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The Initial Pilot training; Boboc, September 16, 2015

The Romanian Air Force, part 3; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

The initial flight training of the Romanian Air Force will take for the largest part place at Boboc. At this airbase both the helicopter pilots and the fighter pilots undergo their initial pilot training. For the training of new pilots the Romanian Air Force is using the IAK-52, IAR-316 Allouette III and the IAR-99 Soim.

At the Romanian Boboc Air Base is the initial pilot training established. The flight school is named after Aurel Valicu. This man was an aircraft designer and pioneer at a time when aviation was still in its infancy. His name is honorably associated with the school, because he has made important inventions for the Romanian aviation branch. The Romanian Air Force Combat Training School is responsible for the training of all the personnel of the Romanian Air Force. The primary task of the school is the professional training of officers, petty officers and trade staff. The Romanian Air Force Combat Training School is the most important school of the Air Force since April 1, 1912. The school was originally established at the airport in Cotroceni. On September 4, 1953, Aurel Valicu's name was first linked to the school. The main objectives of the school are to train the pilots and the ground personnel of the air force. This training consists of initial and advanced pilot training. The advanced training is conducted at the airbase Bacau. Students will also undergo primary industry training at the "Henri Coanda" Air Force Academy. An important point here is the teaching of the English language for the entire Romanian Air Force personnel. In addition to these language courses which are mandatory for the staff, this training also consists in the teaching of all concepts and terms used in the NATO. In this way, the Romanian Air Force makes sure its staff is well trained for international cooperation.

The flying school at Boboc is composed of three elements and a technical school. The technical school is mainly used to educate maintenance personnel for the various aircraft types. This training is specific and is not a simple training for future maintenance personnel. The elements of the flight school at Boboc are the radar operator training, the air defense training and the pilot training. The radar specialist training consists mainly of learning how to operate, maintain and communicate with the information system SMCIS. The Romanian Air Force radar systems which are used

are both from Russian and western origin. The radar systems which are used are the VCSs, the CPADD-A3X and EXRAD CPADD-A41X. In addition, the students will learn to deal with the command and control ASOC and operating with radiolocation systems. They will also learn how they have to operate and maintain the GAP FILLER and the FPS-117. The last step that will be learned during this training is the radar specialist training and electronic warfare training. The air defense training is used to operate and maintain various anti-aircraft installations. This training includes elements such as the maintenance of the ground-based air defense batteries. The operators are trained in the use of these anti-aircraft installations which may contain cannons or missiles.

The third element of the academy at Boboc is the aviation branch. The aspects that will be learned during this training, are; initial training for flight instructors and flight directors, civil aviation rules, the forward air controller training, training for weapon specialists and initial training for equipment maintenance, air traffic control training, survival and resistance training and the pilot training. The main part of the pilot training is based on Boboc. The advanced part of the training is based on Bacau where the IAR-99 Soim is used for this part of the training. When the future pilots begin their training at Boboc, they will first have to complete all theoretical courses before they begin the initial flight training. The Aurel Valicu flight school consists of a number of units which each have a specific role in the training process of the new pilots. The first unit which is stationed at Boboc is Ecadrila I Aviatie. This unit flies the IAK-52 and the IAR-316 Allouette III and is the first unit in which the aspirant pilots really train in the airspace. In this unit are both helicopter pilots and the fighter pilots trained. The pilots who will operate an aircraft in the future are initially trained with the IAK-52. The IAK-52 is since 1976 in use at the Romanian Air Force. The design of these small propeller trainers is originally from Russia. The aircraft were built under license by IAR in Romania. With the IAK-52 students will learn all the basic aspects of flying. The IAK-52 is a very stable aircraft and is very easy to use for the new pilots. The aircraft are all painted in a red-white-blue color scheme and usually fly from the grass runway at Boboc. There are currently still twelve of the original 30 IAK-52s in operational service at the Romanian Air Force.

The second type which is flying at Ecadrila 1 Aviatie at Boboc is the IAR-316 Allouette III. This helicopter is built under license in Romania and is used for initial flight training of the helicopter pilots. In total, the Romanian Air Force had over 110 Allouettes since the beginning of the 70s. Nowadays, the Allouette III is only used for initial pilot training for helicopter pilots. There are still seven helicopters being used for the training of these pilots. The Allouettes all have a particular color scheme, because the helicopters all have a yellow and green color scheme and a blue bottom. At Boboc, the Allouettes fly from the helipads next to the grass runway of the airfield. The Antonov An-2 of which eight are in storage, have been phased out since 2010 after a fatal accident had happened. These aircraft were initially used for the training of pilots for the cargo aircraft. This training is nowadays with the arrival of the C-27 Spartan executed in Italy and in Otopeni. The second unit at Boboc is the Ecadrila 2 Aviatie. This unit flies the standard version of the IAR-99. Within this unit the pilots are trained for the first time with a fast jet. There are five of these aircraft of this version of the IAR-99 in active service at Boboc. The IAR-99 aircraft are stationed on the south side of Boboc. This part of the airfield has a paved runway and a platform where the aircraft are parked and prepared for flight. After training on the IAR-99, pilots will continue on the same type in Bacau for the advanced pilot training. Here they will learn the tactical and operational aspects of flying in the Romanian Air Force.

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