COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Despite temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, dozens of First Assignment Instructor Pilots gathered to “chill out” at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, for FAIPaPalooza June 23 – 25, 2017.
Several 14th Flying Training Wing T-1A Jayhawk and T-38 Talon FAIPs joined instructors from throughout Air Education and Training Command and beyond to network, build camaraderie and exchange pilot training experiences.
Events included a banquet, golf tournament, piano-burn, river float and lakeside barbeque.
The keynote address was delivered by Gen. Robin Rand, Air Force Global Strike Command Commander and former T-37 FAIP. Rand reminded his audience FAIPs are the engines that drive a pilot training squadron.
“The future of our Air Force depends on your work,” Rand stated, “now more than ever.”
His message encouraged FAIPs to “stay humble … know your heritage … take care of your people … hold the standard … and don’t be afraid to let them see you smile.”
FAIPaPalooza has been an on-again, off-again tradition dating back almost 30 years. Its intent is to gather young instructors from throughout the pilot training bases to discuss aviation topics, meet with senior leadership, foster fellowship, and promote esprit de corps.
One of the features of more recent years has been the invitation of former FAIPs, currently flying various aircraft across the Air Force, to pass advice down to the current generation. This year featured F-16, F-15E, and AT-38 pilots.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of the FAIP Mafia,” said 1st Lt. Harrison Jerrolds, 50th Flying Training Squadron. “Only so many get the opportunity to jump into instructing right out of training. The pilots I met this weekend are some of the most motivated in the Air Force.”
1st Lt. Michael Gonzalez, 14th Operations Support Squadron, added, “Our mission is to produce pilots and these men and women are the best in the biz.”
Special thanks to Col. Thomas Shank and all those at the 47th Flying Training Wing for hosting this year’s FAIPaPalooza. Hook ‘em all.