Skip to comments.Iraqi Air Force Pilots Get Airborne in ‘King Air’ for First Time
Posted on 02/28/2008 3:48:30 PM PST by SandRat
The King Air is the most advanced aircraft in Iraq’s arsenal and enhances the abilities of their Air Force tremendously.
“This flight signifies another beginning for the Iraqi Air Force,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Chris Spangenberg, an instructor pilot with the 870th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron. “The King Air gives them a 21st century capability that can be integrated into the overall mission with ground forces. This first flight will open a whole new chapter in this quickly accelerating Air Force.”
The aircraft initially will support training and distinguished visitor-transport missions. As future aircraft arrive, missions also will include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights over Iraqi skies to spot insurgents and provide overwatch of critical infrastructure.
Iraqi pilots already have achieved some initial successes, as an all-Iraqi crew on a recent mission spotted several terrorists manufacturing improvised explosive devices. The crewmembers alerted Iraqi police, who arrived on scene soon after to impede the terrorists’ efforts.
The King Air expands Iraqi aircrews’ ability to detect insurgent activity, such as attempts to damage power lines and oil pipelines, Spangenberg said.
The Iraqi Air Force previously was flying primarily Cessna 208 and CH-2000 aircraft to accomplish reconnaissance missions, but King Air aircraft have several advantages which make them a better option.
“The King Air is faster than existing assets, allowing it to rapidly arrive on station at any location in the country,” Spangenberg said. “It also has more endurance, allowing for longer on-station times. The King Air also has a 21st century flight-management system that is complex by any standard and requires much more training.”
Iraqi pilots seemed energized to fly their first mission in the new “jewel of the Iraqi Air Force.”
“I feel excited to get up in the air, because we are the first Iraqis to fly this type of aircraft,” an Iraqi pilot said. “We consider this a step up from what we have been flying and thank the Americans for giving us this opportunity. We’ve trained hard to get here and had great cooperation with the U.S. Air Force the whole way.”
According to Spangenberg, the inaugural King Air flight was a complete success as the Iraqis took months of training to the sky in the name of their country.
“The flight went very well,” he said. “The Iraqis are very competent pilots. We are now teaching them to fly and employ a new weapon system, which is always a challenge no matter how good a pilot is. We will fly student sorties with the King Air consistently for the next several months but look forward to the near future when two Iraqi pilots are sent out without an American onboard.”
(Story by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Eric Schloeffel, 506th Air Expeditionary Group Public Affairs)
In Other Recent Developments Here:
BAGHDAD — At the request of the Imam of the Balad Shrine Mosque, Soldiers of 2nd platoon, 164th Military Police Company, 728th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade and Multi National Division – North visited the mosque Feb. 24 to increase force protection measures.
BAGHDAD — Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers questioned a “person of interest” Feb. 25 after a Sons of Iraq leader and his son were found murdered in the Mechanix neighborhood of Rashid District, Feb. 24.
I rode in Joulwan’s King Air once. What a plane!
Used to on fly King Airs out of the Wichita factory with my instructor pilot Herb Johnson in the late 70’s .......He delivered em for the company and got lots of time in em to stay proficient. We took wives to our favorite flightline dinner at Squadron 98 restaurant in Denver a few times.
In other news, the Iraqi Navy is proud to announce the commissioning of its first capital ship.
And the Iraqi Army is making great progress in mechanizing four of its best divisions:
Where are the Machine guns?????
Not quite ready for that yet I suspect.