21-08 applauds their loved ones Published April 16, 2021 By Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Twenty-five new aviators graduated from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT), Apr. 16, 2021, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. It was through hard work and dedication that these pilots were able to earn their silver wings after a challenging 52-week training program. The graduates were reminded numerous times that although they did most of the heavy lifting, friends, family and colleagues played a part that landed them in the front rows, receiving their graduation certificates. “You are undoubtedly swelling with pride, as you should be, but there are others who are proud of you earning your pilots wings,” said retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. John Allen, as he asked the graduates to stand and applaud those who supported them along their journeys. Allen is a career aviator spanning over 43 years of aviation experience, consisting of his service in the United States Air Force and Air Force Reserves, as a General Officer, then as an Executive Regulator in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and also as an executive with a major airline. Allen shared that, in his experience, technology has become more and more prominent in the aviation world. “You will see your aircraft systems change through many iterations and capabilities,” said Allen. “I challenge you to learn to fly your mission with degraded automation. At JetBlue I urge our pilots to fly at least one approach a month without the autopilot, auto throttles and flight director.” The Retired Brig. Gen. advised them, that with cyber warfare, they may not be able to rely on all the automation during combat emergency situations. Allen said he was really glad to learn about the virtual reality training systems that were recently moved to the officer dorms, providing student pilots’ 24-hour access to augmented reality training. “When I went through training I was doing my own chair flying to prepare for flights,” said Allen. “Training time is so precious and so limited to stay up with the learning curve. I wish I had this, I had a racquetball racket and a tennis racket, this is much better.” Two out of the twenty-five graduates will return to Columbus Air Force Base as First Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPS). The rest will spread their wings at different locations around the world, becoming experts in their respective aircrafts.