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314th AW, Vance AFB FAIPs discuss changes to C-130 pilot pipeline

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaiah Miller
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. – The 314th Airlift Wing hosted three First Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPs) from Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, at Little Rock Air Force Base June 22, to highlight and share a new way forward in the pilot training process, which ultimately bridges the gap between Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) and the Formal Training Unit (FTU) at the 314th AW.

During their visit, the FAIPs sat down with leadership from the 314th AW and discussed the changes being made to UPT and the implications for the C-130 enterprise, particularly the instructional arm of the wing.

“The more we understand what (the UPT) is doing and what their role in shaping pilots is, the better we’re able to formulate how we, as an FTU, take those students and turn them into C-130 pilots,” said Maj. Jonathan Recor, 714th Training Squadron instructor pilot.

Following UPT, students move to their respective FTU, where they receive specific training on their assigned aircraft and mission.

After 30 years of minimal change to the construct of the pipeline process, Air Education and Training Command is accelerating the change needed to compete, deter and win in tomorrow’s high-end fight.

Recor said students passing through UPT were traditionally subjected to a rigid, syllabus-based course, where the focus was more concerned with the tasks that needed to be accomplished rather than the students accomplishing them.

The new UPT, known as “UPT 2.5,” is less syllabus-centered and takes a more student-oriented approach based on standards of behavior and airmanship.

1st Lt. Donald King, 33rd Flying Training Squadron operations flight commander said in the new UPT 2.5 construct, Airmen are taught not just the “how” behind the tasks they need to accomplish, but also the “why.”

“This breeds in them a set of versatile warfighting capabilities and humanitarian operational capabilities that can be applied to an array of different scenarios and demands,” King said. “They are informed and empowered to solve problems, come up with unique solutions, and encouraged to make smart recommendations and decisions.”

King and his FAIP counterparts used their knowledge to brief instructor pilots assigned to the 62d Airlift Squadron on the effects of UPT 2.5 for their FTU.

The FAIPs came to Little Rock AFB to not only inform the 314th AW cadre about the new changes, but also to learn about the C-130, its mission and how it’s employed to support and sustain agile combat airlift.

“They’re producing student pilots that are going to come here and fly, so they need to know what their customer wants and what their customer needs,” Recor said. "The more exposure they get to different mission sets, the better they can help inform the next step in future pilots careers.”

King said that the pilot training pipeline seeks to develop competitive, curious and innovation-minded aviators, and UPT 2.5 will instill these competencies from the outset of their military careers.

“Airmanship is what it takes to really become an Air Force pilot,” King said. “You have to be able to think on your toes; be able to handle situations that are thrown at you. We’re teaching [pilots] how to fly as if they were in a real-world scenario where things don’t always go as planned and circumstances are always liable to change.”

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