PAC P-750 Takes flight

After 3 years in the hangar of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) Air Transport Wing (ATR), the PAC P-750 XSTOL aircraft has finally taken to the skies in the first maintenance check flight.

Manufactured in Hamilton, New Zealand by Pacific Aerospace Limited, the aircraft can hold up to 9 passengers. The aircraft was purchased in 2018 by the National Government after Former Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill made a commitment to purchase four aircrafts while on a state visit to New Zealand in 2013.

The PNGDF ATW will begin flying the PAC P-750XL aircraft with the help of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flying instructor Wing Commander Tim Shaw and his team, working as part of the Defense Cooperation Program based in PNG.

Major Darius Kaule, Training Squadron Commander and Acting Commanding Officer of the PNGDF ATW said the air capabilities of the PNGDF has been a major concern over the last couple of years and the aircraft was bought in 2018 when the ATW only had one serviceable aircraft.

“Currently we do not have any operational aircraft at the moment so the PAC 750 was brought in as part of the project.

“The aircraft has not been airborne because we have to comply with CAA regulations in order to allow the aircraft to safely operate in the airspace. The PNGDF in liaison with the ADF and the DFC has established a relationship with the 32nd squadron of the RAAF. The RAF is here now to help us achieve the air capability that the PNDF needs,” Major Kaule said.

He said the maintenance check flight was approved by the commander for the PNGDF after it has fully has complied with the CAA regulations.

He added, “The maintenance check flight is basically to check the aircraft and to make sure that the parameters of the aircraft are fully safe operational.  This flight has to be carried out before the PAC750can be used further for further flights for PNGDF wants it to be used for.”

Major Kaule added that the aircraft would be used for training under the Flight of Excellence program.

“The flight of excellence concept is the initiative of the PNGDF and the DFC and is basically to build the air capability and it’s firstly based on an air safety framework that bring up the air worthiness of the aircraft so the aircraft working in the airspace will be safe. The PAC 750 will be used as the basis for whence all the other affiliations and compilations that we need to do, comply with the CAA regulation has to happen.

“From the PAC 750 then we would use that same framework to also extend to the all the other framework that the PNGDF has. This also forms the basis for the redevelopment of the PNGDF Air Transport Wing. We have four students currently in training as part of the flight of excellence program.

“The check flight will allow the aircraft to be used for training purposes afterwards and will be used to train the other four pilots. Wing commander Tim Shaw will be endorsed on the aircraft and he will be the one responsible for the flight training and instructing of the pilots,” Major Kaule said.

The four pilots completed their training in Australia and New Zealand respectively and will be using the aircraft to fly and build up their flying experience.

Melissa Wokasup