BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GHANA AIRFORCE
The Ghana Air Force started on 24 Jul 1959 as a FlyingTraining School with Israeli Instructors and Technicians. The School was the cradle of a Service which would later complement the other two Services the Army and Navy, to facilitate the realization of Dr Nkrumah’s vision of “Total Liberation of the Africa Continent”.
The Service got technical aid, instructors, equipment, training and aircraft from a variety of sources such as Israel, India, Pakistan, Canada, Britain, USA and USSR. This was a ploy by Dr Kwame Nkrumah to fast track the establishment of the Service, because as Maj Gen Alexander the then CDS wrote in his book entitled ‘‘The African Tightrope’’ that Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a man in a hurry and that he wanted things done today finished yesterday.
The Ghana Air Force was established basically to provide transport support to our ground and naval forces and was therefore made up solely of a transport squadron, until early 1965 when an offensive support element was added with the acquisition of Fighter Ground Attack aircraft Aer Macchi 326K from Italy. The need for an offensive posture was to provide deterrence to would-be aggressors and thereby defend our territorial integrity. The Ghana Air Force has, since, developed into a mainly transport-oriented force with a limited FGA capability.
The Flying Training School (FTS) of the Ghana Air Force was established in Accra in July 1959 but was officially opened by Prime Minister Nkrumah on 11 September of the same year. A team of Israeli flying instructors and technicians on secondment from the Israeli Defense Air Force were sent to Ghana to establish and ran the school. This was the situation until the end of October 1960 when the first batch of students pilots consisting of 2 commissioned officers and 15 flight cadets completed their basic training on the Hindustan Trainer (HT-2) aircraft.
As the British were responsible for training the Army and the Navy that time, a decision was therefore taken to task the British to train the Air Force as well. By September 1960, the British team arrived to take over from the Indians. The first batch of student pilots was transferred to the UK to continue their flying training on the piston Provost aircraft at the No. 6 FTS at RAF Ternhill in Shropshire.
From 1 Mar 61, the Flying Training School was moved to the Takoradi Airport which had then been rehabilitated and modernized as an Air Force Station. The premier trainer aircraft of the FTS, (HT-2), had been decommissioned and replaced by the De Havilland of Canada’s DHC-1 Chipmunk. Later some of the new Ghanaian pilots were sent for further training and graduated from the RAF Central Flying School in Little Rassington, UK as Qualified Flying Instructors (QFIs) to join the teaching staff of the Flying Training School. The first 2 QFIs were Fg Offr JA Jackson and Plt Offr CA Delle. Since then quite a number of Ghanaians pilots have been trained as QFIs and Qualified Helicopter Instructors (QHIs). by 1968, the school was run solely by Ghanaians, except for a few RAF QFIs in the Standards Squadron. The military training of No 1 FTS Course was carried out on the grounds of the Flying Training School at the Cadets Mess in Burma Camp with visiting instructors and lecturers from the Regular Officers Special Training School (ROSTS), Teshie and other Units. Subsequently all the other intakes passed through the Ghana Military Academy (GMA) for their basic military training.