“They were really good, aggressive dogfighters and proficient in gunnery and air combat tactics. I was damned impressed. Those guys just lived and breathed flying.”
General (Retd.) Chuck Yeager (USAF) On Pakistani Pilots
The Pakistan Air Force is a dedicated and effective establishment that has been at the forefront in protecting Pakistan from enemy advances during numerous wars since its induction. PAF seeks to defend the aerial frontiers and interests of Pakistan through the use of technology, willpower and working in harmony with its sister services. Being the air warfare branch of the Pakistan’s armed forces, it is tasked with providing the most efficient, assured and effective aerial defense of Pakistan, which was also quite evident in the recent encounter in February 2019 with Indian Air Force fighters. Two of this nation’s best, Wing Commander Muhammad Nauman Ali Khan and Squadron Leader Hasan Siddiqui shot down a Mig-21 and Su-30MKI, respectively, bringing laurels to the training imparted to the fighter pilots and PAF overall. Furthermore, the PAF provides logistics support capability and strategic air transport to the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy and other Law Enforcement Agencies if and when needed.
So if you plan to turn your childhood dreams of soaring high above others as a PAF pilot to reality, here is a basic guide that will help you through each stage of the process.
What Is On Offer?
PAF comprises of various branches varying from General Duty Pilot [GD(P)], Engineering, Air Defense, Administration, Logistics, Information Technology, Education, Medical and Accounts. PAF continues to uphold its legacy of producing highly skilled officers who are duly trained with military and leadership traits besides being proficient to the best level of professionalism in their respective fields.
Types Of Service
PAF grants three types of commission – Permanent Commission (PC), Special Purpose Short Service Commission (SPSSC) and Short Service Commission (SSC) – depending on the choice and interest of the individual applying prior to selection, after Intermediate or Masters.
When To Apply?
The education and eligibility criteria is advertised every 5 to 6 months through various local newspapers as well as on the official website of PAF www.joinpaf.gov.pk where one can easily access the application for induction. PAF has also established selection centers in all big cities of Pakistan which provide all the necessary information needed to help and support the candidates in their initial process. The eligibility criteria generally doesn’t change but it is the responsibility of the individual interested to join the PAF to get the latest information as and when required.
The first step in joining the PAF is an online test held at respective selection centres. This includes an intelligence test followed by English, Mathematics and Physics. After clearing this initial test, an interview and medical exam is held at the selection centre.
Successful candidates are then called by Inter Services Selection Board (ISSB) to complete a 4 day strenuous procedure. These ISSB centres are located in Malir Cantt, Quetta, Gujranwala and Kohat. Here, these candidates will be tested for intelligence, psychological screening, group discussion, command tasks and physical tests. Moreover, it includes a complete series of interviews by a psychologist and senior officers at ISSB. After going through these rigorous and challenging tasks, the candidate is recommended by ISSB and sent for the next step in the selection process.
Now the candidate will have to go through a complete medical checkup at the Central Medical Board (CMB) located at PAF Hospital Lahore. Regarding GD (P), some additional tests such as Flying Aptitude Test (FAT) will be conducted to assess their motor skills, decision making and multitasking abilities.
After clearing the medical screening and FAT for the GD (P) branch, the candidate based on the merit list is finally selected for their respective branch and has to report to PAF Academy Asghar Khan located in the beautiful area of Risalpur, between Nowshera and Mardan.
The training time period is generally up to three years in which the Aviation Cadets will go through military training as well as semester wise degree program. The Aviation Cadets of GD(P) branch will go through their Primary and Basic Flying Training in the Super Mushshak and T-37 or the Karakorum-8, respectively, along with academics. Cadets of other branches will follow their educational routine to become proficient in their respective fields. After this training, the Aviation Cadets will pass-out from the academy as young and energetic Flying Officers ready to serve their nation.
In the end, a word of advice for all those who will be interested in joining this elite institution: work hard and never give up. The beginning will always be the hardest but life usually rewards those who work hard at it.