TYPE: Basic turboprop trainer.

PROGRAMME: Project launched November 1998; development began January 1999; provisional designation chosen to indicate 21st Century technology, but was retained for commercial use; first brief details revealed late 1999; modified PC-7 Mk II development aircraft (HB-HMS) flying by October 2000 with a sweptback fin, spoilers, power management system and five-blade propeller; later received PC-21 avionics and mission management system.
Prototype (HB-HZA) rolled out 1 May 2002; first flight 1 July 2002; public debut at Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, UK, 20-21 July 2002, at which time the aircraft had flown some 14 hours, including ferry time; more than 270 hours flown by October 2003; appeared at Farnborough Air Show from 22 July 2002. Second development aircraft scheduled to fly in late 2003; production to start in mid-2004, with certification (achieved by first and second development PC-21s) and first production delivery expected in November 2004.

CUSTOMERS: Estimated market for 1,000 aircraft in class over 20-year period, of which Pilatus hopes to capture 50 per cent; Australia, South Africa and UK seen as primary marketing targets for launch orders. Marketing strategy includes complete Pilatus-operated training packages, employing PC-21s.

COSTS: Company-funded development cost estimated at SFr200 million; unit cost SFr5 million to SFr6 million (both 2002).

DESIGN FEATURES: Optimised for advanced flying (pilot) and weapons training (pilot and WSO), but at turboprop cost; high wing loading. Avionics able to simulate aiming and release of multiple weapons (in excess of aircraft's actual carrying capability) without resort to training rounds, although addition of underwing stores pylons is possible. Jet-like response assisted by digital power management system which schedules full power at 230 kt (426 km/h; 265 mph) and above. Propeller and spinner angle 4° down and 4° starboard to offset full torque, while wing and fin slightly offset for similar reason; optional automatic yaw compensation. Design aims included superior aerodynamic performance; integrated and cost-effective training system; and (30-year) life-cycle support cost not exceeding current turboprop trainers.
Wing leading-edge sweepback 12° 42'; tailplane sweepback approximately 16°; dihedral from roots.

FLYING CONTROLS: Conventional and manual. Flaps. Door-type, hydraulically actuated spoiler in each wing upper surface, ahead of outboard one-third of flaps, to enhance roll. Flight-adjustable trim tabs in rudder, each aileron and each half of tailplane.

STRUCTURE: New design; three-spar wing; wing leading-edges of impact-absorbent material for birdstrike resistance.

LANDING GEAR: Retractable tricycle type, with single wheel on each unit. Retraction inwards (mains) and rearward (nose). Mainwheels tyres size 20x14.4R12, pressure 16.6 bar (240 lb/sq in); nosewheel tyre size 10x4.4R8, pressure 11.0 bar (160 lb/sq in).

POWER PLANT: One 1,193 kW (1,600 shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68B turboprop, driving a Hartzell E8991KX five-blade graphite/titanium propeller.

ACCOMMODATION: Two in tandem on Martin-Baker Mk 16L zero zero ejection seats in pressurised cockpit. Two-section acrylic canopy manufactured by Mecaplex of Switzerland, with thickened front for birdstrike resistance without resort to separate windscreen. Rear seat height increased in comparison with PC-9; front occupant has -11° forward view; rear occupant -4° 40'.

SYSTEMS: OBOGS, ECS and VCCS standard.

AVIONICS: Instrumentation: 'Glass cockpit' featuring three 152 x 203 mm (6 x 8 in) AMLCD PFDs and two 76 mm (3 in) Meggit AMLCD secondary flight displays in each cockpit; Flight Visions SparrowHawk HUD with FVD-4000 HUD symbol generator standard in front cockpit; HUD repeater in rear cockpit; displays are NVG-compatible. Digital recording of all displays for post-flight debriefing.
Mission: Embedded simulation and mission planning/debriefing. Integrated ground-based training environment.

ARMAMENT: Provision for external stores on one centreline and four underwing hardpoints.