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PAF s' Squadrons

No. 1 Fighter Conversion Unit History: 1948-1988

After the introduction of Chinese fighter in the PAF, there was a growing need to have a lead-in jet trainer to give the newly graduated pilots from the Academy an introduction to Chinese systems before they flew the F-6s. Accordingly, the FT-5 aircraft was inducted to fulfill this requirement, and No 1 FCU was established on 28 April 1975 to train pilots for the F-6 – and later the A-5 – weapon system. The FT-5s gradually took over most of the tasks of No. 2 FCU’s T-33 which were reassigned target towing and other duties.

The unit started functioning at PAF Base, Masroor, under the command of Squadron Leader Ehtisham Akram; in November it was shifted to PAF Base, Mianwali. The conversion from the American to the Chinese training stream made its own demands; moreover, all the literature pertaining to the new aircraft was in Chinese and the operating procedures had to be developed from scratch. This task was accomplished by the unit in an efficient manner, the Dash One being written by Flight Lieutenants Sikandar, Rizwan and Zakaullah Khan; the check list was compiled by Flight Lieutenant Shams Noor ul Hassan.

The duration of a fighter conversion course was set at six months and initially 6 FT-5s were allotted to No. 1 FCU; this number was progressively increased to 25. Admin and logistic support was provided by PAF Base, Mianwali. The unit had conducted a total of more than 22 courses up to 31 December 1987, starting with 59th GD (P) Course. To date, nearly 500 pilots have completed their training at 1 FCU successfully, with four fatalities. In addition, the unit has been regularly taking part in major command level exercise such as Jetstream, Lightning and Highmark.

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