The Pilatus B4 is an all metal intermediate sailplane meeting Standard Class rules that was designed in 1966 by Ingo Herbst, Manfred Küppers and Rudolf Reinke. It did not immediately go into production. In 1972 Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland acquired a licence to build the aircraft and began production. The PCII and PCIIA versions were semi-aerobatic. The PC11AF released in 1975 was rated as fully aerobatic. By 1980, when Pilatus sold the rights to manufacture of the aircraft to Nippi Aircraft of Japan, 322 of the Pilatus B4 had been produced. Nippi Aircraft built a further 13 and also one two seat version.
The Pilatus B4 proved popular in Australia with 26 appearing on the Australian register. The Museum’s example is a basic semi-aerobatic type (Serial Number 092) that was built in 1974. It is registered as VH-GID on 8 July 1974 by H.G. Sutton of Mandura, Western Australia and flown out of the Narrogin Gliding Club in Western Australia until September 1986 when it was sold to the Albury – Corowa Gliding Club, New South Wales. In 1999 it was acquired by Michael Green and moved to Townsville, Queensland. The aircraft changed ownership again in 2004 and fell out of use for nearly 4 years. By then it had recorded 4377 hours in the air from 4304 flights. It returned to service briefly in January 2008 (5 flights totalling about 5 hours). It was donated to the Museum by David Millward of the Geelong Gliding Club, Victoria, on 10 April 2017.
The aircraft is representative of a popular imported 1970s intermediate single seat sailplane design of aluminium alloy construction.
Single seat sailplane of metal alloy construction
Inscriptions & markings
White colour scheme with yellow fuselage underside highlighted by blue stripe – “Pilatus B4” in black lettering on starboard side of cockpit – black anti-glare paint on the fuselage nose – Registration “GID” on the underside of port wing.