Irish Air Corps PC-9 glides back to safety after engine failure

An Irish Air Corps PC-9 suffered an in-flight engine failure on February 26, 2021. The mishap happened amid a training mission, according to the Irish Times. 

With one instructor pilot and one student pilot, the PC-9 trainer aircraft was about 30 kilometers from Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel, the Irish Air Corps’ headquarters (and its only airbase) when the engine lost power. The instructor turned back towards the base and managed to glide over 30 kilometers before landing safely.

“An investigation in accordance with standard regulation and procedures has now commenced determining the cause of this incident,” the Irish Air Corps said in a statement.

The PC-9 is a two-seater, propellor-driven aircraft powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-62 turboprop engine. It is the only armed aircraft operated Irish Air Corps since 1998, when the Light Strike Squadron, operating on second-hand French Fouga CM170 Magister, was disbanded.

Currently, Ireland relies solely on the British Royal Air Force to defend the sovereignty of its airspace. However, the acquisition of combat aircraft capable of protecting Ireland’s air sovereignty has been discussed in recent years due to an increasingly contested environment. 

In June 2020, the Irish Department of Defence said it was studying a possible acquisition of “air combat interceptor” as well as a “primary radar system”, in a five-year investment program for its armed forces entitled Equipment Development Plan. 


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