Procurement: Dual Use Pilot Trainer


March 10, 2007: The Philippines is rebuilding its air force, and is doing so by taking care of some pretty basic aircraft needs. The air force wants to replace its 26 T-41 basic pilot training aircraft, with something equally inexpensive, but of more recent vintage. The Philippines air force has about a thousand pilots and 120 aircraft. It has to train about a hundred new pilots each year, and is currently doing it with some pretty elderly aircraft.

The T-41 is basically a military version of the Cessna 172 four seat, single engine, aircraft. The Philippines were following the American example in adopting the commercial Cessna aircraft for pilot training. The U.S. Air Force stopped using the T-41 in the early 1990s, and replaced them the Pilatus PC-9, which has a layout (one pilot sits behind the other) more suitable for military pilot training. The PC-9 was built for military pilot training. The Philippines may find it more cost effective to buy another single engine commercial aircraft as a trainer. While the PC-9 is designed specifically for pilot training, the air force unofficially prefers something like the T-41 because it could be used on the weekends to take groups of officers on trips around the many islands that make up the Philippines.


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