‘Accelerated Path to Wings’ Graduates First Class of Pilots

Air Education and Training Command’s “Accelerated Path to Wings” program graduated its first-ever class of undergraduate pilots at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, on March 12.

The program, also dubbed XPW, produces pilots in approximately seven months—five months shorter than typical undergraduate pilot training—and lets student pilots stick to a single aircraft, according to an AETC release.

Instead of learning how to fly both the T-6A Texan II and the T-1 Jayhawk like traditional undergraduate pilot training requires, XPW students start with classroom training, then proceed to the 12th Training Squadron’s simulator branch, the release said. 

There, students practice flying the Jayhawk until they become “proficient in all the required training that will be carried into the aircraft,” Jack Burns, T-1 Academics & Simulation Branch supervisor, explained in a March 3 video about the program.

“Once they get through a certain level of simulator training, they are now opted to go fly in the T-1 with the 99th [Flying Training Squadron],” he says in the video.


Video: Benjamin Faske/12th Flying Training Wing

XPW looks to target “civilian-rated USAF officers or cadets who want to become Air Force pilots,” Air Force Magazine reported last September.

“We had students from various backgrounds, including five who had completed their initial flight training and two who had earned their private pilot’s license,” 99th Flying Training Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Eric Peterson said in the release. “This is a great program for students who want to go fly heavy aircraft in Air Mobility Command, or who want to go fly certain aircraft in special operations or in Air Combat Command.”