'With the Induction of PC-7 MK-II Aircraft, the Training Syllabus Has Been Increased to 55 Hours Per Trainee From the Earlier 25 Hours'
Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Air Vice Marshal V.R. Chaudhuri
Deputy Commandant This is the first time that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has obtained a Swiss-made aircraft. How has the experience been?
From the time the contract has been signed, Pilatus Aircraft Ltd has met all the expectations of the IAF. The delivery schedule of the aircraft was advanced to cater for our requirement. All the associated equipment, along with synthetic training equipment, is being delivered as per the time schedule. Any unserviceability/Aircraft on Ground (AOG) is cleared in short time with timely intervention of the company representatives. The first simulator along with Ground Mission Debriefing System (GMDS) is planned to be inducted as per the timeline and would be ready for use before commencement of the next course.

What is the service support being provided by Pilatus Aircraft Ltd?
Pilatus Aircraft Ltd has provided all the support as asked by IAF. Two Field Service Engineers along with the team of Pilatus are permanently based at AFA for any support required by the IAF. This also helps in timely intervention of specialists from Pilatus for any kind of technical support required by the IAF. Pilatus sends their specialist teams on regular intervals to AFA for better interaction with the IAF core team. Regular meetings are being conducted with the core team and reps of Pilatus to sort out minor/major issues related to operations/maintenance.

What is the monthly flying task for the aircraft and how many sorties are flown every day?
With the induction of PC-7 MK-II aircraft, the training syllabus has been increased to 55 hours per trainee from the earlier 25 hours. The solo content is also increased to 14 sorties from the earlier only one sortie. This amounts to task of approximately 1,200 hours per month, making it approximately 60-70 sorties per day on PC-7 MK-II aircraft.

What is the most important task to be undertaken for a brand new type before it begins flying? How are maintenance and performance aspects being monitored?
Any new induction brings along with it the aspect of optimum utilisation of resources vis-a-vis task achievement as per objectives set aside by Air HQ. The most important task was to understand the concept of operations and maintenance of PC-7 MK-II and dovetail it effectively towards the objective set by Air HQ. Towards this, a team of selected aircrew, technical officers and ground crew underwent training at Stans, Switzerland. After completion of their respective training, the selected core team evolved various philosophies towards operation of PC-7 MK-II to conduct ab-initio training at AFA. Maintenance philosophy suiting to the requirement of IAF was put in place and continuously evolved as the flying was undertaken at AFA. The suitable syllabus was formulated for each sortie. At suitable interval in the syllabus, a check sortie by CFI/CI(F) was introduced to monitor the progress of the trainee in each phase of flying syllabus. The check sortie is helpful in monitoring progress of the trainee and also provides a platform to give feedback to individual instructor to assess/amend their performance with respect to the trainees.
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