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The 47th AOPTU prepares student pilots to land a career in flight

2nd Lt. Eric Wiggins and other student pilots from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05 practice their parachute landing falls, Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. They used two and four foot platforms to jump from, and when they fell, they practiced making 5 points of contact during the roll. According to instructors, if they were to land feet-first from a parachute jump, they could potentially break their legs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Maj. Robert Lowe prepares to be dragged by his fellow student pilots from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05, Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, as a way to replicate the wind dragging the parachute across the ground after a landing. One important thing the pilot must learn is how to flip onto their back once the parachute starts dragging so they don’t end up with a cactus in the face. Another imperative part of the drill to grasp, is when and how to unlock the quick-release, letting the parachute go. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

2nd Lt. Sean Jao and 2nd Lt. Tucker Jacobs, student pilots from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05, simulate the parachute dragging a pilot on a windy day as they pull a fellow student across the yard on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, while Airman 1st Class Rachel Fullerton, 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit technician, directs the class. “I think the students enjoy AOPTU training because they’re excited to start flying, and because we have really good instructors,” said Master Sgt. Carlos Rivera, AOPTU flight chief. “They seem to like the hands-on training environment we have here.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Harnesses hang from a fence to preserve the moving parts from getting dirt in them on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. “Aerospace physiology gave me the baseline knowledge necessary to operate an aircraft in many different environments,” said Capt. Richard Gelles, 86th instructor pilot. “Understanding the various physiological events and how to recover from those events are critical towards keeping the aircraft and your crew safe. Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit also conducted my initial altitude chamber training which helped me identify my hypoxia symptoms and how to recognize those symptoms in others.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Pilots from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05 gather around the swing and desent landing trainer, watching Airman 1st Class Ashley Davis 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit logistics and maintenance technician, demonstrate a landing on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The trainer acts like a parachute in desent, and the pilot students are able to use the techniques of rolling and making five points of contact and unclipping the quick-release while being dragged. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

2nd Lt. Tyler Steele, from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05, secures his swing landing gear on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Knowing how to land from a parachute assisted fall, how to break the fall, and detach from the parachute is essential in case of emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Staff Sgt. Desmond Greer, 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit NCO in charge of logistics and maintenance, talks with student pilots student pilots from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05 on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Greer says he enjoys his job because he gets to see the direct impact he and his team has on bringing a new generation of pilots into the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

2nd Lt. Lavanson Coffee, from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05, is attached to the swing and desent landing trainer, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, on Jan. 17, 2019, ready for the swing portion of the parachute training. Aerospace physiologists are an instrumental part of the student pilots’ training. The 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit teaches some of the academic portion of the training and teaches students about their flight gear, what they may experience in flight, and much more. One important part of pilot training AOPTU instructs, is the effects of hypoxia and how to prevent it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

Airman 1st Class Violet Davis, 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit and maintenance technician, demonstrates how to use the swing and desent landing gear on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Aerospace physiologists like Davis, wear a flight suit and undertake extensive training themselves to be able to teach the parachute landing class. “It makes us more credible because we’re going through the same thing the students are, and it also makes the course easier for us to explain,” Davis said. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

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Airman 1st Class Violet Davis 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit logistics and maintenance technician, secures a part of the swing and desent landing trainer on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. “The challenge has been to manage the 60 percent operations tempo increase, however, our team has been able to flex by streamlining our processes,” said Maj. Danny Elich, AOPTU flight commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

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Staff Sgt. Desmond Greer, 47th Aerospace Operational and Physiology Training Unit NCO in charge of logistics and maintenance, rolls up risers straps after sing and desent landing training on Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. “With us, the pilot students are getting the knowledge for them to be successful in their career: they learn about safety, the effect of flight on their bodies, and some basics of the aircraft,” said Greer. “We see them through all phases of flying. We see the birth of a pilot and watch them grow.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)

2nd Lt. Eric Wiggins and other student pilots from Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 20-05 practice their parachute landing falls, Jan. 17, 2019, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. They used two and four foot platforms to jump from, and when they fell, they practiced making 5 points of contact during the roll. According to instructors, if they were to land feet-first from a parachute jump, they could potentially break their legs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Anne McCready)