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NEWS | March 1, 2021

AETC, Nineteenth Air Force host first Flying Training Virtual Industry Days to address pilot shortages

By Aryn Lockhart Nineteenth Air Force Public Affairs

 Air Education and Training Command, in partnership with the Nineteenth Air Force, hosted the Flying Training Virtual Industry Days at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Feb. 24 and 26. 

The event provided an overview of the current state of Air Force flying training and sought industry insight and perspectives to address pilot shortages and improve the US Air Force’s Pilot Production programs.

The virtual event had more than 100 personnel registered from 43 different companies participating.

“The idea is to reach out to industry and see how you all might be able to support, provide ideas, and provide information that will help us as we formulate our plans moving forward,” said Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, Nineteenth Air Force commander.

“As you know, the pilot shortage is a worldwide phenomenon,” the general said. “It’s not strictly limited to the U.S. Air Force. All of our joint partners face many of the same challenges and so our hope with these RFIs (requests for information) is that we can get information from you that will help inform the plans that we have”

Day one of the event was a program overview and described the specific requests for information. Day two was an open discussion with a question-and-answer session for the industry to address specific inquiries about these innovation opportunities.

The areas of interest include:

  1. Commercial Services Contract Undergraduate Pilot Training Multi-Engine (CUPT-ME)
  2. CUPT/Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) 2.5 (CUPT-2.5)
  3. Initial Contract Flight Training 2.5 (IFT 2.5) 50 Hour Syllabus
  4. Contractor Instructor Pilot (CIP)/Contractor Simulator Instructor (CSI)
  5. Introductory Flight Training-Rotary Wing (IFT-R)

During his opening remarks, Wills outlined the Pilot Training Transformation efforts throughout the Nineteenth Air Force, discussing the significant changes in how pilots are produced with a more learner-centric training model.

“The training programs we are really looking for are to help every single Airman achieve his or her potential,” Wills said. “We have a different mentality that says, why don’t we teach folks as much as possible so, at the end of their training program, they are as proficient as possible.”

The Flying Training Virtual Industry Day was a unique chance for industry to communicate directly with the Nineteenth Air Force and understand the programs within Pilot Training Transformation with the potential to create partnerships and collaboration that could get to the heart of overcoming pilot production shortfalls.

“Your United States government is very much interested in coming up with solutions that are advantageous to the taxpayer,” Wills added. “It is our goal to bring the very best that American industry brings to the table and we are not convinced that we are the only people that have good ideas.”