Iraqi Air Force Flies in Numbers

Iraqi air force pilots flew a record number of aircraft during the annual Iraqi Army Day Parade last week in Baghdad. They took to the skies in 20 airplanes, including T-6 Texans II trainers, and performed 12 flyovers and aerial demonstrations over the parade field, while spectators looked on, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and Lt. Gen. Ahmed Anwar, Iraqi air force commander. “This is definitely a significant milestone in the development of the Iraqi air force,” said USAF Capt. Martin Lopez, a T-6 instructor pilot, of the Jan. 6 event. Lopez is assigned to the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron in Tikrit. He added, “It demonstrates their increasing capabilities and movement toward complete air sovereignty.” Along those lines, Iraqi pilots have begun the qualification phase of the year-long T-6 instructor training course in Tikrit. (Baghdad report by SMSgt. Larry Schneck)