features Bridging the FLIT gap

With the current contracted fighter lead-in training program coming to an end in March 2024, and its replacement not expected to be ready until after 2030, the Air Force is turning to allies to help prepare its future fighter pilots.
Avatar for Chris Thatcher By Chris Thatcher | February 14, 2024

Estimated reading time 1 minute, 25 seconds.

The path to becoming a fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is about to become a much warmer year-round experience.

The RCAF has long been sending pilots for fighter lead-in training (FLIT) to the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program at Sheppard Air Force Base — since 2010 when the multinational program first launched. Each year, one or two selected pilots packed their bags at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and headed south to the warm weather on the Texas-Oklahoma border, rather than north with the rest of the candidate class to 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.

The CT-155 Hawk is the current Fighter Lead-In Trainer to transition fighter pilots to the CF-18 Hornet. Mike Reyno Photo

But what was once considered an exclusive learning opportunity for ab initio fighter training and, according to a former commanding officer of 419 Squadron, an important way to maintain a connection with how other nations conduct FLIT, has now become a vital building block in the RCAF’s fighter pilot progression…

Continue reading this feature in the latest issue of RCAF Today magazine.

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