Pilatus Aircraft Ltd is proud to announce that the first flight of the first PC-21 for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force & Air Defence has taken place on November 22, 2010, one year to the day after the contract was signed. The schedule agreed within the contract was always considered very aggressive but with supreme effort from all involved parties this key milestone has been achieved exactly as planned.
Prior to first flight the aircraft was rolled out and presented to the UAE Air Force & Air Defence by Oscar Schwenk, Chairman & CEO of Pilatus Aircraft Limited, in a ceremony attended by members of the Pilatus executive management and project teams from both parties. After the roll-out the aircraft transitioned to the Buochs airfield. Take-off was successfully achieved at 10.34 and the first flight was performed by the Pilatus chief test pilot. The first flight of a new PC-21 serves as the final check for quality control and conformance. After engine checks on the runway, the pilots will climb to 10,000 feet overhead the airfield, shut down and then restart the engine in flight in order to prove the functionality of the engine related systems. Next, various mechanical systems will be checked including flight controls systems, airframe stall characteristics, engine performance and inverted flight. Finally the landing gear functionality will be examined. After flight, the data will be examined and the aircraft prepared for the remaining production flight test. A post flight debriefing was undertaken with the UAE Air Force & Air Defence, represented by Brigadier General Sami Saeed Al Nuaimi, and this formally closes the successful achievement of this element of the Project.
Delivery of the 25 PC-21 aircraft and the other key components of the Pilatus training system are scheduled to commence in the first quarter 2011, paving the way for UAE Air Force & Air Defence pilots to undertake basic and advanced flying training at Khalifa bin Zayed Air College, Al Ain, complementing the existing PC-7 fleet which has been in service for more than 26 years.
After Singapore and Switzerland, the UAE becomes the third country to revolutionise its training pipeline with the most modern and advanced turbo trainer aircraft on the market today.
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