Published on July 6th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


Air Corps receive new Pilatus PC-9M

The Air Corps have taken delivery of a new Pilatus PC-9M, ‘269’ (serial number 779). The PC-9M is an attrition replacement for Pilatus PC-9M, ‘265’, which was written off, following a fatal crash at Crumlin East, Cornamona, Connemara, Co. Galway on 12th October 2009.

In written reply to Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan (Dublin Central), the Minister of State at the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe, confirmed that a decision was made to replace ‘265’, which will bring the fleet back up to eight aircraft and will assist in a required increase in pilot training in the Air Corps.  The contract for supply of original eight PC-9M trainers was signed with Pilatus of Switzerland on 16th January 2003, following a tender competition involving Embraer’s Super Tucano and Raytheon’s Texan T-6. The value of that contract, including ground based training systems with a fixed base simulator, and a complete Integrated Logistic Support package, was €60 million, inclusive of VAT.

The replacement PC-9M aircraft arrived in Baldonnel on July 4th at 15:58 having flown from the Pilatus Aircraft factory in Switzerland via Lille in France using callsign “IRL269”. The aircraft arrived fitted with ferry tanks which is the first time they’ve been seen fitted to an Air Corps PC-9M. It’s understood the aircraft was acquired at a cost of €5 million plus VAT. As the PC-9M is no longer in production, we had previously reported that an ex Fuerza Aerea Mexicana (FAM) example ‘2601’, (c/n 669), had been sourced and was to be refurbished and repainted prior to delivery. However, this was not the case and ‘269’ is new build although we understand it’s made up of several parts from other aircraft. Mexico was the last customer for the PC-9M, which received two in September 2006. While Pilatus received a contract in August 2015, to deliver nine PC-9Ms to the Royal Jordanian Air Force, that order was changed in April 2016 to eight PC-21s. Air Corps serials ‘268’ and ‘269’ were reserved for such acquisitions, ‘268’ remains unassigned.

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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