Pilatus PC-7

In essence the PC-7 is the turboprop version of the piston P.3 trainer. The aircraft has straight low wings mated to a slender fuselage with a tandem cockpit in which the instructor pilot sits behind the student pilot. The canopy in nearly one piece, but has a frame in front of the front seat. Up at the front is a turboprop engine driving a three bladed prop. The wings have a part, close to the roots, where they have no dihedral. Only the outer wings have dihedral. Main the gear has no gear doors.

Both the PC-7 and the PC-9 have zero dihedral inner wings. Therefore the canopy with a frame in front of the student pilot is a good recognition point.

The nose of the PC-7 with an intake below the spinner and two exhausts on each side. The nose gear doors are relatively short; they only cover the leg when retracted.

The PC-7's tail is about trapezium shaped and has quite a dorsal fin. There is no ventral fin.

Different versions

The different versions of the PC-7 can be recognised by:

  • the size and shape of the dorsal fin
  • the shape of the wing-root fairing


This is the basic version, as described above.


The MkII version is essentially a PC-9M fitted with the lower power engine of the PC-7. Thus it has a two piece canopy with a frame roughly in the middle and a big dorsal fin, as well as other PC-9 features. 

The aircraft was first developed for the South African Air Force (SAAF). Due to the embargo on weapons these PC-7s were not fitted with hard points under the wings and had different avionics. They were called Astra.

The Astra was the PC-7 MkII developed for the South African Air Force. It looks just like a PC-9M.

Confusion possible with

Most confusion will likely be with the PC-7 MkII, as the big canopy gives the standard PC-7 a clear recognition point.

Pilatus PC-9

pc 9m

The most tricky recognition is between the PC-7 MkII and PC-9. The first is basically a PC-9M with the engine of the original PC-7. We have found no external differences between the two yet...

Beech T-6 Texan II

t 6a

Being derived from the Pilatus PC-9 it is logical that the PC-7 MkII share a lot of similarities with the Texan II. The difference are in the dorsal fin (bigger on the PC-7 MkII at least) and canopy (two piece on the PC-7 MkII). 

Pilatus PC-21

pc 21

The successor of the PC-9 has a two piece canopy, wings with constant (small) dihedral, a trailing link main landing gear and a shark-like top of vertical stabiliser.

Pilatus P-3

pilatus p3 04

The P-3 was the piston powered predecessor of the PC-7. Both have similar lines, except for the wider nose. The P-3 also has a four piece canopy.