Navy Giving Potential Pilots a Tryout to Cut Down
on Number Dropping Out
The Associated Press
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) - The Navy is giving college students and
graduates a one-week aviation tryout as a recruiting device and to
help reduce flight training dropout rates that range from 15 to 25
percent for each class.
One purpose is to weed out those who lack the commitment or
physical and mental attributes necessary to get through rigorous
and expensive training programs for pilots and navigators.
"The other part of this is the motivational aspect, bringing them
down here and giving them an aviation, quasi-Top Gun experience
and getting them feeling good and pumped up about the fact that
they want to do this," said Capt. A.J. Gallardo, for Tuesday
editions of the Pensacola News Journal.
Since January, the Navy has brought 100 young men and women
to Pensacola Naval Air Station in small groups once a month for
the Aviation Certification Evaluation and Screening Program, or
Of the total, 10 were found physically unqualified, another 10
dropped out or decided against joining the Navy and four wanted to
seek other Navy training.
Dan Brown, 26, a copy machine salesman who graduated from the
University of Wisconsin in 1996, is among those who opted to
stick with flight training.
"It's hard to comprehend what it is like until you get down here and
see how the whole process works," Brown said. "Nothing was
ACES participants undergo physical training and swimming tests,
get medical examinations and take rides in turboprop training
planes. They even are measured to make sure they are the right
"What was happening was that students would show up here on
our doorstep ready to start flight training and they didn't fit in the
cockpit or their eyes weren't good enough," said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff
Rad, ACES coordinator.
The Navy plans to expand the program next year to Naval
Academy graduates and students in Officer Candidate School,
also in Pensacola, where Brown will be heading later this year.
Brown said he believes his ACES experience will be an advantage.
"You get to go behind the scenes, eat the food and do all the
things you're going to do," he said. "You come down with no