PAF Academy is located at Risalpur which is a small town in the Khyber Pakhtun Khwa province of Pakistan. It is situated about 15 Kilometers south west of the historical city of Mardan and 8 Kms from Nowshera, across the bank of Kabul River, on the main road to the beautiful valley of Swat. It is at one-hour drive from Peshawar and two-hour drive from Islamabad. Both Peshawar and Islamabad have International Airports. Facility of road and rail transportation is available. The history of PAF Academy Risalpur dates back to 1910 when a cantonment was established within its premises. During WW-I, the Royal Flying Corps was set up at Risalpur, which later became RPAF Flying Training School (FTS) on 15 September, 1947. Wing Commander Asghar Khan assumed responsibilities as the first Officer Commanding of the School, and first GD (P) course graduated from FTS on 02 January, 1948.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, during his visit to Risalpur, elevated FTS to the status of College of Flying Training (CFT) in April 1948. The College was further upgraded to PAF Academy in January 1967 by Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, the then President of Pakistan. In 1986, College of Aeronautical Engineering (CAE) was shifted from Karachi to PAF Academy. In 2008, Air Defence Training School was also shifted from Sakesar to become part of CFT.
Today, PAF Academy is reckoned as one of the premier training institutions of the country. Its components, including College of Flying Training, College of Aeronautical Engineering, Military Training Wing, Admin Wing and Support Wing have been collectively entrusted with the onerous responsibility of training, nurturing and grooming the entire future of officers’ corps of the PAF. These components are also training the cadets from Pak Army, Pak Navy and allied countries. Over the years, officers' training for all branches of PAF has been unified at the Academy, bringing greater harmony and standardization in military and professional training of PAF officers.
PAF Academy comprises of two premier institutions:-
The chief attribute of any fighting force is its personnel high standards of physical fitness, discipline, and leadership qualities. Military Training wing at PAF Academy is entrusted with the most important task i.e. to groom cadets' in accordance with the customs, norms, values and ethics in armed forces of Pakistan. Military Training wing also provides ample opportunities to cadets to groom their personalities through Debates, Drama, Public Speaking, Para-jumping, Skiing, Techniques of jungle, desert, sea and snow survival, horse riding, Para-motor and Gliding.
Latest training aids and equipment are used to teach various subjects to cadets for their better understanding. Overhead projectors, multimedia, television, video and conventional flip charts and posters are used in the classroom teaching. Literary Activities are vital feature of cadets’ training. It aims at developing leadership and the art of public speaking in the cadets. All Pakistan Declamation Contests are also regularly held to develop and broaden the intellectual horizon of the cadets. To increase general knowledge and awareness about various current and future issues, guest speakers are invited to speak on their subjects of specialization.
Cadets are provided with adequate facilities to pursue games and sports of their choice. Officers and trained instructors supervise the cadets’ sports activities. Bi-annual Inter Squadron Competitions are held in different games. Cadets show great zeal and fervor to win trophies for the prestige of their respective squadrons. The squadron excelling in games and sports is awarded the Championship Trophy. All such activities are aimed to engender healthy competition and instill esprit de corps among squadron members. Facilities for the following games are available:-
Cadets’ Counselling Cell is established in Military Training Wing, where a psychologist is deployed for providing guidance and counselling to cadets on personal and professional matters. Frequent sessions are organized to give opportunities to cadets to discuss various issues in a congenial environment. A tutor is also appointed from the faculty for each Aviation Cadet. He is the local guardian and academic counsellor of the Aviation cadets. He meets the cadets frequently to discuss their academic performance as well as help solve their personal difficulties and problems.
The Cadets’ Mess is the living accommodation of all cadets of PAF Academy. It is a grand complex which is designed to provide facilities of messing, accommodation, recreation and social activities. When a cadet reports at academy, he / she is provided a dormitory which he / she shares with three of his / her course mates. As he / she progresses and becomes senior, he / she moves to a two-bed independent room where he / she stays for the remaining period of his / her training. All measures are taken to provide a balanced diet to the cadets so that they maintain good health during their training period. The affairs of the cadets’ mess are managed and controlled by the officers of the Military Training Wing.
Medical facilities are provided to the students as and when required through the medical inspection rooms established at Academy. However, in case of any severe illness or specialized treatment cadets are referred to the upgraded military hospitals functioning in Nowshera and Peshawar.
The College is an integral part of PAF Academy Risalpur. It is established to equip Aviation Cadets with basic flying skills along with sound academics / professional background and comprehensive general service training. The history of College of Flying Training (CFT) dates back to independence of Pakistan. Flying Training School was set up in September, 1947 while realizing the need for a national system of pilot's training. With the shifting of College of Aeronautical Engineering to Risalpur, organization of the Academy had a major change and CFT became a constituent part of Academy.
In CFT, cadets go through flying / academic training for 4 years, which eventually leads to the award of BS in Aviation Sciences and Management. For flying training, the college has two types of trainer aircraft i.e. Mushshak (MFI-17) and T-37. Recently another jet trainer K-8 has also been added to the training fleet of the college. Directorate of Studies looks after the academic side of the training. The directorate has four main departments namely Department of Aero Sciences, Department of Humanities, Department of Aviation Sciences and Department of Administration and Air Space Management. General service training and character building is looked after by Military Training Wing.
Method of instructions is based on classroom lectures, which are delivered with the help of modern training aids. Use of mock-ups, actual components and laboratories help in enhancing practical experience. Hands-on-Training on aircraft and visits to operational Bases are also organized. Computers are used at almost all levels of training.
Semester system of assessment is followed for measuring the aviation cadets' academic and professional competence. To achieve this objective, the students are given periodic quizzes, open book or closed book tests, and home assignments in each semester. At the end of each semester, the students are also given a final comprehensive examination. The weightage of classroom tests, quizzes etc. (semester work) is 40% and counts towards the overall performance of an Aviation Cadet.
Along the academics, cadets undergo comprehensive flying training which is carried out in Primary Flying Training (PFT) Wing and Basic Flying Training (BFT) Wing of the Academy. Instructional staff at CFT is a selected lot who are chosen amongst the best PAF pilots. They are very experienced and are specially trained in instructional techniques.
CAE is a modern teaching institution for Aeronautical Engineering in Pakistan. CAE with conducive environment, competent faculty and adaptive mechanisms offers internationally recognized degree programmes for pursuing higher education and research goals in Aerospace and Avionics Engineering. Another feature that distinguishes CAE is its training and evaluation systems. CAE pioneered the semester system in Pakistan with relative grading based on progressive evaluation system. At CAE, the relative grading system is based on ‘gap method’. The BE degree curricula for both Aerospace and Avionics Engineering disciplines are spread over four years having eight semesters. Each semester encompasses 20-week training. Students pursue further five semesters of coursework in their respective programmes and upon successful completion, they are allowed to undertake independent study / project in the final semester. After successfully completing four semesters of training at CAE, PAF cadets are commissioned as Pilot Officers and they undergo the remaining training as Under Training Officers (UTOs). Successful completion of academic programme leads to the award of Bachelor of Engineering degree from NUST. The Bachelor of Aerospace as well as Avionics Engineering degree programmes at CAE are duly accredited by Pakistan Engineering Council. For further education leading to MS/PhD, our graduates are easily admitted in renowned universities in-country and abroad. CAE has five departments namely:-
At CAE interactive teaching – learning style is followed. All classrooms are equipped with audio-video training aids including computers, multimedia projectors and public address systems. All classrooms, laboratories, faculty and staff's officers are interconnected through a local area network – an extension of internet. Use of information technology is encouraged to make the underlying concepts clearer to the students. Almost all classrooms lectures are given using multimedia presentations which are supplemented by videos, animations and interactive tutorials. College also has a well-equipped video library where digital lectures including videos, animations etc. have been compiled for the use by the instructors as well as the students. Video library is accessible from all classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices.
CAE has modern and advanced laboratories with the state-of-the-art equipment that enable the students and faculty members to carry out research and development work. To keep pace with technological advancements and meet future requirements, a major ‘Laboratory Up-gradation Programme’ was undertaken in the recent past. While induction of state-of-the-art equipment is still in progress, yet now all the laboratories at CAE have modern research tools for students and faculty research work.
Performance of students at CAE is progressively monitored throughout the semester during various grading components including surprise quizzes, announced tests, homework assignments, Lab Reports, and End Semester Examinations. Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated using relative grading system based on ‘Gap’ Methods on a scale of 4.00 points. Relative grading allows for screening the students according to their performance relative to their peers. In relative grading a histogram of total marks obtained by all students is taken and ranges for assigning various grades are decided for awarding the grades. An important aspect of grading at CAE is that the final grade does not depend entirely on the performance of a student in the End Semester Examination. In fact, 40 to 55 percent of the grade is decided even prior to the End Semester Examinations and this depends upon various grading components. Therefore, for a student to earn a good grade at CAE, good performance throughout the semester is necessary.
CAE has an elaborate set of computer laboratories equipped with latest PCs operating in a networked environment. College has an elaborate CAE Academic Network (CAN) that provides sharing of network resources and connectivity to Internet and Pakistan Education Research Network (PERN). A 4 MB fiber optic Internet connection is available to all users at CAE.
PAF Academy library has a collection of more than 95,000 technical and reference books covering subjects of Aerospace Engineering, Avionics Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering, Material Sciences, etc. In addition to books, the library subscribes to reputed technical journals, magazines and periodicals on regular basis. For research related work, access to Higher Education Commission’s Digital Library and full-text databases of IEEE, ESDU and AIAA is also available.
The most important peacetime activity of a fighting force is training for war, but this aspect has unique significance for the PAF. With an aspiration to achieve excellence, Pakistan Air Force selects young men and women with high credentials. PAF training programmes aim at improving the quality in every aspect of the organization. These programmes draw heavily on the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the personnel who are entrusted to shoulder this onerous responsibility and who see to it that they prove equal to the task. The PAF always strives to employ the most scientific and advanced techniques for training its manpower. It trains to outwit, outfight and outshoot the enemy. Training of officers is based on three categories :-