The two-seater multi-purpose trainer aircraft from the Swiss manufacturer Pilatus is one of the late starters. The prototype took off for the first time in 1966, but customer interest was so low that the first production machine was built ten years later. But then the versatile talents of the PC-7 – which masters everything from basic training to instrument flight, aerobatics, and night flight to tactical training – quickly spread around.
The PC-7 has a propeller turbine, a retractable landing gear with nose wheel and is certified for a total of 2 persons (tandem seating arrangement). The aircraft can also be additionally armed – depending on the mission – with machine guns and missiles.
Today, some 20 air forces, including the Austrian Air Force, train their pilots on the Pilatus PC-7, and close to 500 have been built.
In Austria, the aircraft is used at the Flying School for basic and advanced training. Prospective military pilots are taught basic flying skills on this pattern – thus graduates are able to safely and professionally fly and control an aircraft in military environments. Additional uses are tactical missions according to the arming capability and surveillance flights.
Over the years, the PC-7s of the German Armed Forces have repeatedly been given special paint jobs, such as the distinctive livery of a green Viper to match the VIPER call sign.