Laughlin Air Force Base

47th Flying Training Wing

47th Flying Training Wing


Laughlin AFB is the home of the 47th Flying Training Wing, one of the world's premier pilot training wings. Approximately 400 new military pilots earn their silver wings at Laughlin each year after an intensive 52-week course where they learn to fly using the T-6A Texan II, T-38 Talon, and T-1A Jayhawk trainers. Laughlin is named after 2nd Lt. Jack Thomas Laughlin, a Del Rio native killed over Java in the South Pacific in the early days of World War II.

The 47th Flying Training Wing, located at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, conducts specialized undergraduate pilot training for the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and allied nation air forces utilizing the T-6, T-38 and T-1A aircraft while deploying mission-ready Airmen as well as develop professional, disciplined leaders.

The history of the wing dates back to 1947. On July 28, 1947, the 47th Bombardment Wing, Light, was designated, with the organization occurring Aug. 15, 1947. Between its organization and 1949, the wing trained in night tactical operations, conducted firepower demonstrations and participated in tactical exercises while flying the A-26 Invader, and later, the B-26 Marauder aircraft. The wing was organized at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, and moved to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana., November 1948.

The wing was inactivated in October 1949 and reactivated March 12, 1951, at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and transitioned to the B-45 Tornado medium jet bomber. From May 1951 until February 1952, the wing provided combat crew training in B-26 aircraft and operated the United States Air Force Air Crew School (Light Bombardment and Tactical Reconnaissance, Night Photographic).

The wing moved to Royal Air Force Sculthorpe, England, in June 1952 and for the next decade performed tactical training operations including participation in exercises and firepower demonstrations in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. During the assignment to England, the wing was redesignated the 47th Bombardment Wing, Tactical. The wing converted from the B-45 bomber to the B-66 Destroyer in 1958. From 1960 to 1962, the wing assumed an air refueling mission utilizing the KB-50 tanker.

The wing was inactivated in June 1962. A decade later, Sept. 1, 1972, the wing was reactivated and redesignated as the 47th Flying Training Wing, replacing and absorbing the resources of the 3646th Pilot Training Wing at Laughlin Air Force Base.

The 47th FTW commands a flying operation which exceeds 80,000 flying hours and 51,000 sorties per year. It is composed of more than 1,400 military personnel, 1,360 civilian employees and a total base community exceeding 4,300 people.

The 47th FTW's payroll totals $119 million. The wing's total economic impact is valued at more than $234 million.

The wing's mission is to conduct specialized undergraduate pilot training for the United States Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and allied nation air forces utilizing the T-6A Texan II, T-38 Talon and T-1A Jayhawk aircraft while deploying mission-ready Airmen as well as develop professional, bold and disciplined leaders.

47th Flying Training Wing, Public Affairs 561 Liberty Drive, Suite 3
Laughlin AFB, Texas 78843-5227; Phone: (830) 298-5980; Fax: (830) 298-5047