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First Air Force enlisted pilots solo

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posted on Nov, 8 2016 @ 04:26 PM
The first two enlisted pilots to fly for the US Air Force in 60 years have made their solo flights. Msgt Mike, and Msgt Alex (last names were withheld) flew solo in a DA-20 Katana on November 3rd, from Pueblo Memorial Airport as part of Initial Flight Training. Even though they will be flying unmanned aircraft, the flight training is mandatory for combat system operators, RPA pilots, and manned aircraft pilots. The Enlisted Pilot Initial Class began October 12th, with four enlisted pilots training alongside 20 officers. The training takes a year to complete.

The idea of enlisted RPA pilots has been in the works since 2008, when the Air Force realized they had a shortage of pilots. Each enlisted pilot will replace an officer, allowing more openings for manned aircraft. The Air Force has had a problem with getting pilots to take RPA slots, as they don't consider them true pilots, and they don't accrue experience for after retirement.

After years of debate on whether enlisted airmen should return to the cockpit -- manned or unmanned -- two master sergeants this month achieved the first solo flights since 1961.

The enlisted airmen, only identified by first names Mike and Alex, fulfilled the historic milestone on Nov. 3 after they flew in a DA-20 Katana two-seat, light aircraft over Colorado's Pueblo Memorial Airport as part of the Air Force's Initial Flight Training program, the Air Force said in a release.

The program is mandatory for all manned aircraft pilots, combat systems officers and remotely piloted aircraft pilots, the release said.

The Air Force announced last year it would begin training enlisted airmen to operate the unarmed RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft. Officials in September touted that the Enlisted Pilot Initial Class, or EPIC, would begin on Oct. 12 with four of 12 total students training alongside 20 recently commissioned officers. The training process spans a whole year, the release said.

posted on Nov, 8 2016 @ 05:02 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58 Seems like good management . Probably much more to come ?
The small college near my home trains civilians for commercial reasons ( that is , the graduates will work for Boeing , General Dynamics , Northrop Grumman , etc .


edit on 8-11-2016 by Slakecontagia because: havtakillya

posted on Nov, 8 2016 @ 05:05 PM
a reply to: Slakecontagia

A lot of universities have started offering UAV programs, from designing them to operating them.

posted on Nov, 8 2016 @ 05:11 PM

originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: Slakecontagia

A lot of universities have started offering UAV programs, from designing them to operating them.

Must be an exciting time for the students , at this particular moment in time . At the beginning of something huge ...
I am an old dog in a world of new tricks , but - I try to keep up . Obviously you do ...

posted on Nov, 8 2016 @ 07:36 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

Growing up I always pretended to be a pilot.

On the playground or riding my bike I'd imagine I was flying a F-14 and doing missions, taking off and landing on a carrier.
My whole life I've been very attracted to and interested in aircraft. From military to civilian of all eras.

I know you could guess I geeked out on combat flight sim games like Janes or others (Janes was always my favorite though), but I'll finally admit to the world I've grinded on some civilian aircraft economic strategy games too.

Just a little nostalgia for us there...

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