The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday held a combined Graduation Ceremony for Instructor Pilot Courses 10/2019 and 11/2019 as well as the presentation of certificates to Captains and First Officers on the Diamond 42 and 40 aircraft at its 401 Flying Training School (401 FTS) in Kaduna.
In addition, a Hall of Fame built to showcase the pilots that have passed through the 401 FTS was also commissioned.
In his remarks, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was the Guest of Honour at the occasion, expressed his delight at the positive trend of activities and milestones of progress recorded by the Air Training Command (ATC) and 401 FTS, in particular.
One of these landmark achievements, he recalled, was the graduation of Student Pilot Course (SPC) 45 in June 2019 – a class of bright young cadets who concluded their Ab-initio flying training before they were commissioned as officers. According to him, the combined graduation marked another milestone and was a positive departure from the erstwhile norm.
The CAS recalled a time when flying training in the NAF faced a lot of challenges ranging from unserviceable platforms to lack of spares and other sundry issues but noted that, since the assumption of Office of the Buhari-led Federal Government, the Service has acquired several additional platforms, including 10 Super Mushshak, to boost flying training efforts in 401 FTS, Kaduna.
He stated further that, since these acquisitions, about 139 Student Pilots (SPs) had passed through 401 FTS. Of this number, a total of 110 SPs successfully completed their training in the school, while the other 29 proceeded for their flying training overseas.
“These achievements are a very giant leap from what was obtainable in the past. I am equally aware that there are 30 SPs currently undergoing their ab-initio training as members of SPC 46, while SPC 47 will be resuming in January 2020 for their training.
“The human capacity development efforts of this administration have consequently enhanced our force projection capability not only within Nigeria but also beyond our borders,” he added.
While congratulating the graduating pilots and instructors, the CAS charged them to ensure safe and efficient operations of the various platforms assigned to them whilst putting into consideration such factors as airworthiness of the aircraft, weather, flight regulations and air traffic control procedures, amongst others.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commander 401 FTS, Air Commodore Eneobong Effiom, remarked that the successes recorded by the School were made possible due to the unwavering support of the current NAF leadership that had ensured the enabling environment for effective flying training.
He said, as a result, 401 FTS has recorded tremendous achievements in the last 4 years, including the conduct of several re-currency trainings for pilots as well as graduation of 28 members of SPC 45 and ongoing flying Phase training for 30 members of SPC 46.
Other highlights of the ceremony were the presentation of Course Certificates and Badges to the graduands as well as the commissioning of the “Air Marshal SB Abubakar Hall of Fame” within the School.