1 Canadian Forces Flying Training School (1CFFTS) is a dynamic, multi-dimensional aircrew training facility whose mission is: “To select, develop, and graduate professional, Wings-qualified aircrew fully capable of operating in the demanding and sophisticated environment of modern air warfare.”
Utilizing the CT-142 ‘Gonzo’, a DeHavilland Dash-8 modified specifically for non-pilot aircrew training flown by 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron, and a state-of-the-art simulator, 1CFFTS trains aircrew to perform the spectrum of functions from sensor operations through routine navigation to tactical mission management. The 1CFFTS mandate includes both ab-initio Air Combat System Officer (ACSO) and Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator (AES Op) aircrew training to Wings Standard.
While the focus of ACSO and AES Op aircrew training differs, the 1CFFTS approach and training methodologies do not. All courses comprise academic, practical and applied components using classrooms, trainers, and flights. The classroom portion of all courses covers such topics as air regulations, aircraft systems, emergencies and basic navigation/communication. Air Combat Systems training builds upon these fundamentals and develops today’s airborne tactical officer, responsible for planning, coordinating and directing a wide range of missions. AES Op training, using the same basics, focuses on developing the skill sets required of sensor operators able to operate the advanced sensor systems found on modern aircraft.
All students apply the knowledge learned in the classroom in a ground-based trainer called the Tactical Mission Trainer (TMT). This leading edge trainer incorporates the latest in computer technology and is specifically designed to develop mission management and tactical direction skills. Not only does the TMT provide realistic training in navigation, communication, sensor operation and tactics/mission management; it has the capability for post-mission analysis, allows for future improvements to the syllabus with only software modifications, and is flexible enough to cater to any equipment changes that may be made to the actual aircraft. The TMT database includes ground-based navigation aids and digital-terrain-mapping capabilities for all of North America, which allows for the flexibility to conduct navigator and AES Op training anywhere on the continent.
The CT-142 Gonzo training compartment has six consoles, which allows for an instructor to student ratio of 2:4. This personalized level of instruction optimizes the student’s learning environment as they manage navigation and communication systems; perform the myriad of tasks associated with routine and degraded navigation, as well as direct tactical missions. The aircraft training suite is an airborne version of the TMT, which allows for a seamless transition between ground-based and airborne training.
1CFFTS’ recognition as a world-class training facility has been growing over the past few years. The advancements in aircrew training and focus implemented at 1CFFTS have attracted many of our Allies to train their ‘navigators’ here. Students from Australia, Germany, Norway, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, and South Korea have all undergone or are undergoing navigator training at 1CFFTS. The future looks bright with ongoing foreign navigator training and with expansions into marketing sensor operator aircrew training.