1,000th RPA student graduates Published Jan. 23, 2017 By Randy Martin 12th Flying Training Wing JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Lt. Col. Jason Thompson, the 558th Flying Training Squadron commander, presented 2nd Lt. Kevin a certificate commemorating the 1,000th graduate of the Undergraduate Remotely Piloted Aircraft training program at Joint Base San Antonio–Randolph, Jan. 20, 2017. The 558th FTS executes undergraduate instruction for all RPA pilots and sensor operators on their way to assignments in Air Combat Command. “RPAs continue to prove their value to warfighting commanders in the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and kinetic fight,” said Col. Joel Carey, the 12th Flying Training Wing commander. The Air Force called for increased output of qualified RPA pilots in 2015 and the 558th FTS responded by doubling the number of graduates in fiscal year 2017. Over $3 million was invested in infrastructure and training simulators to support the effort and 24 new civilian and military instructors were assigned to the Air Force’s undergraduate RPA schoolhouse. “This is one more milestone of many in the 558th FTS’s history of excellence producing RPA pilots and sensor operators for the Combat Air Forces,” Thompson said.