Blackshape Gabriel trainer aircraft was developed by Blackshape. Image courtesy of BLACKSHAPE S.P.A.
The Bk160 Gabrielaircraft base model was launched at the AERO Friedrichshafen trade show held in April 2017. Image courtesy of BLACKSHAPE S.P.A.
Blackshape Gabriel is intended for both military and civil pilot training. Image courtesy of BLACKSHAPE S.P.A.

Blackshape Gabriel trainer aircraft was developed by Italian aircraft maker Blackshape to serve the increasing needs of both military and civil pilot training.

The Bk160 Gabriel aircraft base model was launched at the AERO Friedrichshafen trade show held in April 2017, while its upgraded version, designated Gabriel Turboprop (Gabriel-TP), was launched at the Singapore Airshow 2020.

Powered by a turboprop engine, the upgraded trainer variant is intended primarily for military pilot training.

Blackshape plans to cooperate with aircraft manufacturers in South East Asian countries including Vietnam, Myanmar, Philippines, and Malaysia to provide either knock-down kits or full technology transfer for local production of the Gabriel trainer.

The Gabriel trainer aircraft received design organisation approval and the type certificate in CS-VLA (Very Light Aeroplanes) category from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Blackshape Bk100-Prime ultralight aircraft serves as the basis for the Gabriel trainer aircraft as well as for ISR and optionally-piloted aircraft versions. A total of 58 Blackshape Prime aircraft are currently operational in 18 countries, while its special configurations are in service with military operators.

Design and features of Blackshape Gabriel trainer aircraft

The Gabriel trainer aircraft features aerodynamic fixed-wing design with sporty finishing inspired by the hand-made tailor style. Its design is optimised to reduce maintenance and direct operating costs to flight organisations, while providing advanced level of pilot training.

Carbon fibre is used in the construction of the aircraft, making it lighter and stronger. The fuselage is equipped with low-wing configuration with a wing area of 10.31m² and a wing span of 9m.

The overall height of the trainer is 2.45m, while the overall length is 7.45m. The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 850kg, a useful load of 220kg with the capacity to carry 33kg of baggage on-board.

The aircraft is outfitted a variety of safety features, including reliable electrical systems with military-grade wiring, temperatures and fuel capacity sensors, anti-blast fuel tanks, and five-point certified safety seat belts. It is also fitted with a ballistic parachute to provide safe landing of pilots in the event of emergency.

The on-board differential braking system is used to steer the aircraft, while the electrically actuated landing gear system provides safe take-off and landing of the aircraft.

Cockpit and avionics of Gabriel

Gabriel trainer aircraft is equipped with modern glass cockpit with dual flight controls. It accommodates two pilots in tandem configuration.

The avionics aboard the trainer include Aspen Avionics’ EFD1000 Pro primary flight display, EFD1000 multi flight display, Garmin GMA340 audio panel, Garmin GTX335R transponder, Garmin GNC255 navigation/communication radios and Garmin GTN650 touchscreen with GPS/ navigation/communication systems.

The trainer is also fitted with ACK Technoligies’ emergency locator transmitter, a stall warning system, data recording system, and an optional KLR10 lift reserve indicator.


The Gabriel can be armed with external payloads such as laser-guided missiles or camera, allowing for the training of pilots on light-strike or counter-insurgency (COIN) operations.

Engine and performance of Blackshape Gabriel trainer

The Blackshape Gabriel trainer aircraft is powered by a Lycoming IO-320-D1B engine which develops 160hp power at 2,700rpm. The engine has a compression ratio of 8.50:1 and drives Hartzell Raptor Series composite propellers arranged in tractor configuration.

The power-plant offers a maximum speed of 164k at sea level and can reach altitudes of 15,000ft. The maximum rate of climb is 1,550fpm, while the maximum endurance is 192 minutes. The trainer requires a take-off distance of 250m and the landing ground roll of 190m.

The load factor of the aircraft is +4.4/-2g.Equipped with Roll Royce turboprop engine, the Gabriel-TP variant can attain a true airspeed of 200k at sea level.