Two Indian Air Force pilots lost their lives on Monday as a Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft crashed during routine training in Telangana’s Medak district. The IAF confirmed the tragic incident on X (formerly Twitter), noting the previously accident-free record of the Swiss-made aircraft in the Indian armed forces. The PC-7 Mk II, a single-engine turboprop trainer, plays a pivotal role in basic flight training for rookie pilots, boasting a length of 10.8 m, a wing span of 10.19 m, and a height of 3.26 m.
With a maximum altitude of 33,000 ft and a cruise speed of 448 km/h at sea level, the PC-7 Mk II has been integral to the IAF’s pilot training capability. Despite its success since the first delivery in February 2013, India aims to replace the PC-7 Mk II with the indigenously designed Hindustan Turbo Trainer Aircraft-40 (HTT-40). The recent crash in Telangana is a rare incident for the fleet, which has logged over 2 lakh accident-free flying hours.
Notably, the PC-7 Mk II fleet has been essential in training over 2,500 cadets and pilots for the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, and Indian Coast Guard. While the Telangana crash is the first reported in India, the fleet has experienced crashes abroad, including a fatal incident in Nevada, USA, in February this year. Despite these challenges, the PC-7 Mk II remains a cornerstone of the IAF’s mission to produce top-tier military aviators.