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norskman

UPT Next

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As an instructor currently in the pilot training enterprise, I think it's safe to say that "UPT Next" has enough momentum that it's here to stay.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/rebuilding-the-forge-reshaping-how-the-air-force-trains-fighter-aviators/

That being said, I'm interested in hearing what FTUs and Ops Units are seeing with regard to baseline results. 

 

 

Edited by norskman

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54 minutes ago, norskman said:

As an instructor currently in the pilot training enterprise, I think it's safe to say that "UPT Next" has enough momentum that it's here to stay.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/rebuilding-the-forge-reshaping-how-the-air-force-trains-fighter-aviators/

That being said, I'm interested in hearing what FTUs and Ops Units are seeing with regard to baseline results. 

 

 

Can we baseline against UPT from 6-9 years ago before the fix-to-fix was taken out of the syllabus?

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1 hour ago, norskman said:

As an instructor currently in the pilot training enterprise, I think it's safe to say that "UPT Next" has enough momentum that it's here to stay.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/rebuilding-the-forge-reshaping-how-the-air-force-trains-fighter-aviators

 

 

This article read more like an advertisement for the T-X to me. Does Holmes really think the T-38C is only in IFF and UPT uses A models (or did I mis-read that)? One of his main arguements seemed to be T38A’s are used primarily in training and then Lt Snuffy has to jump right into an F35 with only a few IFF flights in the T38C. 

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1 hour ago, Hermey said:

This article read more like an advertisement for the T-X to me. Does Holmes really think the T-38C is only in IFF and UPT uses A models (or did I mis-read that)? One of his main arguements seemed to be T38A’s are used primarily in training and then Lt Snuffy has to jump right into an F35 with only a few IFF flights in the T38C.  

To be fair, the T38C doesn't really offer much over the T38A in regards to shaping a student to be prepared for anything beyond a Vietnam era fighter.

Also, why would an article entitled "...Reshaping How the Air Force Trains Fighter Aviators" be a surprise that it's an advertisement for the T-X?

Edited by brwwg&b
address article title

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3 hours ago, SurelySerious said:

Can we baseline against UPT from 6-9 years ago before the fix-to-fix was taken out of the syllabus?

I shacked a pencil method direct clearance last week. 

COME AT ME, GHINA!

Edited by JBueno

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As an instructor currently in the pilot training enterprise, I think it's safe to say that "UPT Next" has enough momentum that it's here to stay.
https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/rebuilding-the-forge-reshaping-how-the-air-force-trains-fighter-aviators/
That being said, I'm interested in hearing what FTUs and Ops Units are seeing with regard to baseline results. 
 
 

According to the 19 AF these guys are blowing away their competition at the fighter FTUs. I will ask this, how long can they work outside the rules, with a 1-1 instructor student ratio, and basically unlimited funding? Let’s also add, we took some of the sharpest instructors and vetted all the students before they went there. I’m pretty most had prior time. I know a few went to different bases for phase three. So in a few years here will be a Vance FAIP who did a T-6 top off at Vance and will have no other aircraft under his belt. How will that play out in the FAIP drop? Just some thoughts.


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Never been a UPT instructor but I always hated UPTs system and felt anything could be better. The more and more I recollect on my experience there, the AF never taught me to fly. They handed me a book, a disk full of CDs and a syllabus and I taught myself how to fly, after which my progress was graded by an "instructor." (This is not a knock on IPs, they are great Men and Women who do the best with the tools they are allowed.)

My understanding is UPT NEXT uses new technology in the VR and sim spaces to increase repetitions before students get in the plane. Working off my perception of how UPT was, it makes sense that if you give the students better tools to teach themselves you will get a better product. 

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An interesting article that leads to only 6 months “savings” by the drawings at the end.


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The time to experience savings of six months is interesting, but not the main benefit. BTW - did anyone else notice that the time to experience chart used 4FL as the metric under the current system and 2FL under the proposed T-X system? A bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. There is basically no savings in the time to experience when you look at the time to be a 4FL. The time to create an MR wingman is also longer under the proposed T-X system.

The real benefits from the proposed T-X system are: repurpose some FTU jets to be CC-coded due to lower training bill (increase sq PAA or increase number of ops sqds); ops units focus more on advanced TTPs than building blocks (train for high end fight); greater first ops assignment stability due to longer time on station and less PCSing (QoL).

Of course to gain the benefit of those FTU jets, many would require significant upgrades to be CC-coded.

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19 hours ago, norskman said:

As an instructor currently in the pilot training enterprise, I think it's safe to say that "UPT Next" has enough momentum that it's here to stay.

https://warontherocks.com/2019/01/rebuilding-the-forge-reshaping-how-the-air-force-trains-fighter-aviators/

That being said, I'm interested in hearing what FTUs and Ops Units are seeing with regard to baseline results. 

 

 

That’s a pretty self assured statement, it wouldn’t surprise me if they boarded up the doors tomorrow.

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13 hours ago, FLEA said:

The more and more I recollect on my experience there, the AF never taught me to fly. They handed me a book, a disk full of CDs and a syllabus and I taught myself how to fly, after which my progress was graded by an "instructor."

Valid.  In a lot of ways I also learned a lot from my fellow students that I didn't have the opportunity to learn from IPs because there were 25 of us and 8 of them.  It's a different paradigm than what you got from a PPL where a dedicated CFI flew with you for all of your 40 hours and prepped you and just you (and maybe a couple other students) for your check ride.

I thought the Gen Holmes article is an interesting one.  It brings up issues I didn't realize (or really care about) not being involved with the CAF enterprise.  I hope that this UPT Next experiment is successful in developing more capable fighter pilots.  I think it will.

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14 hours ago, FLEA said:

They handed me a book, a disk full of CDs and a syllabus and I taught myself how to fly, after which my progress was graded by an "instructor."

Wow.  I guess UPT has changed quite a bit since 1989.  This was not my experience (especially since CDs only had music on them at the time 🤣).  Essentially zero time when I showed up.  I seriously doubt I could have "taught myself" much of anything.  I was a quick study and picked it up pretty quickly, but the lightbulb didn't really come on until T-38s.  I sure as hell wouldn't have succeeded without the daily attention and instruction from the IPs in both flavors of trainers.

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15 hours ago, FLEA said:

Never been a UPT instructor but I always hated UPTs system and felt anything could be better. The more and more I recollect on my experience there, the AF never taught me to fly. They handed me a book, a disk full of CDs and a syllabus and I taught myself how to fly, after which my progress was graded by an "instructor." (This is not a knock on IPs, they are great Men and Women who do the best with the tools they are allowed.)

 

20 minutes ago, JeremiahWeed said:

Wow.  I guess UPT has changed quite a bit since 1989.  This was not my experience (especially since CDs only had music on them at the time 🤣).  Essentially zero time when I showed up.  I seriously doubt I could have "taught myself" much of anything.  I was a quick study and picked it up pretty quickly, but the lightbulb didn't really come on until T-38s.  I sure as hell wouldn't have succeeded without the daily attention and instruction from the IPs in both flavors of trainers.

This also sounds different from my experience, no way I could have “taught myself” to fly. However, chair flying and mental rehearsals are always going to be a part of flying training, be it basic stick and rudder or tactical execution. No one sorts 6-9 targets efficiently without getting some instrucor led training, reading on their own, and going through it over and over...on their own before the training event and again after debrief. 

 

You kind of id’d it yourself in your second paragraph, FLEA, at its current implementation the UPT Next is mostly just a different way to chair fly with shiny equipment.

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I think the General's article raises some interesting possibilities to improve UPT.  Better said, I think he is offering some valid ways to improve the transition from UPT to today's modern fighter/attack platforms.

However, I think he's forgetting the basic goal of UPT.  We still need to produce pilots with strong foundational skills in basic aviation before we start giving them extra "toys" to play with.  The problem with making changes to syllabi and training programs in aviation (military or civilian) is the guys making the changes are usually the old guys who were trained one or more "generations" in the past.  They always seem to apply their perspective of how challenging it was to adapt to new technology when most of the time, the young guys do fine.  What’s actually harder is being able to go backward once someone had become proficient with new tech.

I've seen it over and over again.  F-15 FTU syllabus changes to include advanced subjects and tactics that had traditionally been left until arrival at the ops units.  Old guys are highly skeptical and swear the students will flail because when they had to learn the same stuff 10 years into their careers, their ingrained, semi-hardened brains found it a challenge.  Surprise - the students eat the shit up and adapt because they don't know any different and they come out the other end more lethal than their instructors were when they were LTs.  Airline X decides to put new hires into the right seats of the latest Boeing or Airbus wide-bodies because 1 - there aren't any more 727 Engineer seats to stick newbies into and 2 - they need to fill the seats.  Old guys lose their minds again considering the impossible task of learning the ropes at a major airline while getting through right seat training on the modern marvel that is a 21st century airliner with a glass cockpit and all the bells and whistles.  Surprise again - new guys (most anyway) from all kinds of backgrounds deal just fine with all the magic that the old guys stared at like a pig looking at a wristwatch.

My point is that new pilots rarely have difficulty adapting to new technology that reduces workload, enhances SA and allows easier human interface.  But, once you give them those new toys and train them to use and rely on them from day one, they have no ability to retrograde back to more basic methods.  When my airliner computes a descent to hit waypoints at specific speeds and altitudes down track, I do the math and compute my 3:1 descent in my head to make sure the jet's plan is reasonable.  It's just a habit developed before I had all the magic.  A "child of magenta" probably doesn't have that same habit and may not even have the ability to do it.  He's never needed to.  So, when Murphy strikes in that scenario or any number of potential problem areas in civilian or military flying, if a pilot has no old school skills and is completely reliant on technology to do his job, he's less capable - period - dot.

I laughed when I saw the side by side picture of the T-X and F-35 cockpits.  YGBSM.  The fact that both cockpits utilize similar displays and automation isn't going to matter on "Stanley's" UPT sorties when he's trying to figure out how to develop contact flying skills, land out of an overhead, not kill his classmate during a rejoin or shoot an approach to mins.  I guaran-fucking-tee that his first sortie in an F-35 is not going to be any easier because he had a moving map or some other sensor display in his T-X while he was still earning his wings.  Anyone can go from round dial steam gauges that actually required an instrument scan and some mental challenge to maintain positional awareness and overall SA to the latest, greatest glass cockpit.  Going back in the other direction is a far different story.  UPT needs to produce pilots with solid, basic aviation skills.  Skipping over those by handing Stanley a glass cockpit with a moving map, HUD and whatever other toys are available isn't going to do that.  I have no doubt he'll do just fine with them, but there's benefit to learning this job from a basic level first.  You produce pilots who don't just take the information presented to them as gospel and blindly follow it - but have the ability to understand how to back it up, QC it to ensure it makes sense and flex to another option if it doesn't.  I've seen pilots blindly follow steering bars on a flight director into oblivion because that's all they've ever done.  Another is unable to transition to a round dial ADI because they're a HUD baby and it's now tits up.  I watched a guy in the sim completely pork a way an approach because he chose not to use DME to the field, mis-interpreted his NAV display and lost SA on where he was.  A bearing pointer and DME is a beautiful thing if you know how to use them.

My point is that the General's concern seems to be how can we introduce more shit to Stanley sooner so he'll be more familiar with the F-35 or F-22 cockpit if and when he finally gets that far.  I think students will adapt to those environments just fine when the times comes.  There may be an opportunity to help begin their transition later in UPT or during whatever we're going to call the IFF phase.  But not at the expense of creating a generation of pilots who start out from day one completely reliant on the most advanced cockpit we can field.  Maybe the General needs to take a peek at the existing F-15C or A-10 cockpits.  They sure as hell would be about 10 steps backwards for a UPT student who just got winged in an F-X and now has to figure out how to fly round dial steam gauges so he doesn't kill himself on his first ILS to mins.

Anyway..... just my old guy two-cents.  I still see some value in swinging a weighted bat in the on-deck circle before I'm up.

Edited by JeremiahWeed
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Good post.

Good news: the F-15C bubba shooting his first approach to mins has a good number of F-15C hours because ACC loves PWC.

Now...that first approach to 300-1 might be a bitch!


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18 hours ago, TTP said:

 


The time to experience savings of six months is interesting, but not the main benefit. BTW - did anyone else notice that the time to experience chart used 4FL as the metric under the current system and 2FL under the proposed T-X system? A bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. There is basically no savings in the time to experience when you look at the time to be a 4FL. The time to create an MR wingman is also longer under the proposed T-X system.

The real benefits from the proposed T-X system are: repurpose some FTU jets to be CC-coded due to lower training bill (increase sq PAA or increase number of ops sqds); ops units focus more on advanced TTPs than building blocks (train for high end fight); greater first ops assignment stability due to longer time on station and less PCSing (QoL).

Of course to gain the benefit of those FTU jets, many would require significant upgrades to be CC-coded.

 

You mean like changing the whole 500 hrs thing to a flight position? Or is Holmes just moving some goal posts a little closer to make the numbers work? 

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Jeremiah Weed,

 Great post. A lot of truth there.  I experienced a small slice of what your talking about when we transitioned from the 141 to the C-17. The vast majority of my Reserve Bros were Airland only, no tactical, low level, or  airdrop experience. Those guys all rose up to the challenge and did a fine job, despite what many predicted.

  Talking about having some old school skills (3-1 rule, Pencil method) it does come in handy when the “magic” takes a dump. During an AR rendezvous the magic went tits up and my Young Co-Pilot starts pinging about our ARCT timing. I told her to check our ground speed, divide by 60, take that miles per minute number and figure it out. She was amazed, and said, “That’s why I like flying with you old guys, you know all the tricks!” I told her, “it wasn’t a trick, it’s Math.”

  As far as UPT and IP’s not teaching one to fly, I always felt that UPT wasn’t intended to teach us to fly, it was to overload us with data, stress, and pressure to see if we could handle it. After all, half of my class (87-04) had PPL’s and many of those guys washed out. It wasn’t that they couldnt fly, they just couldn’t handle the stress.  I kept my old UPT In-Flight guides, One day I looked at the SIDs, and recoveries and couldn’t believe the complexity and amount of altitude changes etc...they were loading us up intentionally.

 

 

Edited by Vito

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8 hours ago, JeremiahWeed said:

I think the General's article raises some interesting possibilities to improve UPT.  Better said, I think he is offering some valid ways to improve the transition from UPT to today's modern fighter/attack platforms.

However, I think he's forgetting the basic goal of UPT.  We still need to produce pilots with strong foundational skills in basic aviation before we start giving them extra "toys" to play with.  The problem with making changes to syllabi and training programs in aviation (military or civilian) is the guys making the changes are usually the old guys who were trained one or more "generations" in the past.  They always seem to apply their perspective of how challenging it was to adapt to new technology when most of the time, the young guys do fine.  What’s actually harder is being able to go backward once someone had become proficient with new tech.

I've seen it over and over again.  F-15 FTU syllabus changes to include advanced subjects and tactics that had traditionally been left until arrival at the ops units.  Old guys are highly skeptical and swear the students will flail because when they had to learn the same stuff 10 years into their careers, their ingrained, semi-hardened brains found it a challenge.  Surprise - the students eat the shit up and adapt because they don't know any different and they come out the other end more lethal than their instructors were when they were LTs.  Airline X decides to put new hires into the right seats of the latest Boeing or Airbus wide-bodies because 1 - there aren't any more 727 Engineer seats to stick newbies into and 2 - they need to fill the seats.  Old guys lose their minds again considering the impossible task of learning the ropes at a major airline while getting through right seat training on the modern marvel that is a 21st century airliner with a glass cockpit and all the bells and whistles.  Surprise again - new guys (most anyway) from all kinds of backgrounds deal just fine with all the magic that the old guys stared at like a pig looking at a wristwatch.

My point is that new pilots rarely have difficulty adapting to new technology that reduces workload, enhances SA and allows easier human interface.  But, once you give them those new toys and train them to use and rely on them from day one, they have no ability to retrograde back to more basic methods.  When my airliner computes a descent to hit waypoints at specific speeds and altitudes down track, I do the math and compute my 3:1 descent in my head to make sure the jet's plan is reasonable.  It's just a habit developed before I had all the magic.  A "child of magenta" probably doesn't have that same habit and may not even have the ability to do it.  He's never needed to.  So, when Murphy strikes in that scenario or any number of potential problem areas in civilian or military flying, if a pilot has no old school skills and is completely reliant on technology to do his job, he's less capable - period - dot.

I laughed when I saw the side by side picture of the T-X and F-35 cockpits.  YGBSM.  The fact that both cockpits utilize similar displays and automation isn't going to matter on "Stanley's" UPT sorties when he's trying to figure out how to develop contact flying skills, land out of an overhead, not kill his classmate during a rejoin or shoot an approach to mins.  I guaran-fucking-tee that his first sortie in an F-35 is not going to be any easier because he had a moving map or some other sensor display in his T-X while he was still earning his wings.  Anyone can go from round dial steam gauges that actually required an instrument scan and some mental challenge to maintain positional awareness and overall SA to the latest, greatest glass cockpit.  Going back in the other direction is a far different story.  UPT needs to produce pilots with solid, basic aviation skills.  Skipping over those by handing Stanley a glass cockpit with a moving map, HUD and whatever other toys are available isn't going to do that.  I have no doubt he'll do just fine with them, but there's benefit to learning this job from a basic level first.  You produce pilots who don't just take the information presented to them as gospel and blindly follow it - but have the ability to understand how to back it up, QC it to ensure it makes sense and flex to another option if it doesn't.  I've seen pilots blindly follow steering bars on a flight director into oblivion because that's all they've ever done.  Another is unable to transition to a round dial ADI because they're a HUD baby and it's now tits up.  I watched a guy in the sim completely pork a way an approach because he chose not to use DME to the field, mis-interpreted his NAV display and lost SA on where he was.  A bearing pointer and DME is a beautiful thing if you know how to use them.

My point is that the General's concern seems to be how can we introduce more shit to Stanley sooner so he'll be more familiar with the F-35 or F-22 cockpit if and when he finally gets that far.  I think students will adapt to those environments just fine when the times comes.  There may be an opportunity to help begin their transition later in UPT or during whatever we're going to call the IFF phase.  But not at the expense of creating a generation of pilots who start out from day one completely reliant on the most advanced cockpit we can field.  Maybe the General needs to take a peek at the existing F-15C or A-10 cockpits.  They sure as hell would be about 10 steps backwards for a UPT student who just got winged in an F-X and now has to figure out how to fly round dial steam gauges so he doesn't kill himself on his first ILS to mins.

Anyway..... just my old guy two-cents.  I still see some value in swinging a weighted bat in the on-deck circle before I'm up.

This is the reality and perspective of a seasoned pilot and based in experiential-reality, what you're arguing against is leaders who are making an on-paper argument for new toys, technology refresh, and better performance (MX & Ops). How leaders from desks perceive and justify things is and will always be slightly,  or majorly, disconnected from reality (because Execs/Aides dont fly as long or far as a turkey). However Execs/Aides can be good people...they just have a different admin-fight 

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I took the argument more of, the T-X is going to be very easy to fly and we'll cut over half the T-38 syllabus when it transitions to the T-X because you don't have to worry about stubby wings, underpowered compressor stalling engines, and a shitty turn radius.

Therefore, it makes more sense to give the T-X to Fighter Training Squadrons to have wingman learn how to employ it as a weapon right after an IQ check.

Edited by LookieRookie

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9 hours ago, JeremiahWeed said:

But not at the expense of creating a generation of pilots who start out from day one completely reliant on the most advanced cockpit we can field

Spot on post. The new guys are doing just fine going straight to advanced shit (way more advanced than I had at their age). Their airmanship and decision making with degraded systems, shit WX, etc. is lacking. The naturally highly talented guys overcome at a decent rate, but the average guy today is far more dangerous than the average guy 10 years ago, and it takes him much longer to get to a reasonable level where myself and my counterparts across the CAF can finally stop watching the guy like he's going to kill himself or me any second for the entire sortie.

I bet NEXT type stuff will work well to prep guys for advanced mission systems and employment, but their tactical knowledge and capability will rest on a foundation of balsa wood stilts stuck in the sand at Mexico Beach - good luck when that next hurricane hits.

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On 1/30/2019 at 8:01 PM, Hermey said:

This article read more like an advertisement for the T-X to me. Does Holmes really think the T-38C is only in IFF and UPT uses A models (or did I mis-read that)? One of his main arguements seemed to be T38A’s are used primarily in training and then Lt Snuffy has to jump right into an F35 with only a few IFF flights in the T38C. 

I think you're mis-reading.  He's talking about the companion/adversary jets at certain bases (T-38As).  U-2, B-2, and F-22 bases all have these aircraft for different functions (I think it's companion for U-2/B-2 and adversary for F-22).

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So can we get leaders to lead and get buy in through their actions and not by communicating intent through blogs. 

Transform training...copy. We need to do that but don’t forget the aviate navigate communicate stuff that makes pilots compentant and an instructor corps in the squadron that’s focused on the new guys and not arbitrary taskers so they can make those pilots lethal. 

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