The PC-9/A is a critical part of all Air Force pilot training.
Trainee ADF pilots, having successfully completed the Basic Flying Course at the ADF Basic Flying Training School at Tamworth, undertake the Advanced Flying Training Course with Number 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce. During this training, they fly 130 hours in the PC-9/A.
Upon successful completion, graduates are awarded their wings and posted to a flying squadron.
The PC-9/A is also based at RAAF Base East Sale where the aircraft is used to teach qualified RAAF pilots to become flying instructors. Qualified instructors who conduct this course are eligible to fly with the Roulettes, RAAF’s elite formation aerobatic display team.
There are four modified PC-9/A (Forward Air Control variant) aircraft in grey paintwork fitted with smoke grenade dispensers for target marking. These aircraft are based at RAAF Base Williamtown, to train ADF Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs, formerly forward air controllers), who coordinate air support to troops on the ground.
The PC-9/A, designed by Pilatus Switzerland and built under license by Hawker de Havilland in Sydney, was introduced to the Air Force in 1987. Pilot training in the aircraft commenced in 1989.
As part of the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System project, the PC-9/A will be replaced by the Pilatus PC-21, the world’s most advanced pilot training aircraft.