Undergraduate Individual Aircraft Design Competition
Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft
Due to the age of the T-38C fleet and changing needs for trainer aircraft to support modern combat aircraft like the F-22, the Air Force hopes to field an Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft (APTA) in the next 10 years. This trainer will have the capability to train pilots in the skills they need to transition to operational aircraft. APTA must be a suitable platform to train pilots in basic aircraft control, airmanship, formation, instrument flying, navigation, air-to-air and air-to-ground employment, and advanced crew/cockpit resource management.
In addition to conventional pilot training there are five fighter flying training requirements that lend themselves to two-seat instruction prior to students performing them solo. These are sustained high-g operations, air-refueling, night vision imaging systems operations, air-to-air intercepts, and data-link operations. Currently, since there are no two-seat F-22s or F-35s, these training tasks are accomplished in two-seat F-16s. The APTA will need to have performance and systems capabilities to allow it to take over these training functions as the F-16 fleet retires. Note that air-refueling training capability only requires a receiver mechanism for standard Air Force flying boom refueling. It is not required to actually transfer fuel, so no internal refueling plumbing is required.