The first year of the operational language course project has been sucessfully completed during the graduation ceremony of the course number 4. Held at the Helicopter Training Point (HTP), Ostrava, the four-week Operational English Language Course for Door Gunners (OELC-DG) had two main benefits for DG community – the instructors were not only native speakers, but also Qualified Helicopter Tactics Instructors from Great Britain. They transformed their wide operational experience directly to the lessons and missions. The other course benefit was possibility to use the tactical simulator to train tactical scenarios in order to elicit the correct and timely use of key phrases.
In total, 39 door gunners from Czech Republic, Croatia and Hungary graduated from four courses performed in 2017. The aim of unifying and instructing English terminology used by airborne gunners within NATO air crews has been fully achieved. During the theoretical lessons, practical exercises and simulated tactical missions, the DGs were put in various situations where the individual student has to speak English and cannot rely on a stronger speaker. According to observations of the British instructors, all students graduated from the course with a very high level of Operational English, being competent in the use of all commonly used NATO forms used in Coalition operations.
Based on the continuos requirement for DG training, MATC member states agreed to continue with OELC in 2018, with the extension to the Flight Engineers (FE), who can attend the course together with the DGs. The course syllabi will be slightly expanded to absorb FE operational language training requirements. Four courses OELC-DG/FE are planned in 2018, three of those will be basic ones and fourth is intended to be a advanced course. OELC-DG/FE is open for both MATC member states and NATO/PfP countries. The first OELC-DG/FE starts in April 2018.