Pilatus PC-9/A (F)
The Pilatus PC-9 is a single-engine, low-wing tandem-seat turboprop training aircraft manufactured by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland. Designed as a more powerful evolution of the Pilatus PC-7, the PC-9's first flight was made in May 1984 after which certification was achieved in September 1985.
67 of the two-seat trainers were ordered for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) by Defence Minister Kim Beasley in July 1986. The first production aircraft for the RAAF flew on 19 May 1987, under the Australian designation PC-9/A. The first two aircraft (A23-001 and A23-002) were fully built by Pilatus in Switzerland and ferried to Australia in December 1987 under the Swiss registrations HB-HQA and HB-HQB. The next 17 aircraft (A23-003 to A23-019) were assembled in Australia from primarily Swiss components delivered as kits and the remaining 48 (A23-020 to A23-067) were built under licence in Australia by Hawker de Havilland.
A23-020 was delivered as the first fully Australian built PC-9/A in 1988 painted in the orange and white colour scheme of No 2 Flying Training School (2FTS). The aircraft was located at 2FTS at RAAF Base Pearce, Perth, Western Australia. In April 1994 the aircraft was transferred to C Flight (CFLT), No 76 Squadron (76SQN) at RAAF Williamtown, NSW. It was repainted into 76SQN colours; an overall light grey colour scheme with black Panther's Head squadron badge superimposed on a red/black band on the tail. Early in 1995 CFLT was transferred to No 77 Squadron (77SQN) where the aircraft was eventually repainted (around 1997) in an overall dark grey colour scheme with 77SQN's arrowhead and Grumpy Monkey on the tail. It was at this time that the now familiar shark’s teeth appeared on the nose and a Raven sitting on a skull appeared on the engine cowling.
In January of 2002 the aircraft was transferred to the newly formed Forward Air Control Development Unit (FACDU) and by 2006 the aircraft was re-painted in an overall light grey scheme with a Raven clutching a dagger on the tail - taken from the FACDU crest. On the 3rd July, 2009 No 4 Squadron (Forward Air Control) (4SQN) reformed at RAAF Williamtown and the aircraft was transferred once again; the 4SQN insignia was painted on the tail. In November 2019 the aircraft ceased operations and was transferred to the Williamtown Aviation Heritage Centre (WLMAHC) for display as a PC-9/A(F) FAC training aircraft. Delivery to the WLMAHC (Fighter World) occurred on 17th March, 2020.