Largest batch of helicopter pilots graduate from Arakkonam training school

      The largest ever batch of helicopter pilots comprising 19 pilots earned their wings’ (graduated) on Saturday at the helicopter training school, INS Rajali, at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu. There were 12 Naval and seven Coast Guard trainee pilots in the 74th Helicopter Conversion course. Rear Admiral Karam Bir Singh, Chief of Staff Eastern Naval Command was the chief guest of the occasion and awarded ‘Wings of Gold’ to graduating pilots. The officers joined the squadron on January 25 after the basic stage of flying training at Air Force Academy in Dundigal, Andhra Pradesh . During the course the trainees flew approximately 75 hours each on varied missions, which included advance handling, instrument flying, night flying, navigation and formation flying. The SAR phase for the course was conducted at INS Parundu in Ramnad, Tamil Nadu. The training in aviation subjects is also a primary thrust area since a sound academic knowledge is a perquisite to being an adept pilot. Indian Naval Air Squadron 561, the Helicopter Training School (HTS) as it is popularly known is the cradle of helicopter pilots for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard. The Squadron was commissioned on September 15, 1971 at INS Garuda, Kochi and later in Jun 1992 was rebased to its present location at INS Rajali, Arakkonam. HTS conducts two Helicopter Conversion Courses every year.

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