First Afghan Caravans Arrive

The first three of six Cessna 208B Caravans recently touched down at Shindand AB, Afghanistan, for use as advanced trainers by the Afghan air force. After undergraduate flight training in smaller Cessna 182s—the first of which arrived last month—AAF student pilots will transition to the much larger Caravan. The AAF has ordered a total of 20 additional Caravans—each of which is capable of lifting a combination of 3,000 pounds of cargo and 10 passengers—as light transports, making the aircraft an ideal choice for upgrade training. Facilities at Shindand are partially completed and the first crop of fixed-wing pilots is due to begin training this year. “The final goal is that, in three years, the students we train now will be able to train new pilots,” said Col. John Hokaj, commander of the 838th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group. (Herat report by Sgt. Juan Engracia)