In an effort to cure the pilot shortage within the Air Force and specifically the Reserve Component, the Air force is implementing a new program called the Civil Path to Wings Program. This program is targeted at civilian pilots who already have experience in aviation, and build off their existing skills to train more Air Force pilots. Accepted candidates with prior commercial aviation experience would enter UPT at one of three points based on the outcome of a Competency Validation conducted by the Air Force. These candidates would either attend UPT 2.5, skip the T-6 syllabus and be inserted into the T-1 track, or attend a fundamentals course prior to their assigned Formal Training Unit (FTU). In any case, these candidates are only eligible to fly crew aircraft within the Mobility Air Forces (MAF), Special Operations Forces (SOF), or Command, Control, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C2ISR) aircraft throughout the Air Force inventory. The hope is that this would be another way to help expedite the pipeline, produce more pilots per year, and decrease training costs while producing more qualified Air Force pilots.
Civil Path to Wings Requirements:
· The basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
Sponsorship by an AFR flying unit.
A current PCSM score. See the Guidebook Section “Pilot Candidate Selection Method.”
Minimum commercial certificate with MEI
Minimum 500 hours total fixed-wing/manned flight time (or an additional 250 hrs after
Minimum ~100 hrs in the last year prior to validation
Maximum possible multi-engine aircraft under IFR in the National Air Space
Qualification determines training:
WELL QUALIFIED, you will be scheduled for an Air Force Initial Flying Class 1 (IFC1) flight physical. Upon certification of your IFC1, you will be scheduled for a CPW class where you will bypass UPT Phase 2 (T-6s) and proceed directly to UPT Phase 3 (T-1s), possibly as early as June 2021.
EXTREMELY WELL QUALIFIED, you will be scheduled for an Air Force Initial Flying Class 1 (IFC1) flight physical. Upon certification of your IFC1, you will be scheduled for the Air Force Fundamentals course (possibly as early as June 2021) and then proceed directly to the Formal Training Unit for your sponsoring unit’s aircraft.
*AFRC UFT Guidebook (Jun, 2022)
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In this class, you will learn what it takes to get a pilot slot in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. What many people don't know is that there is another component to the Air Force besides Active Duty. In fact, the Guard/ Reserve is the best-kept secret in aviation, because nobody knows that you get to pick the location and the aircraft you want to fly even before signing on the dotted line.
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Learn about the different ways to become a military pilot (Active Duty, Air National Guard, or Air Force Reserve).
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During Undergraduate Pilot Training, there are a few things you should acquire that will make your life easier in an otherwise very difficult environment. I have listed a few of the items I recommend new student pilots acquire prior to attending UPT.
Deluxe Pen Loop
I am often asked if I have any recommendations for books or movies that would help gain a clearer picture of what it's like to be a military pilot. When I started my journey of becoming a fighter pilot, there were two sources that I found beneficial to understanding the past and present of military aviation. Focusing on the fighter community, I would highly suggest everyone read, Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary ACE Robin Olds.
This book is instrumental in understanding the foundation of the modern-day fighter pilot. Robin Olds is a triple ace, who achieved a combined total of 16 victories in WWII and the Vietnam War.
This short film depicts an F-15C fighter pilot who is participating in his very first Red Flag. Red Flag is an international training exercise for air forces of allied countries, many of the world's best pilots meet for the most challenging flying of their career. Red Flag is the final training for pilots and their aircrew before being sent into actual combat.