United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence
United States Army Aviation Warfighting Center
United States Army Aviation Center and School
United States Army Aviation School
Aviation Officers Basic Course [OBC] is taught at Fort Rucker Alabama, which is located in the SouthEastern corner of the state. It is approximately an hour from the Georgia state line and 90 minutes from Panama City, Florida. Due to the amount of skills new LT's are required to learn, flight school is long: most LT's will have spent 15-18 months from the day they show up for OBC until they head out to their first unit. Because of this length of training, Aviation OBC is a PCS move (permanent change of station). OBC currently consists of 4 phases: OBC 1 - 2 weeks; Initial Entry Rotary Wing Training (IERW) - 9 months; OBC 3 - 6 weeks; and Advanced Aircraft Transition - 6-14 weeks.
OBC 1 - Inprocess/Basic Classes: These first two weeks are nearly identical to the OBC's of other branches. Here LT's will be challenged through the APFT, land navigation, and classroom instruction on military writing, ethics, and aviation issues.
IERW Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course - This is where officers learn the skills to become an Army Aviator. LT's will fly nearly every day, learning the basic skills of flying a helicopter. Generally speaking, students will spend half the day on the flight line flying various helicopters and the other half of the day in an academic classroom environment. Classroom instruction covers Aeromedical, Aerodynamics, Instrument Flight Regulations, and Aircraft Systems. IERW is broken down into 4 phases: Primary, Instruments, Basic Combat Skills, and Night Vision Goggles.
PRIMARY - Here officers learn the basics of flight. Students are paired up with an Instructor Pilot and learn to control a helicopter in flight. Maneuvers such as hovering, takeoffs, landings, and emergency procedures are essential skills learned in this phase. All students will go through this phase in a TH67, which is essentially a Bell JetRanger that is used in TV and police operations.
INSTRUMENTS - Here students learn the skills of navigating a helicopter in the clouds. This intense phase covers FAA regulations/procedures and precision flying utilizing the navigational systems in the TH67 to navigate cross-country from airfield to airfield. Most students consider this to be the most demanding phase of flight school.
BASIC COMBAT SKILLS (BCS) - All aviators need to possess certain skills, regardless of the advanced aircraft that they will fly. In BCS students will learn to navigate through terrain association, conduct artillery fire support missions, and implement basic command and control operations. Students will undergo BCS training in either the OH58C Scout or the UH-1 Huey.
NIGHT VISION GOGGLES (Nights) - Here officers will learn to fly the aircraft and execute their mission at night utilizing Night Vision Goggles. In essence, everything they learned how to do during the day they will relearn how to do using the NVG's. This phase is generally regarded as the most exciting and enjoyable phase. Training is conducted in either the OH-58C Scout or the UH-1 Huey.
NICKEL RIDE MEMENTOS: The third to fifth week of IERW pilots take their nickel ride. This is the traditional first ride when they receive their first training flight. At the completion, flight students traditionally give the instructor pilot (IP) a nickel minted in the year of their birth.
SOLO MEMENTOS: During the sixth to eighth week of IERW, flight students complete their first solo flight. The same guidelines apply to this as to the nickel ride mementos. This memento is presented after everyone in the class has soloed.
OBC 3 - 6 Weeks - Up to this point training has focused on individual skills. OBC3 focuses on the collective skills that new officers must master to become effective leaders in their units. Officers will be organized into platoons based on their aircraft assignments and rotate leadership roles as the platoon leader. Officers will receive, plan, brief, and execute aircraft missions in the SYMNET, a series of flight simulators that are linked together so that battle drills can be executed. Included in this phase is a mini SERE course (SERE stands for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape). Students will learn the fundamentals of what to do if they are downed in hostile territory through this 5-day exercise involving land navigation, shelter construction, and food procurement. During this phase officers will also find out their post assignment.
Advanced Aircraft Transition - 6-14 weeks: All officers will fly one of the 4 Advanced Aircraft that are described elsewhere in this web page (Apache, Kiowa Warrior, Blackhawk, and Chinook). Here officers will learn their specific aircraft. Length of transition can vary from 6-14 weeks depending on their airframe.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would realign Fort Eustis by relocating the Aviation Logistics School and consolidating it with the Aviation Center and School at Fort Rucker. This was also part of an Army initiative to merge similar schools and and institutions into "centers of excellence." This recommendation would consolidate Aviation training and doctrine development at a single location. Consolidating Aviation Logistics training with the Aviation Center and School would foster consistency, standardization and training proficiency. It would consolidate both Aviation skill level I producing courses at one location, which would allow the Army to reduce the total number of Military Occupational Skills (MOS) training locations (lessening the TRADOC footprint). This would also support transformation by collocating institutional training, MTOE units, RDT&E organizations and other TDA units in large numbers on single installations to support force stabilization and engage training.
It was later determined that the realignment did not meet the pay back criteria and the it was subsequently canceled. The US Army Aviation Logistics School remained at Fort Eustis, Virignia. What had become the US Army Aviation Warfighting Center was subquently renamed the US Army Aviation Center of Exellence on 26 June 2006.
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