Training Air Wing, Finnish Air Force
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2013)|
|Training Air Wing|
The Training Air Wing's flag with its pole
|Branch||Finnish Air Force|
|Role||Pilot training on jet aircraft|
|Engagements||Winter War, Continuation War, Lapland War|
|Decorations||Cross of Liberty, 1st Class (awarded 1988)|
The Training Air Wing (Finnish: Lentosotakoulu, abbr. LentoSK, Swedish: Flygkrigsskolan) is the Finnish Air Force pilot jet aircraft training school. It is located at Kauhava Airport in Kauhava, in Southern Ostrobothnia. The unit trains pilots for the Finnish Defence Forces, as well as for the Finnish Border Guard.
In the beginning, pilots were trained in Helsinki at Santahamina, where there was a sandy airfield, called "Sahara". Until the end of the 1920s, the school mostly used aircraft equipped with floaters. In the 1930s, the pilot training was moved to Kauhava. At the same time, the Finnish Air Force also started to train pilots for the reserve.
In 2005, it was decided that primary training would be branched off and a new unit was created in Tikkakoski. It was named into Air Force Academy. Because the name of Kauhava unit had been the same, it was renamed into Training Air Wing - the same name unit had already in 1941-1952.
The pilot training starts with a conscript course at the Air Force Academy in Tikkakoski, now a part of Jyväskylä, where initial training is given with the Vinka aircraft. Training is handled by Patria Aviation. Upon completing initial training, some pilots are transferred to the Training Air Wing at Kauhava, where they begin jet training with Hawk aircraft.
In September 2008 the Finnish defence conglomerate Patria and the Finnish Air Force signed a contract, establishing an international flight training center. The facility, called the Nordic Pilot Training Centre, or NPTC, will offer military flight training to foreign customers utilizing Hawk aircraft located at the Kauhava Air Force Base.