Jakarta: The pilot of the AirAsia flight, which went missing en route from Indonesia to Singapore, was known for his extraordinary performance as a jet fighter pilot before he joined the airline, a media report said Tuesday.
Iriyanto, 53, started out his career as an F-5 and F-16 fighter pilot after having graduated in 1983, the Jakarta Post reported.
He joined the 14th squadron at Iswahjudi Air Force Base (AFB) in Madiun, East Java, and stayed there for around 10 years.
"He was one of the best graduates," the report quoted an official who trained Iriyanto as saying.
"Iriyanto was known as one of the `Flight Leaders` on F-5 Tigers, the leading fighter jet in the 1980s," he said.
Iriyanto also served with Indonesia`s Merpati Airline and Sriwijaya Airline prior to joining AirAsia, the report added.
According to AirAsia statements, Iriyanto had logged a total of 20,537 flying hours, of which 6,053 flying hours were logged during his tenure with the airlines, while the co-pilot, French national Remi Emmanuel Plesel, had 2,247 hours.
Iriyanto has two children.