Airmen will teach the first Iraqi Air Force college pilot-training course beginning in March with Iraq's new T-6A trainer.
The tandem-cockpit aircraft, that began arriving in Tikrit, Iraq, Dec. 16, is the platform Iraqi Airmen will use to transform the college into a cornerstone of Iraqi air sovereignty. It's also the same aircraft U.S. Airmen fly during pilot training.
"It has a very powerful engine for its size," said Lt. Col. Charles Westbrook, the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron Commander deployed from Hurlburt Field, Florida. "It's fully aerobatic and can do anything and everything you want within the terms of a training platform.
"We'll use it across the spectrum of training," he said. "We'll do contact aerobatic maneuvers with loops and aileron rolls, we'll also do instrument navigation training with them; move on into low altitude and formation flying to tactical training."
The first class will consist of more than 20 current Iraqi Air Force Pilots, some who will continue in training to be the first group of instructors at the college.
The T-6 is the second "step" of an 18-month pilot training program. Aspiring Pilots must first complete 20 training hours in a Cessna 172 Skymaster learning basic flight fundamentals.
New candidates will first attend basic military training, followed by advanced military training, English language classes and academic courses.
Following the first year, they will enter flight screening. Those selected will then progress to flight training. Officers will graduate with a bachelor's degree and a commission and as a second lieutenant in the Iraqi Air Force.