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PC-21's for RAAF

Old 25th Feb 2017, 09:40
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PC-21's for RAAF

Just out of curiosity (and apologies if this topic has already been raised), with the recent arrival of the first Pilatus PC-21 all through trainer aircraft for the RAAF, and expected completion of the delivery of the ordered 49 PC-21 in the next two or three years, what's the general opinion on what will become of the 60 odd PC-9's, and for that matter the remaining CT-4B's that will be replaced by the new Swiss aircraft? One could speculate by looking into the past, and deriving a conclusion based on what happened to the Macchi's when they had seen their time out, but I would like to think that the "9's" may well have a usefulness beyond what the Macchi's could fill. What do you think?
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 09:53
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You would have to be very rich to keep one in the air when they have finished with them!

There's talk of a few syndicates forming to attempt to purchase some privately.
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 10:04
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You might find the hours remaining especially the CT4's might not make many of the aircraft attractive???
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 10:08
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Didn't they try the all through trainer thing with the PC9 and then have to get the CT4s into action again? Perhaps they better hang onto the CT4s for a while yet!
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 11:16
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Cloudee: Simulators and derated performance didn't exist then. It's comparing apples and oranges. Regardless, the RAAF doesn't own any CT-4's (bar 77 at the RAAF Musuem). They're owned and operated by BAE systems, contracted for RAAF use.

The chances of finding ex RAAF PC-9''s at auction will be, from what I understand, slim to nill. Always happy to be wrong.

Frankly, with serviceability being what it has been, I don't know why you'd want one.
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 11:22
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Cloudee,

Not close enough! They tried all through with the Macchi as well - mid '70s or so. IIRC only one or two courses.
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 11:44
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...and the Vampire before that.
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 11:48
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The big difference here is the way pilots will be selected in the future. The days of going to DFR and asking to apply as a RAAF Pilot are ending.

Welcome to stage center, the "Aviation Candidate"
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 12:06
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junior.VH-LFA,

Ya mean no more written RAAF job applications to P.O. Box XYZ in your capital city?

PS: I've just checked a favourite search engine. It doesn't know anything of the P.O. Box XYZ that many of us wrote to, many years ago.
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Old 25th Feb 2017, 13:20
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Moving to all through training on the PC-21??
With 49 units.

Hmm. Strikes me there isn't enough of them coming in to fulfill the role.

How many CT-4's are BAE (or whoever has the contract now) running for ab-initio? Add to that the RAAF allocation of PC-9's for advanced training.

I was surprised at the decision to buy PC-21's when we did, at that stage it was already an older design. Did the JSF scare the people responsible into buying it as a safe option as a mature platform? who knows....
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 05:43
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Originally Posted by junior.VH-LFA View Post
The big difference here is the way pilots will be selected in the future. The days of going to DFR and asking to apply as a RAAF Pilot are ending.

Welcome to stage center, the "Aviation Candidate"
Sure...it was go and ask at recruiting to be a raaf pilot and in you go no questions asked and that's why all through macchi, PC 9 didn't work. There was no selection criteria....but those days have gone right? They now test their pilot candidates first.

Provided that (at least it as of 20 yrs ago) you were at the top couple of percent for maths,physics,chem, passed the aptitude testing, the phych testing, the board. At least in NSW only around 7 made it to academy out of a couple thousand applications and of those quite a few didn't last through the academy which was understandable. There were ways the system could be gamed a little during times of shortage, but was never easy.

Although the engine can be de-rated, it would still be a heavy and complex aircraft for ab initio with presumably same approach speeds etc. I seem to recall that the problem with all through macchi and PC 9 in the past was more to do with the later conversion onto other types. Just less depth of experience having only flown one type.

It may work but once thing is to never underestimate the incompetence of defence hierarchy and repeating mistakes learned the hard way is a particular specialty. So if it doesn't work and it turns into a cluster nobody should be surprised. Especially new acquisitions, defence has a record of incompetence that people outside the military would think was not even possible. The RAN's helicopter acquisition and subs are the stand out recent examples, but it it happens on smaller scales all the time. Probably because people are posted into decision making positions for short periods of 2 to 3 years. The idea is to make some change to get noticed to move up the chain. Unlike business, it is very hard to quantify how good a manager they are as the deliverables are vague and in any case people are not in a position long enough to judge. It is just my opinion but a lot of the talented people leave after the best of the flying was done, and those that go into decision making positions within defence are not necessarily the cream of the crop.That is not to diminish the skill of people at the operational end. Also there are some excellent managers, but they are an exception in my opinion. However looking at the outstanding safety record of 2fts and cfs and other units shows the progress made and the professionalism of its operators. 40 years ago RAAF aircraft were quite regularly lost, yet I can hardly remember the last RAAF accident and they do a lot of comparatively risky flying compared to RPT. Training had a very high standard. So despite everything, overall it will muddle forward.

So, could be wrong but my guess would be that if all through PC 21 has been decided upon again, it was a decision made by people thinking things are different now and not respecting the lessons learned earlier. Presumably it's been done overseas already as well? But overall point is that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour, and so just because a decision was made, there is little reason to think that it is the best one when it comes to defence.

(And disclaimer...lots of good people in defence management...but they face a battle)
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 06:07
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Originally Posted by jas24zzk View Post
Moving to all through training on the PC-21??
With 49 units.

Hmm. Strikes me there isn't enough of them coming in to fulfill the role.
Add in 7 simulators that can run 10 hours a day rain, hail and shine and you have more than enough.

Although the engine can be de-rated, it would still be a heavy and complex aircraft for ab initio with presumably same approach speeds etc.
The engine can't be de-rated. It produces different power depending on IAS. 1050hp less than 80 kts. Increasing to 1600hp at 200 kts.
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 06:42
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The cockpit can be simplified.

Some people seem to forget really how shocking bloggs is. Generally, the 5428 project is staffed by 2FTS people who haven't seen a real ab-initio bloggs in forever. The "aviation academy" will fill the plane full of less than ideal candidates left of the bell curve. The students they get into 2FTS already know how to fly aircraft somewhat...stick goes up, plane goes up. Don't pull the handle between your legs when panicking, etc. We've had guys freeze up on controls and go all kinds of crazy in the CT4 cockpit over the years....give that guy 1500hp and an ejection seat!

Switzerland seems to be the model that everybody talks about with PC21. One trainer, then straight into f18. But these guys already have been flying GA aircraft (to CPL standard?) for some years before starting PC21. It's not ab-initio...it's a conversion.

I think they'll make it work, but it won't have the efficiency promised.
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 08:17
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I can hardly remember the last RAAF accident and they do a lot of comparatively risky flying compared to RPT. Training had a very high standard.

I agree extralite. Look at our C-130 operations, the RAAF has operated a total of 48 C-130 Hercules of various models from the late 50's till now, and to my knowledge have never bent one. We gift our Northern neighbors some "H" models and they crashed one recently. And don't tell me that it's due to the environment that our herc's operate in. Our herc's and their crews go everywhere. Yeah, the overall safety record is pretty impressive.
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 08:37
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Depending on your definition of "bent", the RAAF's bent plenty of Hercs. No hull losses though.
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 09:04
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.......
So, could be wrong but my guess would be that if all through PC 21 has been decided upon again, it was a decision made by people thinking things are different now and not respecting the lessons learned earlier.
.......
Agree. "This time it's different" always makes me alarmed.
Each time all through has been tried in the past I am sure that phrase has been used. Takes sometime for the powers that be to realise it is a mistake (and ?swallow some pride).
It may work this time but I will be surprised.
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 09:20
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You cynical lot you .... it'll take 2 posting cycles and 1 change of government before it's changed
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 09:33
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What about the RSAF?
Do they have straight through training with their PC-21s?
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 09:54
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Extralite, what planet are you from??
Sure...it was go and ask at recruiting to be a raaf pilot and in you go no questions asked and that's why all through macchi, PC 9 didn't work. There was no selection criteria....but those days have gone right? They now test their pilot candidates first.
Utter garbage.
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Old 26th Feb 2017, 10:10
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I was surprised at the decision to buy PC-21's when we did, at that stage it was already an older design.
What's newer??
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