Eight new fighter pilots graduate from FPC 59

Captain Nigel Mills
Captain Nigel Mills, one of the graduates of Fighter Pilot Course 59, prepares to take off for his last flight as a student. Photo: Jeff Gaye

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Jeff Gaye, The Courier

410 Tactical Fighter (Training) Squadron wrapped up Fighter Pilot Course (FPC) 59 in February with two flypasts and a traditional mess dinner.

The FPC takes Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilots who have graduated from Fighter Lead-In Training on the CT-155 Hawk jet at 419 Squadron, and trains them to fly the CF-18 Hornet in RCAF fighter operations. The course ran from May 29, 2017 to February 9, 2018.

One candidate also graduated from the Experienced Fighter Pilot Course (EFPC). Four of the newly-minted fighter pilots will report to tactical squadrons in Cold Lake, Alta. and four are posted to Bagotville, Que.

“One highlight was our deployment to New Orleans in November for Exercise PUMA STRIKE 17, where we completed the Air Combat Tactics phase of the course,” said 410 Squadron Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Seane Doell. “Another was the Air Interdiction phase, where the students had the opportunity to employ GBU-12 laser guided weapons here on the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range.”

The training is divided into Transition, Basic Fighter Manoeuvers, Air Combat Manoeuvers, Air Combat Tactics, Conventional Weapons Delivery, Close Air Support and Air Interdiction phases.

“We at 410 Squadron are very proud of the FPC 59 graduates’ accomplishments, and of having safely trained this next cadre of fighter pilots for the RCAF,” LCol Doell said.  “We wish them all the best as they move on to their first Tactical Fighter Squadron assignments.”

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