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Pilatus PC-9

Twin-Seat, Single-Engine Basic Trainer Aircraft

Developed from the Pilatus PC-7, the PC-9 serves as a basic and advanced two-seat trainer for many global operators.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 6/14/2019
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Year: 1984
Status: Active, In-Service
Manufacturer(s): Pilatus - Switzerland / Hawker de Havilland - Australia
Production: 265
Capabilities: Close-Air Support (CAS); Training;
Crew: 2
Length: 33.30 ft (10.15 m)
Width: 33.20 ft (10.12 m)
Height: 10.66 ft (3.25 m)
Weight (Empty): 3,803 lb (1,725 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 7,055 lb (3,200 kg)
Power: 1 x Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 turboprop engine developing 1,150 horsepower driving a four-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
Speed: 370 mph (595 kph; 321 kts)
Ceiling: 37,992 feet (11,580 m; 7.2 miles)
Range: 957 miles (1,540 km; 832 nm)
Rate-of-Climb: 4,100 ft/min (1,250 m/min)
Operators: Angola; Australia; Bulgaria; Croatia; Chad; Cyprus; Germany; Iraq; Ireland; Mexico; Myanmar; Oman; Saudi Arabia; Slovenia; Switzerland; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States
The Pilatus PC-9 is a successful twin-seat basic training aircraft used in military circles to provide future pilots and combat airmen their first taste of flight. The aircraft emerged from Swiss-based Pilatus Aircraft in the mid-1980s and has found global respect from flyers despite its modest production total of 265 units. The type, developed from the earlier PC-7 model of similar form and function, went on to form the basis of the American Beechcraft / Raytheon T-6 "Texan II" basic trainer (detailed on this site) currently used by the U.S. military.

A first-flight of the PC-9 was had on May 7th, 1984 and certification followed in September of 1985. Production has been ongoing since 1984. Military operators have ranged from Angola and Australia to Thailand and the United States.

The arrangement of the PC-9 is conventional with a straight-wing mainplane configuration used. The mainplanes are seated at midships as is the tandem-seat cockpit sporting a large, curved canopy offering excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. The cockpit sits aft of a long nose section housing the single engine installation. The tail unit showcases a single vertical tail fin and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage, wholly-retractable, utilizes two single-wheeled main legs (under each wing element) and a single-wheeled nose leg. Internally, the cockpits are a mix of steam-style gauges and display units. The control stick is at center, between the knees, and the throttle is set to portside. Controls are doubled for student and instructor positions. Both airmen are afforded ejection seats.

Variants include the basic, and original, PC-9 model. The PC-9/A became a basic trainer for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and was built locally under license by Hawker de Havilland. The PC-9B was a two-seat target-tower for the German Air Force and the PC-9M followed in 1997. The M-model introduced a revised tail fin and wingroots as well as other subtle changes.

The PC-9M featured an empty weight of 3,805lb against an MTOW of 5,180lb. Power is from a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 turboprop engine developing 1,150 horsepower providing speeds of 370 miles per hour with a range out to 955 miles and a service ceiling up to 38,000 feet. Rate-of-climb is 4,100 feet-per-minute.

Pilatus then teamed with American-based Beechcraft to offer the PC-9 Mk.2 for the JPATS program. This model became the T-6A Texan II in service with the USAF and USN.

While typically unarmed, the PC-9 has three hardpoints under each wing and can carry various load outs for training purposes or light strike sorties.


Conventional drop stores and gunpods across six underwing hardpoints (three to a wing).

Graphical image of an aircraft machine gun pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

Variants / Models

• PC-9 - Base Series Designation; original production model.
• PC-9/A - Basic trainer for the RAAF; 48 examples by Hawker de havilland.
• PC-9B - Target-tower for German Air Force
• PC-9M - Model of 1997; revised tail fin and wingroots.
• Beech Pilatus PC-9 Mk.2 - Joint marketing for the JPATS program, becoming the Raytheon Texan II trainer for the USAF and USN services.
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