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Afghan pilots advance in Mi-17 course
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:55 pm    Post subject: Afghan pilots advance in Mi-17 course Reply with quote

22-Apr-11

US-trained Afghan pilots advance in Mi-17 course, designated as co-pilots

The first two Afghan air force helicopter pilots to complete basic aviator training in the U.S. recently became qualified as co-pilots in the Mi-17 helicopter, the focal point of the Afghan air force’s rotary-wing force.

The qualification marks the halfway point in their Mi-17 training.

In order to receive the co-pilot designation, Afghan Air Force 1st Lts. Abdul Saboor Amin and Ahmad Fawad Haidari needed to pass a check-ride demonstrating their control and understanding of the aircraft. Flying over and around Kabul, the pair took turns performing takeoffs, landings, approaches, emergency procedures and other transition maneuvers meant to test their proficiency.

Flying the aircraft is only a piece of the overall responsibilities of a pilot, so Lieutenants Amin and Haidari also conducted the planning, briefs and pre-flight checks the mission required.

The tandem’s general command of military aviation impressed U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mace Kant, a NATO Air Training Command-Afghanistan Mi-17 pilot adviser and the instructor pilot on the check-ride.

“They both did very well,” Colonel Kant said. “Knowledge is solid and you can tell they have been studying hard. I would give them the highest marks I can hand out. The first check-ride is always the hardest because you learn the aircraft the most and it encompasses the most studying and learning, but they did very well.

“The nicest thing, though, is that their English skills are good and they understand tower calls,” he added.

Spending 16 months in the U.S. for language and pilot training, Lieutenants Amin and Haidari were immersed in English, the international standard language of aviation, and it is this advantage that Colonel Kant said he believes brings the pilots into the world-community of professional aviation.

Though a success, the check-ride was not without mistakes for both pilots.

“The flight was OK,” Lieutenant Haidari said. “We have flown better before and we were kind of nervous, excited and eventually disappointed. But of course we are happy to have passed.”

“Right now, though, we know that if our squadron gave us an operational mission we would be able to go out and accomplish it,” Lieutenant Amin said.

A contrast to Colonel Kant’s impression of the flight as an instructor pilot, Lieutenant Haidari’s evaluation is what Colonel Kant said he believes will lead them to success in the Afghan air force.

“The best thing about these guys is their attitudes,” Colonel Kant said. “They come prepared, ask questions and strive to be the best. They strive to do their best and then accept their failings, working harder the next time to improve.”

This attitude is part of the “Western mind-set” the pilots are buying into, Colonel Kant said.

Officially finished with their initial instruction, the pilots move onto instrument flying and eventually to formation and night training.

With their current projection and ever-expanding skill sets, Colonel Kant said he sees Lieutenants Amin and Haidari as not only being able to graduate the entire Mi-17 course and become aircraft commanders, but as the future of the Afghan air force.

The two lieutenants said they are pleased with their progress.

“Day-by-day, we are becoming better pilots,” Lieutenant Amin said. “We can feel the change in skill and we know this will continue.”

“It is important for us to succeed because it is important for the Afghan people and government,” Lieutenant Haidari said. “Afghanistan needs more pilots and we can be an example used to motivate and encourage others to follow their goals.”

Source U.S Airforce
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