Iraqi Pilots Move Toward Self-Sufficiency

Instructor pilots with the Iraq Army Aviation Command successfully flew their first T-407 helicopter mission without US advisors. The mission, conducted at Camp Taji on April 28, was a significant step toward the Iraqis’ self-sufficiency. The first Iraqi T-407 instructor pilot is slated to start the basic air qualification course with four students in early May, said Army Maj. Kevin Ferner of the 721st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron. US advisors expect to certify the initial cadre of Iraqi T-407 pilots on night-vision goggles by the end of May. The IqAAC purchased 24 T-407s—armed scout variants of the Bell-407—for roughly $400 million last year. The command is slated to receive the first shipment of them by year’s end. US advisors delivered three T-407 trainers to Camp Taji last December so Iraqi pilots could become more familiar with the aircraft. (Camp Taji release by TSgt. Jason Lake)