By Amn Tebogo E Kekana, Ad Astra
Three SAAF members, Majors Catherine Labuschagne, Jacques
Mouton and Capt Lancelot Mathebula completed the Operational
Training Course (OTC) on the Hawk Mk120. The course started
in 2003 on Impalas. Due to the Impala being phased out, they
could not complete the course on time.
According to Lt Col Lance Wellington (Officer Commanding 85
Combat Flying School, AFB Makhado) The Hawk Mk120 was not
available until May 2008. The students completed the basic
conversion in 2006 and were thus given a refresher on air
combat, ground and tactical flying. The three were required
to fly 1600 hours to qualify as Wingmen.
OTC syllabus consisted of 87 flights at an average of one
hour five minutes flying hours per flight. That does not
include a thirty-two flight aircraft conversion and monthly
“The Hawk Mk120 is without doubt the most
technologically advanced Lead in Fighter Trainer in the
World. That’s why it needed thorough trained personnel. 85
Combat Flying School is proud to be able to train fighter
pilots on it because it is an excellent training platform”,
stated Lt Col Wellington.
85 Combat FS does
not only train OTC students, they are also responsible for
training Hawk Mk120 flying instructors, flight leaders,
strike navigators and leaders, pilot attack instructors and
Hawk Mk120 and Gripen technical personnel.
The Operational Training Course (OTC) dates
back to the 70s and fighter pilots have been trained for OTC
ever since. OTC equips fighter pilots with modern tactics of
Air Combat, Ground Attack and Tactical Flying. The training
uses the most effective technical systems for ground and