His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, attended the graduation ceremony of a new batch of the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in Al Ain, Emirates News Agency WAM reported.
The graduation ceremony was also attended by H.H. Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain Region; H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation; Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Pilot Staff-Brigadier Sheikh Ahmed bin Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the UAE National Service and Reserve Authority; Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, UAE Minister of State for Defense Affairs; Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chief-of-Staff of the UAE Armed Forces; along with a number of Sheikhs, senior military officials and foreign military attachés.
Candidates to the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College first go through a rigorous schedule of academics (Basic Level: Military Sciences), fitness and officer training. Those who are selected as cadets then start the second phase of academics: Flight Sciences (Aeronautical Science).
Cadets who pass the assessment period of the second phase are designated aviation cadets and start flight training. The first aircraft cadets get to fly is the Grob G115 TA. Those who qualify then go on to fly the Pilatus PC-7. On this aircraft, they learn the basics of flying, take-off and landing techniques and procedures followed by a bit of aerobatics.
Following the Primary Flying Course is the Basic Flight Course, piloting the Hawk 63. Graduates are graded and assigned accordingly to one of three options: the Advanced Strike course at Minhad on the Hawk 102 aircraft, transport aircraft, and helicopters. At Minhad, the new pilots learn Basic Fighters Manoeuvres, drop bombs and learn to fly cross-country to a neighboring country, commonly Bahrain or Kuwait. Upon completion of the Advanced Strike course, officers are selected either for the F-16 (Block 60) or the Dassault Mirage 2000-9, both at Al Dhafra AB.
A few pilots are selected to learn to fly the F-16 with the United States Air Force’s 162d Fighter Wing in Tucson, Arizona, USA.