Iraq Air Force Grows by 20 Pilots, Three Airplanes

Iraq Air Force Grows by 20 Pilots, Three Airplanes: Twenty new pilots have graduated from the Iraqi Air Force College, joining the pilot ranks of the renascent Iraqi air force. Coinciding with the graduation, three additional Hawker-Beechcraft T-6A trainers touched down at Tikrit Air Base on Sept. 21, flying via Jordan from the United States, raising the college’s trainer inventory to 11 aircraft. “Our mission is to assist the Iraqi air force to continue to develop and expand their abilities to train future generations of pilots,” said Maj. Eric Weingaertner, a USAF air advisor. He added, “This increase in their aircraft inventory helps add to that capability.” The Iraqis are making steady progress under the supervision of USAF’s 321st Air Expeditionary Wing and Iraqi Training and Advising Mission. Iraqi pilots are already undergoing training to become instructor pilots. The first of them are set to graduate next summer. (Baghdad report by TSgt. Mike Edwards)