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How to Become an Air Force Pilot

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Flight School

Flight School: There are only about 1,400 pilot trainee slots available through the Air Education and Training Command based at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. If you’re among the select few, you’ll need to undergo training in two stages.

    • Introductory flight training. The program consists of 25 hours of hands-on flying for ROTC or Officer Training School graduates who don’t already have a civilian pilot’s license. Civilian flight instructors teach the introductory course using a small, single-engine, propeller-driven plane. You must fly solo at least once before you’ve reached the 17th hour of required flying time. You’ll also receive 25 hours of classroom instruction in flight techniques.

    • Specialized undergraduate pilot training. This year-long program consists of 10- to 12-hour days that include classroom instruction, simulator training and flying. You’ll learn basic flight skills common to all military pilots at one of three places: Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi, Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas, or Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Next, you’ll follow one of four advanced training tracks based on your class standing and learn how to fly a specific type of aircraft, such as the T-1 Jayhawk or the T-38 Talon.

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