Three Air Force Reserve instructor pilots surpass 3,000 flight hour milestone in T-38 Talon

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

Reaching an aviation milestone usually doesn't come easy for one pilot during their career, let alone three pilots around the same time. At Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, three Air Force Reserve instructor pilots assigned to the 39th Flying Training Squadron did just that by each exceeding 3,000 flight hours in the T-38C Talon.

To commemorate the milestone they achieved in their career, Lt. Col. Christopher Jackson, Lt. Col. Matthew Alley, and Lt. Col. William Borron flew a four-ship formation in the T-38C on Feb. 22, 2024. Joining them alongside their sortie was also retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Kistler, 560th Flying Training Squadron T-38C instructor pilot, who had also surpassed the 3,000-flight hour mark in a T-38C.

“It is hard to quantify how rare it is for a T-38 pilot to accumulate more than 3,000 hours, but it is safe to say that, in over 60 years that the T-38 has been in service, less than .01 percent of military pilots who have flown the T-38 have eclipsed the 3,000-hour mark in this aircraft,” Alley said.

For reference, with an average sortie duration of one hour, it would take nearly 13 years of flying a sortie every single day to reach 3,000 hours.

“This milestone is significant, not only because there are so few pilots who have achieved it, but more importantly, it represents thousands of students that we have played a role in instructing and training over the years to prepare them to go on to fly other major weapons systems in the combat Air Force,” Jackson said.

When asked about how air education and training had changed over the years, Alley said the journey has been rewarding.

“Over the years, it has been fascinating to see pilots that we trained as brand-new lieutenants in undergraduate pilot training go off to fly fighters, bombers and various major weapons systems, then come back years later and get to train them again to be T-38 instructor pilots,” Alley added. “Ultimately, it just means that we are getting very old, but it is very satisfying to have contributed to the training of thousands of new Air Force pilots and training them again years later to be instructors of the next generation of Air Force pilots, as well as training the next generation of commanders of the pilot training operation at all the UPT bases.”

A day after the four-ship sortie, Borron retired with more than 20 years of dedicated military service to the Air Force and the Pilot Instructor Training (PIT) program as a T-38C instructor pilot. As of March 1, 2024, Jackson has accumulated approximately 3,350 hours; Alley will have 3,267 hours; Borron will have accumulated 3,210 hours; and Kistler will have accumulated 3,219 hours.