Most people are now aware that Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) is the #1 cause of fatalities in civilian aviation. Clearly, the threat of aircraft upsets are significant for civilians and need our full attention. However, let’s also consider the missions government aviation departments are involved in, such as U.S. Army fixed-wing pilots.
Many Army missions involve transporting personnel between distant destinations in much the same manner that corporate pilots do. In most cases this involves the same aircraft their civilian counterparts use, such as the King Air (C-12), Citation V (UC-35), and the Gulfstream GIV (C-20). However, even for these common aircraft types, the places the military might go and the missions they perform can be non-standard operating within higher threat operating environments by comparison to the civilian world.
Then there are the unique platforms and special variants that the U.S. Army flies—modified aircraft with bumps and bulges, blisters and antenna, that generally add weight and drag for sensors and other classified activities of special mission aircraft. Some of these aircraft include the RC-12 and MC-12 variants of the King Air, modified De Havilland Dash 7s and other aircraft designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) or other missions.
These aircraft are not simply going from Point A to Point B. They are often operating at slow, loitering speeds to save fuel and extend their time on station — often orbiting at speeds close to their best single engine climb speeds (blue line), over mountains, at night, monitoring multiple frequencies, and coordinating activity with multiple other aircraft and troops on the ground, sometimes in contact with the enemy. The term “enemy” means this operations take place in regions where these aircrew would not be welcome by some of the local population if things got ugly.
Simply put, the Army operates in flight conditions that increase exposure to undesired aircraft states and unexpected aircraft events which can lead to LOC-I. Unfortunately, this threat is not merely hypothetical, with two MC-12 aircraft lost to fatal LOC-I accidents in Afghanistan in recent years, and many other documented upset events.
In response to the demonstrated threat, U.S. Army Aviators are provided with the necessary skills to prevent and recover from impending or escalating aircraft upsets. In the past, this additional training was nominally provided during fixed-wing transition training in the form of aerobatic training. However, many Army units felt that this basic introduction (two flights) with focus on aerobatics, only incidentally related to airplane upset mitigation and skills, was inadequate for what they may have to face in an unanticipated airplane upset and sought out specialized training in upset recovery from APS.
Many individual Army units have received training with APS over the years which established a reputation within the Army for APS professionalism and effectiveness. When the Army recently updated training for Army Aviators transitioning from helicopters to fixed-wing aircraft, APS was selected as part of the contractor team to provide comprehensive Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) as a part of the overall transition training package. This training is performed in the Grob 120TP, an exciting retractable gear, 450 HP turboprop aircraft capable of all-attitude, all-envelope, aerobatic flight.
At this time, APS is looking for additional advanced instructors interested in providing this important training for Army Aviators. If you are a pilot with a Certificated Flight Instructor rating, who has experience in the all-attitude/all-envelope flying necessary for the delivery of UPRT, you may be qualified to work with us as an Advanced UPRT Instructor. If you are not, but know a pilot that could be interested in this challenging opportunity, please let them know and refer them to this link: apstraining.com/dothaninstructorjob
APS is helping Army Aviators receive the training they deserve to safely fulfill the missions they perform for us. If you think you would be interested in working with a company whose purpose is to help pilots bring everyone home safely, give us a call, or visit our website.