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Col. (Dr.) Lynda Vu and her flight instructor.
Col. (Dr.) Lynda Vu and her flight instructor.
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RAMs complete first solo flights as part of expanded aviation training

Posted 12/11/2012   Updated 12/19/2012 Email story   Print story


by Michela Greco
711th Human Performance Wing

12/11/2012 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Students attending the Residency in Aerospace Medicine (RAM) program at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) here completed a phase of their curriculum in December, providing those who were interested with the opportunity to step into the pilot's seat and fly an aircraft.

Students in this program, referred to as RAMs, undergo two to three years of post-graduate training while learning to be aerospace medicine specialists.

The flying opportunity is an optional end to the Aviation Competency Program (ACP), a syllabus-driven training program that includes ground school, flight instruction, and the potential for a solo flight upon program completion.

ACP is a component of the RAM program and was added in response to nationwide changes in 2011 from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education, which is responsible for the accreditation of post-MD medical training programs throughout the United States. The council added new guidance requiring flight training to be provided to students of aerospace medicine residencies.

The objective of ACP is to enhance understanding of the physical and mental demands of flying by potentially placing RAMs in the pilot's seat.

"The complexity of flying involves simultaneously solving problems of planning, weather limitations, spatial orientation, and in-flight emergencies," said Col David Rhodes, Program Director of the RAM program. "By placing RAMs into an aircraft as pilot in command, they garner a deeper understanding of what is demanded of a pilot, a skill they may not gain from in-classroom training."

Six current RAMs recently took part in the solo flight opportunity. Among them were Lt. Col. (Dr.) Chris Bird, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Stephanie Davis, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Michael Jacobson, Maj. David Miller, Lt. Col. (Dr.) J.B. Nast, and Col. (Dr.) Lynda Vu. Flights took place in single-engine trainers thru an Air Force contract with MacAir, which is the full-service, fixed-base operator at nearby Greene County Regional Airport.

As training comes to a close, the ACP will complete RAMs' skills as aerospace medicine specialists and further their understanding of the patients they treat. This is part of a larger effort by USAFSAM to develop the RAM program and offer cutting-edge training.

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