Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday recognized excellence in aviation safety among seven Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) squadrons as part of the 2019 CNO Aviation Safety Awards program.
The seven CNATRA squadrons named in the April 14 CNO message are the “Doerbirds” of Training Squadron (VT) 2, “Tigers” of VT-9, “Vigilant Eagles” of HT-18, “Fighting Redhawks” of VT-21, “Boomers” of VT-27, “Stingrays” of VT-35, and “Sabrehawks” of VT-86.
The CNO Aviation Safety Awards program recognizes squadrons that have maintained Class A, B, and C mishap-free safety records throughout the fiscal year and that have made significant contributions to the Naval Aviation Safety Program. The program honors award recipients with a plaque and the Safety “S” marking on their aircraft, signifying exceptional professionalism in daily operations and a focus on safety.
“These training squadrons represent the best of the best in Naval Aviation,” Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Daniel W. Dwyer said. “I am proud of each individual who took that extra step toward safety, the students who double and triple checked, and the instructor pilots whose professionalism and dedication serve as an example and let future aviators know where the bar is set. This is how we create the world’s finest aviators.”
Each squadron selected brings unique training expertise to the Naval Aviation community. With recognition from safety awards like this, those squadrons can share their most effective safety techniques across the Naval Aviation spectrum. Squadrons used open-forum discussions to resolve safety issues and provide valuable lessons learned to their personnel. The ability for our student naval aviators and instructor pilots to take that knowledge and apply it in the air in an emergency helps ensure safety and mission success.
VT-9, VT-21, and VT-2 accomplished more than 15,000 flight hours in 2019. VT-2, CNATRA’s oldest training squadron, reached 22 years of mishap-free primary flight training. HT-18 completed more than 22,000 flight hours, giving them a 5-year mishap-free record and earned “Fleet Best Practice” from the Navy Safety Center for their Operational Risk Management techniques. VT-27 accomplished more than 16,000 flight hours and implemented a checklist for human factors screening. VT-35 conducted more than 12,500 mishap-free flight hours and highlights individuals who identify and solve safety issues with a quarterly “Safety Pro” award. VT-86 continues a robust safety program with implementation of the Aviation Safety Awareness Program (ASAP), which requires aircrew to submit safety observations after every flight.
These seven CNATRA squadrons that received awards conduct primary, intermediate, and advanced phases of flight training. They are responsible for undergraduate flight training of all Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviators in addition to selected international military partners.
“As an organization, CNATRA imparts a foundation of safety into every aviator we train,” CNATRA Safety Officer Cmdr. Nathan Bitz said. “We are privileged to earn this prestigious award from the Chief of Naval Operations and highlight safety as a paramount component of our training.”
VT-2 and VT-27 are both primary training squadrons and fly the T-6B Texan II turboprop trainer aircraft. VT-2 is located at Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida, and VT-27 is located at NAS Corpus Christi. VT-9 and VT-21 conduct intermediate and advanced strike training in the T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft. VT-9 is located at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, and VT-21 is located at NAS Kingsville, Texas. HT-18 provides rotary-wing training in the TH-57 Sea Ranger and is located in Milton, Florida. VT-35 conducts intermediate and advanced multi-engine training in the T-44C Pegasus and is also located at NAS Corpus Christi. VT-86, located at NAS Pensacola, Florida, is the Navy’s only strike naval flight officer training squadron and flies the T-45C Goshawk jet trainer aircraft.
CNATRA, headquartered in Corpus Christi, trains the world's finest combat quality aviation professionals, delivering them at the right time, in the right numbers, and at the right cost to a naval force that is where it matters, when it matters.
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