Beyond Basics

By Peter Collins

Date: Issue 54 - July 2014

In mid May I and on behalf of FLIGHT, I was given the opportunity to revisit Grob Aviation at their production facility and airfield at Mattsies-Tussenhausen in Bavaria,Germany and to evaluate the full digital cockpit of the latest production version of the turbo-prop powered G120TP, 2 seat military trainer. This was an aircraft that had so impressed me in its prototype form when I tested it for FLIGHT in late 2010. The aircraft’s incredible blend of high performance, low acquisition or lease price, minimal operating costs and massive training potential, was clearly evident to me then and I predicted at that time that this aircraft was destined to become the new 21st century Flight, Attack and Systems Trainer (FAST) aircraft of choice for Air Force Training Organisations, worldwide. Additionally, with the aircraft incorporated within a ‘systems of systems’ training concept, it would make the present definitions of grading, elementary, basic and advanced lead-in training phases redundant and with the aircraft having the potential to revolutionise future military training standards, beginning from a student’s first day.

The aircraft gained EASA CS 23 certification in early 2013 and is on course to gain FAA FAR 23 certification in early 2015. Since EASA certification, the aircraft has been bought by Indonesia (16), Argentina (12) and Mexico (40+). There is also the likelihood of another, very significant, order from a major European Air Force, to be announced around the Farnborough Air Show in July. With this order in place, I believe my prediction of the aircraft’s breakthrough success is starting to become true.