Pilot trainees of the 213th Flying Training Squadron of the 3rd Training Wing have set a record of 200,000 hours of accident-free flying, the Air Force said.
The record was set Tuesday when squadron leader Lt. Col. Kim Joong-soo, 39, and student pilot 1st Lt. Lee Jin-seon, 24, safely landed a KT-1 Korean training aircraft during a practice mission.
No member of the squadron has had an accident in flying since Aug. 30, 1983, during which time they clocked up 200,000 hours of flight time.
|Members of the 213th Flying Training Squadron of the 3rd Training Wing of the Air Force pose in front of a KT-1 aircraft, showing a banner to celebrate the record of flying 200,000 hours without an accident. (Air Force)|
No other Korean Air Force squadron has ever flown that long without a crash or serious accident since the Air Force was established on Oct. 1, 1949.
By distance, trainees of the unit have flown a total of 86.4 million kilometers, which is equivalent to about 112 round trips to the moon.
Founded on April 1, 1977, the squadron has used T-28, A-37, T-37 and KT-1 training aircraft and graduated about 1,800 pilots so far.
It has flown the KT-1, the first training plane of Korean manufacture, since May 2004, racking up about 77,000 flight hours without accident, producing a total of 496 pilots.
“The record was a remarkable feat accomplished through perfect harmony among trainees, trainers and support staff of our unit,” said Lt. Col. Jin Gyeong-eon, 42, commander of the 213th Flying Training Battalion. “We will not congratulate ourselves with it. We will try our best to extend the record continuously while graduating crack pilots.”
The record of accident-free flying hours for a single Air Force fighter is 130,000 hours, set by the 205th Fighter Squadron on Aug. 6 over a period of 36 years and one month from Sept. 20, 1977.
By Chun Sung-woo (firstname.lastname@example.org)