Written by admin on Friday, November 23rd, 2012
We have now officially earned our Wings of Gold and completed a rigorous training curriculum, what happens next? Our journey is over right? We’ve done everything and now we’ve official become a Naval Aviator but we have one more challenge to become a Navy combat jet pilot.
After selection to fly the FA-18A+/C Hornet, FA-18E/F Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler or EA-6B Prowler the newly winged aviators begin training at the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) in their respective training squadrons. The Hornet FRS is located at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia and the Super Hornet FRS is located at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California as well as Oceana. Both the Growler and Prowler FRS training is conducted at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.
The winged students start their training with ground school then transition to learning how to fly the aircraft in simulator devices. The simulators attempt to immerse students into the environment of flying the actual aircraft complete with all systems and weapons that they are expected to learn. From software that is representative of the software they’ll fly in the jet to missiles and bombs, the simulators are high fidelity devices engineered to mimic everything that pilots will encounter in flight.
After a thorough understanding of the aircraft from both ground school and simulators, the students finally get a chance to fly in a combat jet aircraft with an instructor in the backseat. The flight consists of basic procedures review, airmanship, aerobatics, navigation and basic familiarity with the jet. The flights continue from there with more introductions to the flight handling characteristics of the jet and an understanding of the weapons and sensors that make the aircraft combat capable. Eventually they’ll learn basic formation flying, navigation, night flying, bombing, radar intercepts, Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) and finally, carrier landing practicing. Carrier landings take on a new level of importance as students must complete night carrier landings. Night carrier landings will certainly test the new skills of the students and will be a discipline that they must master in order to be a fleet jet pilot. Challenging but necessary, the night carrier landings represent the culmination of a long and stressful training track.
After completing their FRS training, students are assigned a fleet squadron and begin to integrate into squadron life and continue learning their skills. Learning never ends but they are officially a Navy combat jet pilot.
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