Sand storms and snow in the Sinai put Czech airmen to test

Autor: Jan Jindra, Oldrich Holecek

A Czech Air Force C-295 CASA transport aircraft successfully accomplished its more than three-month operational tour in the Sinai in support of the Multinational Force & Observers mission, and was recently replaced by another airplane from the four-member CASA fleet operated by the Czech military.

The Czech CASA aircraft has considerably increased air mobility for the MFO mission in the Sinai and made the transportation of personnel and material faster and safer. Since November 2013 aircrews with the support by ground specialists have logged 120 flight hours transporting over 1,700 passengers and 54 tons of materiel in 80 flights to date.

Lieutenant Colonel Milan Laniak, commander of the Czech 13-member deployment, says the specific weather and flight conditions so different to those in Europe have really put aircraft quality and airmen’s skills to the test. ”We have experienced snow and a sandstorm too. Luckily the storm had been forecast so we had time to get ready. We tied the aircraft down and covered all vulnerable parts. Winter temperatures can vary up to 20°C but my crew managed to adapt seamlessly,” LTC Laniak added.

On aircraft replacement, Colonel Petr Mikulenka, Deputy Director Joint Operations Centre of the Czech General Staff met Major General Warren J. Whiting, the MFO Force Commander. ”I was very pleased to hear words of appreciation for the excellent performance of our personnel,“ Colonel Mikulenka said.

Besides transportation tasks, the Czech CASA flies routine verification routes along the Egyptian-Israeli border with multinational military observers aboard to monitor the situation. This is how the Czech military contributes to the implementation of the 1979 Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Updated: February 18, 2014