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AETC Command Team visits 23rd FTS

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  • By Air Education and Training Command
  • 23rd Flying Training Squadron

FORT RUCKER, Ala.-- Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, AETC command chief master sergeant, visited the 23rd Flying Training Squadron at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Jan. 11. 

During their visit they met with students and instructors from Helicopter Training Next (HTN), as well as flew with the team there. 

“We have proven that we are able to deliver helicopter pilots to their operational units 33 percent faster,” Webb said. “The focus is always about continuing to deliver highly qualified, competent pilots.”

Full HTN implementation is planned for March with student pilots arriving at 23rd FTS in July.

HTN is a helicopter-only training course that is an initiative under Pilot Training Transformation efforts. The last time the Air Force used a helicopter-only syllabus was in 1993, coinciding with the establishment of Air Education and Training Command.

Typically, the helicopter pilot training pipeline lasts 17 months, including six months training on the fixed-wing T-6. The HTN program started in August 2020, with the first class graduating in less than 11 months.

The first HTN graduate, a second lieutenant, finished the formal training unit portion at Kirtland AFB, N.M., Dec. 7, 2021. The new helicopter pilot was able to complete all of the pilot training required, from flight screening to graduating from the FTU in 16 months. The second and third graduates, both first lieutenants, finished FTU at Kirtland AFB Dec. 8 and have arrived at operational units, UH-1N squadrons.

By taking helicopter pilots out of fixed-wing aircraft training, training time was cut down and HTN may also free up spots in future fixed-wing training at AETC.

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