Panama Air Group
Establishment of the Panamanian air capability came in 1964, when a Cessna 185 airplane was purchased from the United States. When Torrijos became commander in chief, he began building up the air arm, officially establishing the Panamanian Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Panamena) in January 1970, in recognition of not only its military utility but also its political potential. Airplanes and later helicopters allowed Torrijos to tour outlying areas of the country, areas where he could establish a political base that could neutralize the influence of historically powerful urban groups.
The first officers to enter the air force were mostly civilian pilots and thus did not really constitute an officer corps as such. Also, there was little opportunity for an independent air force identity to emerge because pilots were regularly rotated to other positions within the National Guard, a practice that still prevailed in the FDP in the late 1980s. The most significant development affecting the air force during the Torrijos years, then, was not the development of an independent service identity, but the rapid growth of the air arm. There were only twenty-three officer pilots in 1969, but by 1978 there were sixty.
Although in 1989 the air force did not have any combat aircraft, there had been a steady buildup in other equipment, particularly helicopters. As of 1989, regular aircraft included three CASA C-212s, one DHC-3 Otter, two DHC-6 Twin Otters, one Short Skyvan, one Islander, one Boeing 727, and two Cessnas. In addition, there were nine Bell and six UH helicopters and one Super Puma. Personnel and airplanes were primarily based at the Tocumen Air Base, which is collocated with Tocumen International Airport near Panama City, and at Albrook Air Force Base in the canal area.
The Air Group is responsible for indoctrinating, training, coordinating and supervising air operations to fulfill the institutional mission. It is constituted by The Air Transport Squadron, Helicopter Squadron and Air Training Squadron. The organizational composition of the Air Group is based on 2 fundamental pillars: The Fixed Wing Squadron. The Helicopter Squadron, which work together to carry out the various tasks in an optimal way.
- Protection, surveillance, security and defense of the jurisdictional spaces Air and Maritime of the Republic of Panama.
- Develop joint operations, with sister countries in the fight against drug trafficking.
- Carry out aerial operations to support the other public security forces.
- Establish annual training training programs for flight crews.
- To verify the good health of the flight crews.
- Coordinate the evaluation, standardization and training of the crew.
- Advise the General Directorate and the National Operations Directorate regarding flight operations.
Fixed Wing Squadron
Within its functions is to administer, coordinate, supervise and contribute through knowledge and experiences acquired in the execution of air operations assigned to the squadron; The requirement of training and training of the personnel of pilots to increase the level of professionalism; To supervise flight crews to have individual and security equipment for the accomplishment of missions.
Within its functions, it has the responsibility to administer, coordinate and supervise the execution of the air operations assigned to the Rotating Wing Squadron; Train and train pilots individually and jointly to ensure that they are effectively prepared for mission compliance and thus maintain optimum pro-efficiency levels for aircraft engaged in flight functions.
Air Training Squadron
To train and standardize in Aeronautical matters to the Pilots Aviadores of the Aerial Group, by means of the development of academic, operative and technical programs that allow us to maintain the pro efficiency of the Aerial creations attending the principles and doctrine of Flight Safety. Coordinate the requirements of national and international courses of the Air Transport Squadron and Helicopter Squadron crews. Elaborate the annual pro-efficiency schedule (theoretical and practical courses for crews). To facilitate the training and acquisition of equipment from the Squadron to the Administrative Unit.
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