Pacific Aerospace CT-4 Airtrainer


Country of Origin
New Zealand
Two/three seat basic trainer
Dubbed the Plastic Parrot in Royal Australian Air Force service, the CT-4 Airtrainer was primarily designed as a military trainer, but is also in limited civilian use. The CT-4 was developed from the Australian Victa Airtourer series (described separately). Victa had developed the four place Aircruiser (first flight in mid 1966) based on the Airtourer, but development work ceased and instead the production rights for the Aircruiser were purchased by Aero Engine Services Ltd (or AESL) of New Zealand in 1969, which already had the rights to the Airtourer series. AESL made a number of changes to the basic Aircruiser design, including adding a new clamshell canopy, structural strengthening for aerobatic work, and stick controls, making it suitable for military basic training. The first such CT-4 Airtrainer flew on February 23 1972. This prototype was powered by a 157kW (210hp) Teledyne Continental IO-360-D engine. On April 1 1973 AESL merged with Air Parts (NZ) Ltd as New Zealand Aerospace Industries Ltd. Delivery of the first production model, the CT-4A, started in October 1973. The CT-4A differed from the CT-4 prototype in having an IO-360-H engine, a longer cockpit canopy, a larger dorsal fin fairing, and some other improvements. Primary customers were the Australian, New Zealand and Thai air forces. The CT-4B was a version with some minor modifications for civil certification. Production by New Zealand (also known as NZAI) continued until 1977. In 1990 Pacific Aerospace Corporation (the successor to NZAI) resumed production of the CT-4B against an order from the BAe/Ansett Flying College (later BAe Flight Training) in Tamworth, Australia, providing the impetus for further developments of the line. A turboprop Allison 250 powered CT-4C (a conversion of an ex RAAF CT-4A) flew on January 21 1991, and a retractable undercarriage version, the CT-4CR was proposed but not built. Development of the 225kW (300hp) IO-540 powered CT-4E was aimed for the US Air Force's Enhanced Flight Screening competition. Thirty two CT-4Es have been built, including 13 for the Royal New Zealand Air Force to replace CT-4As (10 of which were refurbished and sold to British Aerospace Flight Training in Australia). Production is continuing.
CT-4A - One 155kW (210hp) Teledyne Continental IO-360-D fuel injected flat six piston engine driving a two blade constant speed propeller. CT-4B - One 155kW (210hp) IO-360-HB9. CT-4E - One 224kW (300hp) Textron Lycoming AEIO-540-L1B5 driving a three blade prop.
CT-4A - Max speed 285km/h (155kt), cruising speed 240km/h (130kt), long range cruising speed 235km/h (127kt). Initial rate of climb 1345ft/min. Range with max fuel at normal cruising speed 1110km (600nm). CT-4B - Max speed 267km/h (144kt), 75% power cruising speed 260km/h (140kt). Initial rate of climb 1250ft/min. Range with max fuel at normal cruising speed 1110km (600nm). CT-4E - Max speed at s/l 302km/h (163kt), cruising speed at 8500ft 282km/h (152kt). Initial rate of climb 1830ft/min. Service ceiling 18,200ft. Range at s/l with max fuel at 75% power, no reserves 963km (520nm).
CT-4A - Empty 690kg (1520lb), max takeoff 1090kg (2400lb) or 1203kg (2650lb). CT-4B - Max takeoff 1203kg (2650lb).
CT-4A - Wing span 7.92m (26ft 0in), length 7.06m (23ft 2in), height 2.59m (8ft 6in). Wing area 12.0m2 (129.0sq ft). CT-4E - Same except length 7.16m (23ft 6in).
Normally two seats side by side, with space for optional third seat or baggage behind.
78 CT-4As and 38 CT-4Bs built mainly for military orders. Many (30+) ex RAAF CT-4As are now flying in civil hands mainly in Australia, some in New Zealand and the USA. 32 CT-4Es built.
Related Links
Pacific Aerospace CT-4 Airtrainer
The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.