The Netherlands Ministry Defense has temporarily grounded its fleet of Pilatus PC-7 training aircraft after corrosion caused by moisture was found on a number of the airplanes during maintenance.
The extent to which this jeopardizes flight safety is being investigated together with the manufacturer, Pilatus of Switzerland.
“Until there is more clarity, the aircraft will remain on the ground. Possible consequences for flight training depend on the results of the investigation,” a Dutch MoD statement said Monday.
The Netherlands Air Force has been using the PC-7 for elementary military pilot training since 1988. The 13 PC-7 aircraft with the air force are in the end phase of their lifespan.
The aircraft underwent extensive maintenance from 2013 onwards. It is expected that the maximum number of flight hours or the maximum number of landings will be reached in 2027.
It is currently being investigated how the PC-7 will be replaced. It doesn't have to be 1 on 1. Innovative means, such as a simulation environment, are also being looked at. International cooperation and sustainability also play a role in the acquisition. The aircraft may be also be leased instead of outright purchase to save on cost.