USAF Calls for Applicants for Program to Help Train New Pilots

Active-duty Airmen interested in becoming rated officers can now apply to train with the Civil Air Patrol and start their paths to becoming pilots.

The Air Force has opened the application window for the Fall 2021 Rated Preparatory Program, the fourth iteration of the approach started in 2019 to help address the service’s pilot shortage.

“The Rated Preparatory Program is a unique opportunity for officers and enlisted,” said Col. John O’Dell, Aircrew Task Force deputy director, in a release. “For anyone who is considering pursuing a career as a rated officer, and wants to gain basic aviation skills to become more competitive, RPP can make a significant difference. The experiences gained in RPP will help members compete at Undergraduate Flying Training boards.”

The last iteration of the program included 40 officers and 20 enlisted Airmen. Those selected complete an online ground course followed by a one-week in-resident course focused on aviation fundamentals, the release states. After that, the participants will get seven to 10 flight hours, ground instruction, and time in a flight simulator.

Participants will train with the Civil Air Patrol wing in Columbus, Ind.

Following completion, officers must still apply to the Undergraduate Flying Training selection board to continue their progress to becoming a USAF pilot. Enlisted personnel need to apply to the U.S. Air Force Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps, or Officer Training Corps to commission.