The primary mission of TRAWING FIVE (TW-5) is to administer and coordinate the flight training of Student Military Aviators (SMAs) and to provide liaison between the Wing’s training squadrons and the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA). The TW-5 staff implements the CNATRA approved flight and academic syllabus, oversees the flight instructor standardization training program, coordinates intra-squadron student loads and assignments, controls Marine Corps instructor strength and assignment within the Wing, and monitors aircraft maintenance activities.
TW-5 is located 5 miles north of Milton, Florida on board Naval Air Station Whiting Field. The Wing is comprised of three primary fixed-wing and three advanced helicopter squadrons and trains aviators from the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and allied nations. TW-5 is responsible for an estimated 43 percent of the Chief of Naval Air Training Command's total flight time and over 11 percent of Navy and Marine Corps' flight time world-wide. Over 1,200 personnel complete their essential flight training here annually. We pride ourselves on producing the finest Naval Aviators in the world.
Naval Flight Training:
It is a school unlike any other. Flight training is filled with constant challenges and is designed to test an individual's stamina, knowledge and the ability to adapt to a very dynamic flying environment.
Every aspect of the flight training program has a purpose based on an understanding of what the flying environment may hold. The military aviator must know and master all the elements that will or could be encountered while airborne. Mastery of the flying environment requires constant commitment and self-discipline. For the military aviator, mastering oneself is the all-important first step when acquiring the skill of flight and remains the constant requirement of an individual throughout a career in aviation.
Commitment, combined with self-discipline, is an outlook required both in the training process and beyond. The flight school is about a dream, a vision of flight, and a desire to wear the coveted Wings of Gold.
After completing aviation indoctrination at Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, the next step is Primary Flight Training located at NAS Whiting Field.
Primary Flight Training:
When a SMA checks into TW-5 for Primary training they will be assigned to one of three training squadrons; the Doer birds of VT-2, VT-3 Red Knights or the Shooters of VT-6. Primary flight instruction is intense and provides a combination of actual and simulated flight experience to SMAs. With the exception of certain solo flights, all actual flights of the T-6B Texan II are conducted under the experienced eye of an instructor pilot, a designated military aviator.
The ground training you will receive will provide the basic foundation of knowledge upon which all simulators and aircraft instruction is based. The integrated syllabus consists of cockpit procedure trainers and various flight support courses including; local course rules, aircrew coordination, emergency procedures, safety procedures, ejection seat procedures, preflight inspection, safe for solo, day/night contact, aerobatics, basic/radio instruments, and formation flight. Many of these courses and simulator events will be taught either by current military aviators or even retired aviators with thousands of hours of flight experience under their belts.
The first stage of flight training is called familiarization and this stage consists of multiple flights both in the aircraft and simulator in which the SMA learns to conduct a proper pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, learn ground/taxi procedures, learn how to safely take off and most importantly land, practice basic air work and even includes dynamic maneuvers such as a spin and stall recoveries.
After a SMA’s first solo flight, an SMA will be introduced to Precision aerobatics and Formation flying. These flying events are confidence builders and are considered to be the most rewarding events flown during their Primary training. These flights further familiarize the SMA with the aircraft while continuing to refine their flying abilities.
All SMAs will attend an Instrument Ground School that prepares the student to learn the basics of radio instruments. During this stage of the flight training, SMA’s are instructed airways navigation and instrument landing approaches. It is during this stage that SMA’s acquire the fundamental knowledge that will make them “all weather” pilots. Finally at the end of the instrument stage, SMA’s will also have an opportunity to go on the road with an instructor during their Cross Country event where an SMA is exposed to different airports, airspace and sometimes new scenery. Both Instrument and Visual Navigation flights are conducted all across the country.
After completing Primary training, the SMA will be selected for follow on Advanced training either in the Strike (jet), Mari-Time (multi-engine) or Rotary (helicopter) pipelines. Pipeline selection is based on three factors: the needs of the service, SMA’s flight and academic performance and the SMA’s preference. Students selected for the Advanced Rotary (helicopter) pipeline will remain at NAS Whiting Field for advanced training and upon graduation will receive their coveted Wings of Gold at NAS Whiting Field.
Advanced Helicopter Training:
Students selected for the helicopter pipeline will receive their ground school training and flight instruction in the TH-57B/C “Sea Ranger” while attached to one of three Advanced Rotary squadrons; the HT-8 Eight Ballers, HT-18 Vigilant Eagles or the Hellions of HT-28. During Advanced Rotary ground school, Aircraft systems, helicopter aerodynamics, and instrument navigation training will be conducted. Additional flight support training is conducted in the Helicopter Cockpit Procedures Trainer where basic procedures and emergencies are conducted. After mastering such skills such as hovering and auto-rotation, the SMA advances to the fully instrumented TH-57C to refine their instrument flying and navigation skills. The full-motion/visual helicopter flight simulator is also used in this stage. Finally, the SMA reaches the helicopter tactics stage where they learn the fundamentals of formation flying, low-level navigation, search and rescue, and night vision goggle (NVG) flight training. The long hours of study and preparation will finally pay off when the former student military aviator becomes a Naval Aviator and receives their coveted Wings of Gold. The newly minted Naval Aviator will then report to their assigned fleet replacement squadron and ultimately to a fleet squadron as a combat ready helicopter pilot.