appointed TAG Maintenance Services to support the Pilatus PC-24 Super Versatile Jet for comprehensive base and line maintenance in Geneva, Switzerland. TAG Maintenance Services also offers services for the PC-12 single-engine turboprop.

With the addition of the PC-24, TAG Maintenance Services now provides its highly regarded maintenance services for all Pilatus general aviation aircraft at its Geneva “one-stop shop” facility. TAG Maintenance Services is one of business aviation’s leading MRO providers.

Expand customer relations

Ignaz Gretener, VP General Aviation of Pilatus says: “As the worldwide fleet of PC-24s continues to grow, we are constantly strengthening our support network. Geneva is a top destination for many of our customers, so we are delighted to expand our relationship with TAG Maintenance Services wit h its stellar reputation.”

“Both the PC-12 and PC-24 have proven to be popular personal, corporate and charter aircraft in Europe. We are pleased to build on our long and close relationship with Pilatus to care for these great aircraft ”, adds Franck Madignier, CEO of TAG Maintenance Services.

Number 1 in customer support

In summer this year, in an independent survey conducted by Professional Pilot magazine, operators voted Pilatus number 1 in turboprop customer service for the 19th consecutive year. Pilatus officials attribute this honour to an intense focus on post-sale support through its global service network. Customers are served locally through strong personal relationships with an Authorised Pilatus Service Centre, backed up with factory expertise and technical support.

Pilatus Strengthens Its Board of Directors With Two Top Swiss Entrepreneurs

Extraordinary General Meeting saw shareholders elect two new well-known members to the Board of Directors – Hansueli Loosli and Lukas Gähwiler. Both have an outstanding track record, making them the ideal persons to continue building a sustainable and strategically successful future for the Swiss aircraft manufacturer.

Hansueli Loosli, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Coop and Swisscom, will join the Pilatus Board of Directors as a new member. Loosli has already won the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the past. He is a full-blooded entrepreneur right down to the last fibre and a perfect fit with Pilatus.

Lukas Gähwiler was also elected as a new member of the Board of Directors. He has been in office as Chairman of the Board of Directors at UBS Switzerland AG since 2017. Before that, he spent over six years as a member of the UBS Group Executive Board. He has acquired exceptional expertise in the field of finance in particular. His professional experience makes him an ideal addition. Gähwiler also is a member of the board of the media company Ringier and brings with him an extensive network of contacts with actors in Swiss economy and politics.

Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of the Pilatus Board of Directors, comments on the two new members:

“I’m truly proud to have won two such well qualified members for our Board of Directors. Our Swiss colleagues have all the experience required for the task and will assist us in developing and carrying forward into the future our strategy as an independent Swiss aircraft manufacturer. Together, our goal is to reinforce our commitment to Switzerland as a workplace and strengthen our uncompromising focus on the customer, thereby safeguarding over 2000 jobs at the site in Stans.”

The two outgoing Board members, Gerhard Beindorff and Bernhard Müller, did not stand for re-election for reasons of age. Pilatus thanks both gentlemen for their valuable work on behalf of the company over the past decade and wishes them all the very best for the future.

The new Pilatus Board of Directors will therefore be composed as follows:

Oscar J. Schwenk (Chairman), Gratian Anda (Vice Chairman), Dominik Burkart (member), plus the two newly elected members, Hansueli Loosli and Lukas Gähwiler.

Pilatus plans to add further members to the Board in the coming year.

Swedish Medevac PC-24 Completes Successful Maiden Flight

The first of six PC-24s for the Swedish Air Ambulance Organisation took off from Buochs Airport for its maiden flight on 22 July 2020. Sporting the national colours of Sweden – blue and yellow – the Super Versatile Jet will cut a dash across Swedish skies.

Less than a year after the agreement between the Kommunalförbundet Svenskt Ambulansflyg (KSA) and Pilatus was signed, the maiden flight of the first Swedish medevac PC-24 marks an important milestone in the programme. Despite the disruption caused by the covid-19 pandemic, Pilatus still managed to meet the tight production schedule.

Six medevac PC-24s for KSA

As an air ambulance service organisation, KSA will provide advanced medical assistance and access to fast, professional aeromedical care, to everyone living in Sweden. The full KSA fleet will comprise six PC-24s, with all aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2021.

The maiden flight heralds the start of numerous flight tests to be performed by Pilatus. On completion of these tests, the PC-24s for KSA will be transferred to Aerolite AG, the specialist Swiss company appointed to oversee the installation of the medevac interior.

About the PC-24 air ambulance

The outstanding flexibility of the PC-24 opens up a wealth of possibilities for use as a medevac aircraft. The cabin offers sufficient space for three patients plus medical personnel. The PC-24’s large cargo door also facilities speedy loading and unloading of patients. All these advantages, combined with the PC-24’s STOL credentials, make it the ideal aircraft for all air ambulance missions. After the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and the US North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department, KSA is the third organisation to deploy the PC-24 as a medevac aircraft.

SAAF Silver Falcons will be Back Soon!

It is not the end of the Silver Falcons. The Silver Falcons based at Air Force Base Langebaanweg is currently not participating at any Airshows due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, which include Airshows.

The main purpose of the Silver Falcons aerobatic team is to enhance the image of the South African Air Force (SAAF), encourage recruitment and instill National Pride.
In accordance with the amended Regulations on Disaster Management the SAAF have cancelled all events until further notice.

At present the SAAF members are under continuous staff and instructors training.
The Silver Falcons will resume training as per the training schedule of Central Flying School at Air Force Base Langebaanweg.

We at Aviation Central are looking forward to seeing the pride of the nation back in the skies and thrilling the crowds at a Airshow soon!

At Cruising Altitude in 2019 and Prepared for Turbulence in the Future-Pilatus

Pilatus reported another very successful business year in 2019, exceeding the one billion mark yet again with turnover of approximately 1.1 billion Swiss francs. Operating income totalled 153 million Swiss francs, incoming orders amounted to 1.1 billion Swiss francs. Pilatus staff enjoyed a share in this success with a generous bonus payout – even in the current difficult economic climate.

2019 will go down in the company’s 80 year history as another very successful twelve months overall. The figures were very similar to those reported in 2018. Total aircraft deliveries came in at 134 – 83 PC-12 NGs, 40 PC-24s and 11 PC-21s – the most extensive production programme yet.

Successful PC-24 market launch

The market rollout of the brand-new PC-24 is now complete and Pilatus has well and truly left the build-up phase. 75 PC-24s have been delivered to date and are in use on every continent. The PC-24 with the most hours in the air has already flown over 1,800 hours. The order book re-opened in May last year and demand for the world’s unique Pilatus Super Versatile Jet remains as high as ever. The PC-24 has won prestigious new clients such as Volkswagen and KSA, the Swedish air ambulance service – important milestones in a programme which is still young as yet.

Pilatus PC24

A comprehensive post-certification test campaign was performed in 2019 to have the Super Versatile Jet approved for operations on rough field runways and in other conditions. All PC-24s are now authorised for use on wet and snow-covered unpaved and grass runways. In the same vein, other PC-24 product improvements have been made to eliminate initial teething problems and provide customers with extra added benefits.

Excellent response to the PC-12 NGX

Pilatus launched the PC-12 NGX in autumn 2019: compared to its predecessor, this further development of the world’s best-selling single-engine turboprop in class now boasts an improved engine, smarter avionics and a completely re-designed cabin with larger windows. The new PT6E-67XP engine by Pratt & Whitney Canada is particularly impressive: its electronic propeller and engine control system is a worldwide first in this market segment. After obtaining certification in 2019 and making appropriate changes to the production line, the market launch generated a large number of orders. This month saw the first customers take to the skies aboard their new NGXs.

Pilatus PC12 NGX

Major PC-21 order from Spain

Finalised in 2019 and signed in January 2020, the PC-21 order from Spain is a very important step in securing future operations. From 2021 onwards, Pilatus will deliver a total of 24 PC-21s to the Spanish Air Force, the Ejército del Aire. Spain is the third European air force to opt for this Next Generation Trainer. If the General Aviation Division is indeed heavily impacted by the current economic difficulties, this order will prove essential for Pilatus in terms of providing sufficient activity for the workforce and continued business success for the company. It also demonstrates the importance of the two-pillar strategy – civilian and military business – in guaranteeing future economic viability.

Pilatus PC21

Pilatus delivered the last of a total of 49 PC-21s to the Royal Australian Air Force in November 2019. This delivery – the final one for the time being – brings the worldwide fleet of PC-21s up to a total of 211 aircraft. An impressive figure indeed, and proof that the PC-21 is now the world’s most modern, most efficient training system.

Employee profit-sharing – nothing changes

At 2,289 the number of full-time jobs across the Pilatus Group increased slightly in 2019. The very good figures for the year deliver the most effective means of thanking Pilatus employees: from apprentice through to senior manager, all employees received their personal share in the profits for 2019 as usual. This year’s bonus, paid in April 2020, is equivalent to almost 1.5 times the respective monthly salary. This performance-related employee profit-sharing model is contractually agreed with the company’s own Workforce Committee and has been in place for over 25 years.

Turbulent times in 2020

Pilatus started the year with orders worth over two billion Swiss francs, not including the major order from the Spanish air force. But the corona crisis is bound to leave its mark, and the promising outlook of the early weeks of the year has had to be revised downward. Pilatus was quick to take appropriate countermeasures, including the introduction of short-time work for large numbers of staff. In the meantime, fewer than 20 percent of employees are still affected by this measure. Supply chains remain disrupted, necessitating continuous reassessment of the situation.

Oscar J. Schwenk on 2019 and the future

Oscar J. Schwenk, Chairman of Pilatus, commented on the annual results as follows: “I am very pleased with our performance in 2019. I note, however, that the corona pandemic has pitched us – and many others – into a period of severe turbulence requiring constant fact-based readjustment of our chosen heading. Every pilot learns how to make the all-important corrections to flight path and altitude. We are doing exactly, reverting to the basics, as taught from the first hours of flight instruction – encompassed in the term good airmanship: aviate, navigate, communicate. In other words, retain control of the business, apply an analytical approach to problems and, finally, define a fact-based plan of action and communication.

Under the leadership of CEO Markus Bucher, I have always tailored my management style to economising during the good times in preparation for the challenges of the future, all the time keeping our feet firmly on the ground – all entrepreneurs know that healthy liquidity comes before everything else! Specifically, that means paying realistic salaries, monitoring fixed costs at all times and distributing profits with prudence. Happily, our investors have supported this sustainable corporate strategy – one which we have deliberately kept free of external loans – for years.

We are not the only ones having to tighten our belts. In a situation which no one could have foreseen, it is reassuring to know that the financial reserves set aside in the past will ensure we are able to navigate the current crisis in preparation for a clean landing and a renewed take-off into the future, together. In the final instance, our business success benefits everyone!”

Alaska’s North Slope Borough Now Flies a PC-24 Air Ambulance

Operated by the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department (SAR) in the northernmost region of the United States, the PC-24 provides basic medical care for 9,800 residents across a territory of 95,000 square miles (246,000 square kilometres). Outfitted with tandem LifePort™ AeroSled™ stretchers and five passenger seats, it is the fourth PC-24 to be delivered in a medevac configuration.

The town of Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is located at 71 degrees north latitude. The average temperature in mid-January is –14 degrees Fahrenheit (–26 degrees Celsius) and the sun does not rise completely above the horizon until early February. This region, with its exceptionally harsh conditions, will be the new home for the Super Versatile Jet.

Multi-mission capability

The SAR Department is responsible for delivering basic medical care to all North Slope Borough residents. The team performs medevac operations, search and rescue and other emergency missions.

In addition to the PC-24, which replaces an older light jet, SAR currently operates two helicopters and a fixed wing turboprop aircraft. All are capable of day, night, visual or instrument meteorological flight conditions in a medevac context. Many flights are operated from snow and ice packed runways with paved, dirt, and gravel surfaces – conditions for which the PC-24 was specifically designed.

Unique characteristics

April Brooks, Director of North Slope Borough Search and Rescue, explained the reasons which motivated the choice of the PC-24: “The PC-24 is a gamechanger when it comes to fast, efficient transport of critical patients across vast distances in our extremely harsh environment. Its unique cargo door, large cabin and ability to safely operate from short, unpaved runways make it ideally suited to our needs.”

At the handover ceremony held at Pilatus’ US subsidiary, Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd in Broomfield, Colorado, North Slope Borough Mayor Harry K. Brower Jr. said: “We are delighted we can now offer residents a new level of capability to enhance their safety and well-being. In this region, fast, efficient, high quality medical care is absolutely essential, and the PC-24 will enable us to fulfil every aspect of that commitment.”

Thomas Bosshard, CEO of the Pilatus subsidiary, presented the keys to Mayor Brower and commented: “We are proud of the role our PC-24 will play in supporting the residents of North Slope Borough and the SAR team in the execution of their missions. We are very pleased to see such high demand for the PC-24 as a medevac platform, in addition to its popularity as a business jet. This is exactly the type of versatility we envisioned when we began designing the PC-24 – and now it is a reality.”

PC-24 Rough Field Certification Campaign Brought to a Successful Conclusion

Pilatus obtained certification for take-offs and landings on grass, wet earth and snow, making the PC-24 the world’s most flexible business jet ever.

Pilatus has now obtained full rough field certification for the PC-24 Super Versatile Jet. Certification for operations on dry sand and gravel was delivered in 2018.

A comprehensive post-certification test campaign was conducted throughout 2019 to certify the Super Versatile Jet for operation on unpaved runways and in differing conditions. With immediate effect, all PC-24s may now also be operated on wet and snow-covered unpaved runways.

Twice as many airports – just with the PC-24

The PC-24 was developed for use on rough field from the outset. Its outstanding performance on short and unpaved runways opens up an amazing degree of flexibility and new possibilities. Compared to other business jets currently on the market, the PC-24 provides access to almost twice as many airports worldwide. More airports mean more options – taking operators to their destinations faster, with valuable time-savings.

Pilatus Chairman Oscar J. Schwenk adds: ‟I’m delighted to note the successful completion of these comprehensive tests. Our PC-24 has proven that it is capable of flying the full range of missions for which it was developed.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and operators in North America or Africa already use rough field runways on a regular basis, proving just how unique the PC-24 is – that sort of capability is only available with the Pilatus Super Versatile Jet!”

Tests across the world

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) requires tests for the certification of take-off and landing capability to be carried out on different runways. After careful evaluation of local conditions, tests were made at locations across America and Europe.

The excellent runway in Goodwood, England was selected for the tests on dry grass. Further tests on grass runways were carried out at Kunovice in the Czech Republic, at Poitiers in France and at Duxford, England.

At Woodbridge, England, complex conditions were reproduced in part in order to meet all test specifications for take-offs and landings on wet dirt surfaces. The PC-24 was also flown in North America: tests on snow-covered gravel runways were performed at Kuujjuaq in Canada.

OG heads for Bloem!

Major Omphile “Biggy” Matloane former leader, soloist and slot pilot for the South African Airforce Silver Falcons Aerobatic Team bids farewell to Central Flying School at Airforce Base Langebaanweg and heads to Airforce Base Bloemspruit to continue instruction on helicopters, his message below as he leaves the team!

Falcons & Gripen
Falcons & Gripen

“Gentlemen, with a bit of luck and sheer guts tomorrow will be my last day as an official member of the Central Flying School. Goodness me, where does the time go ? Change is the only constant and inevitable. It’s been one heck of a tour ! 6 years flew past like nothing! Iv made friends and enemies alike! “

A great team

“But to tell you the truth , to say I’ve made enemies is a waste of the queens language! It doesn’t matter. What matters is the work we’ve all accomplished. I deeply believe when I meet all you after tomorrow, somewhere out there in the bigger saaf it will be a meeting of smiles and laughs.So , after all it’s said, done and dusted all that’s left is gratitude and total humility. I thank you so much for all the years !

Nine PC7MKIIs from Central Flying School Langebaanweg

“50 years from now , my grandkids will hear all the stories of my tour at Central Flying School ‘CFS’. And it will be a fascinating narration. Whatever happened was supposed to happen exactly how it happened. That means I have little to no regrets ! Which puts me at peace.”

Silver Falcons PC7MKIIs

“From the deepest part of my heart I wish you all the very best . Don’t worry much about the current situation! It too shall pass . Very soon the team will be tearing up the South African skies doing loops and barrels! And it will feel like there was never a pause ! Remember to find the joy in it or else it’s futile but remember you are the only team in SA which covers the length and breadth of our landscape. “

The moments not to forget

“Somehow I think the saaf will come out stronger through this crazy unpredictable period the entire world finds itself in . What am I saying? You guys are in the right place to dictate the future. “

Silver Falcons at AAD2018

“Every emotion I felt , every time I was uncertain or certain I was taking the right action, every time I was afraid, or unsure was the right emotion. It all led to this moment. Newcastle airshow 2018 and in hindsight Swartkops airshow 2019 will forever be etched in my blue print.”

Major Omphile Matloane receives his golden wings from Major Sivu Tangana September 2018

“Impossible is man made and not a representation of life . So all thatnis left is to say thank you . In my native tongue it goes like this ‘ ke a leboga. Ke leboga go menagane”

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