The Nigerian Air Force has graduated seven additional pilots of Basic Flying Course 18 at the 403 Flying Training School (403 FTS) Kano to boost operational effectiveness in fighting crime and saved the nation 6 million dollars that would have been used to train them abroad This has brought the total number of pilots that have been winged within the past 3 years to 90.
The NAF also decorated a graduate of United States Air Force (USAF) Specialised Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) with NAF pilot wings making eight pilots being decorated with wings having demonstrated the professional competence in handling fixed winged aircraft.A statement by the director of public relations and information Nigerian Air Force,Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said the graduation of young pilots in the NAF were testimonies of the Air Chief’s vision to reposition the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.
The statement added that following extensive trainings, platform acquisitions and reactivation of grounded aircraft as well as resuscitation of unserviceable equipment, the NAF could now mostly fulfill its roles across the spectrum of air power tasks. “We recently graduated 11 pilots from Westline Aviation of South Africa, 10 pilots from International Aviation College Ilorin while 43 student pilots have completed their ab-initio flying training at 401 FTS Kaduna. Meanwhile, 27 student pilots are currently undergoing ab-initio flying training at 401 FTS while 6 have just departed for helicopter training in South Africa. Furthermore, 700 Special Forces personnel have been trained for the defence of NAF mission critical assets, while many personnel are undergoing engineering and other specialized Air Force related trainings both at home and abroad”, it stated. The statement quoted the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar saying the strategic importance of NAF indigenous training institutions towards the attainment of his vision could not be overemphasised. “For instance, the local training of the seven pilots had saved Nigeria close to 6 Million US Dollars that would have been spent if they had been trained abroad,” he said Commending the Commander 403 FTS and his team of instructors for their commitment and dedication in ensuring completion of the training, the Air Chief urged them to sustain the momentum for subsequent courses.
Air Marshal Abubakar while congratulating the graduands for realizing their dreams through hard work and dedication also charged them to prepare themselves to justify the efforts and resources expended on their training. Speaking earlier, the Commander 403 FTS, Group Captain Nnamdi Ananaba, in a welcome address on behalf of the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Training Command (ATC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Mohammed Idris, lauded the CAS for ensuring the in-house maintenance of 2 x L-39ZA trainer aircraft which aided the successful completion of the training. He assured the CAS of the School’s readiness to continue to keep up with its mandate which is the conduct of basic flying training on jet aircraft leading up to the award of pilot wings. The commander noted that 403 FTS, since inception, had successfully trained 175 pilots, including some from Sister African countries such as Ghana and Zimbabwe.He further explained that the seven graduating pilots had undergone intensive flying training in general aircraft handling, instrument flying, navigation, formation flying and night flying notching up an average of 149 sorties each to complete the Course.
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