Active Duty, Reserve instructor pilots featured at EAA AirVenture 2023

  • Published
  • By Jet Fabara
  • 340th Flying Training Group Public Affairs

Known as one of the largest fly-in airshow conventions in the world, the aircraft and personnel of Air Education and Training Command, along with instructor pilots from the 340th Flying Training Group, were among the featured attractions at Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture Oshkosh 2023, July 24-30 at the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

A T-1 Jayhawk, T-6 Texan II, and T-38 Talon from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph were flown in as part of the static demonstrations to accompany the airshow lineup during the week-long festivity.

“We're here at [the] Oshkosh Airshow, one of the largest in the world, where AETC is on center stage showcasing everything that we do for the Air Force from our ground surgical teams [to] our pilot training aircraft, including our air mobility assets,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Puccia, 39th Flying Training Squadron T-1 instructor pilot. “You're able to see the whole footprint of training command and see what we do to build a foundation for every career field throughout the Air Force [in order to] give them the training they need to do the mission.”

Unlike previous EAA airshows, this year highlighted the EAA’s 70th anniversary, which also allowed an opportunity for Reserve instructor pilots to highlight the Air Force Reserve’s anniversary.

“It's pretty exciting to be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Air Force Reserves and to be part of [Air Force] Reserve Command,” added Puccia. “If you look around the airshow, there's a good mix of both Reserve and Air Force members [which] showcases that it's one team, one fight. We all work together and we're able to show people who are interested in aviation that there are many different avenues to serve and to participate in Air Force service.”

In addition to the recruiting personnel on site, multiple displays involving military working dogs, explosive ordnance disposal, critical care air transport, aircraft static displays, and aerial demonstrations, members from the 5th Flying Training Squadron were invited to participate as guest speakers at the airshow’s training events.

“Officially, I'm here to recruit for the 5th FTS, as well as the 340th [Flying Training Group], looking for T-38, T-6, and T-1 instructors, which is somewhat hard to find given the crowd here, but I've been going around to different aircrews trying to find anybody that's getting out who is looking for a Reserve job any time in the near future and speaking with them,” said Maj. James Baker, T-38 instructor pilot at Vance Air Force Base, Okla.

“I also do a little bit of volunteer work here as well. The past three years I've been giving a presentation to general aviation pilots and airplanes flying through military airspace. I started briefing this presentation a couple of years ago in hopes of making the flying community just a little bit safer for everybody.”

Next year’s EAA AirVenture airshow is scheduled for July 22-28.