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AF Instructor Pilot process

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What does it take to become an AF instructor pilot? Do you go to instructor training directly after UPT or do you have to complete some time in a different airplane first? Also, what does it take to be a test pilot? I've already got the Aerospace Engineering degree.

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Guest rotorhead

Each airframe has different requirements (hours) but basically, x hours for copilot to aircraft commander upgrade, then x acft cmdr hours for AC to IP upgrade. There are also other quals within each crew position. For example, in the H60 world, you might be a mission copilot, MC with night water ops qual, AR qual, FCF qual, etc. Similarly, you might be an acft cmdr, vs. mission commander, vs. formation lead, vs. flight lead, etc. etc. Use the search function for "how to be a test pilot."

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Guest rotorhead

Sorry, forgot to add:

None of the above applies to UPT trainer aircraft...hence the FAIP.

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Guest waxgoblin

does a FAIP do classroom teaching only or actually flying in the airplane with the studs, or both?

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Originally posted by waxgoblin:

does a FAIP do classroom teaching only or actually flying in the airplane with the studs, or both?

BOTH. Well, sort of. At UPT the "classroom" instruction is all done by contract instructors (basically retired IPs). The FAIPS (and all IPs) instruct the students in the flight room, but it's not "academics" or "classroom" in the traditional sense (i.e. no written tests on what they teach) [excludes EPQs of course]. FAIPs will also fly with students on a daily basis, proably more than the other IPs in fact.

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Originally posted by sky_king:

What does it take to become an AF instructor pilot? Do you go to instructor training directly after UPT or do you have to complete some time in a different airplane first? Also, what does it take to be a test pilot? I've already got the Aerospace Engineering degree.

sky_king,

Like they say in Top Gun: "Only the best of the best get to come back as instructors."

If you do well at UPT, you can ask your flight commander if it is possible for you to become an instructor (you have to specially request it). If you are lucky and good enough, you may get one of the coveted first-assignment instructor pilot (FAIP) slots out of UPT, but don't be disappointed if you don't get it. If you are selected for a FAIP job, you will go to instructor training (PIT) a few weeks after UPT. It is around a 4 month course. After that, you go back to UPT as an IP. Good luck.

As far as test pilot school, you have to gain some experience in an Air Force aircraft before applying, so you really don't have to worry about looking seriously into it until some time after you get your wings. The only thing you can do before UPT to prepare to be a test pilot is get your engineering degree, which you have.

There is a website on AF test pilot school that explains some of the requirements:

http://www.edwards.af.mil/tps/

Antother thing to consider is Navy test pilot school. A friend of mine was looking into that because he didn't have an engineering degree and the Navy doesn't absolutely require it.

http://www.usntps.navy.mil/

Good luck again.

[ 14. February 2005, 00:37: Message edited by: JS ]

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Originally posted by JS:

If you do well at UPT, you can ask your flight commander if it is possible for you to become an instructor (you have to specially request it). If you are lucky and good enough, you may get one of the coveted first-assignment instructor pilot (FAIP) slots out of UPT

YGBSM

Hilarious. Thanks for making me just about choke on my Cheerios this morning. "You gotta specially request it..." That's laughable, man.

Damn AETC.

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I figured Id let the FAIP Mafia tear into that one first. Now that that has begun -

Its hardly a desireable assignment for all...

As a matter of fact, it was my LAST choice as far as assignments go when it came time to drop. I wasnt the only one who thought that way.

Lots of guys 'want' to FAIP. And lots dont. In my class, the ones who wanted it were the married guys who had settled down and were happy at Laughlin, thought it'd be nice to stay on and fly everyday teaching studs for the next 3 years.

None of our 38 guys wanted it - as is understandable - but 3 FAIP'd. On the TOne side of the house, you pretty much have to say 'Yes, I want to be a FAIP' in order to stay on. Especially for a T-37/ T-6 FAIP slot.

Best of luck, regardless. If you want to FAIP bro, your class will love you for it and make your intensions known early.

For the rest of us, there's a war on, and chicks dig the Air Medal, right?

Chuck

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Well, I'm planning on going to a civilian instructor ticket here sometime soon and figured a military instructor ticket would be a pretty cool deal too. Also, I will be married and it would be nice to be able to stay for a while. Maybe I'll shoot for the FAIP slot...

Thanks for the responses

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Guest goldbar03

The mafia's not a terrible way to go. It's AETC, so that sucks. Most will get bitter because their buds are out picklin and grinnin and here you are, trying to explain for the 48th time that it takes a little more pull off the perch when you're doing your no-flap because blah blah blah as your student nods politely and pretends to care.

In the 38 world, you're somewhere on the totem pole between a student and those guys that that sit and proctor the CAI lab. Tweet world has a few more opportunities for a faip (that true anywhere else other than CBM?)

but you know, when it all boils down, faips do a ton to support the training mission... kinda like the pack horse of the squadron. not reverred but essential.

My class had a big desire to faip -- not really sure why, but every class dynamic is different i suppose.

On the plus side, you're getting your alpha tour out of the way early... but that won't make a difference because i'm just waiting for the word that all faips will be magically AFPC'd into UAV pilots... just to twist the knife a little more.

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SkyKing,

The folks above are talking about FAIPs in particular, NOT all IPs. FAIPs are First Assignment Instructor Pilots (i.e. a kid that graduates pilot training, then immediately returns to pilot training as an IP - having not yet flown anything other than training aircraft.) I was never a FAIP so I cannot interject here...

As far as being an IP later on in your career... I have nothing but great things to say about my time as an IP - granted that was at a Navy base, living on the water, with little or nothing to do with AETC (Air Etcetera). I enjoyed instructing the new guys and had a great time overall. Long live Navy flight school!

[i don't want Sky King to get the wrong impression that all AF IPs are hating life...]

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There's one thing that I do know and that is instructing is definitely NOT for everyone. Thanks for the different view of being a regular IP too. As for becoming an IP what do you do? I'm assuming that you go about your first assignment as whatever you pick (or get as the case may be) and then put down IP as your choice for the next go at it. I'd love to be an IP, especially a T-38 or T-1 IP. It get a joy out of seeing someone 'get it'.

Oh and Baseops, I'm sure you've been told this before but this message board is awesome. You get a check plus from sky_king :D

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Guest HueyPilot

Usually, upon logging at least 100 hours after you are certified as an Aircraft Commander, you're commander will make a recommendation to send you to IP school, and usually you'll go in order that you were certed as an AC (unless deployments, personal factors, etc occurs otherwise).

Realize there are a few "types" of instructor pilots as you can guess from reading the other posts. First and most common is the "line" IP. These guys (and gals) are the ones who accomplish training within a squadron (ie, upgrades, local training, etc). Next is the UPT IP...which obviously is someone who teaches either Phase II or III at a UPT base. UPT IPs can either be FAIPs (who have no previous mil flying experience except UPT itself) or pilots drawn from one of the MWS (major weapon system) aircraft. Next is the FTU IP, which is a Formal Training Unit and teaches pilots how to fly specific MWS aircraft (initial, requal, AC and IP courses).

While not everyone will become an IP, make it your goal to instruct at some phase of your career. It's hard to justify that you've mastered your basic skill (ie pilot) without earning the title of instructor pilot at some point. I've seen some people make Major without ever having been an IP (mostly late-rated types), but it won't help you if you never make IP (or turn IP school down).

Now realize that the following is just my opinion...but if you want to taste what it's like being an IP without being FAIP'ed or having to teach brand new UPT students, I'd go fly C-21s. You'll upgrade to IP within 1 1/2 to 2 years and be a line IP. And you still get to fly (somewhat) operational missions. Plus the C-21 is a pretty slick airplane. I fly Herks now and I love my current job. But the Learjet was a blast to fly for a brand new Lieutenant...nothing like 4 of us flying around Central/South America on a training mission flying a jet that is about as close to a fighter as any AMC aircraft will get you (that thing will climb fast, and it can turn on a dime too).

I'll step down from the soapbox now. But if you have any other specific questions, let me know. As for TPS (Test Pilot School), I can't tell you much because honestly, I never cared to do it. But I'm sure there are those here that do know.

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If you do well at UPT, you can ask your flight commander if it is possible for you to become an instructor (you have to specially request it). If you are lucky and good enough, you may get one of the coveted first-assignment instructor pilot (FAIP) slots out of UPT, but don't be disappointed if you don't get it.
Sorry it took so long for me to see this---

WTFO?

Someone was very misinformed.

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sky_king,

In case you haven't picked up on it yet due to the Top Gun quote and Fury220's response above, my comments about a FAIP being a highly competitive assignment out of UPT was a total joke (and I see that some Tweet FAIPs didn’t pick up on it either….hmmm :confused: ). Generally it is NOT a very desirable assignment, as you will learn in UPT. There are some who do want it as their first or second choices, though (usually married people or people from the local area).

Just as Baseops and HueyPilot have said, there are different types of instructors. You can instruct at UPT at a later time in your career or you can instruct in an operational aircraft like a fighter or airlifter. Usually these types of instructor assignments are more desirable than the first-assignment instructor pilot job.

So don't worry about having your chance to be an instructor in the AF - you are pretty much expected to be an IP at sometime in your career (unless you fly a C-21 and get out of your instructor tour or if you really don't want to be an IP). And by the way, you really don't get an instructor "ticket" like you do in the civilian world. I guess the Air Force really doesn't have "tickets.”

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