Find a Security Clearance Job!

Military


Training Aircraft

Pilot training aircraft are used to take young Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine officers through flight training programs to make them rated military aviators to fly their respective service's fixed-and rotary-wing aircraft.

Aircrew training is designed to progress aircrews from Basic Qualification Training (BQT), to Mission Qualification Training (MQT), and finally to Continuation Training (CT). For crew-members previously qualified, BQT is replaced by Requalification Training (RQT). BQT and RQT provide the training necessary to qualify aircrew in basic position and flying duties without regard to the unit's mission. Upon completion of BQT or RQT, the crew member attains Basic Aircraft Qualification (BAQ) status. BAQ is a prerequisite for MQT. Except for General Officers, BAQ is not a long term qualification status. MQT and Formal Training Unit (FTU) Instructor Pilot Upgrade (IPUG) provide the training necessary to initially qualify or requalify aircrews in a specific position and flying duties to perform the missions assigned to a specific unit. Aircrews maintain BAQ status until completion of MQT or FTU IPUG. Completion of MQT or an FTU IPUG is a prerequisite for BMC and CMR.

To better prepare pilots for the entire spectrum of aircraft and flying missions of tomorrow, the Air Force has transitioned to specialized undergraduate pilot training (SUPT). Specialized undergraduate pilot training began at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, in July 1992 following the arrival of the T-1A aircraft. Undergraduate pilot training (UPT), which universally trained all students in the T-37 and T-38 trainer aircraft, continued at each base concurrently until all required T-1A aircraft arrived at that base. Transition to SUPT was completed in early 1997, when the last UPT class graduated at Columbus AFB, Miss.

Specialized undergraduate pilot training differs from generalized training primarily in the advanced phase. After primary training in the T-37 Tweet, or the U.S. Navy's T-34 Mentor, students select, by order of merit, advanced training in the bomber-fighter, airlift-tanker, helicopter or turboprop tracks. Each track is designed to best train each pilot for successful transition to their follow-on aircraft and mission.

To enter SUPT candidates must be less than 27 years old, have a college (bachelor's) degree, pass a rigid physical examination and score a satisfactory grade on the battery of tests comprising the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test. Additionally, all pilot candidates must successfully complete the enhanced flight screening program using the T-3 Firefly aircraft. This introductory screening program exposes candidates to 18 sorties and 21 hours of flight which identifies and motivates those candidates with potential to complete SUPT.

The preflight phase of SUPT takes three weeks and consists of academics and physiology training to prepare students for flight. The second phase, primary training, is conducted in the twin-engine, subsonic T-37, a rugged aircraft equal in maneuverability to most of the fighters of World War II. Students learn aircraft flight characteristics, emergency procedures, takeoff and landing procedures, aerobatics, and formation flying. Students also practice night, instrument and cross-country navigation flying. Primary training takes approximately 23 weeks and includes 254.4 hours of ground training, 27.3 hours in the flight simulator, and 89 flying hours in the T-37.

Students selected to attend joint SUPT with the US Navy attend aviation preflight indoctrination (API) at NAS Pensacola, Fla., for six weeks learning basic preflight topics covered in Air Force's phase I program. Following API, pilot students attend the primary and intermediate phases of flight training at NAS Whiting Field, Fla. Joint primary training takes approximately 33 weeks and includes 159 hours of ground training, 37 hours in the flight simulator, and 92 flying hours in the T-34.

Advanced training for the bomber-fighter track is accomplished using the T-38 Talon and prepares pilots for transition to fighter and bomber aircraft. The T-38 is a tandem seat twin-engine supersonic jet. There is increased emphasis on formation, navigation, and low level navigation flying. Training takes approximately 26 weeks and includes 381 hours of ground training, 31.6 hours in the flight simulator and 118.7 flying hours in the T-38.

The airlift tanker track uses the T-1A Jayhawk, the military version of a multi-place business jet, facilitating the transition to crew positions in airlift and tanker aircraft. Instruction centers on crew coordination and cockpit management duties in a multi-place crew aircraft. Flight training includes visual and instrument transition, radar cell formation, and simulated refueling and airdrop missions. Training takes approximately 26 weeks and includes 185 hours of ground training, 43 hours in the flight simulator and 104 flying hours in the T-1A.

The helicopter track trains in the UH-1 Huey utility helicopter for follow-on assignments in special operations, rescue, missile site support, and distinguished personnel support missions. The helicopter track transitions students from fixed wing to rotary wing flight. It is conducted at the U.S. Army Aviation Center, Fort Rucker, Ala. The initial phase consists of basic helicopter flying including takeoff and landing, hovering, and emergency procedures. Advanced training consists of instruments, day tactics, and night tactics including night vision goggle training. Training takes approximately 24 weeks and includes 25.5 hours in a simulator and 112 hours of flying time.

Students selecting the turboprop track attend T-44 training conducted by the U.S. Navy at Corpus Christi, Texas, and then go on to flying duties in turboprop aircraft. Training includes the Navy common maritime turboprop course followed by an Air Force top-off course. The top-off course consists of single aircraft and formation tactical low level airdrop procedures. Training takes approximately 26 weeks and includes 152 hours ground training, 30 hours in the flight simulator and 111 flying hours in the T-44.

When student pilots are not flying aircraft or simulators, much of their duty day is taken up with academics, officer development, self study and physical conditioning. Academics include conventional classes taught by platform instructors as well as computer-assisted instruction. Officer development topics include Air Force doctrine, rated officer duties, flying assignments, and perspectives of senior noncommissioned officers and senior officers.

Flying instructors are specially selected military pilots and graduates of the Air Education and Training Command pilot instructor training program at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. Instructor pilots must meet rigid personal, flying and professional standards. Each instructor pilot is normally assigned two or three students. He or she is a teacher who must have patience, a keen understanding of human nature and an eye for painstaking detail.

References



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list