Navy Rear Adm. Richard Brophy, commander of the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) office, provided the first keynote address at the Training and Simulation Industry Symposium (TSIS) in Orlando, Florida, on June 21, 2023.


During his address, Brophy gave a general description of CNATRA to TSIS attendees, and said that his job was to mentor, train, and deliver student naval aviators to the fleet. According to Brophy, CNATRA accounted for 26% of the flight time for naval aviation at 261,000 hours per year and produced 1200 naval aviators per year.


“If I don’t produce those aviators, it creates a giant gap in the fleet,” Brophy said. “I’m responsible for producing 100% of those aviators, and in the last 10 years of CNATRA’s history, we’ve made it twice. Normally, we produce at 90%… that means [the requirement] slides to the following year.”


Brophy said to address this issue, the Navy developed a “Break Glass” brief to look at courses of action to produce 105% of the necessary pilots. Since implementing changes, graduation percentages have improved.


Brophy also discussed training syllabi and new revisions to improve them. He mentioned the “Avenger” program as an example, which has yielded positive results.


“To send good pilots to the fleet, the syllabus has to be good,” Brophy said. “The first results from a NAWCTSD (Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division) study showed that we’re producing a better aviator who has greater skill sets at a faster rate, which means it’s cheaper. We’ve found it takes 13 flights before [a student can fly] solo, and we’re finding that with the Avenger program, they’re doing it in about seven flights – and we’ve had some [fly solo] in as soon as three flights in a T6 [trainer].”


Brophy emphasized the competency-based aspects of training as opposed to “just going through the time.” Students that mastered certain training events early did not need to repeat them. He also said that students have been given iPads to access training content at all hours since they know what and when to study, “and they are far better than I was.”


Later in his talk, Brophy explicitly stated what he needed from industry for his trainees.


“When I look at where we’re going next, I need low-cost trainers quickly, in scale, in velocity, and I want to be able to use them 24/7 without a sim instructor present to operate it,” Brophy said. “I ask [industry] to dig deep in the ATO [authority to operate] process to ensure your product is ready to go.”

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