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Air Force to Cut Use of Jayhawk Trainer, Rely More on Simulators

The U.S. Air Force is working on a plan to cut back its use of the T-1 Jayhawk, the aircraft employed for advanced student pilot training of airmen learning to fly cargo, tanker or command-and-control aircraft.

Air Education and Training Command has created a new curriculum to heavily leverage a simulator-only course for those pilots and will downsize its fleet of 178 T-1 trainers over the coming years, the command confirmed in a recent email. The T-1 has been in use since the 1990s.

“Our aim is to reduce reliance on the platform,” Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, said in emailed responses. The plan is to phase out the T-1 aircraft altogether at Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training locations between fiscal 2023 and 2025, he said. SUPT teaches basic fundamentals of flying, airmanship, instrument knowledge, rules and regulations.

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Helicopter Pilot Training Experiment Skips Fixed-Wing Courses

In an effort to improve helicopter pilot training and alleviate the Air Force’s overall pilot shortage, Air Education and Training Command is about to experiment with a back-to-the-future plan that would send pilots to a helicopters-only flight school, resurrecting a format discontinued in the 1990s.

A “small group experiment” starts later this week at the Army’s Fort Rucker, Ala., training base, and contracts are expected to be awarded within the next two weeks for contractor-run helicopter training to begin next month, 19th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills told Air Force Magazine.

The experiment is the first step in Undergraduate Helicopter Training Next, a program to answer the question: “Could you not produce a world-class helicopter pilot by training them exclusively on helicopters? And we believe the answer is yes,” Wills said in a July 30 interview.

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