The Air Force Academy is located at Dindigul, about 25 km away from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. This is a home for the officer trainees who learn the ropes of their chosen specialisation and more importantly are nurtured to become capable leaders. After one year's training, officer cadets are commissioned into various branches of the IAF. Their curriculum at Dindigul provides a common ground where a foundation is laid to prepare them for the different tasks which are intrinsic to a modern air force. It is here that the in-experienced youth are trained to learn flying through successive stages. Those who pass out as fighter pilots get the opportunity to serve in front-line combat squadrons equipped with SU-30, MiG-29, MiG-27, MiG-23, MiG-21, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar aircraft. For those interested in flying transport aircraft, the IAF offers the very best in the form of the heavy multi engined IL-76 aircraft and the versatile twin engined multi role AN-32 transport aircraft, besides HS-748 and the Dornier light utility transport aircraft.
Yet another exciting option for pilot trainees at the academy is to opt for helicopters. By joining the helicopter fleet, the trainees learn to fly at tree top heights and landing in small and unexplored remote areas. The curriculum also includes flying helicopter gunships, giant MI-26 heavy-lift choppers, casualty evacuation, para dropping of troops and air lifting of supplies. These are very important tasks performed both during war and peace.
The academy imparts specialist training to young men and women who shoulder responsibility as leaders in other key areas of air force operations. These are administrative, air controlling, meteorological, logistics, accounts and education branches. Irrespective of their chosen fields, all cadets are on the PT ground in synchronous movement to the beat of the drill master's drums. Swimming, horse riding, field and indoor games are all included in the evening routine. These activities help the leaders to meet the physical standards expected of soldiers. It is here that they develop qualities of esprit de corps so essential for military leaders.
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