USAF Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) Pipeline
Phase 1 – Academic Classes and Pre-Flight Training
- Aerospace Physiology, Altitude Chamber Rides + Test
- Ejection Seat / Egress Training, Parachute Landing Falls
- Aircraft Systems Class + Test
Phase 2- Primary Aircraft Training (T-6)
- Approximately 125 hours of flight training instruction, 26 weeks of training
- Purpose: teach students basic flying skills
- Focus: Contact, Instruments, Low Level (Navigation) Formation (2-ship)
- Basic & Advanced Instruments Class + Test
- Mission Planning / Navigation Class + Test
- Aviation Weather Class + Test
Track Select for ENJJPT 2008
- USAF Students do not track select – all USAF students go to T-38s!
- Active duty USAF students go to initial centrifuge training in between phases.
- Track-retrack is in effect for USAF students – this sends some students to another track (heavy/tanker/helo/turboprop) after Phase II
- Students from some NATO nations (non-US) will track select (e.g. Norway)
- Some international students will depart ENJJPT and continue on a heavy track elsewhere
Phase 3 – Advanced Aircraft Training (T-38)
T-38 Talon – Fighter / Bomber Track
- Approximately 135 hours of flight instruction, 26 weeks of training
- Purpose: prepare graduates for fighter / bomber assignments
- Focus: Contact, Instruments/Navigation, Formation-Basic and Advanced (2/4 ship), Low-level (1 & 2 ship)
- Graduates will pick follow on aircraft based on merit and instructor recommendation
Assignment Selection System Process – How do you pick your aircraft?
- At completion of Phase-3 advanced training, students are rank ordered based on merit
- Flying, academic, and military performance scores
- Numbers for each Major Weapon System (MWS) are determined by USAF needs
- Senior National Representative approves assignment.
- Graduates progress to follow-on FTU/RTU specific MWS training
- Students also attend Land Survival, Water Survival, and any other schools required at this time
ENJJPT is located at Sheppard AFB, Texas. The entire course lasts about 55 weeks. Students learn with, and are taught by, U.S. Air Force officers and officers from various air forces of our European allies. Student pilots first fly the T-6 mastering contact, instrument, low-level and formation flying. Next, they strap on the supersonic T-38 and continue building the skills necessary to become a fighter pilot.
The ENJJPT program lasts approximately 55 weeks. After successfully completing ENJJPT, all officers, regardless of nationality, receive their silver U.S. wings and those of their own country and are awarded the aeronautical rating of pilot. They attend follow-on training in their assigned aircraft at various bases around the country.
Nineteenth Air Force also provides follow-on training for most Air Force pilots in their assigned aircraft. Pilots assigned to fighter aircraft complete the introduction to fighter fundamentals course at Sheppard AFB, Texas flying the AT-38B or Moody AFB, Ga., flying the T-38C, and then move on to train in either the F-15C Eagle at Tyndall AFB, Fla., the F-15E Strike Eagle at Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC., the F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke AFB, Ariz., the A-10 Thunderbolt II at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ., the B-52 Stratofortress at Barksdale AFB, LA., or the B-1B Lancer at Dyess AFB, TX. You can also get assigned to become a First Assignment Instructor Pilot in either the T-37 or the T-38. ENJJPT is different from the other UPT bases in that their FAIPS will only be assigned to ENJJPT, and they go through their Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) at ENJJPT.
As of 2008, some ENJJPT pilots are also receiving transport aircraft out of their drop. Additionally, some pilots are also dropping to the U-28 (Pilatus PC-12) AFSOC aircraft right out of Sheppard.
12th Flying Training Wing Headquarters, (better known as “The Taj”) and the missing man monument in the morning sun. (U.S. Air Force photo by Rich McFadden)
If the general public was to perform a Google search for “USAF Pilot Training”, almost all of the search results would be from the four main pilot training bases; Laughlin, Vance, Columbus or Sheppard Air Force Bases. What is often lost in most media that covers pilot training is the instructor training program that makes safely training 1,100 students per year possible.
The backbone of the USAF pilot training program is the Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) program. This program is run by either the 12th Operations Group at Randolph AFB in sunny San Antonio, Texas or by the 80th Operations Groups at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas. Graduates from Randolph AFB will transfer to either Laughlin, Vance or Columbus Air Force Bases. Graduates from Sheppard will stay at Sheppard to teach the specialized Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) syllabus.
Instructors come from a variety of backgrounds ranging from tanker aircraft to fighter aircraft. Additionally , approximately 100 First Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPs) per year attend instructor training immediately after earning their wings as students. Generally, tanker and transport pilots will instruct in the T-1 Jayhawk. Fighter and bomber pilots instruct in the T-38C Talon. Instructors in the T-6 Texan II are from a variety of backgrounds. FAIPs are eligible to instruct in any aircraft that they flew in pilot training.
As you can imagine, teaching qualified aviators from these diverse backgrounds how to instruct the fundamentals of combat aviation safely is a challenging task.
T-38C Talon performing startup procedures
PILOT INSTRUCTOR TRAINING
The task of training instructors is up to the members of the 559th Flying Training Squadron (T-6 Texan IIs), 560th Flying Training Squadron (T-38C Talons), and 99th Flying Training Squadron (T-1A Jayhawks) at Randolph AFB. Sheppard AFB (ENJJPT) conducts their own in-house program to supply instructors to both their T-6 and T-38C squadrons. ENJJPT instructors are from the United States and partner NATO nations. These “instructors of instructors” are as diverse in background as their instructor trainees, and have at least one previous tour teaching undergraduate pilot trainees.
The syllabus that new UPT instructors complete mirrors the program that UPT students complete. However, the emphasis is on effective instruction and timely intervention in situations where safety of flight is an issue. The PIT program is often challenging and usually takes 4 months and around 70-100 flying hours to complete. Each instructor trainee brings unique experiences to the table to teach students. Most will struggle at some point to re-learn an aircraft they had previously mastered as a student. This is a humbling experience for any qualified aviator, to say the least.
After completion of PIT, instructors will arrive at their bases and learn the local flight procedures. Once they complete the local familiarization flights, they will be a fully-trained instructor ready to face any situation a student pilot can throw at him (in theory).
Unfortunately, the PIT program isn’t able to simulate the multitudes of situations an instructor can face. If you ever talk to a UPT instructor over a few drinks, they will be more than happy to tell you why!
Happy July 4th! ’Merica!!
About the Author
J. Kirkbride J. Kirkbride is a former T-6 Instructor Pilot who is completing follow-on fighter training in preparation for his first operational assignment. J.K. can be reached at [email protected]