How the Navy is looking to build better flight training students

The U.S. Navy has graduated its first group of students from a new aviation program aimed at better preparing would-be aviators and flight officers for the rigors of the flight training pipeline.

The Naval Introductory Flight Evaluation, or NIFE, program began in September and 33 students graduated from NIFE in mid-October at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, according to a Naval Education and Training Command release.

NIFE replaces the Aviation Preflight Indoctrination and Introductory Flight Screening programs, which had been used for decades to prepare students from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard for primary flight training.


Blue Angels receives first F/A-18E Super Hornet

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, has received first Blue Angels F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft.

On Tuesday, the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron press release said that the first F/A-18E Super Hornet for the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (USNFDS) “Blue Angels” arrived at home base NAS Pensacola (FL).

The Blue Angels are slated to transition to the F/A-18 Super Hornet later this year after using the F/A-18 Hornet for 34 years.


What makes an ideal trainer? Flying the Leonardo TH-119

I remember my first helicopter flight. My instructor gave me control in the hover, and the cockpit was soon a flurry of elbows and knees as I struggled to remain within roughly a cubic mile of sky. Characteristically unstable, learning to hover the CH-139 JetRanger, in which I received my Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) pilot wings, was like learning to swim by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. But, alas, that was a long time ago; technology changes everything.

My recollections of helicopter training came to mind as I arrived at Leonardo Helicopters? modern facilities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Under the Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS) program, the U.S. Navy has invited bids for a new military training helicopter to replace its aged and threadbare Bell TH-57B/C Sea Ranger helicopters; my mission was to help ferry Leonardo?s contender, the TH-119, to the Naval Helicopter Association fly-in in Pensacola, Florida.


‘She is out there somewhere’: Why it’s hard to find a female Blue Angels pilot

While women have consistently broken barriers in military and commercial aviation in recent years, a woman has yet to fly in formation with the elite U.S. Navy Blue Angels. And it won’t happen for at least another year and half.

When the Naval Air Station Pensacola-based team announced officer selections for the 2020 season earlier this week, a female pilot wasn’t on the list. The news means that the soonest a female pilot might be selected to join the elite fighter jet demonstration team would be for the 75th anniversary season in 2021. Experts say there are good reasons a woman hasn’t been chosen for the exclusive group of Navy and Marine Corps aviators. But when it finally happens, they say, it will be history making.


Blue Angels flight surgeon doubles as team’s unofficial photographer

For the last two years, Dr.?Juan Guerra has tended?to the?medical needs of a special group of patients: the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

Thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers have joined Lt. Cmdr. Guerra on his amazing journey, which will end Saturday after the annual Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola.?

Guerra, an Ocala native, became interested in photography as child and continued the hobby through medical school. When he was selected as flight surgeon for the Blue Angels, he asked the public affairs staff if he could share photographs from his travels with the elite flight demonstration squadron.

“It is something that has sort of evolved,” he said of the fan following developed through his hundreds of posts.?