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Airmen train Afghan National Army Air Corps' first C-27 pilot

by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Burke
NATO Training Mission Afghanistan

2/25/2010 - KABUL, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- An Afghan National Army Air Corps pilot became the first Afghan pilot qualified to fly the C-27 here Feb. 23.

American Airmen helped train Afghan Lt. Faiz Ramaki as the Afghan National Army Air Corps' newest pilot on the Air Corps' newest aircraft.

"He's very sharp," said Lt. Col. Paul Bedesem, a 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron Combined Air Power Transition Force instructor pilot. "He's very intelligent, a quick learner and he has good hands. Being able to coordinate the power controls and flight controls together on single engine patterns is very challenging and he did very well."

The C-27 initial qualification regime takes approximately 90 days to complete, including three weeks of academic classes covering ground training, 12 flights and ends with a final check ride.

The 12 flights, six day and six night, totaling approximately 50 flying hours, consist of flying under visual and instrument flight rules on takeoffs and landings with different flap configurations.

Afghan Lieutenant Ramaki was also trained on the more advanced procedures of simulated single-engine emergency landings, as well as tactical and instrument approaches.

The Afghan pilot began the Aviation Leadership Program in May 2008 at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. During ALP, student pilots learn VFR, IFR, patterns and night flying in the T-6 Texan II trainer aircraft.

Before ALP, Lieutenant Ramaki attended the Defense Language Institute in San Antonio for nine months of English proficiency training.

"I want to appreciate my instructors and I want to appreciate anybody who is involved in our training," said Lieutenant Ramaki, after completing his check ride. "I really appreciate my aircrew buddies and all they do helps Afghanistan and the air corps."

The next step for Lieutenant Ramaki is mission qualification.

He will begin flying operational missions in the C-27 throughout Afghanistan.

There are currently three pilots in the C-27 initial qualification process. Combined with the four loadmasters in qualification, the ANAAC should produce its first-ever qualified C-27 crew this spring.

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