You will PCS to NAS Corpus Christi TX, to train in multiengine
turboprop aircraft. This Advanced Phase 3 portion of pilot training is divided into 4 stages.
There are two flying training squadrons, VT-31 flies the T-44 and VT-35
flies the TC-12. The two training squadrons at NAS Corpus Christi
are Joint units with the instructors and student pilots coming from all
services and even some partner nations. You will fly the T-44 or TC-12 in the following stages:
1. Contact / Night Contact Stage
phase is also known as "Fams" - familiarization.
Here you will learn the fundamentals of flight under Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
You will practice take offs, landings, and touch-and-goes. You will
build your confidence as you perfect these maneuvers. Landings are
done in the military overhead traffic pattern - much like what you flew in
Phase 2. Also, you will be practicing simulated
emergency procedures including no flap landings, single-engine patterns
and landings, and simulated engine-out ditching (forced landing over
water). Your contact flights are divided into two portions:
highwork and lowwork. For highwork, you will transition to the
MOAs and perform your maneuvers based on your profile for that day.
For those of you new to Navy flight training, most of the MOAs are
located out over the water in the gulf of Mexico!
You start off with some steep turns, slow flight, approach to stalls.
As before mentioned, you will practice several (simulated) ditching
maneuvers - you simulate preparing the aircraft to perform a stable
forced landing into a body of water. Both the T-44 and TC-12 are
non-centerline thrust, multiengine turboprops that will require accurate
control inputs and strong rudder inputs. Unlike standard Air Force
UPT programs, the joint training here challenges the students in
performing practice EPs in the aircraft - instead of simply during
briefings on the ground. In other words, you will be performing
actual engine shutdowns in the air, flying simulated engine-out
patterns, flying with failed heading and navigation systems, and more!
After proving proficient at these maneuvers, you will advance to a day
"solo" - since the aircraft is mulit-piloted, you and your student
partner will fly without the IP upon completion of your Contact
checkride. Night Contact is next. You will practice VFR
patterns are various transition airfields at night. Additionally,
after the Night Contact stage you will also perform a night "solo".
T-44 Landing Pattern
2. Instrument Stage
Next, you will learn the more advanced procedures of instrument flight.
In the flight simulator,
you will practice a variety of approaches including, VOR, TAC, NDB, LOC,
ILS, and PAR. Your instrument approaches will be practiced while
performing a myriad of Emergency Procedures - such as single-engine
approaches, no-heading approaches, flying partial panel, and with failed
You will apply these skills to the aircraft while flying a variety of
challenging instrument approaches in the local area and all around South
Texas. You will
study both military and civilian (FAR) instrument flight procedures and regulations. Near the end of the instrument stage,
you and an instructor will take the plane cross-country and practice
instrument approaches at unfamiliar fields at a variety of out-of-area
destinations. The Navy allows you to fly the aircraft cross-country
to any airfield CONUS - as far away as Boston and Seattle! While flying in this stage, you will be busy studying
and memorizing instrument procedures, flight rules and regulations, and of
course chairflying instrument flight. The Navy believes strongly in
practicing your training using off-the-shelf flight simulator programs,
specifically Microsoft Flight Simulator. The Navy both at NAS
Corpus Christi and at NAS Whiting, have built a series of
Microsims to allow you to practice
flying and hone your skills.
Following your instrument checkride, you and your student partner get
to take the T-44/C-12 on an IFR solo flight. This sortie is a
great reward to completing the very demanding instrument phase.
You and your partner get to take the plane alone, without supervision,
and go on a cross-country out-and-back. It is a
confidence-building sortie and this is level of freedom is not seen in
the T-1 program.
Low Level Stage
The Low-Level stage of training involves low-level navigation flying.
You will plan and fly various low-level VFR routes. Your training
will emphasize pre-mission planning, chart preparation, and of course
navigation while reading the chart. You will get a
winds forecast, analyze it and calculate how it will affect each leg of
your low-level route. Chart reading, navigation, and time control
are concepts being trained in this stage. Your goal is to identify
and "hit" each turn point and the final point on time and on target.
Additionally, because every student flying T-44s or TC-12s is going to a
C-130, your low-level sorties will also be practicing simulated air
drops. You will learn and practice the same procedures that
tactical airlift aircraft use during their airdrops.
4. Tactical Formation Stage Once you have mastered low-level navigation, you will add the element
of formation flight. In this stage, you will learn and practice
tactical formation low-level flight.
You will fly 2-ship and 3-ship formation with your classmates. Your
formation positions and procedures will mirror those used by tactical
airlift aircraft. Teamwork, communication, and of course smooth
flying is required for successful formation flights. You will get
to practice flying as the lead aircraft as well as a wingman.
During these tactical formation flights you will be navigating the
entire formation through the low-level route to a simulated airdrop.
Tactical airdrop procedures are emphasized to prepare the student for
follow on training in the C-130.
Checkrides are flight evaluations - think of them as mid-term exams.
They count for a huge portion of your grades. Each checkride involves
an evaluation of your flight maneuvers as well as detailed one-on-one
questions and answers session with your evaluator. Generally, a
stressful event, checkrides are flown at the end of each of the above
stages. You will encounter a number of checkrides in the program -
two in Contact, two in Instruments, and a Tac-Form checkride at the end
of the program. At that point, you are ready to proudly receive
your wings! After graduation, USAF pilots will attend the
C-130 Schoolhouse at Little Rock AFB.
A select few ANG/AFRES pilots going to a C-130H2 will train at the
ARB Schoolhouse. Recently, additional aircraft have been added
to the NAS Corpus Christi "Drop". Now, graduating pilots can move
on to fly to U-28, NSAv, and even the UAV.