Navy and Marine Corps flight students report to Training Air Wing TWO from primary flight training at NAS Corpus Christi or NAS Whitiing Field, Milton, FL, and immediately begin nearly 11 months of advanced strike/jet training at Naval Air Station Kingsville.
Training begins in the Ground Training department of Training Wing TWO and consists of three weeks of classroom instruction. Students attend classes on subjects that include Engineering (T-45C), Aerodynamics, Meteorology, Flight Rules and Regulations, and Instrument Navigation. During this ground school training they also begin simulator events that teach them capabilities and systems in the T-45C and how to deal with malfunctions of those systems.
The T-45TS Strike Flight Curriculum is comprised of 16 flight stages. During these 16 stages students will fly approximately 156 hours. This includes nearly 47 hours of solo flight time. Students will also fly approximately 96 hours in aircraft simulators before they complete the syllabus.
The first eight stages of training are designed to introduce the student naval aviator to jet aircraft and provide a basis for future stages. They include, Instrument training, Jet Familiarization flights, Formation flights, Night Familiarization flights, and Land Based Carrier Qualifications.
During these stages of training the students are qualified to fly solo in the T-45C in all weather conditions, they learn to fly in two- and four-plane formation flights, and they learn how to land the T-45C the same way they will on an aircraft carrier.
The later stages of training introduce students to the strike community with Operational Navigation in which they learn to plan and fly low-level flight routes. They also fly Weapons, Guns, and Air Combat Maneuvers which introduces the students to different offensive weapons and tactics. In weapons, the students drop 25 lb. practice bombs at a target range near Kingsville, they practice gunnery and Air Combat Maneuvers with other aircraft and a camera mounted in the cockpit that records the encounters. These stages prepare the students for the tactical jets that they will be flying when they leave Kingsville for the U.S. Navy Fleet.
The syllabus culminates in the second Carrier Qualification Stage when the students travel to an active aircraft carrier to complete their Carrier Qualification and make their first Carrier Landings. Every student must carrier qualify by completing 14 landings and 10 arrested landings aboard an aircraft carrier before they earn their Wings of Gold.