Scott Air Force Base News

458th AS C-21 Formal Training Unit produces mission-ready pilots for AF

The 458th Airlift Squadron’s C-21A Formal Training Unit is the Air Force’s sole C-21 formal training unit and provides qualified pilots to three major commands: Air Mobility Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and the Air National Guard.
The 458th Airlift Squadron’s C-21A Formal Training Unit is the Air Force’s sole C-21 formal training unit and provides qualified pilots to three major commands: Air Mobility Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, and the Air National Guard.

The 458th Airlift Squadron’s C-21A Formal Training Unit is the United States Air Force’s sole C-21 FTU and provides qualified pilots to three separate commands: Air Mobility Command, U. S. Air Forces in Europe, and the Air National Guard.

The FTU manages five training courses and graduates approximately 60 students over 19 classes per fiscal year. The FTU is scheduled to fly approximately 310 training sorties and 1,000 flight hours per year.

“The purpose of the course is to take pilots who are either straight out of pilot training or transitioning from another Major Weapons System, and train them so they arrive at their units qualified to fly missions in the C-21,” said Maj. Stephen Raham, 458th AS C-21A FTU chief.

Undergraduate pilot training teaches the basics of Airmanship. No matter what aircraft they transition to after that, they use the skills they learned in pilot training as their foundation. The FTU builds on that foundation and is the transition phase into the next aircraft, in this case the C-21.

Maj. Stephen Raham, 458th AS C-21A FTU chief

“Undergraduate pilot training teaches the basics of Airmanship,” Raham added. “No matter what aircraft they transition to after that, they use the skills they learned in pilot training as their foundation. The FTU builds on that foundation and is the transition phase into the next aircraft, in this case the C-21.”

Each course contains two phases, a Simulator Phase, which includes academics and flight simulations in a C-21 Weapon System Trainer, and an FTU Phase, which includes academics and flight training in the aircraft.

Both phases incorporate academic training that includes ground training sessions, examinations, and instructor-based training, along with pre-mission ground briefings. The briefings are conducted prior to both simulator sorties and actual flights, and emphasize the aircraft systems, flight procedure knowledge, and mission operational procedures.

The Simulator Phase provides practice of normal, abnormal, and emergency procedures—including engine failure operations—during multiple approaches and landings in the C-21 Weapons System Trainer.

The FTU Phase includes flight training in a C-21, which provides additional practice with normal and emergency procedures, and crew resource management and systems operation.

The 458th AS FTU manages three main courses: C-21 Pilot Initial Qualification course, C-21 Instructor Aircraft Commander course, and the C-21 Senior Officer course. The courses vary in length and include up to 145 hours of academic training, 28 hours of flight simulations in a WST (seven simulation flights including an evaluation), and 17 hours in the C-21 aircraft, culminating with a flight qualification evaluation.

The 458th AS FTU manages three main courses: C-21 Pilot Initial Qualification course, C-21 Instructor Aircraft Commander course, and the C-21 Senior Officer course. The courses vary in length and include up to 145 hours of academic training, 28 hours of flight simulations in a WST (seven simulation flights including an evaluation), and 17 hours in the C-21 aircraft, culminating with a flight qualification evaluation.

Along with training new C-21 pilots and instructors, the FTU also develops its own cadre of instructors through the Formal Training Unit Instructor Training Program. The program consists of advanced training for the squadron’s most experienced C-21 instructor pilots. There are two phases that include academic training, ground training, flight observations, and flight training, which lead to the Instructor Pilot’s certification to teach all sorties and ground school briefs within the Formal Training Unit.

The 458th AS FTU stays up to date with its training by gathering feedback from the students and from the squadrons to make the appropriate changes, said Maj. Karl Zurbrugg, 458th AS FTU standardization and evaluation chief.

“We are always trying to have the course evolve to ensure we are meeting the needs of the units and the Air Force,” said Zurbrugg. “That is our ultimate goal, to produce pilots who are able to safely accomplish the mission.”

We are always trying to have the course evolve to ensure we are meeting the needs of the units and the Air Force. That is our ultimate goal, to produce pilots who are able to safely accomplish the mission.

Maj. Karl Zurbrugg, 458th AS FTU standardization and evaluation chief

With pilot training being a significant part of Scott Air Force Base’s past, Raham said he appreciates that it is still part of the mission.

“This year is the 100th anniversary of Scott Air Force Base, which was originally built as a pilot training base for the Army Air Corps,” said Raham. “I am very excited and honored to be responsible for carrying on that tradition 100 years later.”

  Comments