Team BLAZE triumphs over the competition at 2019 FAIP flag championship

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Columbus Air Force Base sent about 65 pilots to this year’s FAIP Flag competition from Aug. 9-11, hosted at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, New Orleans, where they won overall best performance amongst all the competitions held.

All three of the training aircraft, the T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon and T-1 Jayhawk were used during the flying competition.

Some of the events included “low level, time over target” where the pilots had to fly either a T-6 or T-38 and arrive at a target for their assigned time.

“We need to keep doing this kind of competition because it challenges the instructor force to better themselves and refine their skills as both an aviator and instructor pilot,” said Capt. Gared Chapman, 41st Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot. “It is also a chance to receive valuable mentorship from people you rarely get to see and share flying techniques or stories between others with the same job.”

After graduating from pilot training the newest aviators are given their assigned aircraft but some aviators don’t immediately go to their aircraft, instead they return to trainer aircraft to teach as instructor pilots.

These flyers are termed first assignment instructor pilots, or FAIPs.

As a part of this assignment, the FAIPs are qualified to volunteer for FAIP Flag, previously called FAIPaPalooza.

FAIP Flag is an annual opportunity for FAIPs in Air Education and Training Command (AETC) to connect with each other, and exchange stories and techniques. This year, however, there was an additional element added to the event roster.

This was the first year for pilots who attended to participate in events that showcased their honed flying techniques and proficiency though the means of a competition. They also conducted seminars and discussed character and what it means to be an excellent instructor.

Guest speakers that attended were Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, and Brig. Gen. Matthew Isler, U.S. Air Forces Central Command assistant deputy commander.

Capt. Maxwell Adler, 41st FTS instructor pilot, won the low level time over target competition in a T-6 together with other instructor pilots from the 41st FTS. He said it was an exciting feeling to be able to apply the skills that they have refined over the years to compete and win against so many other pilots.

Another event was the “total runway” where the aim was to position either a T-6 or T-1 aircraft to get the highest number of runway length in order to win.

Pilots also competed in “fluid maneuvering” in the T-6 where the aircraft competed in a simulated fight against each other to see who could take down who in the skies. The team with the least amount of time to get their gun sight on the enemy aircraft won the event.

T-1 pilots competed in simulated aerial refueling and two events hosted all three trainer aircraft in the competitions.

One of the last events was “in the break, time of target” where aircraft had an arrival window to do their overhead pattern with a set amount of time to perform. The final event was a “landing competition” where all the pilots were assessed on their landing skills.