A Tenuous Talon-Hold on Pilots

The T-38 Adversary Air Program at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., hopes to begin flying eight sorties a day, up from an average of six, dueling the 1st Fighter Wing’s F-22 Raptors. “We have very limited full-time manning positions [two to be exact] for the T-38 right now—you’re looking at it,” said Col. Derek Wyler, 27th Fighter Squadron director of operations for programs, gesturing to a fellow instructor during a recent interview with the Daily Report. The squadron, which falls under the 1st FW, manages the T-38 program. “We didn’t get any additional bodies to fly T-38s, so we’ve come up with some creative ways to do it,” said Col. Kevin Robbins, 1st FW commander, during a separate interview at the joint base. The program has been drawing on a pool of dual-qualified F-22 pilots, staff pilots from Air Combat Command headquarters at Langley-Eustis, and pilots from the Virginia Air National Guard’s 192nd FW, the 1st FW’s associate unit. With each pilot chipping in an average of five sorties a month “our scheduler’s got a pretty challenging task, but he manages to make it work pretty well,” said Wyler.