Super Tucanos in Hamat airbase. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Army, HO)
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Lebanese Army would recieve eight aircraft from the United States. The Daily Star regrets this error.
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Charbel and Youssef, both pilots in their 20s, joined the Air Force in the same cohort, first getting in a cockpit in 2009 . Almost a decade later, they're part of an elite group of pilots and crew playing an important role in a new chapter for the Air Force.In October last year the Lebanese military received the first two of eight A-29 Super Tucanos – turboprop light attack aircraft well-suited to close air support and reconnaissance missions. The planes mark an upgrade from the few other fixed-wing aircraft used by the Lebanese Air Force in recent years. The two A-29s, now based out of Hamat Air Base just north of Batroun, were donated by the United States. As Haikal put it, this vigilance becomes almost like a conversation between pilot and plane.For Haikal, doubting the plane is like slighting a family member.The aim, Haikal said, is to eventually get to the point where the pilots are flying as much as they were while in the U.S.
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