Better be ready than sorry. The Philippine Air Force pilots are currently on rigorous flight training in Brunei. The exercise will enhance their skills in using the S70-i Blackhawk combat utility helicopter.
Philippine Air Force Pilots Aim to Master Blackhawk Helicopter
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the lingering tension in the South China Sea over sovereignty, it’s not wrong to be prepared. The Philippine Air Force pilots started their training last month and will end on November 19. The training takes place in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam.
The trainees are flying the S-70i Blackhawk Full Motion Flight Simulator of the Canadian Aviation Electronics (CAE). Participants include 27 Filipinos, divided into 14 batches for the course of the three months training period.
“The said training is a vital tool to pilot proficiency enhancement as it provides a cost-effective platform for pilots to practice various types of flight conditions, practice in-flight emergencies, fly in complex scenarios, and practice crew resource management,” the Philippine Air Force said.
It wasn’t the first time that PAF pilots go to Brunei to undergo Blackhawk helicopter training. In 2021, 11 PAF pilots also underwent training for the same kind of flight mastery tutelage.
The said preparation is critical in promoting the PAF pilots’ competence in manoeuvering the S-70i Blackhawk. They must be proficient in flying the chopper, particularly, now that the Department of National Defense (DND) purchased 16 units of the said military aircraft.
Also on February 22 of this year, the DND signed a ₱32-billion contract for procuring 32 more Blackhawk helicopters. The Philippines will receive the first five units in 2023, 10 units in 2024, another 10 units in 2025, and seven units in 2026. These military helicopters can quickly initialise and deploy to do different military and humanitarian missions.
PAF’s First Female Pilot General Succumbed to Disease
Ret. Brig. Gen. Maxima Ignacio died at 56 due to a blood disease called acute myeloid leukaemia on September 7. She was PAF’s first female pilot general.
“She persevered and worked her way through training and education and contributed significantly in laying down the foundation of the PAF’s strategic plans as well as its gender and development initiatives,” said PAF spokesperson, Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo.
Ignacio succeeded in 1993 and later joined the 220th Airlift Wing as the first female pilot to fly the F-27 Fokker aircraft. She earned her first start as a brigadier general on December 12, 2018. On Sept. 13, she will be laid to rest at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Taguig City.
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