I know what you are thinking. When I was first told that I’d be taking a ride with the Iraqi Air Force I thought I’d need to go change my pants. I saw how our Iraqi military partners drove their humvees and could only imagine how they’d fly helicopters!
When two Iraqi Air Force Huey helicopters arrived I was able to spend some time talking to the senior Iraqi pilot, who as it turned out had been flying since the Iran-Iraq War. Well educated and in nearly perfect English, he told me that he likes to fly solo, explaining that he worries about his door gunners (manning PKM machine guns) during combat operations. This Iraqi pilot also said that flying with too much support can make you lazy and that it’s important to be able to rely on your own skills and instincts. Who was I to argue?
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