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New Korean trainer preps flyboys to take to the skies

Along with being the new guardians of the skies, the pilots are also the first to complete training in the T-50.

Nov 05,2007
Let’s hope the skies aren’t too crowded now that 65 new pilots have their wings.
The Air Force’s Chief of Staff, Kim Eun-gi, gave congratulatory red mufflers to the pilots who finished flight school last Wednesday at Gwangju Air Base in South Jeolla.
The flyboys started the course in February 2006 and have since finished the elementary, secondary and upper-level training sessions.
Along with being the new guardians of the skies, the pilots are also the first to complete training in the T-50 Golden Eagle trainer and light attack aircraft, which were used in training for the first time.
The T-50 was developed by Korean Aerospace Industries. It is the country’s first supersonic plane. Korea is the 12th nation to manufacture a complete jet fighter aircraft.
The development of the plane was intended to train pilots for the F-16, F-15A and F-22 planes. The design is mainly derived from the F-16. Governments in the Middle East and Europe have either purchased the plane or have expressed interest in doing so.
The Air Force has seen a 38-percent increase in pilots learning new skills on the T-50 instead of the T-38.
“I was surprised by the fascinating specifications of the plane when I was onboard,” First Lieutenant Kim Gi-hyeon, 24, said. “But I was able to concentrate better in training with the user-friendly design [of the T-50].”
Bae Jung-beom was another pilot who completed training on the T-50. “I will do my best to protect the skies,” Bae said. “I am dedicated to the country and the Air Force.”
The Air Force has plans to complete a major overhaul in pilot training programs by 2012. Once all the changes are implemented, the time to train a pilot will be shortened by five months, and the cost will be lowered by 300 million won ($330,900) per pilot. Park Hyeon-sik, Kim Jin-taek, Im Won-ho and Seo Seung-nam received the chief of staff awards.


By Lee Chul-hee JoongAng Ilbo [yhwang@joongang.co.kr]


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