SPECIAL REPORT / AIR WARFARE & FLIGHT OPERATIONS
CNATRA has the reputation for producing
some of the best pilots and navigators in the
world. To what do you attribute that reputation
BULL: Our focus is on quality; quality over quantity.
We have hundreds of instructor pilots, instructor
naval flight officers, government civilians and contractors who work as a team to provide the very best
A large part of that ability is due to the quality of
the students, the fine young men and women who volunteer not only to wear the cloth of the nation but to
do so as combat naval aviators and naval flight officers.
It is a continuous effort to maintain operational safety
and standards while, at the same time, seeking better
methods to train. As part of our continuous evaluation,
we reach out to the fleet replacement squadrons [FRSs]
to seek their input on the quality of our graduates and
we incorporate their feedback into our training.
While meeting our production requirements is a high
priority, we will not sacrifice quality training just to
meet those production numbers. When you start with
smart, motivated, committed students and provide them
with high-quality training, it’s not surprising when you
graduate the best pilots and navigators in the world to
protect this nation and defeat our enemies decisively.
Quality Over Quantity
Navy air training chief seeks new ways to train flyers for advanced aircraft
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 12 SEAPOWER / OCTOBER 2016
Rear Adm. Dell Bull, the Navy’s chief of Naval Air Training, is
responsible for training naval aviators and naval flight officers (NFOs)
to man the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft that form
critical parts of the nation’s defense.
Bull’s background as an NFO includes more than 4,800 flight hours
and more than 950 arrested landings in numerous flying assignments, initially as a bombardier/navigator in two A- 6 Intruder attack
squadrons. He became one of the first A- 6 NFOs selected for transition to the F- 14 Tomcat community, and again as an instructor, later
flying missions in support of Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. He
was selected as NFO of the Year for his combat performance and
Bull also gained extensive command experience with a strike fighter
squadron, a fleet replacement strike fighter squadron and a carrier air wing. Shore tours included a legislative fellow tour with Sen.
John McCain, R-Ariz.; senior policy officer on the Joint Staff (J- 34
Anti-Terrorism Office); aviation program manager in the Office of
The rear admiral discussed with Managing Editor Richard R. Burgess the way the Navy produces aviators
and NFOs. Excerpts follow: