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Old 29th November 2012
baileyx3 baileyx3 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 14
Default Air Force UPT

Could someone please tell me about UPT? Like, how long does it last, etc? Thanks!
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Old 29th November 2012
Stealth_81's Avatar
Stealth_81 Stealth_81 is online now
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Darboy, WI
Posts: 1,036

Son is currently in Air Force UPT so I'll give you my best description of what I've seen:

UPT itself is 54 weeks long. It is divided into three phases.

Phase I is academics and lasts about 6 weeks. You will have academic classes all through UPT, but this first phase is all academics and no flying. All exams are graded and will be added to your comprehensive score for UPT.

Phase II is training in the T-6A Texan II. You will have different parts of this training starting with a contact phase to become familiar with the aircraft. Then you will have your solo, followed by manuevering, instrument, and formation training. Each flight is graded by an instructor pilot and added to your overall score, along with academic tests that continue through the phase. After each section you will have a check ride with an instructor pilot and these flights are graded and weigh heavily in your overall score. Sometimes you will not fly for 2 or 3 days, sometimes you will fly twice or even three times a day depending on flight schedules and aircraft availability. However, you will still report to the squadron every day and stay about 12 hours. If you're not flying you will be studying or helping out in the squadron. Most of your flights will be local, but there will be a couple of 'Cross Country" flights that will take a couple of days and will involve landing at several unfamiliar airports on the way. Phase II lasts about 5 months. At the end of Phase II, all of the students will put in their choices for which aircraft they want to fly for Phase III. Based on their choices and overall scores so far in UPT they will be assigned to the T-38C (fighter/bomber track), the T-1 (tanker/transport track), or the UH-1 (helicopter track). From what I have seen in each class of 25 there are about 6 to 7 T-38C, 1 helicopter, and the balance (15 to 17) T-1s. A lot of the time, one or two of the T-38C slots are given to International students who are sent by their own countries to train with the US pilots. In son's class, there are two Saudis in the T-38s.

Phase III starts immediately after track select with a couple of weeks in academics for everyone to learn their new aircraft. Then everything starts all over like phase II with the contact, solo, etc. You are still all in the same class, but some are flying different aircraft. (The helicopter guys actually go to Ft. Rucker in Alabama for phase III). After another 5-6 months in Phase III you will gradaute and get your wings. You will then be assigned to whichever plane you will fly for your Air Force career, based on your dream sheet and your overall UPT score.

That is the schedule for actual UPT. The overall timeline for pilot training is much longer because of other training that needs to be done such as IFS. There is also time in between reporting to your training base and actually starting UPT. For a real timeline of how it can go, here is how it has worked for my son (so far):

May 2011 - Graduate USAFA
July 2011 - Report to Laughlin AFB - Casual status working in the base command post.
November/December 2011 - Report to IFS in Pueblo, Colorado for 5 weeks.
Dec 2011 - Back to Laughlin AFB - Casual
January 2012 - Start UPT
July 2012 - Track Select/Start T-38C Phase III
February 2013 - Assignment night - get airframe/Graduation
April/May 2013(?) - SERE and Water Survival training
June or July 2013(?) - Report to Formal Training Unit for 6-12 months of additional training depending on airframe.
January 2014 to July 2014(?) - Mission Ready Pilot.

I am sure some of the others can add to this, but that's what I have seen.


Last edited by Stealth_81; 29th November 2012 at 03:28 AM.
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Old 29th November 2012
Flyboy522 Flyboy522 is offline
USAFA 1986
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Columbus, NJ
Posts: 44

Stealth has a pretty comprehensive post -- nothing much to add! Spent time as a T-38 instructor and as a T-37 Pilot Instructor Training Instructor at Randolph -- finished that tour as the T-6 Texan II was coming on-line -- would have loved to have flown that airplane. It'll be a memorable fire hose kinda year! There's nothing quite like getting thrown into the tank and dragged through the mud after your initial solo or having your first trainee throw up all over the cockpit after becoming an instructor. Good luck! I remember when the T-37 was the primary trainer and we had to haul our parachutes on our backs to the airplane (don't think that is necessary in the T-6 Texan II) and back. One of my first flights I was walking back into the chute shop and my instructor looked over at me and said "son you might fly like *&^%, but a least you can look cool -- connect those parachute straps (i.e. don't let them dangle). Keep a positive attitude even when everything seems out of control -- at some point during the year you may reach that point -- and you'll persevere and get your wings.
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Old 29th November 2012
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hornetguy hornetguy is offline
USAFA Alumnus
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Laughlin AFB, TX
Posts: 2,166

My personal favorites for info:


USAFA Class of 2010
Laughlin AFB

Air Force Waiver Guide --> Save as it is a big file. This explains every waiver, the stats, and who can get one for aircrew and missile career fields. This is NOT DoDMERB but it will tell you if a DoDMERB waiverable condition is duty limiting/restricting on active duty. Many aircrew standards are higher than DoDMERB.
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Old 2nd December 2012
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raimius raimius is offline
USAFA Alumnus
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: DC
Posts: 1,890

Most of it has been covered. I did a couple blog posts on it here: http://www.usafacommunity.com/forum/blogs/raimius/
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Old 14th December 2012
baileyx3 baileyx3 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 14

Thanks everyone. I'm actually not in UPT, but long story short: I'm "talking to" a lieutenant who is. So, from what everyone has so graciously replied, he'll be really, really busy all of the time and I'll barely have time to talk to him.
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