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Australia retires PC-9/A aircraft

Royal Australian Air Force PC-9/A aircraft fly in formation over RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia during their final flight before retirement. Photo: Petty Officer Yuri Ramsey

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) bid farewell to the PC-9/A aircraft after more than 30 years of flying operations on December 12.

The PC-9/A was introduced to service in 1987, starting pilot training in 1989 and has been the backbone of Air Force and Navy flight training.

Deputy Air Commander Australia, Air Commodore Guy Wilson said he was proud to join hundreds of RAAF members, personnel from the supporting contractor Airflite along with representatives from the original manufacturer Pilatus and their respective families at a function to mark the significant milestone at RAAF Base Pearce.

“The PC-9 aircraft has provided fantastic service to the Australian Defence Force over the past three decades, Air Commodore Wilson said.

“The aircraft has successfully supported 103 pilot training courses and graduated more than 1400 pilots from Navy and Air Force,” he said.

“The PC-9/A retirement comes as defense introduces one of the world’s most advanced training aircraft, the PC-21 as part of the new pilot training system project.

“For those who have flown and supported the PC-9 fleet, seeing them retire will be an emotional experience – but the introduction of the PC-21 allows us to deliver modern and effective training that will serve the next generation of pilots,” Air Commodore Wilson said.

The retired fleet of PC-9/As will be disposed through transferring to heritage centers, allocating as training aids and through commercial sale.