A Flight Cadet’s Life at AIR FORCE ACADEMY HYDERABAD

Air Force Academy (AFA) is an Officers Training Academy of the Indian Air Force which trains pilots, ground duty and technical officers of IAF. The training at this academy is designed to foster the spirit of camaraderie and promote healthy interaction among officers of every branch. The academy aims to cultivate honour and integrity in every cadet and strives to graduate Air Warriors worthy of the Indian Air Force

Air Force Academy, Dundigal, Hyderabad

The mission of AFA 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 leading aerospace forces of the world in service to the nation.

The training at the Air Force Academy is designed to inculcate moral values, leadership qualities, sense of honour and duty, mental and physical prowess, a spirit of adventure and the will to win, in the Flight Cadets. This is achieved by training in character building, discipline, military and academic subjects, physical exercise, drill, sports and adventure activities. The underlying theme of activity at the Academy is camaraderie and team spirit and a commitment to excellence. Duty, honour, integrity and self-esteem are stressed upon during each stage of training; because these are important abstract qualities to be imbibed by every Flight Cadet. The curriculum and syllabi keep pace with current doctrines and technological developments, allowing the cadets at the same time to imbibe the basic principles/tenets of the military profession.

IAF Rifle Drill

The underlying theme of activity at the Academy is camaraderie and team spirit and a commitment to excellence. Duty, honour, integrity and self-esteem are stressed upon during each stage of training; because these are important abstract qualities to be imbibed by every Flight Cadet. The curriculum and syllabi keep pace with current doctrines and technological developments, allowing the cadets at the same time to imbibe the basic principles/tenets of the military profession.

Not many defence Aspirants are Aware of what is life really is at Air Force Academy.So we at Zittara.com are here with an Article on A Flight Cadets Life at AIR FORCE ACADEMY, HYDERABAD

This experience is of Flight Cadet Shubham Gautam

Life at AFA:

It was a fine July morning when I found myself standing at the Secunderabad Railway Station in front of a desk with three people sitting under the banner announcing Reporting for Air Force Academy. Got my name checked and they told me to remember the name o the squadron as Brar. Outside found a few guys whom I met at SSB or medicals and was pleased to know that two other guys of my group from SSB were in same Sqn.
Quite a number of Cadet and some parents were standing there soon we guys boarded the bus, a photographer was clicking the pics of the guys and of course the gals present there, so that later we all could see them and make out how funny we were looking then as compared to now, and as a matter of fact one never fails to find how we people looked so funny and casual when we were still civilians( and it would be the other way round for all the normal civil guys when they notice the difference between us).

 

Soon enough we reached the gates of Air Force Academy(AFA) Dundigal and it was with a sense of huge pride that I looked at the runway and the gate and a feeling that finally, I arrived at a worthy enough place which I deserved. The bus moved inside and the occupants of the bus kept their stares fixed at the various aircraft and missiles on display en-route from Annaram Gate to Flight Cadet’s Mess(FCM) aka our home for the next one year.

I remember well that it was lightly drizzling and in my astrological beliefs that were a sign of good beginning. Our stuff got offloaded and we moved to Shamiyana for the attendance.
After a long wait, we got our luggage checked. The check was to make sure that we were not in possession of a mobile phone or camera or any eatables !! and other superficial stuff(even personal medication) like that. All these while the things were being done by the Appointments, who are the Senior Term cadets who take care of the Cadets while they are in FCM, kind of like School Captain.
After a while, we got several items issued and our cabin numbers. Life in college can be easily managed without even seeing a water glass, water bottle, hangers, brooms and all some trifle items but not so here, maintaining a living standard of an Officer requires a lot of polishing of the attitude and this was a small beginning.
Once all the luggage was dumped in the cabin and after acquaintance with the neighbours around the rest of the evening and night passed in having a gala time with old friends from SSB and medical. Since by this time any of the Senior Term cadets have not arrived except for the Appointments, there was nobody to check any junior cadets.
Then from day two to the first week were probably the most boring and disgusting days of my life. There were a lot of formalities, kit issue, tailor issue, hair cut, medicals and so on and so forth an endless number of things in which we just have to go to one place and keep standing at-ease and just wait till eternity till everyone got finished and then we marched off back to Sqn Office.
It was like at the end of every day we used to count that in the whole day we have just done 3-4 things and not even got to sit down once or be in our cabin for more than 5 minutes. The first-night muster of the Academy was quite an experience of continuously standing in attention till all the counting was done, the report compiled, it is checked and rechecked that all are present and Duty Instructor came, the report is handed over, he again checks and cross checks and finally goes back.
At the end of the first week, we could feel that our previous lifestyles have been left far behind, every luxury and privileges that we were used to were taken away. No more were we getting time to be alone as an individual, the only time spent alone was either during study hour or while sleeping after lights-out.
The clothes we wore became the simplest a white shirt(with collar and cuff button and no tie) and white trouser(no provision as well as the need for a belt, with only the size being fit is worn) for the formal places and white PT kit for games and ragda sessions :).
No dhobi, no orderly and any facility of a fruit shop, bar etc. It would seem like a POW camp but this is how an individual is broken down of his shells of individuality and made in a person who matters only along with his Sqn.
 
A normal daily routine of junior cadets at the beginning of term used to be like, waking up at between 2-3am depending on the amount of clothes that you have to wash(it is quite difficult to hide any dirt or dust in white clothes) or iron, and then attending a 4am fall in in which the report never gets compiled and submitted to Sqn Appointment by the allotted time and hence by default all the undergoes a series of push-ups, sit-ups and other doses of early morning exercises.
At 5 am there was another fall-in for juniors for daily Drill( that is march past) and we were left sweating from the sqn office just 10 min to 5, to change to drill uniform and report in time. From 5 am after all the junior cadets have came, all the sqns’ report compiled and submitted,  then the dreaded round of dress inspection by the appointments and the defaulters caught with dirty clothes, improper ironing and anything major or minor were rounded off to be destined to do some more sweating out in the afternoon and evening in the form of reportings.
At 5 am there was another fall-in for juniors for daily Drill( that is march past) and we were left sweating from the sqn office just 10 min to 5, to change to drill uniform and report in time. From 5 am after all the junior cadets have came, all the sqns’ report compiled and submitted,  then the dreaded round of dress inspection by the appointments and the defaulters caught with dirty clothes, improper ironing and anything major or minor were rounded off to be destined to do some more sweating out in the afternoon and evening in the form of reportings.
Then we move on to the Drill Square or Parade ground where Drill Ustads instruct the cadets to perform the parade movements individually and in synch when in a group. Drill is one strenuous exercise, from the outside it appears only a few movements are being done but the crispness, speed, timing and intensity of these calculated movements will make you sweat in no time.
Anyways its always a treat to the eyes to watch well executed josh-filled parade movements. We graduate from basic hand drill to parade with a rifle in the later part of the training. Left from their we rush back in a great hurry, to make good the fall-in time of 0730 with half-an hour to spare for bath, change over uniform and have breakfast.
It really amazes now how efficient people become with their time once time becomes precious. In such testing times, it helps to have a priority, I for one have the highest priority for breakfast in all of this morning chaos. I was willing to take an hour or so of punishment later in the day rather than start the day with an empty tummy. Bottom line makes your value system and prioritise your task and stick to it.
At 0800 another part of the day commences in which cadets of different branches go to their respective faculty for studies in their relevant subject. This probably is the most relaxed part of the day with ample opportunities to relax from the tiredness of the early part of the day, some people keep their eyes and/or ears open for the activities going on in the classes but some simply give up on the efforts.
By 2 o’clock in the afternoon we leave for FCM again and after having a more or less unhurried lunch, we come back to our rooms, just to hear in time another round of session for accumulated deeds of the morning or anything pending. By the time we get done with this, it again is time for PT and so we proceed for the fall-in routine for the same.
 
PT is a toned down activity compared to the same happening all the time in FCM. We come back by around 6 in the evening and after having a round of eats/tea/cold coffee served in mess office, we again barely have 30 min or so to take bath to clean up from the sweaty, soiled condition of us and our clothes and also get our rooms in Cabin-Cupboard inspection standard for the study period starting from 7 o’clock. The study period is an open door time in which you are supposed to be studying in your neat and tidy room dressed up immaculately in whites/muftis simply meaning white full sleeves shirt & white/grey coloured trousers with or without neck tie.
Inspection goes around by an Officer or Sqn Appointment to ensure compliance of the same. End of the study period starts with a call for Dinner, and all the cadets assemble in their sqn office and proceed to Dining Hall together. Then after having food or something else depending on your luck, again a mass gathering of the whole cadet lot of all branch and sqn, a night muster takes place in which everyone is counted, accounted and presented on the parade for inspection. After this, the everyone is dispersed for a Lights out time of 2200. But the time in between is again a fun filled activity of some more bit of exercises and a couple of minutes before the Lights out time we are left to rest our body for the night.
Coming back to the room, sleep is a something you don’t have to wait for and paying no remembrances to all the good, bad and ugly things of the day, we sleep on like a baby with a clear head and tiring limbs, to soldier on for another day and then another day for the whole duration of the junior term.
So for the uninitiated, as the saying goes though it would seem contradictory, this whole routine of training is mental rather than physical. People say that if you survive the academy for first 22 days you will make it through 22 weeks.

 


 Don’t forget to read: 7 Misconceptions Regarding The Indian Air Force

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