Training The Fledglings
Cradle of Military Aviation
Nestled in the Eastern corner of the vast estate of the Academy is the 'Glider-Drome' - the business end of activities at the Air Force Training Team (AFTT). The genesis of team can be traced to a need for more aware and better trained aircrew - a need, brought about with the advent of Jet age in the IAF. From modest beginnings of a rough strip and winch launched gliders, the team has come a long way and today, boasts of a metal runway 950m long and state-of-the art powered sailplanes.
Construction of AFTT complex started in 1954 and was taken charge of in Oct 1956, by Sqn Ldr DG Kinglee, the first Officer-In-Charge (OIC). The hangar, administrative building, instructors rooms and the glider drome was completed by 1957. The present accommodation of the team is modern and contemporary with computer enabled classroom, PC based flight simulators, metalled runway, Air Traffic Control, servicing facilities for the aircraft and other administrative facilities.
The Air Force Cadets begin their association with AFTT in the Vth term when they start learning aviation related subjects prior to their flying training in the VIth semester. The training team aims at inculcating aviation sense in the budding air warriors and groom them in all aspects related to military aviation.
Ready to Fly
The team commenced training with Sedberg T21B gliders with the first launch on 14 Sep 1957. The historic flight was piloted by Sqn Ldr DG Kinglee and Flt Lt G Singh. In succession the team flew the Eon Baby (First Flight 19 Nov 57), Eon Olympia (First Flight 06 Feb 60), Rohini (First Flight 14 May 68) and Ardhara (First Flight 08 Oct 86). Since Sep 2000, the mount of the team has been the Austrian built Super Dimona twin seat powered sailplane. The team has eleven of these sailplanes.
The graceful Super Dimona is used to initiate the VIth term Air Force cadets to powered flight. Attention is given to all aspects of flying training to enable the cadets to be in line with Air Force ethos prevalent in the flying training establishments/units in the IAF. The trainees fly 10 sorties as a part of their syllabus. The exposure to flying on Super Dimona aircraft and use of simulators has made sure that most of our cadets are able to earn their coveted 'Wings' (brevets) at Air Force Academy.
Flying Super Dimona
The ground training syllabus for Air Force cadets has been revised with a substantial increase in service specific training. Service specific training is imparted in the final year of cadets' stay at NDA. The grades in these subjects contribute towards graduation credits. Before taking to the skies, the budding aviators are thoroughly familiarized with their machine. This gives them an insight to the working of the aircraft systems.
In consonance with 'jointmanship' ethos of NDA, AFTT organizes visits of Air Force as well as the Army and Naval cadets to various IAF establishments. While these visits provide an insight to the Air Force cadets about their future service, it exposes their counterparts from the other two services to the capabilities of IAF.
The Air Traffic Control facility is a modern complex which houses radiotelephony simulators and aero-sports clubrooms. It also houses an Automatic Weather Station for collection of weather data.
Improvisation - Electric Towing Tractor
The only electric car (Reva) manufactured in India and exported to different countries around the world, is put to good use by AFTT to tow the Super Dimona in and out of the Hangar.
Flying Milestones/Records of AFTT
|Type of Glider
||Flt Lt G Singh Cdt Nair
(17 Mar 58)
||11,500 feet; maximum height on a glider.
||Flt Lt Mohsinho
(29 Mar 61)
||9,000 feet; maximum duration flight.
||Flt Lt Bhatia (06 Mar 68)
||Maximum duration by Eon Baby.
||Flt Lt Bhatia
(08 Mar 68)
||Maximum duration by Sedberg T21B.
||Sqn Ldr KA Kumar
Sqn Ldr KK Singh
||Maximum duration by Ardhra.
| Arjan motivation hall is an added feather in cap for AFTT. A motivation hall to showcase old and new ac of the IAF. History of Commands, movie on IAF and mementos from various dignitaries & courses has been erected. A scaled model of the Pilatus PC 7 Mk II ac which the cdts are expected to fly at AFA in their stage I trg has been erected at the entrance of the Motivation Hall.
Arjan Motivation Hall
Two HPT-32 CPTs have enhanced the simulator training at ‘Virtual Training Centre’. All VI term AF cadets undergo an introductory trg here before progressing to actual flying on Super Dimona Aircraft.
Virtual training centre with HPT-32 Simulator
A new hangar is being constructed to accommodate the five new Super Dimona Aircraft inducted in Dec 13. A major improvement in the infrastructure is underway at AFTT. The Runway is being widened to 100’ and extended to 4500’ from current dimensions of 50’X 3000’. A new classroom, changing room and briefing room is being constructed while the cadets have a lounge to rest, recoup and refresh during training.
New Super Dimona Motorised Glider
No wonder with his bags full of such a professional trg the Ex –NDA shines during subsequent stage of trg and professional career.
The Aviators' Nest at Air Force Training Team, NDA