MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Air Force (PAF) officers who have been waiting in line to fly a training aircraft have had their prayers answered.
The PAF will receive Sunday 4 more SF-260 Marchetti planes from an Italian firm that bagged the P622-million deal to supply a total of 18 trainer aircraft under the Armed Forces Modernization Program.
The planes are scheduled to be received by PAF officials at the Haribon Hangar of the 410th Maintenance Wing in Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
They will be delivered by Alenia Aermacchi of Italy, through its local partner Aerotech Industries.
They are part of the 18 trainer planes that the firm is obliged to deliver to the Air Force under the contract it signed last year. Last November 4, the firm made its first set of delivery of 4 units of Marchetti aircraft.
The Air Force is expecting that the delivery of the 18 trainer planes would be completed by second quarter of next year.
“The acquisition of 18 basic trainer aircraft is a modest modernization for the Philippine Air Force and a big boost for PAF's capability to train PAF pilots," said Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol.
The acquisition of the trainer aircraft is projected to solve the backlog of Air Force officers who are waiting in line for training of actually flying an aircraft.
“The increase in the number of SF-260FH fleet and positive changes made in improving the training curriculum for pilot training will further enhance and develop pilots professionally and keep them up to date with the changing times and advancements of technology in accordance with the Philippine Air Force's thrusts in contributing to peace and development of our country," said Okol
Okol said student pilots will learn aerobatic techniques by flying the SF 260 trainer planes. “Dubbed as the perfect screener, the SF-260 FH is used in other countries to select potential candidates to progress to high performance aircraft," he said.
"The aircraft's great power output complements its design to perform with agility during high speed maneuvers. The reinforced low wing design and retractable tricycle landing gear is part of its design to withstand stress during high G maneuvers and to maximize high speed and low drag during aerobatics and advance maneuvers," he added.
Okol said exposure and experience gained in flying the SF-260 "gives the students a general perspective and feel of handling a more advanced aircraft."
"Once graduated, quality and competent pilots are expected to operate the air assets of the Air Force and perform various missions related to rescue operations, security, and other support functions to peace and national development," he said.