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Celebrating 20 years of partnership between ELITE and Pilatus Aircraft Ltd

This year marks a very special milestone between ELITE and the prestigious Pilatus Aircraft Ltd based in Switzerland. In the beginning of 2003, the development activities for the first Pilatus PC-9 M FTD provided by ELITE started. Since then, a high number of FTDs and other training devices have been sold to PC-7, PC-9 and PC-21 operators world-wide which continue to run them in close cooperation with the aircraft producer. This fame has echoed throughout the flight simulator world.


What first started with low-key contacts back in 2002/2003 – a time when ELITE operated from a small office location in the village of Winkel near Zurich airport – has graduated into a trustworthy and stable business relationship between these two key players in the aviation world.


As sales manager René Huddlestone puts his joy into words: “It is an absolute privilege to work together with Pilatus Aircraft Ltd as a world-class aviation partner.” Both companies are only an hour drive away by car. This geographical proximity, allowing engineers from both ends to work side-by-side, has given these projects a huge boost. Almost identical work ethics and quality assessments, backed by the state law of the same country, have led to very short decision ways.


What are exactly the milestones on this road to success? Peter Pirchl, Manager Special Projects at ELITE, has been at the “front” of this relationship since the beginning and says:


“By working for our first Pilatus PC-9 M FTD Level 2 customer, the Irish Air Corps, we quickly identified the efficiency and win-win situation for both ELITE and Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. We started to enhance the architecture of our simulation software and improve the instructor station to cover the demands by the customer. Regarding the hardware, we were able to find a balanced technical solution between original and replica components plus following strict rules concerning the environmental and economical elements of this project.“


Subsequently, ELITE developed eight PC-7 MkII FTDs for customers in Asia (Malaysia and India) and Africa (South Africa and Botswana). Again, these flight simulators were fitted with the latest technology such as up-to-date visual systems. Permanent improvements to the range of functions of the simulator software and instructor station were implemented to the great satisfaction of our end users.


With state-of-the art training devices for the PC-7 of the Royal Netherlands Air Force and a PC-9 M training system for the Bulgarian Air Force, ELITE has proved itself once again a key player in the flight simulator industry. Furthermore, there has been continuous development of the “debriefing stations” and part-task trainers, in parallel with activities on the Pilot Egress training devices and IOS stations for PC-21 systems.

What is impressive, concludes Peter Pirchl, is the incredibly high stability and reliability of the ELITE devices. “Thanks to existing support contracts we have been maintaining a close customer relationship management, including updating and maintaining the systems, some of them with over 3000 hours operation time per year (!)”.


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