Perspective: UPT Operations

When I went through UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) in 1970/71, we had 11 pilot training bases.  In the late ’60’s, early ’70’s, we were producing around 2,500 pilots per year.  With a “wash-out” rate of nearly 50%, that meant taking in around 5,000 new applicants.

I came back to the Training Command in 1975, as a T-38 IP at Vance AFB, OK.  By then, with the Vietnam War all but over, we were still producing pilots at a good rate.   In our squadron we were flying about 80 to 90 to 100 sorties (missions) per day, usually from dawn to dusk.

Our takeoffs were spaced at 3-minute intervals, and they were “firm.”  This means, you make your assigned takeoff time.  For either two-ship, or four-ship formation rides, we used consecutive takeoff times.  That helped smooth out any anomalies that developed throughout the day with late takeoffs…

In the 4 years I was at Vance, we did not lose anyone in an aircraft accident.  This is quite remarkable when you think that about half of our sorties were flown by solo students.  And, at any given time, we could have 7 or 8 aircraft in our traffic pattern.  As a former Runway Supervisory Unit Controller, it could get “dicey” out there at times!

I reflect upon the pace of our operations, day in and day out, then I see the slugs in the “occupy movements,” and I just shake my head…

This entry was posted in The Book, USAF and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.