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Czech pilots complete mountain training

(B2) 70 Czech helicopter pilots and mechanics from the 23rd Presov Helicopter Regiment have just completed their training mountain flying, at the French army training center in Sainte-Léocadie, in the eastern Pyrenees (near Font-Romeu, a stone's throw from the Spanish border). Two MI-24/35 combat helicopters and four MI-171S transport helicopters took part in the maneuvers.

This training is intended to train Czech pilots for flying conditions in Afghanistan, where they are due to leave in the summer of 2009 (see previous Article). They have already benefited from training by the British in night flying. They will then follow desert flight training in the United States. The Czech Republic does not have any mountains higher than 1600 meters, whereas in the Pyrenees, you can fly up to 3000 meters. Or conditions closer to the Afghan mountains.

« Mountain flying is very precise », explained General Patrick Tanguy, commander of the Army Light Aviation (Alat), to a Dicod reporter. “ The higher the helicopter flies, the more it reaches its power limits, which penalizes the landing phases., which easily become perilous with changes in air temperature, falling winds, etc.

This initiative is an original brand of European cooperation, driven mainly by the French and the British – (it should be noted! There are not that many of them). They aim to increase the helicopter capabilities of European states by bringing together countries which have helicopters, but not upgraded and often few resources, with countries which need helicopters, have certain financial means or training. From a practical point of view, a trust fund has thus been set up Shape, in Mons. French and British contribute 7,3 million euros each. The French participation being largely provided in kind, in the form of training elements. Norway and Iceland should also participate in the financing of the fund – as well as Denmark and Lithuania (in a more limited way). On the helicopter supplier side, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic have shown interest.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Photo: Mi24 assault helicopter on the Ste Léocadie base. Dicode, Aude Le Calve

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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