The Air Force has formed a pilot training headquarters in Kaohsiung. The new unit will take over all pilot training duties, which were previously managed by the 7th Flight Training Wing. The shift comes amid big changes to the military’s fleet composition, with the introduction of Brave Eagles and upgraded F-16s.

Three Brave Eagle jet trainers soar over the Air Force Academy. They are followed by three AT-3 Tzu Chungs, the mainstay of pilot training in Taiwan. The air show marked the inauguration of the Air Force’s new pilot training command.

Yang Kai-an
FTV reporter
The command was officially formed on Dec. 1 and is based at the Air Force Academy in Kaohsiung’s Gangshan Base. It will become an important hub for pilot training.

President Tsai Ing-wen attended the inauguration ceremony and reviewed the three trainer models currently in use: the T-34C, the AT-3, and the Brave Eagle.

Tsai Ing-wen
In the future, Air Force Academy graduates can proceed to the pilot training command and then quickly begin careers as combat pilots. In face of complex geopolitical changes, our pilots have a strong sense of mission to defend our country. The pilot training command and the Air Force Academy are both headquartered at Gangshan Base. I hope the two units will help each other enhance training.

Previously, the Air Force’s 7th Flight Training Wing was in charge of training. But with the arrival of Brave Eagle jet trainers, upgraded F-16s, and new F-16Vs purchased from the U.S., the wing is transitioning to focus on combat missions. Training will be managed fully by the pilot training command.

Wang Tzu-hung
Flight training officer
Instead of training them on three aircraft models, we will just use two. The trainees will have one fewer model in their training, accelerating the program. They can more quickly master the main aircraft models, and learn all the combat techniques and flight skills.

Huang Wen-hsuan
Flight training officer
Instructors will be trained so that they teach both units. They will all be qualified in that respect. For one thing, this allows greater flexibility in instructor deployment. For another, this improves the training of the instructors themselves.

Yang Kai-an
FTV reporter
The old F-5Es and AT-3s will soon be decommissioned. And starting next year, Taiwan will receive its first F-16Vs purchased from the U.S. With more Brave Eagle jet trainers in the pipeline, Taiwan’s Air Force is marking the start of a new chapter.

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