Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Air Corps over Kilcullen

There was a certain aerial excitement in Kilcullen again yesterday as the Irish Air Corps practised some manoeuvres here on their way down to help celebrate the opening of Cork Week 2016, writes Brian Byrne.

The Diary missed them, but it's a nice excuse to show again some pictures we took of the planes over the town earlier this year (above) in advance of them doing fly-pasts over the Curragh and Dublin during the 1916 commemorations.

For those interested in planes, they are Pilatus PC-9M two-seat trainer aircraft, eight of which were purchased by the Air Corps in 2004. They were upgraded a year later by being equipped with rocket and machine-gun pods. On 12 October 2009, one of the aircraft was destroyed in a crash near Cornamona, in County Galway, which killed both pilots.

More than 250 PC-9s have been produced across five different variants and the type is employed by a number of military and civilian operators around the world, including the Swiss Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the Royal Thai Air Force.

In addition to the Irish planes, other small numbers have been bought by Croatia, Slovenia, Oman, Bulgaria and Mexico.

They have a cruising speed of 556km/h, a range of 1,537km and a service ceiling of 11,580m.