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Absorbing and Developing Qualified Fighter Pilots

Absorbing and Developing Qualified Fighter Pilots: The Role of the Advanced Simulator

Richard S. Marken
William W. Taylor
John A. Ausink
Lawrence M. Hanser
C. R. Anderegg
Leslie Wickman
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 90
  • Book Info
    Absorbing and Developing Qualified Fighter Pilots
    Book Description:

    What qualifications determine whether a fighter pilot is experienced? Surveys of expert pilots revealed that, while flying time is an element of the experience needed for both combat and staff jobs, other things are also important. The Air Force needs to measure and credit different types of experience-including time spent in advanced simulator systems-when revising its definitions of pilot experience.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4445-7
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xx)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Operational fighter units must provide the training necessary to turn inexperienced pilots beginning their initial operational assignment in a new weapon system into experienced pilots who can perform the unit’s specific combat mission. This training must also prepare pilots to continue to acquire the skills required to fill rated supervisory and staff positions at the wing level and above.¹ The process of turning pilots new to a weapon system into experienced pilots is calledabsorption.

    The Air Force must manage pilot absorption to achieve two goals. First, it must ensure that pilots new to a unit are able to meet...

  10. CHAPTER TWO The Role of the Operational Training Environment
    (pp. 3-20)

    Operational units provide the resources required for each Air Force weapon system to accomplish its primary mission. For fighter units, this means that aircrews assigned to these units must continually train to develop and maintain their combat capabilities. But operational units also have another important function: They must continue to sustain themselves by turning new pilots into experienced pilots and ensuring that they have the opportunity to continue developing into flight leads, instructor pilots, and supervisors.

    Earlier RAND Corporation work has addressed the degrading effects that low experience (inadequately qualified pilots) and overmanning have in all types of operational fighter...

  11. CHAPTER THREE High-Fidelity Simulators with Mission Training Centers
    (pp. 21-36)

    High-fidelity simulation systems coupled with MTCs incorporate state-of-the-art electronic components, including high-resolution visual graphics and compellingly realistic cockpit components.¹ In air-superiority units, the actual cockpits are located in the MTCs, which also incorporate advanced briefing and debriefing facilities and ACMI-like mission histories that enable pilots to construct and visually deconstruct all the engagements accomplished during a mission and to use recreated cockpit displays and depictions of relative aircraft positions to thoroughly evaluate kill criteria, weapon effectiveness, and individual pilot maneuvering proficiencies and tactical expertise. These systems also incorporate distributed networks that enable aircrews to include a variety of potential threat...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR Experience and Development Surveys
    (pp. 37-54)

    No objective, universally agreed-on method exists for measuring a pilot’s actual level of experience.¹ For one thing, a pilot’s experience may be meaningful only in an appropriate context—for example, anexperienced instructor pilotis clearly distinct from anexperienced pilot. Historically, even pilots who meet the 500-hour RDTM definition do not all reach each the same qualification level at the same time.

    We therefore needed to find out what aspects of a pilot’s training other than flying hours—such as upgrade level and training experience in DMO-capable simulator systems—should be counted in the determination of a pilot’s experience...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 55-58)

    The research described in this report was motivated by concerns about the Air Force’s ability to develop experienced pilots at a rate that not only maintains an appropriate balance of experienced and inexperienced pilots in operational fighter units but also prepares pilots to progress and develop the skills required to fill staff and supervisory positions. The problem of maintaining this balance will always exist in a stressed training environment, especially when experience is defined by a single flying-hour criterion and as long as the process assumes that continued development is assured once the 500-hour criterion is met. This assumption may...

  14. APPENDIX Survey Results from F-16 Pilots at Hill AFB
    (pp. 59-66)
  15. References
    (pp. 67-70)