Back to doing CAI's again... (that's "computer aided instruction" for those of you who don't remember my posts from 6 months ago... what, you don't study these things??)
The day after track select (yesterday) we showed up at the T-1 squadron at 0830 and got a couple of briefings from the flight commander and the SQ/CC. We'll still have another "15 day program" and be on formal release at first (12 hour days) but we were told it's much more of a "big boy program", i.e.-not as much IP harassment, the program is hard enough by itself, which sounds fine to me.
Academics mean short days again: in at about 9, done by 2 or 3, depending. Two classroom lectures and a metric crap-load of CAI's already completed... many many more to go...
T-1 dollar ride will probably be in about 4 weeks, I think I'm suffering flying withdrawl...
Got my #1 choice... T-1's!
We had two get T-38's, two got UH-1's (they both wanted them... including one of the Top Sticks!), two got T-44's (they put T-38's first but are happy with T-44's), and the rest of us got T-1's (including the other Top Stick).
We start T-1 academicsat 0830 tomorrow... I'll let you know!
Half-way done with UPT!
My Formation checkride and last Low-Level were yesterday. My complete dork of a Form partner and I did really well, we both received "excellent's". I had about 5 minutes to prepare for my Low-Level after the checkride, but luckily one of my flightmates was cool enough to do pretty much all my flight planning for me. He was already done with T-6's and knew I'd have min-time between my checkride and LL, so he hooked me up!
The LL was fun and quick, no biggie.
So now I get to sit around until next Tuesday for my Track Select! I'll write more after that and (hopefully) let you know what T-1 academics are like!
To the Maj at the SUP desk today who reads my blog: here's my next entry, thanks for reading!
I've done one of my two low-levels now and have started the last block of formation flying (4 flights) of my training in T-6's. The low-levels are fairly low threat. You only do two of them, the low-level charts are already made up for you, and an Excel sheet calculates all your airspeeds for you. You fly it at a constant 210 knots ground speed, so just adjust your airspeed to maintain your timing. Assuming all is well with the bird condition and weather, you fly them at 500ft above the ground, which is pretty cool.
My form partner and I (they do their best to have you fly all 18 of your form flights with the same guy) did really well today double-turning (two flights in one day). We were hanging in there really well during the lazy-8's (it's actually called "wing work") and are getting the aerobatic portions down really well. We're double turning again tomorrow, and the plan is to do our last checkride this Tuesday. I'll probably end up doing my second low-level after my checkride (which would make it my last ride in the T-6) but that's fine with me, I taught probably over a hundred low-levels as a Nav instructor so they're not hard.
The days are staying fairly easy. Showing up between 0630 and 0730, done by 1430 or 1500 at the latest. No more stan-tests and and no more stand-ups... YEAH!!
Getting close to the end!!
So once you get towards the end of T-6's (at least at Vance), they have you go over and do a T-38 sim. At this point, no one (except for the Navy guys) know what we'll be flying for Phase III, and supposedly this sim has nothing to do with that selection (no one at Vance even sees the results, they just go to Randolph for statistics). Anyway, it was fun. You take off from Randolph AFB in your T-38, and fly an ILS at 250 knots. Then again at 300 knots. Then again at 350 knots. Over and over until you're flying the approach at 600 knots! Making your turns at the right places in the radar pattern is pretty interesting at 600 knots!
Formation is going better. It's quickly becoming easier to hang in there in fingertip while doing the lazy-8's. We had the first Air Force guys in my class do their final checkride today, but I left before they got back so I don't know how they did. I'm sure it was fine though.
Couple more weeks!
My Form Solo was this morning and it was a blast! It's so much nicer being out in the area with someone to play with (sts). The other plane had an IP and one of my classmates working up to his Form Solo. We did a bunch of lazy-8's while -2 tried to stay in fingertip (5 - 10 feet away), and bunch of pitch-outs and rejoins, then went to Extended Trail (ET) Lvl 3. ET is when both of you have your power set at 85% and -2 tries to stay in sight of lead about 500-1000 away at about their 4 or 8 o'clock position. Lead starts yanking and banking up to 120 degrees, 3-4 Gs, using big lazy-8 maneuvers. If -2 is in sight of lead on the inside of all the turns, then lead can take the formation "over the top", i.e. loops, barrel rolls, cloverleafs, cuban eights. If you're solo, you can't go over the top if you're -2, but you can lead the formation over the top. ET Level 1 is just level turns, Lvl 2 is the big lazy-8's, and Lvl 3 is over the top. Good times!
We've had 3 of our Navy guys finish their Form Solo's now, and because they aren't going fighters, they're done with T-6's. Navy fighter guys and all the Air Force guys have like 10 more formation flights after their solo.
So, couple more weeks and I'll be T-6 complete!
Done with 6 form flights now, and it is getting easier to stay in position. I only flew once last week because I messed up my back working on the house last weekend. I wasn't hydrated enough before flying on Friday and we were doing formation aerobatics. All those G's about made me puke! I didn't though, just kept flying. If you puke on any flights after you solo, it's an automatic hook, and we have had two guys in my flight blow chunks on formation flights because you're always looking around. They're fine now though.
I probably have about two more weeks of flying before I'm T-6 complete, then sitting around until track select on July 22nd. We've already had one Navy guy finish.
We had our last stan test this past Friday... woohoo! And I have to brag, I ended up with the top stan test average in the flight!
T-1's, here I come!!
The days are much more relaxed now. 4-5 hours of work, a couple more studying, and we're done! Not too shabby!
Alright, well, I expected to have more lessons learned, but I don't. Feel free to add on to this as necessary. In no particular order...
- Relax: I was super nervous going there. Don't be. Everyone is very helpful and friendly especially while checking in, but also throughout the whole time I was there. Everyone is really there to help you make it through.
- If you don't like really hard or fluffy pillows, bring your own.
- Bring some electronic entertainment: XBox, PS, Wii, etc goes a long way and your classmates will appreciate it.
- Go somewhere else on the weekends. Me and my buddy went to either Colorado Springs or Denver every single weekend we were there. You are generally not spending much money on food and nothing on lodging, so get out; if for nothing else, to get a room with a window! We stayed at the Hyatt Place: excellent!
- Drive and stay in Colorado Springs the night before your RNLT date if you are coming from far away. You have to get there in blues and you don't want to be driving for like 10 hours with those damn things on. I say drive because it sucks (for me) to bum rides off of everyone all the time.
- Learn the boldface and ops limits backward, forward, upside down and in no order in particular before you get there. Also learn the black items on the ops limits: you'll use them just enough to know them by memory. Learn everything you can in the In Flight Guide as far as the departures and arrivals go: it may not make a whole lot of sense, but if you are familiar with them, it helps immensely.
My formation flying is getting better, I can hang with lead a bit easier than for the first 2 flights. Our days are shorter now. If we fly first go, then we only have to hang out until second go leaves to go fly, then we can go home. Works out to be about 7 hour days now.
The weekly stan tests are still kicking peoples butts. Luckily I haven't busted one since the first one, but a lot of people have been busting multiples, which means they have to take a retest, then another retest if they don't pass that one, then on to a Ground 88 (or 89 if they already had an 88). If they don't pass that, they're out of the program.
We finally had our solo party last week, which was a good time. We got named (for as long as we're in T-6's anyway) and got stories told about us by the IPs who solo'd us out.
It's amazing getting back into the pattern here after our form flights. We normally break up the flight after coming back, and just do a bunch of touch-and-go's on our own. What used to take all my concentration, such as staying on airspeed, altitude, ground-track, etc..., now comes like I've been doing it my whole life! It's seems so easy now. I hope formation flying eventually gets to that point for me...
So, Wednesday I was initially scheduled for one flight around lunch, but the weather was acting up a little bit, so a priority list was made up that consisted of folks that were behind, and I was on it! So, I'm eating breakfast and I get told that I'm double turning and my first brief is in like 30 minutes! I go brief up my 604 with a different IP than originally planned and the flight went pretty decent. I get back and sure enough, I'm supposed to be briefing AGAIN with the same IP for my 605. It went ok, but I definitely was not 100% and my IP could tell. He still thought I did pretty good overall, which is very good. That meant checkride on Thursday!
Thursday comes and the weather tanks, so no one flew that day. Oh well, another rain delay and checkride Friday!
Friday comes and weather is good, so checkride is a go! I go brief it up and step to fly. The flight went pretty good; I messed up a few things, but I think my IP let those things slide. He passed me and I got to go home! So after about 4 hours of outprocessing (because our flight commander was busy) me and my buddy got the hell out of Doss!
After I get back into the swing of things, I'll be making another post in a couple of days containing some lessons learned from the whole ordeal.
Yup, instrument complete, now straight into Form. I'm not going to lie, the first flight scared the crap out of me. Flying 10 feet off the guys wing with 90 degrees of bank just doesn't seem right (at least not when I'm the guy doing it!). Overall I had fun though, it should be a good time.
Was supposed to have my second Form flight today, but due to the "mishap" we might not be flying for a bit, I don't know. Unfortunately, all we're allowed to say is that both pilots are OK, and the MIB is investigating.
Flew twice today: first was my area solo, 602, then the second was the 603. Area solo was pretty fun! Kinda boring once I got into the area simply because the only maneuvers we are allowed to do are steep turns and VOR navigation stuff. Overall, a very fun flight.
Second flight was ok...wind was picking up and it was hot. Nothing eventful about it, just another flight.
Only 3 more flights left!!
Flew my 601 ride today...not too bad. I messed up some simple radio calls and my IP downgraded me for those, but got a good for the overall flight. Going out for my area solo (602) in the morning, should be exciting (and boring from what I hear)! Then i'll get my 603 later in the afternoon when it will be nice and hot...sucks. Should be a good day...actually, should be an "A day"!
So I did my 306 ride for the second time yesterday and passed. I got scheduled for my checkride and pattern solo today.
Just got back from my checkride...PASSED!! I still need some work in many areas, but apparently i'm safe enough to go solo. Scheduled for the solo here in a couple of hours. This short weekend could potentially be great as long as I pass the solo.
(about 4 hours later)
And just got back from my solo, and did well! My IP said I did better by myself than I did with him in the plane with me...go figure!
This weekend is going to be the best weekend since I've been here. Going to stay the night Colorado Springs and have a cold one. See yall monday!
Wahoo! Only one more checkride to go and I'm done with phase II! Check ride went really good. Sorry if I have to brag, but after hooking my last one, I hope you understand. I'm sure no one who already has their wings will care, but it's a big deal at the moment. Anywho, the IP only marked me down on one item, so like I said, I'm pretty flippin' happy!
I'm academics complete (our Formation test was last week), and I only have two sim missions left (formation and Low-level). The formation sim will be Monday and I'll probably do the low-level one next week too. So, on to Formation!! From what I've heard, everyone hates it for the first few flights then absolutely LOVES it. We'll see!
As I was stepping to fly this morning, the winds started to pick up. I think they went out of limits about halfway through the flight, but who knows. I hooked it, though. It was just a terrible flight...I was getting blown all over the place (sts) and my maneuvers sucked. I guess I wasn't 100% today and I paid for it. I'll try it again tomorrow and hopefully be ready to check on saturday: that would make for a great weekend! Wish me luck tomorrow!
I was scheduled for a flight this morning, but the cloud layer was at 600 feet which means....you guessed it, no flying! Pattern altitude is 800 feet. So my flight gets cancelled. I get back from lunch and find out there's a list with a bunch of people who are behind on it....including me. So, I get a new IP from a different flight and brief up a flight and I don't know which profile i'm doing or which area i'm going to. Turns out I get a profile that i've done a few times before...whew! But the winds were still pushing us around and our area happened to be directly under a ginormous cumulonimbus cloud which was giving us up/downdrafts the whole time. I thought that was one of my worst flights since i've been here, but my IP had mercy on me and thought I did decent overall. I busted my area so he downgraded me on that, but overall, not that bad apparently.
Lesson of the day: be as flexible as humanly possible! Be ready to fly at any time and know the procedures for every approach/departure and the boundaries for your areas.
Sorry about no post for a week (again) but it's been kind of boring. I finished all of my flights (except for the one before my Instrument checkride) in the middle of last week, but I still needed like 6 sim missions before I can do my checkride. It pretty much sucks, same-old same-old stuff over and over. I should be doing my checkride on Thursday or Friday though, which I'm excited about. One good thing: We finally got off Formal Release last week (week 10 of Phase II) because everyone finally passed their mid-phase checkride. It's cool 'cuz now we can go to the club or off base for lunch and can leave after the last flight's launch. That's about the biggest event of my week!
Let me know if you have any questions!
I was supposed to fly this past friday, but winds were crap...again. So I had a nice 3 day weekend; went to Colorado Springs for the night on Saturday and relaxed and didn't think of IFS once!
Finally got to do my 304 just a little bit ago. I think it went well overall. Weather was still kinda crappy but not so bad that we couldn't go to the area and do some stuff out there. I'll get to the checkride....it may take a long time, but i'll get there!
Supposed to fly twice today and only got the first one in this morning. Second one was cancelled due to winds. We went out to the other aux field (Fremont) and did a bunch of touch and goes. I thought the flight went pretty well and my IP pretty much agreed. This is a one time flight where you only go out to the aux field and beat up the pattern and you don't go to an area at all. It's a nice change of pace, plus there aren't nearly as many people at that airport as there are here at Pueblo and at Fowler.
I'm thinking i'll at least get my 304 flight in tomorrow (as long as the winds don't pick up) if not attempt to double turn. It's not looking good for the double turn which just means i'll do it on tuesday. Oh yeah, we get monday off for Memorial Day!