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Trainer Aircraft

INTERMEDIATE JET TRAINERS
USAEuropeChinaKoreaOther
  • T-X
  • Alenia Aermacchi M-346
  • BAE Systems Hawk
  • EADS Mako
  • FAdeA AT-63
  • TAI TU-TX
  • Hongdu/PAC K-8
  • Hongdu L-15
  • KAI T-50/A-50
  • HAL HJT-36
  • Yak-130
  • INITIAL PROP TRAINERS
  • Aleniai SF.260
  • Alenia Aermacchi SF-260TP
  • FAdeA S.A. IA-73
  • Grob G-120TP
  • Hawker T-6A/B Texan
  • Pilatus PC-21
  • TAI Hrkus
  • KAI KT-1
  • Embraer EMB-314 Tucano
  • Fuji T-5/T-7
  • A combat aircraft pilot receives training for about five and a half years before he is finally ready for combat. He undergoes several phases of training in the course of this time. Entry level and basic training are followed by advanced training at successively higher levels. Following conversion to the aircraft he will fly at his unit, he qualifies to reach the "combat ready" status in the operational squadron and takes part in the tactical training combat program (TCTP) at regular intervals in order to stay "combat ready".

    Military pilots are typically trained in specially designed aircraft commonly referred to as a trainer. New combat aircraft types have been introduced into front line service, featuring operational capabilities greatly increased with respect to the previous generation of fighters and attack aircraft. The new combat vehicles feature large improvements in energy/manoeuvrability, expecially in the transonic arena, with turn rates and specific excess power largely increase dwhen compared to last generation fighters.

    High angle of attack capability, meaning the ability to effectively maneuver above 30-35 degrees, is now featured by many of the new types, and this capability is brought to its extreme when thrust vectoring is adopted. The functional capabilities are multiplied by new, extremely powerful and light processors and sensors, which have allowed the fielding oftrue multi-role aircraft. New weapons have taken advantage of sensors and processors miniaturization, and new tactics have been developed to exploit them. The appearance of lightweight liquid crystal displays has dramatically changed the cockpit layout, allowing the pilot to concentrate on mission management, instead of looking at his aicrafts round dials.

    This large increase of performance/capabilities in combat types is already posing new demanding requirements to the Air Forces training systems which, for the majority, are still operating trainers which were at best designedfor the F-4 class fighters. This results is an increase of flight hours needed to bring a pilot to the combat readiness in the new types, but due to the trainers lack of capabilities, most of these hours have to performed on the combat aircraft itself.

    The cost of training up to combat readiness is therefore increased, posing budgettary problems to already strained Air Forces economies. Any new trainer shall therefore be designed to extend as much as needed the skill of the pupil at the end of his syllabus at the flying school, thereby reducing the number of flight hours required on the new combat aircraft before combat readiness.

    The main requirements are:

    1. Good high end characteristics, in terms of energy, acceleration and speed.
    2. A significant low altitude speed persistance, both in terms of gust ride and fuel flow.
    3. Excellent manoeuvrability (sustained load factor/turn rates) at typical maneuver altitudes and speeds.
    4. Fast to climb to training altitude and to accelerate to maneuver speeds.
    5. Representative of the combat aircraft behavior at medium/high angles of attack (30-40).
    Being however a trainer aircraft, some requirements must be added to allow an easy transition from lower types, such as basic turboprops or even high power piston trainers:
    1. Low terminal speeds, expecially at final approach.
    2. Excellent low speed characteristics.
    3. Forgiving handling. Performance and handling should be progressively increased to match the pupil capabilities, up to the point of matching the operational aircraft flying qualities (in-flight simulation).

    From the man-machine interface point of view, a new trainer must reproduce the cockpitenvironment of modern combat aircraft;however also the displayed information must besimilar in qualitative and, if possibleeconomically, quantitative terms.

    Any military pilot training scheme must highlight the importance of effective pilot training in order to reduce general aviation fatality rate and to promote sustainable growth and skill proficiency. Pilot training is generally performed in three stages, described as elemental, primary-basic and advanced.

    The first stage is used to weed out those students who lack the aptitude to quickly become military pilots. It is generally performed in fixed-gear piston-engine aircraft with side-by-side seating. Therefore, an applicant seeking to become a military pilot would initiate the process by flying piston-engine aircraft in the elemental pilot training stage.

    The first cost of the Piper Cub was modest, the operating expenses were low, and maintenance was minimal. The performance was not spectacular, but the aircraft was completely viceless with respect to its flying and handling qualities. All these factors made the Cub an ideal primary trainer. Thousands of pilots received their first dual instruction and made their first solo flight in the Cub during the explosive expansion of the U.S. Army and Navy Air Forces during World War II In addition to training, the Cub was extensively used for liaison, observation, and other military duties during the war.

    The second stage of training is primary-basic or intermediate training either by turboprop-engine aircraft or low performance turbo-jet engine aircraft. This stage starts after completion of basic military pilot training requirements, gaining experience in aerobatics, instrument flying, formation, navigation, and weapons delivery. This method is an extremely expensive one as it necessitates the use of a conventional aircraft, flying in the normal way, and offering on every flight only one take-off and one landing possibility. Yet, as is known, the most difficult part of the training is to learn how to land. Considering the risks attached, it is not really possible with that method to place the trainee in difficult flying conditions, such as for example, piloting an aircraft with an off-centered load or landing under heavy cross-winds.

    After completing the intermediate military pilot training requirements, pilots are selected to continue advanced training as fighter jet, transport or rotary wing pilots, generally in two-deat versions of the operaitonal aircraft they will later fly, providing the officer meets the appropriate requirements to be eligible. Advanced training begins when pilots successfully complete initial training and are awarded their wings. This advanced training consists of flying instruction on particular type of aircraft. After finishing it, the new aviators are assigned to operational aircraft.

    In many situations it is either impractical or impossible to provide training in the actual working environment. For example, with jet aircraft, training of new pilots and continued training of more experienced pilots cannot practically be accomplished with the aircraft itself. Therefore, training simulators, such as flight simulators, have been developed. Ideally, such training systems provide exact replicas of the actual working environment, and provide real-life audio-visual experiences. Simulators are useful in a wide range of applications, such as for training in aircraft, boats, automobiles, trucks, buses, trains, power plants, chemical plants, or any other application calling for operator training.

    These training systems typically include switches, buttons, gauges, meters, and other controls (which may be actual or computer representations) for simulating the actual controls used in the working environment. For training systems such as those used for jet aircraft, a visual display of ground terrain, the horizon, and the sky is also provided. In operation, these training systems simulate actual conditions in response to the trainees' use of the simulator controls. In this way, valuable training may be provided without the cost associated with, for example, actually flying a jet aircraft.

    The scores of national training concepts now in existence exhibit a gap between the older, second- or third-generation training aircraft and the next-generation combat aircraft, such as Eurofighter, that will be flown by the squadrons. Therefore, there is an interruption in the phased training concept, which will lead to instruction and training tasks being switched to operational aircraft, thus generating considerable additional training expenditure. European air forces and industry have recognized the problems. EURAC, an association of air force chiefs in 17 European nations, decided in 1997 to investigate whether a joint integrated pilot training program could satisfy future requirements. The contract for this investigation was awarded to an international military working group known as "Advanced European Jet Pilot Training" (AEJPT), in which twelve European air forces ultimately decided to participate. These nations are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The idea underlying this new instruction and training system was to ensure that the pilots can be qualified more efficiently by satisfying the demands made on them by the new generation of combat aircraft. The joint integrative European approach has further to ensure interoperability and reduce costs. Based on the staff requirements and terms of reference, industry worked closely with the participating air forces on this study under the name of "Eurotraining". Air forces and industry are jointly aiming to introduce the new integrated "Eurotraining" system in operational service at a European flying training center as from 2010.



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