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Aircrew innovation for emerging Air Force

Mend walk into a building.

Attendees of the 314th Airlift Wing Mobility Air Forces Formal Training Unit enter the 62nd Airlift Squadron building May 15, 2018, on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The summit was designed to be an exchange of ideas and solutions for common problems encountered during air crew training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

Airmen meet each other and prepare for a briefing.

Attendees of the 314th Airlift Wing Mobility Air Forces Formal Training Unit Summit prepare for the first days discussions to begin May 15, 2018, on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Attendees discussed ways to improve current air crew training methods. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

A man speaks to crowd.

Col. Daniel Devoe, 314th Airlift Wing commander, briefs attendees of the 314th Airlift Wing Mobility Air Forces Formal Training Unit Summit May 15, 2018, on Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. The summit was intended to take a new look current air crew training methods and see where they could be improved. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Rhett Isbell)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. --

“The day you stop learning is the day you stop living,” Albert Einstein said.

Since 1947, the Air Force has embraced this concept and continues to improve on its processes becoming faster, sharper and agile each day. Innovation is always at the forefront of its operations and training.

Members from Kirtland Air Force Base, Altus Air Force Base, and Randolph Air Force Base visited Little Rock Air Force Base, May 15-16, 2018, to discuss ways to expedite aircrew training without sacrificing any abilities or skills learned during current curriculum.

“This event is the culmination of a year-long effort by the 62nd Airlift Squadron and the 314th Airlift Wing to study other formal training units and gather their best practices,” said Lt. Col. Aaron Griffith, 415th Special Operations Squadron commander. “Current training is a long process. We’re looking at really innovative ways to get faster and more efficient with our training, so we can produce more aviators for the Air Force.”

The grease in this innovative new training machine, and arguably the most important part, is the building of partnerships between fellow training units.

“What I’d hope to gain moving forward is the value of connection,” said Lt. Col. Jared Paslay, 62nd Airlift Squadron commander. “Some of the individuals who came might not even train within the paradigm of the C-130, but knowing that we all have some similar struggles trying to create a credible aircrew is a big win for us. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.”

One new experimental training initiative that discussed during the summit is Air Education and Training Command’s Pilot Training Next program. This initiative is designed to leverage virtual reality and artificial intelligence technologies to accelerate pilot training without any compromise in quality of aviators being delivered to flying units across the Air Force. Pilot candidates in the program are slated to graduate in late summer before moving on to continue their training Formal Training Units throughout the Air Force, including the 314th Airlift Wing.

“Pilot Training Next is a revolutionary way in training aircrew,” Paslay said. “It is still in beta testing, but I will say that hearing from the sources of Pilot Training Next, I am confident that it is well thought out, well sourced, and there are a lot of brilliant minds working toward a common goal.”

These innovative new programs work toward meeting the new horizon of U.S. Air Force air power with an all-around more efficient and capable air crew.

“Be smarter, leaner and just as effective overall,” Griffith said. “That’s the idea.”

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