Pilatus to be main attraction of Aero India 2013
Bangalore, Feb.5 : With the induction of Pilatus PC-7 Mark-II trainer aircraft, Indian Air Force (IAF) trainee pilots will now get a new set of wings to learn their basic flying skills.
The Swiss-made Pilatus also known as 'Astra' would fill the void in basic flying training after indigenous HPT-32 Deepak was grounded around two years back.
Pilatus would also draw a lot of attraction during Aero India-2013, Asia's premier Air Show being held at Air Force Station, Yelhanka, Bangalore between February 6-10, 2013.
"It is an excellent training aircraft. Flying in new aircraft is always a fine experience. I enjoyed my flight from Hyderabad to Yelhanka ", said Squadron Leader Sushant Mitra of Indian Air Force after landing at Yelhanka in the Pilatus.
His co-pilot Stefan Greub, who has come from Switzerland as a test pilot, described Pilatus as a superior training aircraft.
He said that "safety, instruments, controls systems and flexibility of avionics configuration are key features of the Pilatus"
Pilatus, named after a mountain in central Switzerland, is an improved version of the PC-9's airframe and avionics, fitted with the PC-7's smaller turbine ensures lower operating and maintenance costs.
"It would provide Stage-I flying training and also help streamline flying training of Stages II and III which had to be modified earlier in absence of the basic trainer." said a senior IAF officer during an anonymous interaction.
He said that "Pilatus would provide even better preparation during Stage-I flying training so that training for operational pilots can take place in quicker time frame."
While being the smallest aircraft in the IAF inventory, the Pilatus would shoulder a much heavier responsibility in building future generation of the IAF pilots.