Ten Lesser known facts about the Air Force Academy at Dundigal, Telangana
1- The Air Force Academy is located over 7000 acres of land at Dundigal Gandimaisamma, a municipality in Medchal-Malkajgiri district, 43 km away from the twin cities Hyderabad and Secunderabad, in the state of Telangana. In 1970, Air Commodore JD Aquino (the first Commandant) landed at the proposed site to set the construction in motion with a team of officers and men who took to tents and shared their accommodation with scorpions, snakes, and mosquitoes. On 11 Oct 1967, the then President Dr. Zakir Hussain laid the foundation stone for the academy, and it was formally inaugurated on 16 Jan 1971. It is a home for the officer trainees who learn their specialization and are nurtured to become capable leaders.
2- AFA’s motto is “Shram Se Siddhi,” which translates to “Achievement through Diligence.” The practice of this motto is seen in all cadets who go through AFA as they pursue excellence through hard work and determination. The crest is a Himalayan Eagle hovering over a lighted lamp placed below the Indian emblem. The AFA’s mission is to inspire and transform outstanding young men and women into courageous, dynamic, intellectual, and cultured young Air Warriors; motivated to lead one of the world’s leading aerospace forces in service to the nation.
3- Avenues of Training
It imparts training to the Flying, Technical, and Ground Duty branches and officers of the Army and Navy along with the training for the Air Traffic Control. After one year’s training, officer cadets are commissioned into various branches of the IAF. The AFA has trained many personnel from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Nigeria, Kenya, Botswana, USA, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ghana, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritius, Lebanon, Nepal, Zambia, etc.
Flying – Trainee pilots go through different levels of complexities in aviation on different types of aircraft.
Technical – Workings of machinery, aviation technology, and engineering are focused.
Ground duty – A non-technical training where cadets can move into Administration, Logistics, Meteorology, Education, etc.
Air Traffic Control – Training is done according to international norms, with a focus on military aviation.
4- Air Force Technical College
Trainees commonly go through the training for a year. After this Joint Service of 22 weeks, trainees who get through the technical exam attend the AFTC in Bangalore. Here they are given a unique style of training in Military Aviation and other fields like engineering. Engineers and scientists from premier institutions and public sector industries like HAL, DRDO, and Indian Airlines have been initiated in aerospace technology at this institute.
5- IAF pilots learn flying through successive stages. Those who train and pass out as fighter pilots serve in front-line combat squadrons equipped with SU-30, MiGs, Mirage-2000, Tejas, and Jaguar aircraft. The IAF offers heavy multi-engined and twin-engined multi-role transport aircraft, besides HS-748 and the Dornier light utility transport aircraft, those interested in flying transport aircraft. When they join the helicopter fleet, the trainees learn to fly at treetop height and land in remote areas. The training also includes flying helicopter gunships like Indian developed Dhruv, MI-26 heavy-lift choppers, casualty evacuation, the para dropping of troops, and airlifting of supplies.
6- Cadets, during their training, are not allowed the use of mobile phones. They are permitted to make calls only once a week. The age-old art of letter writing continues to be the most preferred means of communication between trainee cadets and their families. It continues to be a nostalgic experience for all involved.
7- Women trainees were inducted in the Academy since 1993. But they have always had to follow the combat exclusion policy. But for the first time ever in 2018, Avani Chaturvedi, Mohana Singh, and Bhawana Kanth were commissioned into the fighter pilot stream. They have now joined their squadrons and proudly serve their country.
8- There are different ways to get selected for further stages of admission into the Air Force Academy.
- NDA – after completing three years of training at NDA, one year can be completed in AFA for specialization. NDA examination is used for induction into NDA.
- Through CDSE examination.
- AFCAT – AIR FORCE COMMON ADMISSION TEST is written for all entries other than NDA and CDSE, and for all branches, candidates have to undergo the AFCAT.
- NCC Special Entry. (Allotted only to Air wing cadets of the Indian Air Force NCC Squadron.)
- University Entry Scheme (UES) Entry : For those candidates who are currently pursuing their Pre-final year of BE/B.Tech degree.
After written tests, candidates undergo vision tests, psychological tests, and medical tests, and interviews to gain entry to the Academy.
9- The Academy has numerous vintage aircraft on display inside its premises to provide motivation and insight into the Indian Air Force’s flying machines. The collection ranges from the rare and vintage Tigermoth biplane and Harvard trainer to the more recent MiG-21 FL and Kiran. The aircraft has been on display for many years now, and the effects of time and nature have left an impact on these old aircraft. However, a new team of air force personnel from the AFA’s Repair and Salvage Unit have taken up returning these ancient warriors to their former glory.
10- As an Officer in the Air Force, one could activate your adventurous self and enjoy undertaking any of the below activities organized by the IAF. Aero Sports like Skydiving, Parasailing, Paragliding, Power hand gliding, Para Motor Flying, Microlight flying, Hot Air ballooning, Aero Modelling.
Land Sports like Mountaineering, Trekking, Skiing, Car Rally, Motorcycle expeditions, Cycling Expeditions, Mountain Terrain Biking.
Water Sports like Rafting, Sailing, Wind Surfing, Water Skiing, Scuba Diving