Yelahanka air base beefs up number of trainee pilots

Yelahanka air base beefs up number of trainee pilots

The Yelahanka airbase will get more trainee pilots as the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to enhance their number by almost 150 per cent.

Besides the existing transport aircraft and helicopters, they will get to train on advanced versions of American C130J and C-17 Globemaster.

Yelahanka produces around 350 trained pilots annually. With the increase in the number, this may go up to almost 700-750.

Pilots for combat aircraft are trained in the Southern, Western and Northern sectors in designated areas, although Kirans fly from here.

The airbase set up in 1963 is vital for producing trained pilots to fly its transport planes and helicopters. Training a transport aircraft pilot costs around Rs 5-6 crore.

The IAF has expanded its fleet of transport aircraft by inducting the new generation transport planes C-130J and the humungous C-17 globemaster.

Air shows every second year at the air base have made IAF personnel very familiar with the new aircraft, both American, for their new technologies and capabilities.

The IAF says the number of pilots has to be enhanced to fullfil the requirements of its squadrons.

The training for combat pilots will be undertaken on Swiss-made Pilatus aircraft PC-7 MKII, a Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA), 35 of which have been inducted by the IAF. The remaining 40 aircraft are being flown in on a monthly basis.

The IAF has increased flight hours and number of solo sorties from 1 to 14 as part of its training sylallbus. The IAF has also installed the first PC-7 MkII Fixed Base Full Mission Simulator at Dundigal in Andhra Pradesh.

A second simulator and additional Ground-Based Training Systems will be installed by 2014-end.

Pilots will be moved to Dundigal, too, for training.