Life at the Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Hyderabad
History & Location
The Air Force Academy or AFA as it is generally known as is located about 25 kms away from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The AFA is the cradle of training not only for the IAF pilots, but also for the ground duty and technical officers. This is a home for the officer trainees who learn the ropes of their chosen specialisation and more importantly are nurtured to become capable leaders.
The academy was established at this location in the year 1971 with the intention of training cadets from all streams at one central location. The Air Force Academy imparts training to the Flying, Technical and Ground Duty Branches as well as officers of the Army and Navy. Every year two batches of pilots graduate to proceed for further training in the Fighter , Transport and the Helicopter wings at other training establishments.
The academy is spread over 7,000 acres of land and houses both the airbase and the residential facilities of the airforce personnel. The Academy has numerous vintage aircraft on display inside its premises to provide motivation and insight into the flying machines of the Indian Air Force. The collection ranges from the rare and vintage Tigermoth biplane and Harvard trainer to the more recent MiG-21 FL and Kiran.
Achievement through diligence.
AFA Flight Cadets are organized into squadrons. There are four Squadrons namely :
- Aquino Squadron
- Brar Squadron
- Chitnis Squadron
- Katre Sqadron
At the beginning of the term, various activities are held on competitive basis amongst the four squadrons at the Air Force Academy, which include cross-country, drill competition, field craft training camp, quiz, declamation contest and variety entertainment programme. These activities culminate into presentation of Commandant’s Banner to the overall champion squadron.
Aim of the training
Turning a man or a woman into a warrior into the sky is what the Air Force Academy does. It instills a lifelong discipline into the future warriors. Prepares them to live in filed conditions against all odds with high morale and motivation and Develop a sense of Camaraderieship and esprit de corps.
Once you have cleared all the hurdles viz. SSB, Medicals and merit, the Joining Instructions are dispatched. This Joining instruction or JI is one of the most awaited letter that an Air Force aspirant aspires to get one day. Then the day arrives when you finally report at the Academy viz. reporting at the Railway Station (Secunderabad/Hyderabad) under the banner announcing ‘Reporting for the Air Force Academy. Soon you are assigned a Squadron and board a bus to the academy. A photographer too is present to take photo of the flight cadets assembled there. Once the bus enters the gates of Air Force Academy(AFA), Dundigal a sense of huge pride engulfs your mind, body and soul.
Various Missiles and Air Crafts are on display en-route from the main gate to Flight Cadets Mess also known as FCM. This is your home for the next couple of months you are in the academy.
Before taking the luggage to your dorm, they are thoroughly checked to make sure that no one is in possession of a mobile phone or camera or any eatables, personal medication etc. The Flight cadets are then issued their cabin numbers.
Day begins with a fall-in at 5 a.m. followed by daily drill (March Past). In the academy you have to always be in the Running mode, cause it is said
You must be able to run if you want to fly.
After one year’s training, officer cadets are commissioned into various branches of the IAF. Their curriculum at Dindigul provides a common ground where a foundation is laid to prepare them for the different tasks which are intrinsic to a modern air force. It is here that the in-experienced youth are trained to learn flying through successive stages. Those who pass out as fighter pilots get the opportunity to serve in front-line combat squadrons equipped with SU-30, MiG-29, MiG-27, MiG-23, MiG-21, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar aircraft. For those interested in flying transport aircraft, the IAF offers the very best in the form of the heavy multi engined IL-76 aircraft and the versatile twin engined multi role AN-32 transport aircraft, besides HS-748 and the Dornier light utility transport aircraft.
Yet another exciting option for pilot trainees at the academy is to opt for helicopters. By joining the helicopter fleet, the trainees learn to fly at tree top heights and landing in small and unexplored remote areas. The curriculum also includes flying helicopter gunships, giant MI-26 heavy-lift choppers, casualty evacuation, para dropping of troops and air lifting of supplies. These are very important tasks performed both during war and peace.
The academy imparts specialist training to young men and women who shoulder responsibility as leaders in other key areas of air force operations. These are administrative, air controlling, meteorological, logistics, accounts and education branches. Irrespective of their chosen fields, all cadets are on the PT ground in synchronous movement to the beat of the drill master’s drums. Swimming, horse riding, field and indoor games are all included in the evening routine. These activities help the leaders to meet the physical standards expected of soldiers. It is here that they develop qualities of esprit de corps so essential for military leaders.
The Academy provides training in flying and ground subjects for flight cadets and officers of the Indian Navy and Army as well as the Coast Guard. Officers from friendly foreign countries are also occasionally trained at the Air Force Academy.
The following are the types of training conducted at the academy:
Flying Training If a cadet has joined the Flying Branch, training is divided into Stage I, II and III. Each stage gradually takes the trainee pilots from fundamental to more complex levels of aviation. It is during Stage III that the cadets are sent for specialisation on Fighter, Helicopter or Transport aircraft.
Air Traffic Control Officers’ Training The training at the Air Force Academy for Air Traffic Control is designed on the basis of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) procedures. These have, however been altered to suit the military aviation requirements.
Ground Duty Officers’ Training Ground Duty Officers’ Training conducts specialist training for all non-technical branches of the Indian Air Force. If the cadet has joined the Administrative, Logistics, Accounts, Education or Meteorology division, he/she will be trained at the Air Force Academy before joining the Air Force as Ground Duty Officer.
Joint Services Training Cadets of the Flying, Technical and the Ground Duty Branches are imparted Joint Services Training here for six weeks. Thereafter, cadets selected for entry into the Aeronautical Engineering Branches are sent to the Air Force Technical College at Jalahalli, Bangalore. Training includes common service subjects like administration and service knowledge.