AAF airmen graduate from intermediate maintenance course

U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Bradley, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group, congratulates an Afghan Air Force airmen at Kabul International Airport, August 23, 2011.  Eleven graduates completed an Mi-17 intermediate level engine and body course which will allow them to become mid-level supervisors.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amber Williams)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Bradley, 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group, congratulates an Afghan air force airmen at Kabul International Airport, August 23, 2011. Eleven graduates completed an Mi-17 intermediate level engine and body course which will allow them to become mid-level supervisors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Amber Williams)

Professor Igor Trygub from the Kharkiv Aviation Institute, Ukraine, addresses Afghan Air Force students after successful completion of their final examination in the intermediate-level Mi-17 helicopter systems and maintenance course August 23, 2011. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

Igor Trygub, a professor from the Kharkiv Aviation Institute, Ukraine, addresses Afghan air force students after successful completion of their final examination in the intermediate-level Mi-17 helicopter systems and maintenance course August 23, 2011. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Eleven members of the Afghan Air Force graduated from the intermediate-level Mi-17 helicopter maintenance training program today at the AAF compound.

The course was designed to provide instruction for technicians belonging to the AAF Aviation Maintenance Group with aviation maintenance advisers from the 438th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group, providing oversight over the course.

According to course professionals, professors from the National Aerospace University at Kharkiv Aviation Institute in the Ukraine, under contract by Defense Technology Incorporated, taught the 15 week helicopter systems and maintenance course. The course included both a theoretical portion in the classroom and a practical portion on the aircraft itself.

Because this was designed to be an intermediate course, head professor, Igor Trygub, was charged with evaluating each student's Mi-17 experience and literacy level before class began.

He interviewed each student separately prior to the first day of class to establish a base-knowledge starting point for the class as a whole. The course entailed 350 hours of college-level instruction and hands-on training. 

According to course officials, the training was unique as it was the first intermediate maintenance course of its kind taught on the compound.

"The class took members already having maintenance experience and a basic foundation in the maintenance field and taught them individual systems and parts in great detail," said Mr. Byron Kreck of Defense Technology Inc.

Now that the students have graduated from the course, leaders throughout AAF maintenance hope the students take the knowledge learned and apply it to their craft ensuring future generations of maintenance professionals properly care for AAF Mi-17 aircraft.

"We are really grateful for our trainers providing such intelligent teachers from one of the most popular universities in the Ukraine," said Col. Abdul Shafi, Commander, AAF Maintenance Group. "I am thankful for all the teachers who taught this class and made our students become more professional in their duty so they can serve their country."

Upon completion, graduating students received an aviation industry recognized course completion certificate.

"You have achieved a great level of success in graduating this class," said Capt. Michael Bradley, 438th AEAG adviser. "I encourage you to seek out future training opportunities and to make yourself the best maintainer in the AAF. This is only the beginning of your long career."