Base celebrates

Liam Durkin

THE arrival of the final PC-21 aircraft was celebrated at RAAF Base, East Sale, on Friday, with a large crowd and defence force and aviation dignitaries marking the occasion.

Forty nine PC-21 aircraft are now housed at East Sale, which will give students from Central Flying School the best possible opportunity and resource to learn, train and develop as pilots.

The aircraft will also be seen flying overhead from time to time as part of the Roulettes aerobatics display team.

The Roulettes performed their final display for the year on Friday, with a number of seemingly death-defying manoeuvres thrilling onlookers.

Roulette seven pilot Daniel Armstrong said the PC-21 had changed the way in which pilots were trained.

“Before, we had 1990s model aircraft and now we’ve got the brand new model so it’s all the technology inside, the computers, the GPS, it just makes the aircraft so much more capable of training future pilots,” he said.

“This aircraft is a pretty high performance trainer, you can roll in excess of 220 degrees a second.

“It’s an amazing plane to fly, it’s got so much performance, 1600 horsepower engine, you can pull up to eight-g which is pretty mind boggling – it’s just a really beautiful aircraft to fly.”

Veterans Affairs Minister and Gippsland MHR Darren Chester said the arrival marked an important landmark in the RAAF’s history.

“We should be very proud of the fact that in Gippsland we are going to train all the young pilots coming through the Australian Defence Force, they’ll do their basic training here on this magnificent new aircraft, the PC-21 and then they’ll go onto their careers in the Navy, Army and Air Force,” he said.

More in Friday’s Gippsland Times.