Military Matters: Preparing Future Pilots

Military Matters: Preparing Future Pilots

Did you know that NAS Kingsville has one of only two tactical jet training schools in the US? In our Military Matters report, Alan Holt jumps into the cockpit of a jet simulator to see if he has what it takes to be a Navy pilot!

Forrest Patton, Dir of Academic Training at NAS Kingsville said, "I don't think there is a pilot around that can tell you he would not be alive, if it wasn't for luck."

But luck is the residue of preparation and preparation is exactly what student pilots get at tactical jet training school at NAS Kingsville.

Patton said, "all of our instructors are prior military. and all of them prior pilots."

That treasure trove of knowledge is passed on to budding Navy pilots coming to Kingsville, some with little or no flying experience.

Lt. Bernie Lutz, an instructor pilot said, "initially some very rough flights. Some kind of hair raising, eye brow raising instances. and by the end, you have a typically some pretty competent and proficient pilots. It's pretty awesome to watch over the year long transformation."

The year long training includes 200 hours of ground training, 150 of flight time, and 100 hours in a jet simulator.

"this is a mock up of the actual cockpit. So you can see we have all the same controls we have in there. From the stick and throttle, to the radios, and even the hook over there."

I wanted a taste of what it took to fly. It looked like fun, so I climbed into the simulator and attempted to land on an aircraft carrier. Almost made it but it was no problem for the lieutenant. He even showed off a little over the Corpus Christi Bayfront.

Passing knowledge on to future generations of Navy pilots is something instructors in Kingsville pride themselves on.

Patton said, "I have a special briefing I give students. It's not part of the curriculum. It's totally outside of the curriculum and I cant teach it as part of the curriculum. But it is a combination of over 40 years in aviation. Things that I have come up with. things like how to do a 20 knot roll in any aircraft they ever fly. I will teach them how to land a 747, with all the engines out, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and walk away from it.>

Passing knowledge on to future generations of Navy pilots is something instructors in Kingsville pride themselves on.

"The most important thing we do is teach the pilots how to think inside the airplanes."


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