With more helicopter assets in the pipeline, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday announced it has revived the basic helicopter pilot training (BHPT) after decades of inactivity to help train Special Action Force (SAF) air unit personnel selected for flying duties.
PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa personally graced the graduation ceremony of the BHPT Class of 2019 along with SAF director Maj. Gen. Amando Clifton Empiso on June 26, at the PNP-SAF Air Unit Hangar, General Aviation Area, Domestic Airport, Pasay City.
Empiso said the 228-hour course started on December 5, 2019 with 11 successful graduates, three females and eight males, who are now part of the PNP corps of police aviators who will be in command of the PNP’s newly-acquired fleet of rotary wing aircraft.
“Our graduates will be issued private pilot license (helicopter) and will be qualified to become co-pilots and soon pilots-in-command to operate the PNP air assets and eight of them will also be trained for their transition to the Airbus H125,” he added.
Coinciding with the closing ceremony, Gamboa also witnessed the opening ceremony of the BHPT Class 2020 composed of 14 student-pilots who will undergo a 228-hour training program divided into four modules.
“This is a significant milestone for us in the PNP after decades of the inactive status of police air unit courses. Our goal is to boost air proficiencies of our qualified personnel and most of them are from the Special Action Force,” Gamboa said.
PNP-SAF Air Unit is the only technical unit of SAF along with its 15-line battalions in providing air support to all PNP units during police operations, tac-tical operations, disaster relief, search and rescue operations and other field and staff flight operations.
By February 2021, the PNP will have seven air stations strategically stationed in the major airports across the country.