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Introductory flight training undergoing changes

by Megan Orton
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

10/24/2005 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN)  -- The introductory flight training program that prepares pilot candidates for specialized undergraduate pilot training will decrease from 50 to 25 hours next fall.

The transitional program will bridge the change from the current introductory program to a new program called initial flight screening.

IFT used civilian flight schools around the United States to provide flight training and screening for potential Air Force pilots. Schools used their own training techniques and syllabus, within Federal Aviation Administration guidelines, to educate pilot candidates with the 50-hour program. Students received their private pilot's license when they graduate.

It was at this stage the Air Force screened out Airmen who could not physically or mentally handle flying, or found they did not have an aptitude for flying. Those who completed the program get their pilot license.

The IFS program will also screen the Air Force's future pilots. But the new program will be at a centralized location and will feature a specialized undergraduate pilot training-like training environment.

IFS flying operations at the single site are scheduled to begin Oct. 1, 2006. In the meantime, IFT will use a 25-hour program that the flight schools will conduct, using a syllabus developed by Air Education and Training Command.

There are several good reasons to allow civilian flight schools to use a 25-hour syllabus now, said Wayne Mudge, program manager for the IFT and Navigator Introductory Flight Training programs.

"We still will not have close military oversight of the training at the flight schools, but the 25-hour syllabus is a step in the right direction,” Mr. Mudge said. “Candidates will finish the new program more quickly, they will learn to use an AETC syllabus and, most importantly, they'll be better prepared for SUPT."

The 25-hour program, entitled IFS for Civilian Part 61/141 Flight Schools, is scheduled to begin Nov. 1, 2005 and will slowly evolve to the IFS program that will begin next October.

On June 6, the U.S. Air Force Academy began the 25-hour program, Academy Flight Screening.

As IFS matures, these two programs will mirror each other.

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