Thanks to management of FMT and FML we took, during September 2021, as group 23-5VPlL and group 12-5DVZS apart on the Operational English Language Course, inside HTP Ostrava (http://www.htpostrava.cz/en/). This course was organized by CZAF Headquarter, primarily supposed to improve our language skills, but secondary we also got new information about the organization, usage and tactics of helicopter forces of NATO. During the second phase of this course, we received support from University of Defence Director of Language Centre Colonel Ass. Prof. Vladan Holcner and his team.
This course was led by two instructors, native speakers and former helicopter pilots from Great Britain. Danny and Roy are experienced, well trained and they also took part in multiple combat operations for example in Afghanistan and Iraq. The main content of the course in its first half was learning operational procedures and communication during missions conducted by helicopter forces. The main tasks were for example MEDEVAC, CASEVAC or providing close combat attack (CCA), which included also visual target talk on. Following tasks were navigation, using helicopters when observing the target vehicle, stopping the target vehicle, providing support to the allied convoys or infilling and exfilling of allied troops. All of these tasks were supplemented by real, in-combat examples from our instructors. These examples were a really good thing to help understand the topics, however, some of them gave shivers to all of us. All of the things that instructors taught us were similar to operational procedures, which are nowadays used by British and NATO helicopter forces worldwide.
This fact interested us greatly, pilots and our colleagues — future Air Forces Staff Officers, real admiration and great interest in given topics. As pilots, at the start of the course, we had sizeable knowledge about aerial fields, nevertheless, for group 12-5DVZS most of the information we received was new. Danny’s and Roj’s approach to teaching, even when it was in English, was so highly effective, that people new to the topic, would understand and put the newly acquired knowledge to practice.
In the second period of the course, we used all of our learned knowledge on a simulator of helicopter Mi-171Š, door gunners included. During these missions, we were using common English and also special phraseology for the navigation with staff officers, according to CRM (Crew Resource Management). We were changing our positions, so everyone tried every position in the mission. Everyone had responsibility for the given position and the performance. The instructors were keeping an eye on us, and they were motivating us a lot even if something didn’t go in accordance with a plan. This practical part of the course was very exciting and it gave us so much, especially quality exhibition of the operational service of helicopter forces. In the last week, we also presented a presentation in English. The whole course was in a very friendly and positive atmosphere. We really appreciate this opportunity and we hope that we will have other chances to learn the English language with native speakers because these three weeks were very beneficial for us.
Author: 23-5VPIL and 12-5DVZS