Regier training to become fighter pilot

Kitt Regier of Hesston is pictured in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II on the day he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

By Blake Spurney

After graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy, last week, Kitt Regier will take his skills to Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas for pilot training.

Regier was one out of about 50 second lieutenants whom the Air Force picked for the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. He previously earned his pilot’s license on his own and he aspires to fly the F-22 Raptor, a stealth tactical fighter that only is flown by the United States. He said fighter had technology unlike any other aircraft in the world in that it can seek and attack several targets at the same time. To enter the pilot training program, he had to commit 10 years to the Air Force. Most graduates have a five-year commitment.

“The Air Force is putting additional resources, time and effort into training its pilots,” he said. “Because of that, they require an additional commitment to minimize turnover and to get the value that they put in us.”

Regier was a member of the Wings of Blue parachuting team while at the academy and he has made more than 500 jumps. He got to perform in various exhibitions across the nation during his time on the team. The COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the team’s activities, but he and his teammates were featured on television after they performed before a football game between Navy and Air Force. He said he still received a rush every time he made a jump.

“The nerves go away, but the thrill is still there, especially when jumping in front of thousands,” he said.

Regier said he knew he wanted to attend a service academy early in high school. He said the hardest part was getting used to the pace and rigor of the academics the first couple of years. He said freshmen didn’t have much of a social life because they’re restricted to campus. After that first year, however, he got to travel all around Colorado to ski and hike.

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