• Review: Pilatus PC-21 From Iris

    Pilatus PC-21

    Publisher: Iris Simulations

    Review Author:
    Raymond Andersen

    Suggested Price:

    Buy Here

    The Pilatus PC-21 is a twin seated, low winged, single engine, turboprop and advanced trainer aircraft built by Pilatus Aircraft since the early years of the 21st century. The PC-21 is the successor of the elder PC-7 trainer aircraft and features a completely new aircraft design.

    The two seats are arranged as a tandem seating, the canopy is made by bird strike resistant glass with a 360 degrees view, the old analog cockpit has now entered the 21st century and now features a complete and fully working glass cockpit with three large color LCD displays (liquid crystal displays), a HUD (head-up display), a HOTAS configuration (hands on throttle and stick) and zero-zero ejection seats for both front and rear seat.

    The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68B turboprop engine provides 1,200kW of thrust and enables the PC-21 to easily reach its maximum indicated airspeed of 370 knots (685 km/h) and make aggressive climbs with a climb rate of 4,000 feet/min and even more.


    • Produced by Pilatus Aircraft
    • First flight: 1 July 2002
    • Introduction: April 2008
    • Role: Basic and advanced trainer aircraft
    • Status: In service
    • Built: 50+
    • Primary users:
      • Swiss Air Force
      • Republic of Singapore Air Force
      • United Arab Emirates Air Force

    I got this add-on aircraft through FSPilotShop and the download went quickly, easily and without any problems. The connection to the download server is good, so the download of the PC-21's 200Mb file, did not take much more than about a minute or so in total.

    The installation also went perfectly and completely without any issues. I just activated the installation wizard and within 30 seconds the installation wizard had completed the whole installation process with success.

    Before activating the installation wizard I opened the included "Read Me First" pdf that features a guide to uninstall the previous version v1.0 before installing the v1.1 version. This is a nice and quite important information for the flight simmer that already had the v1.0 installed, but since I only have the v1.1 version I didn't have to go through it.

    After the installation had completed I searched the FSX folders for the IRIS folder and found it perfectly placed in the root menu of FSX. In this folder I found an extra installation wizard for installing optimized gauges for the PC-21 - this installer is named Performance Gauge Installer. I of course also ran this installer which I guess will equip the PC-21 virtual cockpit with better or a higher quality for the 3D gauges.

    Included in the IRIS folder I also found five different pdf files that contains various information such as a comprehensive checklist, performance charts, a pilot handbook, a manual of the integrated avionics and a TACAN supplement. In total 262 pages of very important information if you as a simmer want the complete experience of this aircraft.


    I now opened up FSX and went directly into my virtual hangar - here I found the PC-21 together with my IRIS A-10A Warthog. When installing IRIS aircraft they quite often are not placed in a unique IRIS folder, but in several specific IRIS folders, and the PC-21 uses the same folder as the A-10A Warthog.

    I quickly saw that I had two models, one PC-21 and one PC-21 DISP which is the model used by the display teams as e.g. Patrouille Swiss. The DISP model has two liveries that features smoke pods under the wings, and the PC-21 has eight liveries that features e.g. wing fuel pods. Please note that this review is regarding the v1.1 and therefore does not feature the additional liveries that are included in the v1.2.

    1. henrystreet's Avatar
      henrystreet -
      Enjoyed and agreed with your review. I have a good bit of time in the PC-21 cockpit since buying at release. A couple of addendums to your good write up:

      Firstly, the issue with the throttle being "stuck open" is fixed by a patch available from Iris.

      Secondly, Iris has a done a great job of making the sim more frame friendly for some computers. Supplied with the sim are reduced resolution textures and an installer for less graphically demanding MFD's.

      Hope everyone enjoys this one as much as I have, it is a real blast to fly with near jet like performance.

    1. mchirkov's Avatar
      mchirkov -
      From my personal experience:

      - The plane is great in terms of its' exterior

      - Strobe lights are not realistic

      - CDU is lacking big times: you can't enter a flight plan into it from the virtual cockpit keyboard entry.

      - Displays in navigation mode:
      a) depict the default FSX GPS data so it can be obsolete
      b) show very thick airway lines which is unnecessary and inconvenient as they obstruct views of airway names
      c) don't show the names of fixes (at least I haven't managed to make them display those). This is significant drawback
      d) show aerodrome runways data including their length which clutters the display and cannot be toggled -

      - Hydraulic system (if it exists in the real plane) is not simulated

      - Autopilot in NAV mode struggles to maintain the selected course if the head/crosswind is strong (not sure how strong though but I had troubles flying using autopliot in the NAV mode when the head wind was over 90 knots). I also noticed that the plane struggled to fly in NAV even with slight crosswind situation (like 20 knots or so). The autopilot showed course oscillations (hysteresis was unnecessarily big)

      - When going at full throttle in the cruise mode the the gauge showing the fuel flow for some reason would continue adding up values until the FF would become thousands of units (totally unreal) and if you move the throttle down you would have to wait for minutes for the engine to show decrease of revs as the FF value would drop to reasonable levels.

      - IRIS Simulations technical support team responded to my support request after keeping silent for over 48 hours and me having to poke them on the company Facebook page. This was not the customer service one would expect (!!!).

      All in all, for the current state this model is in, I believe paying $42 or more for is simply too much. I would recommend for potential buyers to wait until the current issues are fixed by the developer. Of course, this is my opinion.

    1. CaptJazz's Avatar
      CaptJazz -
      A truly must have for serious simmers... just had it, wont regret it
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