Hellenic Air Force Academy

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Hellenic Air Force Academy
Si-simaia.jpg
Hellenic Air Force Academy logo, with its official badge in the centre
Active 1919 – present
Country Greece Greece
Branch Hellenic Air Force
Type Military and Academic Training
Role Training of commissioned officers (pilots, engineers and air defence controllers)
Part of Hellenic Air Force Training Command
Motto Άμες δε γ’ εσσόμεθα πολλώ κάρρονες
"We shall become much better than you"
Commanders
Current
commander
Air Vice-Marshal Vasileios Andresakis

The Hellenic Air Force Academy (Greek: Σχολή Ικάρων, abbr. ΣΙ) is a military academy responsible for supplying the Hellenic Air Force with pilots, flight engineers, ground engineers and air traffic / air defence controllers. It was founded in 1919 as the Military Academy of Aviation (Στρατιωτική Σχολή Αεροπλοΐας) and renamed in 1967 as the Icarus School in reference to the figure of Icarus in ancient Greek mythology. The figure of Icarus forms the centrepiece of the academy's badge.

The Hellenic Air Force Academy is a member of the European Air Force Academies (EUAFA).

History[edit]

Icarus and Daedalus by Frederic Leighton

Many decades have passed since the founding of the Air Force Academy. Since then, from the academy have graduated at least 2600 pilots, 1200 aircraft engineers and other specializations according to the Air Force needs. It was founded in 1919 as the Military School of Aeronautics (Greek: Στρατιωτική Σχολή Αεροπλοΐας). The Icarus School is actually the successor of the Air Force School, founded in 1931 at the airport of Dekeleia, Tatoi in Athens.

1930s[edit]

The first 11 trainees entered the academy on 2 November 1931 and their training was initially performed by Avro 621-Tutor and Avro 626-Prefect type aircraft. Training in the academy was common for both the Air Force and the Navy Aviation. The academy could be attended only by high school graduates and attendance was for 3 years.

In 1935 a second branch was introduced in the academy, the branch of "Junior Lieutenant Pilots", and attendance was for 2 years. In 1938 a third branch was introduced, that of Aircraft Engineers. Most graduates of those years gave their life in the air battles of World War II, like 2nd Lieutenant Marinos Mitralexis.

1940s[edit]

On October 1940 the academy was transferred to the city of Argos. In April 1941, due to the German invasion of Greece, the academy was again transferred to the Middle East and later on to Southern Rhodesia, where it operated normally from September 1941 until the summer of 1946. Training of Greek pilots during the war was performed by British units in Middle East and Southern Rhodesia.

On March 1947 the academy returned to Dekeleia, Tatoi. Normal operation of the academy begun on October 1947, when the first postgraduates from England were accepted. The initial structure of the Royal Hellenic Air Force Academy was done according to the structure of the Royal Air Force academies of Southern Rhodesia. The same goes for the flight training system, which was exactly the same with the one followed in the Southern Rhodesia academies.

1950s[edit]

In 1950, the first RHAF pilot squadron returned from the United States, where it had been trained. Since then, flight education was influenced from the American educational system. In 1952 starts a new era for the Air Force Academy, the era of jets. Training of pilots in jet aircraft started in 1953. That same year the whole structure of the academy was revised and organised according to a typical U.S. fighter wing and it was renamed to 121 Training Wing (121 Πτερυγα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος - 121 ΠΕΑ). One year earlier, the Training Centre of Conscript Pilots had been founded, following British and U.S. prototypes and until September 1958, eight rows of conscript pilots had been trained.

In 1958 the Air Force Academy went under a total renovation program and was re-established in new building installations, in which it operates since then. With this re-establishment, several new laboratories are being founded and equipped.

1960s-present[edit]

In 1962 the academy accepts the first foreign students from Jordan, due the good relations between King Hussein of Jordan and King Constantine II of Greece then. In the years that follow, pilots from many African and Middle-East countries have graduated and have manned the air forces of their countries and other higher posts up to Prime Ministers. In 1964 the academy is turned to a Highest Education Institution (University - Α.Ε.Ι.), equal to all other universities in Greece. Until 1966, attendance was for 3 years. Since 1967 until today, attendance is for 4 years. That same year the academy takes its present name (Icarus Air Force Academy). In 1974 the academy begins an educational reform program, increasing 3 hours of theoretical lessons to 10.

Since 1991 the Hellenic Air Force Academy accepts female engineer students and since 2000, female pilot students as happens with the other two branches of the Hellenic Armed Forces (female "Arms" students and female combatants respectively).

Since 2005, the Hellenic Air Force Academy is under reform of its facilities, equipment and academic curriculum. New facilities are being built and old ones are being renovated, while works are scheduled to end in 2008, year in which the new curriculum and re-organisation of the academy will take effect. In addition, the old and tired "Rockwell T-2 Buckeye" will be replaced, after 30 years of service, by a new advanced trainer that will provide adequate training for entering the 4th generation fighters era.

Most like candidates for a new advanced trainer are the Boeing T-45 Goshawk (manufactured by Boeing and BAE Systems), the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle from South Korea, the Aero Vodochody L-159 ALCA from Czech Republic, the British made Hawk Mk127 LIFT and last but not least the Italian Aermacchi M-346 Advanced Trainer (The Hellenic Aerospace Industry -EAB- has signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with Aermacchi since summer 2006).

Flight training[edit]

Cessna T-41D of 360 squadron, used for initial training (screening) at the Hellenic Air Force Academy.

The training aircraft operated by the Hellenic Air Force Academy are the T-41D Mescalero (the military version of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk) for basic flight training, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II for intermediate training and the Rockwell T-2 Buckeye used for intermediate and advanced jet training.

From the first year in the academy, the trainees have direct contact with the aircraft and the ideal of flying. The freshmen conduct 16 flights with T-41 type aircraft, completing 19 flight hours per student. During the 2nd year of training the trainees conduct 48 flights with the T-6 Texan II aircraft, completing 60 flight hours per student, while during the 3rd year, the flights upgrade to 54 and the flight hours to 70 per student.

With a total 150 flight hours (on training aircraft) to their flight logs, the pilots graduate from the academy with the rank of Anthiposminagos (Pilot Officer equivalent to 2nd Lieutenant). Training continues to their appointed flight wings on the aircraft type operated by each wing. As pointed out to the magazine "Defence Matters" (vol.248, May 2007) by the commander of the Academy Air Vice-Marshal Constantinos Kalamatas, according to statistical facts "8 out of 10 graduates take the fighter pilot specialization, while 60% of all students that take this specialization, graduate". These numbers are considered satisfactory.

The graduates who have the "pilot" specialization (ranked Pilot Officers) can reach the highest rank in the chain of command, that of Air Chief Marshal (equivalent to General or Admiral), the rank awarded only when the Defence General Staff is headed by an Air Force officer. The Commander of the Air Force General Staff is always a pilot. Engineer Officers and Air-Defence Controller Officers can only climb to the rank of Air Marshal (equivalent to Lt. General or Vice Admiral).

Military training[edit]

The military training program of students is under the supervision of the Icarus Squadron (Σμηναρχία Ικάρων).

It begins with the constant informing of students on military matters because they have complete lack of military experience in their first year and it concludes when the students become military officers.

In general, the military training program has the goal of promoting discipline, self-esteam and increased confidence to the student's skills as a future fighter pilot and military officer. In the last two years of training, the program gives emphasis in teaching responsibility and skills of being a leader and it also focuses to the individual virtues of each student. It also provides practical information on the structure and operation of the Hellenic Air Force.

Other units of Air Training Command (ΔΑΕ)[edit]

  • 124 Basic Training Wing (124 Πτέρυγα Βασικής Εκπαίδευσης), located in Tripoli, Arcadia.
    • 1st New Recruits Training Squadron (1η Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Νεοσυλλέκτων)
    • 2nd New Recruits Training Squadron (2η Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Νεοσυλλέκτων)
    • 3rd New Recruits Training Squadron (3η Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Νεοσυλλέκτων)
    • Local Defense Training Squadron (Mοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Τοπικής Άμυνας)
  • 120 Air Training Wing (120 Πτέρυγα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος), located in Kalamata, Messinia.
    • 361 Air Training Squadron (361 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος)
    • 362 Air Training Squadron (362 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος)
    • 363 Air Training Squadron (363 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος)
    • 364 Air Training Squadron (364 Μοίρα Εκπαίδευσης Αέρος)
    • Sea Survival Training School / S.S.T.S. (Σχολείο Εκπαίδευσης Θαλάσσιας Επιβίωσης / Σ.Ε.Θ.Ε.)
  • 123 Technical Training Wing (123 Πτέρυγα Τεχνικής Εκπαίδευσης), located in Decelea, Tatoi.
    • Air Defense Staff Training Center (Κέντρο Εκπαίδευσης Προσωπικού Αεράμυνας / Κ.Ε.Π.Α.)
    • 128 Squadron of Communications Training and Avionics (128 Σμηναρχία Εκπαίδευσης Τηλεπικοινωνιών και Ηλεκτρονικών / Σ.Ε.Τ.Η.), located in Kavouri, Athens
    • Guards - Dog Training Centre (Κέντρο Εκπαίδευσης Φρουρών - Σκύλων), located in Koropi, Attica

Air Training Command aircraft inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[1] Total Numbers Notes
T-41 Mescalero  United States Trainer T-41D 18 basic flying training[1]
Beechcraft T-6 Texan II  United States Trainer T-6A 45 intermediate flying training[1]
Rockwell T-2 Buckeye  United States Trainer T-2C
T-2E
40 advanced flying training[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Greek military aviation OrBat". Milavia Press. March 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  • "Defence Matters" Magazine, Greece - Delta Period, vol. 248, May 2007

External links[edit]