U.S. Air Force Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Undergraduate Pilot Training Instructor pilots (IP) developed a new syllabus to improve the quality of flight training. The new education program gives squadron commanders the ability to refine training to better meet the needs of individual students.

The team's first change involved downloading generic aviation fundamentals at an earlier point in Introduction to Flying Training and eliminating redundant academics and training. The IPs loaded all simulators into a simulator instrument phase with a simulator checkride before moving on to the flightline. The checkride focuses on basic aircraft control and local-area instrument procedures in preparation for what pilots will see in the aircraft.

The more robust simulator training will let instructors combine the previous aircraft contact and instrument phases into a single phase of training called transition. "This alone will accelerate training timelines and negate the need to fly additional sorties to regain flying proficiencies after a break in training," says Lt. Col. Tracy A. Schmidt, 71st Operations Group standardization and evaluations chief at Vance AFB, Oklahoma. "The proposed syllabi design also puts students in the cockpit with significantly more proficiency than they had in the past, which allows them to multi-task and prepare for and execute a more robust complement of mission sets much earlier in the flight training, as well as helps the instructor corps to identify talent and specific skillsets sooner. This allows the students to select their follow-on training track earlier in the program, and allows the Air force to produce better focused skillsets and aviators."

In the past, students went back and forth from the simulators to the flightline. The new syllabus moved 11 simulators that had been previously spread out over a three-to-four-month timeframe, into a single block of training prior to the first flight in the aircraft.

One of the tenets of the new curriculum is that students will be able to proficiency advance, based on performance. This means that individual students may be able to complete the course faster or slower than the planned norm. The formal course length will not change, but the length of time a given student spends in the course could change. Syllabus changes are expected to decrease the time required to train from 54 to 49 weeks, once the new training program is fully implemented.

Another change to curriculum comes with the timing for the announcement of the student's future assignment to a specific airframe, which is referred to as a student's track. The track assignment is expected to be made a few weeks earlier.