The Tutor is a cost-effective, modern elementary training aircraft. The combination of easy handling characteristics and good performance make it very suitable for its training role.
The Grob 115E, known by the RAF as the Tutor, is used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK. It is also used by the Central Flying School and for elementary WSO training at the RAF College Cranwell. All of the Tutors in RAF service are entered on the UK Civil Aircraft Register and are provided by Vosper Thornycroft Aviation.
The Tutor replaced the Bulldog in 1999 and a total of ninety are now in service providing elementary flying training for the UASs and air experience flying for the cadets of the Air Training Corps. All of the RAF's Tutors are operated under a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and carry civilian registrations but are operated by military pilots.
The Tutor is constructed mainly from carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which combines high strength with light weight. Like its predecessor, the Bulldog, the Tutor has side-by-side seating but, unlike the Bulldog, the primary flight instruments are on the right-hand side of the cockpit. This allows the student to fly the aircraft from the right-hand seat with a right-hand stick and a left-hand throttle so that future transition to fast-jet aircraft is made easier.
Unpressurised, and powered by a Textron-Lycoming 180hp piston engine driving a Hoffman three-bladed, constant-speed propeller, the Tutor can cruise at 130kts at sea level and climb to 5,000ft in seven minutes. The aircraft has a very clean airframe and has a three-minute inverted- flight time limit, making it ideal for aerobatics where, unlike previous RAF light aircraft, it loses little or no height during a full aerobatic sequence.
The aircraft has a very modern instrument and avionics suite, including a Differential Global Positioning System, which, apart from giving excellent navigational information, can also be used to generate a simulated Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach for training use at airfields where ILS ground equipment is not fitted for the runway in use.
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