AMC commander gets first-hand look at UPT 2.5

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. James Bolinger
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – The newly minted pilots of Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 21-08 AU pinned on their wings May 7 with a special guest. 

Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, the Defense Department’s only female four-star general and leader of Air Mobility Command, spoke about the impact of young aviators on agile mobility and combat Air Forces before getting a first-hand look at Vance’s modernized UPT 2.5 curriculum. 

“It’s awe-inspiring to see how the combat and mobility Air Forces are integrating, developing new exercises, and working together to develop dynamic and agile fighting forces for the future battlespace,” said Van Ovost.

Following graduation, Van Ovost learned about the Air Mobility Fundamentals – Flying program and the impact UPT 2.5 has on future pilots who will fly for AMC. 

AMF-F teaches newly winged pilots who are learning to fly the T-1A Jayhawk how to lead a crew aboard the Air Force’s largest birds, which deliver people, cargo and fuel world-wide. 

“Communication and teamwork are the keys to mission success when you are flying alongside three or four other Airmen on a C-17 or KC-46. Learning these skills in UPT will better prepare new flyers to integrate into mobility aircrews,” Van Ovost said. “It’s amazing the technology students have at their fingertips…and it’s only the beginning.” 

The 71st Flying Training Wing is leading the way for the modernization of Air Force pilot training, said Van Ovost. 

“Students are learning things in UPT 2.5 that many pilots in my era didn’t learn until they were flying missions in an operational aircraft,” she said. “Scaling this program, which Team Vance has been piloting for more than a year, is the next step in the evolution of UPT 2.5.”

Van Ovost also spoke with the students and instructors of the Accelerated Path to Wings program, which puts students who already know they will be flying cargo or refueling aircraft straight into the cockpit of the T-1A Jayhawk and skips six months of training in the T-6A Texan II. 

By skipping the T-6 and spending around eight months in the T-1, the Accelerated Path to Wings programs could potentially produce a qualified pilot for the C-130, C-17, C-5, KC-46, KC-130 or KC-10 40% faster than traditional Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training.

“As we speak, our adversaries are eroding our comparative advantages across all domains … and they are doing it faster than we anticipated,” Van Ovost said. “We are working hard to ‘flip the script’ by drastically changing the way we operate.”  

The program is still in its test phases at Vance, but has potential to revolutionize the way the Air Force trains pilots for airlift and aerial refueling, she said. 

“If I could trade places with these young pilots, I would,” Van Ovost said. “It is such an exciting time to be in the Air Force!”