The Flying Instructors School, Tambaram, among the Indian Air Force’s premier training establishments, will soon be home to one of the most advanced trainer aircraft — the Switzerland-made Pilatus PC-7 Mk II turbo trainer flights.

Fifteen aircraft will be brought to the school by 2015, Air Commodore Sukumar Prabhakaran, Air-Officer-Commanding-in Chief, Tambaram Station, said in an interaction with press persons on Friday. The School (FIS) produces training pilots, who in turn provide basic training to the ‘rookie’ pilots of the defence forces.

The Pilatus aircraft will join a fleet that comprises Kiran Mk I and Mk II aircraft and Cheetah and Chetak Helicopters, Air Cmdr. Prabhakaran said. The senior officer said the best pilots from the IAF, Army and Naval Aviation and the Coast Guard, who had logged several hours of flying fighter, transporter and other aircraft are selected through a rigorous process and in turn, trained for 24 weeks at FIS. At the end, they would be given a certificate, enabling them to become ‘trainer of trainers.’

“The officers completing this course provide training to fresh young recruits in various flying units,” said Air Cmdr. Prabhakaran. Meanwhile, sources in the IAF said a total of 75 Pilatus PC-7 Mk II aircraft will be joining various training commands by the middle of 2015. A fleet of such aircraft, each of them costing over Rs. 31 crore were already operational in Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Hyderabad. The Pilatus boasts several advanced features such as modern avionics and near-complete digital controls, replacing the analog ones.

After its establishment in Tambaram, the school depended mainly on the HAT 2, which was in operation till 1989, after which they were replaced by HPT 32 aircraft.

The latter was replaced by the Kiran Mk II due to the high number of crashes and deaths. As part of the 81st anniversary celebrations of IAF, officials in Tambaram Station organised a number of competitions and events for its personnel and their family members and also its civilian staff.

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