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.


With airlines lagging, Army looking to bring former aviators back

FORT RUCKER, Ala. — With airlines running a reduced flight schedule and generally not hiring, the Army is open to accepting former aviators and crew members back into the service, according to the Army’s command chief warrant officer for the aviation branch.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jon Koziol appeared on a Facebook livestream Wednesday evening from Fort Rucker, Alabama, and explained the opportunities to those tuning into the page for the Rotary to Airline Group, known as RTAG, founded to help veterans transition to the airline industry.


Cracking the ?da Vinci? code: Virtual reality accelerates helicopter aviator training

Aspiring Air Force helicopter pilots are now learning to fly using virtual reality ? and the first class to do so just graduated six weeks ahead of schedule.

The first six students to take part in the experimental VR-augmented training program ? called Rotary Wing Next and nicknamed ?Project da Vinci” after the famed inventor ? graduated at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Oct. 11, Air Education and Training Command said in release that day.

Ultimately, the Air Force hopes to cut its vertical-lift aviator training from 28 weeks to 14 weeks, and to double the number of students it produces each year from 60 to 120, without adding more aircraft or flying hours.


What squadron will the future attack recon helo call home?

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. Army aviation branch is considering whether the future attack reconnaissance aircraft ? expected to be fielded in 2030 ? would be housed in cavalry squadrons in lieu of attack reconnaissance squadrons, according to the Army Aviation Center of Excellence commander at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

?The Army is looking at whether or not we have a requirement to build reconnaissance and security capabilities into the corps and division level and, if we do, I believe those would include aviation and that could mean FARA is included in those formations, but it is way too early to determine that.? Maj. Gen. David Francis said in a statement.


Airbus delivers 200th UH-72A to Army Aviation Center of Excellence

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the 200th UH-72A Lakota for training operations with the Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker, Alabama. The aircraft represents the company?s 440th Lakota delivery since the program began in 2006, sustaining one of the Department of Defense?s only on-time, on-cost and on-quality Acquisition Category 1 (ACAT 1) programs over the last decade.

Airbus?s partnership with the Army has allowed for the training of nearly 1,500 military student pilots while also providing the U.S. National Guard with a versatile rotary-wing capability suitable for counter-narcotic, border security and disaster response missions.


Army aviation professionals share lessons learned

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas ? Amidst the cooling weather by the bay, the Army Aviation Association of America hosted the 14th Luther G. Jones Army Aviation Depot Forum at the Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, Corpus Christi, Oct. 24-25.

Hundreds of aviation professionals, national and local officials, military members, industry leaders, retirees and enthusiasts, were on hand to network, and enhance awareness and efficiencies in the field of Army aviation and maintenance.

The forum, named after the former Corpus Christi commander and Corpus Christi mayor, entertained dozens of speakers, panel members and sponsor booths, all focused on this year?s theme ?CCAD: The Cornerstone of Aviation Readiness.?