Iraqi Flight Training School Takes Off

Unlike the AFP article that Bob Owens found, which tries to sell pre-surge quotes as current news, this good news is the result of the surge’s success: Iraq’s Air Force is up and flying. From the Multi-National Force website:

Pull back and the trees get smaller; push forward and the trees get bigger. It’s a simple explanation for flying that pilots give when talking about the similarities between flying different airplanes. It’s also a foundation that former Iraqi pilots work from since returning to the Iraqi Air Force as flight instructors in the country’s first flight school since Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

The Iraqi Flight Training School, located in Kirkuk, is training officers to fly fixed and rotary wing aircraft, producing the future pilots of the Iraqi Air Force.

“After the war, I felt sad for my Air Force,” said Iraqi Air Force Col. Karim, the commander of the Iraqi Flight Training School. “I thought it would take 25 years to rebuild the Air Force. The Air Force seemed so far away.”

The actual time it took to get Iraqis into the air was much less. The school opened in October and within six months the school had a commander, airplanes, instructors and students to fly them.

“We’ve had a phenomenal amount of progress since we’ve been here,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Bennett, commander of the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron. The squadron advises the Iraqi flight school and helps to train pilots.

Read the rest of it.

Hat tip: Freepers

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