Air Education and Training Command is considering switching from specialized pilot training back to generalized pilot training, Gen. Edward Rice, AETC boss, told reporters on Monday at AFA’s 2013 Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. “We are building something called the flight training master plan,” said Rice. “We’re looking at all of our flight training courses, and we’ll look at future requirements and make adjustments to how we train,” he said. Back in the 1990s, the Air Force had a generalized pilot training course, which pipelined all pilots through the same initial and advanced training. The Air Force then changed to specialized pilot training, where, after basic pilot training, pilots would go through a customized advanced training course specific to the operational aircraft they were intended to fly. There were both advantages and disadvantages to this change, said Rice. With the Air Force growing smaller, the command will consider whether it will change back to generalized pilot training, he said.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.