EDITORIAL: Vance faces the changes ahead | Opinion

Air Force pilot training has changed significantly over the years. These changes are accelerating, a Vance Airbase has been at the forefront of the evolution.

For one, Vance student pilots only received their wings after completing their training here. Now, with Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 – which was first implemented at Vance – pilots receive their wings after completing the first phase of their training in the T-6A Texan II. Then they train in either the T-1A Jayhawk or the T-38C Talon. They also become pilots in seven months, instead of the year as was the norm before.

However, there will be some changes to the process in the coming years as the Air Force phase out the T-1A and work to replace the T-38C with the newer T-7A Red Hawk.

According to Col. Jay Johnson, Vance will be third in line for the Red Hawk and won’t receive them until around 2031.

Until then, Vance will continue to use the Talon, but will start to have fewer of them on base as they will be removed from the fleet.

Simulator training will become even more important, although it is currently an important part of UPT 2.5. As we said, pilot training has evolved and is evolving at a faster pace now. Under UPT 2.5, student pilots use 360-degree virtual reality trainers that allow them to familiarize themselves with local training routes and procedures via a simulator long before they reach the cockpit.

It’s all part of the Air Force’s efforts to produce the pilots it needs.

The only downside we see could be related to the reduction of T-38C planes before the T-7A arrives at Vance. This could impact the number of jobs at Vance.

Vance’s management has been at the forefront of finding new ways of doing things, so we’ll have to see what impact all of these changes have on Vance’s operations.

About William Moorhead

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