'Very Soon, We Are Going to Install Three Simulators at AFA. These Are Full-Mission and Fixed-Base Simulators'
Air Commodore Nagesh Kapoor Chief Instructor (Flying) AFA Dundigal
Air Commodore Nagesh Kapoor Chief Instructor (Flying) AFA Dundigal As Chief Instructor, please give us your comments on the PC-7 MK-II at AFA Dundigul.
As an operator, I can tell you that it is fantastic. It has modern avionics with Instrument Landing System (ILS), VOR, TACAN, two independent GPS and has all that we require in terms of navigation. The cadets are finding it easy to fly and we are finding it nice to instruct on the machine.

There are a host of debrief systems available on this machine and we can actually replay the whole sortie sitting on the ground. It is an instructor and pupils’ delight. I can make out from the looks on their faces when they come back. So, it is a great change; before we got this machine, I was instructing on the Kiran. The Kiran is a beautiful machine but it is getting old and we could not have replaced it with anything better.

How is the PC-7 MK-II performing in the air?
The Kiran would stay in the air for an hour and 45 minutes on 1,200 pounds of internal fuel; the Pilatus carries little less than 900 pounds and stays in the air for four and a half hours, this provides tremendous flexibility. Instructors are kicked about the aircraft; with Kiran we were restricted with fuel and if a cadet was not getting a particular manoeuvre, it could be repeated only a few times before fuel became an issue.

With the Pilatus, we can show it multiple times without worrying about fuel. It takes very little to turn this aircraft around and make it ready for the next flight. The aircraft returns from a sortie and is ready for the next one in around 15 minutes, which is fantastic. As a result, we are able to put in many more sorties as compared to what we were able to do with the Kiran. Earlier with the Kiran, we were producing about 20 to 25 hours a day, with the Pilatus we are able to produce about 70 to 75 hours a day.

Please tell us about the safety features in the PC-7 MK-II.
The most important safety feature of the aircraft is the built-in redundancy because of its engine which is proven. The worst thing to happen to a pilot in the air is an engine failure and even if the engine was to quit, the aircraft can land safely without the engine providing power. The aircraft has an excellent glide ratio, which is the same as the Kiran. It is far better than the Deepak which had a very poor glide ratio. It has two Martin Baker ejection seats. Recovery in bad weather is not a problem as it has an ILS onboard and we regularly practise ILS at Begumpet as we do not have it here at AFA. It has a full glass cockpit, and the instrumentation, presentation, representation of the instrumentation and the flexibility of being able to change screens is very good. The basic instruments stay where they are but you can juggle about the navigation display. You can have GPS, ILS, VOR on scope and the cockpit is clutter free. In case the primary flight display fails then you have the secondary flight display.
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