The advertisement inviting candidates for the Reserve Aviation Officers Course, which was published three days ago on the Ministry of Defence website, has already drawn media attention because it offers an opportunity for capable, educated, young people who successfully complete it to become aviation officers and continue flight training in order to assume the title of an air force pilot.
Although certain union leaders were expected to launch an election campaign these days, it is unclear why they decided to do so using patent untruths in their communiqué today.
The statements on the Ministry of Defence website and the statements of Air Force experts, who spoke about the Reserve Aviation Officers Course in the media, clearly show that candidates who complete it will not immediately become air force pilots, but will receive this title only when they meet all necessary requirements and undergo training. The condition for a young man or woman to enrol in the course is that they have successfully completed their undergraduate studies, are up to 27 years of age, have no security problems and, most importantly, are fully physically and mentally fit.
The aptitude assessment criteria for aviation reserve officers do not deviate from criteria used for Military Academy cadets and other air force pilots. Like future pilots enrolling in aviation program at the Military Academy, candidates for the Reserve Officers Course will have to undergo selective parachute and flight training, based on which experienced instructors can accurately assess which of them have an aptitude for being a pilot and which do not.
Serious flight training for young aviation officers begins only after they have completed the course and joined active-duty service. It is a long path from flying piston aircraft in favourable weather conditions to being able to fly a MiG-29 fighter aircraft or a Mi-35 or H-145 helicopter at night and it requires a lot of training and commitment.
The union leaders should not worry because the Air Force and Air Defence employs professional, serious and extremely well-trained people who will turn young men and women who are motivated and have potential into excellent pilots, step by step, adhering to all the principles and standards of flight training.
We remind you that the practice of "activating" pilots who graduated from the Reserve Officers School was used even in the former Yugoslav National Army. In mid-eighties, there were even a few women who completed training on piston aircraft, assuming the title of a reserve officer - pilot.