Afghan Air Force’s First Fixed-Wing Trainers

Three of the six Cessna 182Ts that the Afghan air force will use for undergraduate pilot training recently arrived at Shindand Air Base in western Afghanistan. With the first cadre of AAF pilots selected in 2009 still undergoing UPT in the United States, these new aircraft mean that the next class will graduate flight training for the first time in Afghanistan. “Six years ago we had nothing, and today we are receiving our first three training aircraft,” said Afghan Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak, AAF commander. Six larger Cessna 208B advanced trainers are due to arrive later this year, with equal numbers of MD-530 and heavier Mi-17 helicopters forming the tandem rotary-wing training track. “This is a huge task, developing an entire UPT program from the ground-up, to include infrastructure, aircraft, maintenance, and personnel,” said Lt. Col. James Mueller, 444th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron commander. (Shindand report by Capt. Jonathan Waller)