iMatter is a collaborative communication tool with access to the AETC commander, who has sole decision authority over all suggestions.  iMatter is a repository for MAJCOM-level and below improvement recommendations and an electronic on-line “suggestions box” allowing individuals to suggest respectful and researched ideas on how to improve processes and products.  It is not a replacement for Airman Powered by Innovation or the existing IG Complaint System.  It is not a site for posting negative thoughts about individuals or personal comments.  The on-line format allows Airmen to view recommendation’s status in real-time and also allows them to express their thoughts about other’s suggestions via the like/dislike feature. 



An objective, logical process using data and critical problem solving methods to enable fact-based decision making.  The Air Force employs an 8-step practical problem solving method (PPSM) to focus on minimizing waste and maximizing resources.  Each AETC installation has a Wing Process Manager (WPM) who manages this problem solving capability at that location.   The HQ AETC Innovation and Transformation Office (ITO) manages this structured problem solving capability for the command. If you need assistance in identifying your WPM, please contact the HQ AETC Innovation and Transformation Office (ITO) by clicking here.


2017 Innovation Challenge Video

The winner of the Institutional Culture Category was the 17th Training Wing, Goodfellow AFB, Texas. Members of the 17th TRW provided innovative ideas to include establishing a Total Force Development Mentoring Program, driving AETC’s first Operational Medical Element, as well as maximizing $300 million in training production.

The winner of the Mission Accomplishment Category were members of the 58th Special Operations Wing, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. Members of the 58th SOW pioneered the Air Force’s only enlisted undergraduate flight training and opened career enlisted aviator cross flow, as well as reduced special missions aviator graduate training failures from 30% to 5%, alleviating an Air Force Specialty Code wide deficit by 60%.

The winner of the AETC Big Rocks Category was the 14th Flying Training Wing, Columbus AFB, Mississippi. Members of the 14th FTW initiated and executed developmental and operational testing for the Air Force’s first GBU-58, a laser guided bomb, employment at Eglin AFB, Florida, and Nellis AFB, Nevada ranges, minimizing cost/burden on testing community.

The winner of the AF Big Rocks Category was the 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Arizona. Members of the 56th FW submitted innovative ideas that included a comprehensive pilot production forecasting program that is integrated with a quantitative manning model that provides accurate decision aids for Air Force pilot manning challenges.

The winner of the Adapt Award Category was the 14th FTW. Members of the 14th FTW submitted innovative ideas that included locally made high-definition videos that received positive feedback for training and instruction that could be used with virtual reality goggles, providing real-time immersion for the viewer.

Winning units received a monetary award to be used for any operations and maintenance fund purchases.



AETC Airmen find innovative ways to employ resources and get the mission done every day.  Whether it’s generated through a formal process improvement project, or a just a great idea, empowered Airmen, supportive leaders, and honest feedback cultivate innovation.

The nature of our mission not only asks us to find innovative solutions to our problems - it demands it. 

Your AETC Innovation and Transformation Office’s (ITO) vision is for innovation to be a way of life for all AETC Airmen.  Some of the drivers for innovation are Continuous Process Improvement (CPI), suggestions (iMatter, Airmen Powered by Innovation – API), and Lessons Learned.


Do not let your idea or innovation go unnoticed!  Consider one of these drivers to give it life and improve AETC and your Air Force!


“Every day, Airmen across our command find innovative ways to employ resources and get the mission done. Whether it is improving an existing process or creating something completely new, you amaze me with your ingenuity and enterprise. If your unit exemplifies an innovative culture or has attacked a mission-related challenge in a new and inventive way, we want to know about it.”

-Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, commander of Air Education and Training Command 

AETC Innovation


Innovation is always a team effort. Though unsung, Mr. Charlie Taylor was the mechanical genius who designed and built the Wright Brother’s lightweight engine making him one of the most remarkable people who made powered flight possible.  Arguably, the most innovative and important part of the aircraft, his efforts are generally largely forgotten by Wright Brother biographers and historians.  He served quietly and humbly in the background but was the indispensable part of the equation.  Like Edison’s assistants, much of his work, such as the first wind tunnel, is misattributed to the Wright Brothers.




One of the greatest leaders in Air Education and Training Command History was Maj. Gen. Junius W. Jones.  He innovated his whole career.  While still a student in the Air Observation School, he invented the first ground speed/wind direction calculator based on mathematical triangulation. An early alumnus of the Air Service Engineering School at Dayton, OH, graduates were expected to understand all of the complex systems in aircraft and serve as facilitators for inventors while commanding engineering squadrons.  He is later credited in his for developing everything from technical training curriculum to the AF Inspector General system.



The P-38 Lightening was so demanding for pilots in combat, commanders considered it an experimental plane when it entered service.   Air Forces Training Command personnel created the field training detachment concept to help alleviate the P-38’s combat woes.  Partnering with industry and operators, innovations led to the production of the P-38J/L models which fully realized the P-38’s potential.


 Flight surgeons were aware of pilot disorientation and vertigo, but they were unable to offer solutions. Aviation pioneer Col William C. Ocker invented the Ocker Box, a device that made pilots aware of the effects of disorientation and vertigo. When the subject viewed the instruments in the box while the chair rotated, the instruments indicated correct movements even though they were at odds with the subject’s senses. Initially facing opposition from pilots who believed their natural instincts were better than any instrument, his efforts later prompted Orville Wright to characterize Ocker as “the greatest missionary of instrument flying."



Dr. Sylvia R. Mayer-Edwards was one of the leading innovators of computer based instruction in the 1960s.  An experimental psychology in 1954. Assigned to the Electronic Systems Division's Deputy for Command and Management Systems, she worked on Man/Machine interfaces and software for the USAF Electronic Systems Division and DARPA.  She worked with Air Training Command in innovating computer-assisted instruction using “spare” computing time on base level Burroughs B-3500 mainframes overnight—and innovated remote networks to share the training using what became ARPANET.