Company Adopts A-4 Skyhawk Jet For Upset Training

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An Arizona-based company announced Thursday that it is now offering pilots emergency upset training in a two-seat version of the famed A-4 Skyhawk attack fighter. Aviation Performance Solutions (APS) says its new program is designed to offer first-hand experience in real high-performance aerobatic-capable jet trainers. Their upset training course includes high-altitude stalls, high-mach conditions and "all-attitude upset prevention and recovery scenarios." According to the company, the course is designed for direct transfer of upset knowledge and skills to high performance operations flown at high altitude and it is serious about the training. Some pilots may question the applicability of transferable skills from an A-4 -- a former U.S. Navy Blue Angels selected design -- to their current aircraft. And APS offers an answer to that.

According to APS, research has identified loss of control in flight as the leading cause of crash-related fatalities in commercial aviation over a ten-year period ending with 2011. APS's president, Paul Ransbury, is a former airline pilot, military instructor pilot and four-time Master Certified Flight Instructor. The wing configuration of the A-4 may deliver different flight characteristics than those found in high-performance jet aircraft. Ransbury told AVweb Saturday that "Although the departure characteristics of the platforms my differ somewhat, it's important to clarify that the jet upset skills and strategies taught at APS are absolutely transferrable to business and commercial jet airplanes." Also, his company's programs offer a variety of platforms, from piston trainers to the A-4 and level D full flight simulators to suit different needs. He also believes the content of the instruction is as valuable as the platform. "The instructor is by far the most important component of the training equation," he says. Training sessions in the newly offered A-4 will cost pilots $7310, but lower introductory rates are currently available.