HomeNewsArticle Display

IFF: Where fighter pilots begin their careers

Maj. Michael Overstreet, 49th Fighter Training Squadron assistant director of operations, and Maj. Andrea Matesick, 49th Fight Training Squadron weapons system officer, check over a T-38C Talon in preparation for a sortie March 7, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Pilots dedicate a great deal of time and effort to ensure the aircraft is fully prepared for flight and soundly running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Maj. Michael Overstreet, 49th Fighter Training Squadron assistant director of operations, and Maj. Andrea Matesick, 49th Fighter Training Squadron weapons system officer, check over a T-38C Talon in preparation for a sortie March 7, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Pilots dedicate a great deal of time and effort to ensure the aircraft is fully prepared for flight and soundly running. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Maj. Andrew Pence, 49th Fighter Training Squadron instructor pilot, and 2nd Lieutenant Kennan Allen, 49th FTS student pilot, move to the runway to begin flight for a training sortie, March 7, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The 49th FTS holds a high standard in Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals to ensure the pilots that leave the squadron are highly capable of adapting and overcoming challenges when needed with their wingmen in an extremely challenging career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

Maj. Andrew Pence, 49th Fighter Training Squadron instructor pilot, and 2nd Lieutenant Kennan Allen, 49th FTS student pilot, move to the runway to begin flight for a training sortie, March 7, 2019, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. The 49th FTS holds a high standard in Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals to ensure the pilots that leave the squadron are highly capable of adapting and overcoming challenges when needed with their wingmen in an extremely challenging career. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hannah Bean)

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) --

Before pilots step into fighter aircraft, they must go through Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals.


IFF is an eight-week course designed to transform newly graduated pilots selected to fly fighters into fighter wingmen. The 49th Fighter Training Squadron teaches pilots the discipline, attitude and culture of what it takes to be at the peak of combat aviation.


“It’s their first glimpse of the fighter culture,” said Maj. Michael Overstreet, 49th FTS assistant director of operations. “We are a fighter squadron. All of our instructors are fighter pilots. We have a culture that is unique and to our own.”


Before a pilot enters IFF, they must earn their wings by graduating Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, a 53-week course designed to teach students aircraft flight characteristics, emergency procedures, takeoff and landing procedures, aerobatics and formation flying.


To ease the transition into more complex fighter aircraft, such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35A Lightning II, IFF builds upon training learned in SUPT with a focus on the basic fundamentals of tactical aviation in the familiarity of the T-38C Talon.


“We try to help shallow the learning curve from pilot training to that B-course, or formal training,” said Capt. Cole Stegeman, 49th FTS chief of scheduling. “That’s why we use this program as a means of that indoctrination of fighter culture and what it means to be a fighter pilot.”


In addition to learning the basic fundamentals, students are taught how to become better wingmen. As a fighter pilot, you never fly alone. The term ‘wingman’ is not just a phrase, it’s a specific term that means so much more in IFF and carries a lot of responsibility in the world of aviation. Wingmen have the supporting role in the flight. They help the flight lead plan and organize the mission. They have visual lookout and sensor responsibilities and provide backup navigation for the flight as required. Wingmen execute as briefed or when directed by the flight lead and provide mutual support throughout all phases of the mission.


Columbus AFB is one of three Air Education and Training Command bases that train students to become fighter wingmen including Randolph AFB and Sheppard AFB, Texas. Communication and connecting with the other IFF squadrons is vital to ensuring they create pilots who are consistent and high quality.


“The mission of each IFF squadron is closely aligned to produce a high-caliber wingman,” Stegeman said. “We want to make sure that our buddies that are still in those fighter airframes get a good [pilot] they can further mold into a tactical aviator specific to that major weapon system.”


IFF is the first step toward building a mindset designed for the diverse and challenging environments of fighter aviation. As pilots progress through training, they gain self-confidence and develop a respect for the career field’s heritage.

Engage

Twitter
"Multi-capable #Airmen is a series of training events designed to engage Airmen in developing a combat skillset out… https://t.co/7b4VFMb9cm
Twitter
"I'm probably not the first to be qualified, but the first to have the opportunity." @GenCQBrownJr sat down with… https://t.co/vh14QdB6sp
Twitter
#CitizenAirmen from the 30th Aerial Port Squadron & @AFRC_433, loaded supplies onto a C-5 Galaxy, to deliver suppli… https://t.co/MDSVEtQbZm
Twitter
.@59_MDW medics assisted a hospital in #Honduras during Exercise Resolute Sentinel 21, where they performed life-ch… https://t.co/DRGyg4NOhL
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth at today's SAC-D hearing: "Our nation’s competitive strategic advantage relies on air and space superiority…
Twitter
To maintain open lines of communication with #AirForce allies and African partners, CMSgt Brion Blais, @HQUSAFEAFAFhttps://t.co/4nGOtWJnLp
Twitter
“I can help [#Airmen] and prepare them for the challenges they’ll face as NCO’s; everything I’ve encountered has pr… https://t.co/YT3x1UjGFU
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth is speaking now on the future capabilities the Department requires to protect the Nation--including the Gro…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense is asking A/SecAF Roth about investments to modernize the @USAirForce
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth’s comments today while addressing the Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subc…
Twitter
RT @Travis60AMW: An honor to host Ambassador Islam and show our aerial port in real time as #TeamTravis palletized and loaded critical supp…
Twitter
“We’re much stronger when partnering and working together. It’s a partnership and alliance that we need to continue… https://t.co/y7JxcTPlhK
Twitter
.@124FighterWing Tactical Air Control Party #Airmen participated in a field training exercise in Prairie, Idaho. Th… https://t.co/Eg9z61IICI
Twitter
24 students were selected for the inaugural #AimHigh Flight Academy hosted by @usaf_inspire. They will immerse into… https://t.co/2r4OuyxHRW
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,895
Follow Us