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372 Air Force Division improves training quality for search and rescue flights

The 372 Air Force Division performs the task of combat training, management and protection of the airspace in key areas of national natural disasters. Therefore, search and rescue has become the political task of the Division.

In the past years, especially in 2020, the situation of natural disasters in the central provinces saw much complication; the phenomenon of "storms by storms", "floods by floods" with serious landslides that has never happened before, inflicted great damage to people and property, and destroyed much infrastructure of the region. Many regions were isolated and separated due to floods and landslides. Search and rescue, humanitarian relief could not be carried out by road. Receiving the direct direction of the Prime Minister, the orders of the Chief of the General Staff, directly the Party Committee, the High Command of the Air Defence - Air Force, the Division carried out many search and rescue flights around the areas of Rao Trang 3 Hydropower Plant (Thua Thien Hue Province), Huong Hoa (Quang Tri Province) and Phuoc Thanh Commune, Phuoc Loc, Phuoc Son District (Quang Nam Province), rescuing 05 people, transporting more than 16 tons of food and necessities to people in isolated areas.

Although performing tasks in complicated meteorological conditions without specialised technical means for search and rescue missions, with the honour, pride and responsibility of the Air Defense - Air Force and Division, soldiers of the Division have surpassed all difficulties and successfully completed their assigned tasks. This is the result of the Division's efforts and focus with many practical and effective solutions in improving the quality of training for search and rescue flights.

Collaborate with Military Region 4 in making plan of search and rescue at Rao Trang Hydro-power Plant 3 in Thua Thien Hue province, Octorber 2020

With the viewpoint that: training is a regular political task, the Party Committee and Division commanders determine their leadership determination from the early stages and focus on strict and serious direction throughout the training process. Thoroughly grasping Resolution No. 765-NQ/QUTW of the Central Military Commission, Resolution No. 558-NQ/ĐU of the Party Committee of the Air Defence - Air Force, and the Division's Party Committee issued Resolution No. 497-NQ/ĐU on improving the quality of training in the period of 2013 - 2020 and beyond, Party committees at all levels develop thematic resolutions which were then concretised into the contents, targets and specific requirements, and strictly and effectively implemented by the commanders. Therefore, the awareness of officers and soldiers about the duties, positions and roles of training has been raised. Determination and sense of responsibility in performing the training task have been enhanced.

As search and rescue is one of the difficult contents, in order to improve the training quality of rescue and rescue flights, the Division has implemented the principle of democratic centralism in leadership and direction, and carefully made plans for flight training. It proactively works out the flight procedures in accordance with the actual characteristics of the Unit on the basis of the flight regulations, the combat training curriculum and the unified direction of the Air Defence – Air Force under the motto "basic, practical, solid”; combines closely between improving progress and quality with ensuring flight safety. The Division and the units have closely coordinated with other specialised agencies, actively advised the committees and commanders at their levels and proposed to the superior agencies in determining the contents, targets, requirements need to be achieved in each content and curriculum as the basis for the making of the annual training plan to make it scientific and feasible in accordance with the actual conditions and situations.

The Division regularly compiles, adjusts and completes the system of documents, textbooks, orders and regulations for training of search and rescue flight in accordance with the instructions of upper levels, such as: instructions for unifying types of training materials at all levels; textbooks for combat training and navigational techniques; adjustments and supplementations to flight Rules, flight safety Regulations, textbooks on helicopter combat training, ... to suit the actual situation of the unit.

Identifying specialised and search and rescue training as the focus, the Division focuses on methodical training; attaches importance to basic practical training with high intensity. In particular, it attaches importance to and deploys synchronised training on three main stages: improving the qualifications and levels of the commanders and military training agencies; flight commanders’ and pilots’ qualifications; quality of aviation technical assurance; strictly maintains the order and regime in three flight phases in accordance with the regulations and rules; make training relevant to each task, situation, terrain type in the flight area in different weather conditions; increases night and over-the-sea flight training. After each training session, reviews are conducted on a regular basis; thereby shortcomings are pointed out and remediated in a timely manner. This is one of the important measures to gradually improve the quality of its search and rescue flight training.

In training, the units always follow the reality, firmly grasp the mission and flight conditions to determine the appropriate flight lesson, ensuring absolute safety of people and technical equipment; focus on training the pilots to firmly grasp the required content of each flight, master the technical movements and tactics suitable for each type of aircraft.

Based on the meteorological conditions at each point of time, the Division directs its units and crew to choose suitable time for training. The more difficult the conditions, the more relevant training will be, and the higher level the crews will obtain. Accordingly, the units actively build and prepare training plans for both complicated and simple meteorological conditions. Along with that, the Division pays special attention to improving the quality of its coaching staff. Every year, prior to each training season, the units conduct votes on flight level, pedagogical and commanding ability of all of their pilots to develop plans for training and retraining professional skills; actively organise training courses on pedagogical methods, prepare lesson plans for officials. Thereby, their cadres are qualified enough to conduct coaching at their levels. Training supply is always thoroughly guided, instructed in a detailed, transparent, and democratic manner by the commanders at all levels, thereby promoting the sense of self-reliance, self-assurance, meeting all the needs of training effectively and opportunely.

The Division gives priority to enhancing the capability of young pilots, but it does not get it done in a subjective and hasty manner. For flight learners, right in the ground preparation phase, the Division combines theory training with physical training, and checks ground preparation with very strict regulations before flight practices. As for the newly graduated pilots, the Division requires the units to assign them as navigational co-pilots. After one to two years, the qualified ones with high skill level will be selected for pilot training. The young pilots are paired with the experienced ones to gain more skill. At the same time, each pilot are required to promote self-study, self-training to improve their skills and levels, meeting the requirements of missions.

Besides improving the skills and techniques of the crews, the Division focuses on nurturing their bravery, independence, creativity and decisiveness in handling flight situations. As shown in the fact, the most difficult meteorological conditions during flight training are just part of the reality of search and rescue flight. Therefore, all pilots are trained to handle unpredictable situations in flights so that they are able to handle unexpected situations occurring during real flights to minimise the threat to flight safety. The Decision also attaches importance to the selection of the rescue and rescue flight crew members for concentrated and spearhead training. Therefore, it has successfully accomplishes all tasks during search and rescue drills on land and at sea. Currently, 50% of its pilots are qualified for search and rescue flights, in which about 80% are young pilots. Every year, the Division trains one to two search and rescue crews for performing the tasks when ordered.

With synchronous and effective solutions in improving the quality of training in general, training for search and rescue flights in particular, the 372 Air Force Division always completes its search and rescue tasks with absolute safety.

Senior Colonel VU HONG SON, Commander of the Division

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