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Irish Air Corps outsources more pilot training as shortfalls bite

22nd March 2021 - 18:30 GMT | by Trevor Nash in Holsworthy

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The Irish Air Corps is suffering from a shortage of instructors and maintenance technicians for its PC-9M fleet, meaning that it is sending increasing numbers of pilot students overseas for their training.

The Air Force Security Assistance Training Squadron (AFSAT), part of USAF Air Education & Training Command (AETC), has awarded CAE a contract to conduct Phase 1 and 2 pilot training for the Irish Air Corps.

Shephard understands that the decision to send Irish Air Corps Cadet Pilots overseas is due to a shortfall of instructors and maintenance personnel in Ireland to support the country’s eight-strong Pilatus PC-9M fleet. Previously, this fleet was used for elementary, basic and advanced (Phase 1-3) training.

Two Irish Air Corps pilots are currently undertaking rotary-wing training at Fort Rucker in Alabama with the US Army. Two fixed-wing pilots are training in Australia with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Under the terms of this latest contract, Tampa-based CAE USA will be responsible for managing and delivering military pilot training to 14 Irish Air Corps students over the next 18 months.

Phase 1, or initial flight training (IFT), will be undertaken in Pensacola, Florida by SkyWarrior Flight Training Inc (a subcontractor to CAE) using a fleet of Cessna 172 aircraft. SkyWarrior’s IFT programme is approved by the USAF.

Following completion of the IFT phase in Pensacola, students will progress to Phase 2 primary flight training at CAE’s Dothan Training Center in Alabama.  During Phase 2 training, students will receive ground school, simulator, and live-flying training in CAE-owned and operated Grob G120TP aircraft.

Part of the Grob 120TP ground school courseware that CAE has designed. (Photo: Author)

Although primarily used for US Army fixed-wing pilot training, CAE’s ...

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