C-17 Pilot Training

U.S. Air Force Pilots flying the C-17 go through over 2 years of training to become a fully qualified pilot. Their training starts with 1 year of initial flight training at Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) in of the USAF’s primary training bases. These bases are located in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. The training consists of academic training, 6 months of initial flight skills training in a T-6 aircraft, and then 6 months in the T-1 trainer.

Initial C-17 Training

After completing SUPT, pilots attend 6 months of speciality C-17 training at Altus AFB in Altus, Oklahoma. The coursework includes an intensive academic, simulator and flight training. Pilots learn to fly the aircraft in a number of tactical mission capabilities, including low-level flying, Night Vision Google (NVG) training, short-field Assault Landings, and tactical flight into hostile combat environments. After completing training at Altus AFB, pilots can operate as co-pilots on real-world global missions.

Aircraft Commander

Upon graduating initial C-17 training, pilots are assigned to a military base that operates C-17s. They typically fly for 2-3 years as a copilot and then upgrade to Aircraft Commander, similar to a Captain in the airlines, and assume responsibility for the crew and aircraft.

Instructor Pilot

Pilots upgrade to become Instructor Pilots by attending a 4 month training course at Altus AFB. The course trains pilots on how to teach newer pilots on C-17 capabilities.

Evaluator Pilot

Some pilots will upgrade to speciality role called an Evaluator Pilot (EP). The EPs are responsible for evaluating pilots during regular checkrides. Typically, a C-17 will go through 2 annual checkrides where they are evaluated on their proficiency to fly C-17s during instrument and mission situations.