So I was saying "Later!" to some of the people at my squadron today and I got what I thought was some good advice from a Maj that I work for/with whom I respect quite a bit.
He said, "The AF doesn't care if you've got zero hours or 10,000 at any of their pilot training courses. They care if you learn to do exactly what they say, exactly how they tell you to do it. They don't want to hear, 'Well, I learned to do it this way from my instructor.'"
It made sense to me, and while I never intended to be "that guy" with "those comments", it just reinforced my plan to throw [almost] everything I've learned thus far out the window, and do <exactly> what they tell me to do, <exactly> how they tell me to do it.
So, here's my Blog of going through IFS, class 07-11.
I've never done a Blog before, so please no bashing if I break some rule of "Blog etiquette".
There are a number of active duty pilot's there, and I'm sure at least one of them has heard of Baseops.net, so I'm not going to be doing any serious bashing of anyone, I still want to graduate!!
And I won't guarantee spelling either, so suck it up if you're a grammar/spelling nazi!!!
I'm driving out of my base this Tuesday for the 10 hour trip to Pueblo. Class starts on Thursday, but I talked to an instructor out there and in-processing is actually the day before, on Wednesday. Which brings me to my list of things I've learned so far in preparation:
1: Read everything on the Doss IFS website, they'll hold you to it.
2: It says on the website that you are required to check-in in blues (no service coat). What they don't say is that you CAN'T get there a day early, get your room, and make sure your uniform looks good after a good night sleep and a shower. They want you in your Blues when you step out of your car onto the IFS property. Me, I'm not about to wear my blues for a 10 hour drive, so I'm going to check into a hotel in Pueblo the night before. This will, of course, be basically on my own dime, since they won't pay for any more than a plane ticket would cost. Whatever.
3: I've heard through the grapevine that this is another weed-out course for the soon-to-be Air Force Pilot. In other words, they make it as hard as they think people can handle (which is pretty tough). I've heard washout rates are anywhere from 1 to 3 people per class of 25 (or so). Bottom line: I'm gonna be studying my ass off. I'll let you know how it is.
4: Read everything on the Doss IFS website, they'll hold you to it.
So, a little bit about me:
I'm not your typical IFS student. From what I hear and after reading their syllabus, this course is designed for a pilot or nav selectee who has never held the stick of an aircraft while under instruction. I have my Private Pilot's License (PPL) already. Granted, I've only got like 42 "pilot" hours, so I am by NO MEANS a "Hot Shit" pilot, but I have proven to an FAA examiner that I more than likely won't kill myself or anyone else while buzzing around in my Cessna 172. Which is something. Not much, but something.
I'm also 29 years old. Once again, not your "typical" 22-23 year old selectee. I was prior enlisted in the, (ahem, no bad jokes please!) Marines for 7.5 years. The short story is that the AF simply had what I wanted to do (fly transport) in more abundance than the Marines. And, it was easier to get into the commissioning program in the AF. There isn't any more to it.
So, while in the Marines, I was an enlisted navigator on KC-130's. I have quite a few hours up in the air, and my last 3 years in were as an instructor. I will say that when I left, I knew more than a little about how to operate in the sky (knowledge I mean, not the monkey skills). That was 4 years ago, though, so I am freely willing to admit that I probably lost quite a few of the important details while drinking beer in college, but not all of them.
The IFS syllabus clearly states that a student may be moved through the syllabus faster if they have prior flight experience. Believe me, if I had my way, I'd take all 25 hours! I firmly believe that practicing flying is something you can never have too much of (within reason). I am going to do my best though, so maybe if it meets their standards, I won't spend the whole 6 weeks there. We'll see.
The way I see it, it doesn't matter how much flight experience you've got. It's a weed-out course. If you don't work your ass off, they'll find some way to boot you. So I gotta say, I'm nervous. This is another step in getting to where I want to be. There is no DG or SP or top 1/3 awards at IFS. It's pass/fail. I wouldn't care if there were awards (seriously, what instructor at UPT would take you seriously if you told him about how you "Rocked that Katana, baby! DG at IFS!!! 20 whole hours, WAHOO!!!"). I want to make it through, make some friends who want to help each other make it through, and learn something. We'll see what happens!!