NAF graduates 29 student pilots

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated additional 29 student pilots after completing their flying training at the 401 Flying Training School (401 FTS), Kaduna.

The graduating students, who are members of 66 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), comprising 27 male and 2 female officers, commenced training as flight cadets of NDA on 7 January 2019 as members of Student Pilots Course 46 (SP 46). With today’s graduation, the NAF has successfully graduated 145 student pilots from 401 FTS in the last 5 years.

Congratulating the graduated pilots, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that his administration’s drive to continually develop the adequate capacity for effective, efficient, and timely employment of Air Power in response to national security imperatives remains on course.

The CAS noted that SP 46 had successfully conducted their flying training on both the Diamond 40 and Super Mushshak aircraft types, which according to him, was a positive deviation from what was obtainable in the past. The feat, he said, would not have been achieved if not for the dedication of the ground instructors, instructor pilots as well as prompt and effective aircraft maintenance and availability of aviation fuel which ensured qualitative training.

Abubakar enjoined the pilots to maintain the same attitude of dogged determination as they proceed to the next phase of military flying training while reminding them that there is more work to be done to earn their wings. He charged them to continue to exhibit the right aptitude and attitude as well as determination in order to improve their flying skills. “You must continually develop survival skills and be prepared to safely navigate platforms most especially at night and in all weather conditions” he added.

The CAS further stated that at the inception of his Administration in 2015, 401 FTS had only 3 Diamond-40 platforms for the conduct of flying training. The grossly inadequate number and the unsuitability of the platform for aerobatics and other unusual manoeuvres, he said, significantly diminished the ability of the NAF to conduct military flying training.

 “Today, we have 15 platforms with a wide range of capabilities enabling quality training. This has empowered 401 FTS to train a total of 145 student pilots from the end of 2015 to date. Additionally, 24 Instructor Pilots and 15 UAV pilots have also been trained within the same period. These numbers represent the attainment of a remarkable feat that had previously eluded the NAF”, he said. The CAS, therefore, commended the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Musa Mukhtar, as well as the Commander 401 FTS, Air Commodore Ahmed Idris, and his entire staff for their efforts in realizing this feat.

He noted that the timely provision of the much-needed air assets, as well as the resources to buy spares, aviation fuel and other consumables by the Federal Government, was the most important factor that has translated into the commendable achievements recorded by the Service.

He noted that the NAF’s ability to wing 114 pilots in the last 5 years has led to a vibrant application of Air Power in combating the security challenges facing the Country. According to him, the multiplier effect has been a boost especially in the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts in the North East as well as the fight against armed banditry in the North West and North Central Zones of the Country.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Commander 401 FTS stated that the Course was the first of its kind to have flown 2 different platforms; the Diamond 40 and Super Mushshak aircraft during the course of their training. He said the Unit achieved such feat even when it had to contend with other demanding tasks.

The Commander noted that alongside the training of student pilots, the Unit is also actively involved in airlift/VIP flights as well as Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in support of Operations THUNDER STRIKE and HADARIN DAJI against armed bandits in parts of North-West and North-Central Zones. According to him, the student pilots began their training with ground academic phase, which lasted for a period of 16 weeks, followed by the various stages of the flying phase with all 29 of them successfully completing the course with satisfactory levels of airmanship.

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