Published on April 2nd, 2020 | by Mark Dwyer


Air Corps to Take Delivery of Pilatus PC-12 Today

It is understood that the Irish Air Corps will be taking delivery of a new Pilatus PC-12 today, Thursday 2nd April. In December 2017, the Air Corps announced the purchase of 3 Pilatus PC-12’s however it is understood the aircraft being delivered today is an additional aircraft recently procured by the Department of Defence. The aircraft was pictured in Stans Buochs Airport (LSZC) in Switzerland on Wednesday carrying civilian registration HB-FXT, Irish Air Corps serial ‘280’ and the Irish Tricolour. It also carries the Defence Forces slogan “Strengthen the Nation” under the cockpit window.

The original three PC-12’s ordered for the Air Corps are currently being fitted out at the Pilatus factory in Denver Colorado. They are currently registered as civilian aircraft N280NG (msn 1795), N281NG (msn 1834) and N282NG (msn 1844). These aircraft were planned to become 280, 281 and 282 respectively. This new aircraft (msn 1898) will obviously change that sequence.

The new aircraft will give the Air Corps additional capability arising from the current COVID-19 pandemic. It will also permit some crew training prior to delivery of the other three aircraft. Some crew have already undergone training in Colorado, in fact all three aircraft have been noted flying in the last month. While the speed of the acquisition is unusual, acquiring a temporary aircraft is not. In the early 1990’s, the Air Corps leased CASA 235-100M ‘250’ for crew training in advance of the delivery of ‘252’ and ‘253’.

The PC-12’s will be operated by the Air Corps in the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) roles in addition to other general purpose utility roles. This will allow the Air Corps to operate in closer cooperation with the Army and Naval service. The PC-12 will be equipped to carry nine passengers or 2 stretchers and support staff when in a Medevac configuration.

The full value of the original contract was €32 million with delivery of the first two aircraft expected in mid-2020. The PC-12NG list price is approximately €4.17 million per aircraft. The total value of the contract includes the purchase and installation of specialist equipment, training and spares but excludes the acquisition of the fourth aircraft.

The Air Corps have already released a number of photos of the PC12’s in the States including this one of the ‘original’ 280 which confuses the situation slightly!

Article photos via Irish Air Corps. Main photo by Stephen Widmer

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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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