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First class Air Mobility Fundamentals-Simulator Course graduates at Vance AFB

  • Published
  • By By Tech. Sgt. James Bolinger
  • 71st Flying Training Wing

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma – The first class of pilots to complete the Air Mobility Fundamentals – Simulator Course logged their final day of training here May 5.

The 14 aviators of Class 23-09HS -- who earned their wings Jan. 6, 2023, at Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma, flying T-6A Texan IIs in Undergraduate Pilot Training, are the first full class to complete a simulator-only follow-on curriculum.

The goal of AMF-S is to teach pilots slated for mobility, special operations forces, command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, core competencies in crew resource management, autopilot, automation operations, one-engine inoperative and flight management systems to prepare pilots for follow-on training in their selected airframes. AMF-S also serves to provide the intermediate training phase between T-6A training and the complex multi-engine and multi-crew environments for the roughly 900 student pilots that train with Air Education and Training Command before transitioning to formal training units.

“This is one more example of the pilot training transformation that began back in 2018 blossoming into the UPT of today,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Amrhein, 19th Air Force commander. “This is the first of three UPT bases to scale AMF-S with Columbus AFB and Laughlin AFB following suit in the coming months. We’re really proud of our team at Vance for putting in the work to make this first scaled location a reality.”

Following undergraduate pilot training in the T-6A aircraft, pilots headed to future service in crewed aircraft leverage the mid-tier device alongside traditional T-1A Jayhawk simulators.

“AMF-S is a vital part of the future of Air Force pilot training. I am proud of our instructors and our students for embracing a new and innovative approach,” said Col. Jay Johnson, commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing. “They’ve overcome every challenge that popped up and have demonstrated resiliency over and over again.”

Based on the cockpit of the T-1A, a two-engine business jet style aircraft, the mid-tier device is the core of the AMF-S curriculum.

“The mixed reality of the mid-tier device is a significant advancement,” said Lt. Col. Roland Olmstead, 3rd Flying Training Squadron T-1A Jayhawk instructor pilot and Vance’s leading project officer for AMF-S. “While the brain is operating in a virtual space through goggles, the physical and tactile experience enhances the muscle memory of the training experience. We have modernized and approached training based on advancements in science and a better understanding of how we learn with more advanced tools.”

In order to advance from AMF-S to a follow-on training unit, students must complete three blocks of instruction, said Olmstead. They learn emergency procedures, crew fundamentals and mission fundamentals. Mission fundamentals are an introduction to low-level and formation flying, airdrops and aerial refueling procedures.

One significant benefit of the program is that because there are two students in the simulator together, it significantly increases students’ hours as a co-pilot.

Teaching students to act as a proactive and assertive crew member is one of the competencies the syllabus focuses on instilling in pilots prior to their follow-on training in heavy aircraft.

“I feel pretty confident about my ability to work in a crew because we have more time in the left and right seat in the simulator syllabus,” 1st Lt. Stephanie Hand, AMF-S student, said. “The training really helped us to learn how to work with different personalities.”

The emergency procedures block of the curriculum provides training for the students to identify problems, work together to solve them and safely recover the aircraft.

“The introduction of the T-1 mid-tier device is the first AETC pilot training device that incorporates a fully functional, mixed reality capability allowing crew members to physically interact and monitor interaction with the flight controls, flight management system and avionics, while flying in the virtual reality environment,” Olmstead said. “This training capitalizes on virtual reality while maintaining crew competencies and physical interaction.”

The scaling process for AMF-S began across the UPT bases in January 2023. Each UPT wing will receive eight mid-tier mixed-reality capable devices to complement their legacy T-1A simulators. Mid-tier devices have been delivered here and are currently being delivered to Laughlin AFB, Texas. At Columbus AFB, Mississippi, devices are scheduled to be delivered in August.