SAF chopper pilots ‘ready for action’ by July: Eleazar

SAF chopper pilots ‘ready for action’ by July: Eleazar

MANILA – The initial pool of Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP SAF) helicopter pilots will be mission-ready by July this year, the country’s top cop said on Wednesday.

Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said seven PNP SAF pilots are undergoing transition training on the single-engine light utility Airbus H-125 helicopter while three other pilots have officially started their training on Wednesday.

“They will be mission-ready by July this year. The flight instructor from Airbus helicopters recommended an additional flight time for our pilots to build up more experience and confidence,” Eleazar said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The SAF currently has nine helicopters in its inventory — seven Airbus H-125 units and two Robinson R-44 training helicopters.

“The R-44 (is) used primarily for basic helicopter pilot training,” Eleazar said.

He added that there is also an ongoing basic helicopter pilot training for 15 student pilots.

“And they are currently in their flight phase,” Eleazar said.

In a separate message, PNP Directorate for Logistics director Maj. Gen. Angelito Casimiro said the transition training course for the Airbus H-125 consists of eight months of actual flight and ground training while basic helicopter training will take another eight months.

Casimiro also said 10 police pilots are now ready to be deployed as co-pilots after their graduation from Airbus H-125 transition training.

“(They are) just waiting for Airbus Certification and for a license as pilot-in-command,” he added.

Casimiro added that out of the SAF’s helicopters, four Airbus H-125 units and an R-44 helicopter are currently on stand-by while three H-125 units and another R-44 helicopter are undergoing annual maintenance. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)

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