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In a study, a simulated spin-up exercise and the corresponding large-scale live military flight training exercise was evaluated based on the Alliger et al. augmented taxonomy of Kirkpatrick’s training criteria. The data collection was developed and designed to assess the training from reactions to in-simulator knowledge and skill development to operative training effect. The basis for the evaluation was knowledge and skills identified with the Mission Essential Competencies (MEC) process. Using surveys, quantitative and qualitative data from 14 fighter pilots were collected regarding reactions to training, perceived training value and additional training needs. This paper will present the rationale and theoretical framework behind this methodological approach. The main contribution is the description of how the underlying theoretical frameworks have been transformed into measures allowing structured evaluation of training “in the wild”.