by Tech. Sgt. Mike Hammond
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs
10/13/2006 - PUEBLO, Colo. (AETCNS) -- As the first students report for class, Air Education and Training Command will formally usher in a new era in flying training when Initial Flight Screening operations begin at Pueblo Memorial Airport today.
The Initial Flight Screening program evaluates candidates hoping to enter Air Force aviation training either as pilots or combat systems officers. Doss Aviation is the contractor responsible for providing the facilities, flight instruction, aircraft, maintenance, emergency services and more for the program. The Air Force oversees IFS from a quality assurance perspective and also provides the students military training and supervision during the course of their instruction.
IFS is intended to standardize flight screening across the Air Force, according to Lt. Col. John Tomjack, commander of Detachment 1, a geographically separated detachment of the 306th Flying Training Group and the unit providing the military supervision and training to students.
"The IFS program was designed to screen for aviation aptitude but also provide the military rigor and camaraderie missing in some general aviation programs," Colonel Tomjack said. "When we are at full scale operations, approximately 18 months from now, we will be the sole source of flight screening for all Reserve Officer Training Corps and Officer Training School aviation candidates."
Another positive aspect of IFS will be the introduction to military lifestyle provided during training.
"Detachment 1 will prepare the students for the rigors of military life and aviation," Colonel Tomjack said. "IFS graduates will arrive at their Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training assignments better prepared to successfully complete the program."
The first IFS class begins with 15 students today. Within two years, the contract calls for every pilot and CSO candidate to go through IFS, except for Air Force Academy cadets, who train through a similar program at the Academy.