Ok, got here to the lovely brand new IFS facility at around noon. The Doss IFS website says report between 1000 and 1800 in one place and 1200 - 1800 at another spot on there. I think 1000 is what they mean. As was said in Riddller's blog, doesn't really seem like any better or worse to get here earlier rather than later or vice versa, but I guess I would err on the side of early. We have a meet and greet type thing later tonight, but once you get your room and get your flight gear, you're free until then.
Tomorrow starts early and goes pretty much all day. Briefings, a couple of classes, boldface/ops limits test and PFT rounds out the day.
Me and my buddy got to Colorado Springs a little bit ago. We're staying here tonight so we don't have to wear our blues for that long when we actually get to IFS.
Not too much to post for today...pretty much just driving the whole day (came from Texas). Tomorrow is day 1, so i'm sure i'll have much more to post then.
Had my Midphase Checkride today. I passed with a 'Good' but am mad at myself for messing up what I messed up. It was a crappy day all together. My check IP got changed 5 min before the brief so I had studied all the gouge for the wrong guy, then the weather was crappy and the IP had to take the controls at one point, and the field I was supposed to do my pattern work at was closed so I had to come back to Vance... and land on a runway I'd only flown to once before! Oh well, at least I passed.
I did my first area solo this afternoon. It was a bit boring because normally they give you a flight after your midphase check to intro all the "advanced aerobatics", but I didn't get that, so I did a bunch of loops, aileron rolls, and split-S's, which I'd done a bunch of before. I did realize out there that I was darn happy they gave me the keys to a $4M plane to go practice whatever I wanted (almost), so that put it into perspective for me.
There's still no place else I'd rather be right now.
Well, I'm taking a cue from Riddller and doing a blog about IFS (and hopefully UPT). I know he put a lot of great information in his so i'll try to do the same. Hopefully I'll be adding a different perspective on things.
So far, everything Riddller has in his opening remarks of his IFS blog holds true...i'll find out for sure when I get there. Also, my supervisor and a Major in my squadron have been trying to help prepare me for this by imitating standup EPs...I am given a situation and I have to bring it to a logical conclusion. Even in a non-stressful environment in my squadron, these are extremely tough. Not trying to discourage anyone, but I can just imagine how it will be at IFS and UPT.
My buddy and I are driving up there in two days and are staying in Colorado Springs for the night so we can be ready to hit the ground running. I'll admit, driving with my buddy may not end up so well in the end as one of us may go home quicker than the other, but i'm really not worried about it. I'll get reimbursed either way!
About me: I spent 6 years in the Marine Corps as a KC-130 flight mechanic...basically a flying crew chief. Went through part of USMC OCS and decided that the best thing for and my family was to join the Air Force. So, I enrolled in ROTC and commissioned this past December. So far, it's been a great decision.
I am going to try to post as much information as I possibly can to help out the guys and gals after me, so if there is anything that anyone wants to know, ask and i'll try to provide some answers!
Talk to you guys in a couple days when I get there!
So they "turned on the beer light" for my flight for the first time this afternoon. It just means you can drink beer in the flight room and tell funny stories about each other. A lot of other flights get it way earlier than we did, but with 5 guys on P-CAP they didn't want to. I also delivered our flight gift -- a kegerator me and some flight-mates built -- to the flight room today, so that probably helped!
I had my first flight since my double-turn today too. Dental appointment on Wednesday and crappy weather on Thursday made today my first chance to go. 0600 brief... suck! Did pretty good but totally screwed up one of the visual references on the ground at one point and had us going in exactly the wrong direction! The IP said it wasn't the first time a student had done that and good thing it wasn't my check ride! I didn't hook the flight or anything, it was just a dumb move that was a good learning experience. After the flight I had another instrument sim, just a bunch of instrument approaches, not a big deal.
I'm scheduled for my last flight in the block on Monday, which means I should be doing my mid-phase check ride on Tuesday. Pray for good weather!!
We had some of our guys on P-CAP not do so hot on their test this morning, so they couldn't fly today. I was scheduled for just one flight originally, in the afternoon, but after that test, I got thrown on a flight this morning with 4 minutes to plan. Luckily I already prepared two flights in advance, so I was ready to go.
By the time I finished my debrief for my first flight, I was already late for my second one, so no time to rest. Before you solo, they aren't allowed to double-turn you on flights (they can on simulator missions though), but now that I'm done with my solo, they threw me right into it. It was cool, I got to do my first "official" aerobatics (I'd done some before, but couldn't log it). We did a bunch of aileron rolls, split-S's, and loops, along with all the other "basic" flying maneuvers (slow flight, stalls, etc...). I'm beat though! Another 12 hour day...
You only get 4 flights after you solo until your mid-phase check-ride, and I'm already halfway there! We had the first guy in our flight do his mid-phase check today, and he passed. He said, "I found out out you (and your normal IPs) grade you way harder than the check-flight guys", so that made me feel good.
Something else I learned, out of 12 guys in the flight, there's only 2 of us who haven't hooked a flight yet, so if you do hook a ride early on, don't let it get to you, it happens more than not.
And just FYI, "hooking" a ride means you got an "Unsatisfactory" or "U", hence the "hook". It's also called a "taco" for obvious reasons.
Solo today! Weather was great! I hadn't flown in ten days, so my pre-solo check was a bit rough the first 10 to 15 minutes, but then I figured it out and did fine. There was a bunch of people in the pattern so I had to do a bunch of go-arounds and low approaches, but whatever.
For those of you not in the know, after your initial solo, your classmates grab you and throw you into the "solo tank" which is just a big tank of water. IF you can make it back to your flight room before they get you, then everyone in your flight owes you a case of beer. I made it back to the flight room, then they grabbed me and dunked me! Good times!
On a not so good note, we had our first casualty at the end of last week. He was having problems with his basic aircraft control and so was finally let go. We wish him all the best!!
Still no solo, I'm scheduled for Monday. 10 days of no flying! Ughh!!! Everyone not on P-CAP had to take the stan test on
Friday and everyone passed,so that was good. I actually aced my first one, woohoo! Hopefully the winds will be in limits and not too many clouds on Monday so I can solo. Cross your fingers!!
It's now Wednesday,and still the weather sucks, so no solo. I got some sims out of the way, but I'm done with everything I can do now, so it's just a lot of sitting around the flight room. I passed the stan test, but was one of only like 5 in the whole class who did so. Some failed the retest too, so now we've got 5 in my flight alone on P-CAP, which means they are on the Commander's Awareness Program for academics. Not a big deal, just lot's more tests and studying. Everybody did pass the weather test on Monday, though, which is good because normally it has a 30% fail rate.
Back to studying!
I was supposed to solo today, but the weather was crap, so I'm on the schedule for it for tomorrow. We have our Friday Standards Test tomorrow, though, which is a huge pain. We've had like a 50% pass rate so far, if that. Now that the 15 day program is over, everything counts, so if I don't pass, I can't fly!
Therefore... back to studying!
Jeez it's hard to catch a free minute in this place!
Last Friday, yesterday and today were all 11 hour and 59 minute days. We haven't gotten out on a Friday before 1930 for 3 weeks! I didn't fly Friday but did two sims, and did a sim and flight both yesterday and today. The day started at 0630 with our Instruments 2 exam. I and most people did well, but we did have two failures. They'll have to get extra training and retest tomorrow.
To show you have fluid the schedule can be, when I left yesterday I thought I was doing a sim in the morning and a flight in the afternoon, so that's what I prepared for. This morning I come in and find I'm just doing two sims, so I prepared for those. An hour later I was thrown onto a flight and then had to go straight to a sim after that without even debriefing the flight! Everything went well though.
Some advice from someone who's doing pretty OK right now: Obviously you need to study the stuff they tell you to study, and chair-fly all your maneuvers and radio calls, and have basic aircraft control (heading, altitude, airspeed). You'll get the aircraft control stuff down pretty quick. What the IPs really want to see after that is that you have a plan before you take off for what maneuvers you're going to do and when you're going to do them, and then just tell him what's going on during the whole flight. If he doesn't say a thing the ENTIRE flight (AND it's not a check ride, those guys just write down what you f-up) then you know you did good. This is exactly what you'll do at IFS, so take that stuff to heart.
That's it for now!
Showed at 0730, got let loose at 1920, and I'm still studying for Stan Test #3 which is tomorrow.
I was just supposed to have a sim today, but halfway through the formal brief this morning the scheduler IP threw my name on the schedule for the first takeoff. We didn't even have time to do stand-up or shotgun questions this morning after the brief because people had to go fly, me included. I had about 3 minutes to prep before sitting in front of an IP I'd never flown with before and telling him how the flight was going to go today. Goes to show all you future UPT'ers, always be ready ahead of time! Anyway, flight went great, I had about an hour of down-time afterwords, then I was briefing for my sim!
Same thing tomorrow, sim in the morning then another flight. Except the weather is supposed to be crappy tomorrow, so I probably won't fly. And with academics, we probably won't get out until 1930... again. Oh well... nothing to do but keep going...
Flying went good today, significantly less wind then my last few flights. Get used to flying high cross-wind landings if you're coming to Vance, it's almost always windy.
I completed the first block of training last Monday (6 rides) then started the second one today. We went up to 19,000 ft and did a bunch of spins. You can see a T-6 spin video somewhere on T-6 Driver.com if you don't know what one is. Anyway, it was a blast.
Came back to Vance and did a bunch of patterns after that. My landings were WAY better than Monday (very little wind today).
The day started at 0800 and we got let go at 1930. Long day again, oh well.
Back to studying!
Sorry it's been a while since my last post. We've still been crazy busy on the flightline. Flying, simulator missions, academics, studying for stand-up and shotgun questions, it just doesn't stop!
Top that all with the fact that I got food poisoning last Thursday night! I was up all night with that (I'll spare you the details) then got put on quarters for Friday. I crawled back into bed at 0800 on Friday and didn't leave it until 1100 Saturday! I think I'm finally back to normal today.
So I flew yesterday (didn't yack, which I thought I might) and did ok. The rudder is kicking my ass in this plane. We're in the middle of Instruments 2 academics too, which can get a bit tedious. I forgot to mention, everyone passed the Instruments 1 test, which I guess hasn't happened in a while. I'm a bit behind on my flights because of being sick and then having to make up all my academics classes, but it's not a big deal. We are actually going to have like 6 or 7 people in my class soloing by the end of the week, which is pretty cool. I probably won't be there until the end of next week.
Tomorrow is pretty light on required studying (for a first) so I'm relaxing a bit tonight.
Oh man I'm tired. The last bunch of days has been non-stop! We're on the flightline at least 10 hours a day and it's still not enough! At least a couple hours a night is the minimum for studying right now, and we still don't know enough! We had our first weekly stan test on Friday (Standards test) and only one guy in the whole flight passed! Most missed 5 to 8 questions out of 20, and we studied!! So we had to take another test today but the IPs basically went over it first so everyone passed the second time. The weather was crappy today, so my flight was canceled but I did do another simulator ride. That brings me up to 4 flights and 2 sims since I got to the flightline. I keep getting told I'm doing "above average", so I'm happy with that, but I'm still working my butt off to do better.
This week is a night-flying week (we're not night flying, but others are) so all the flights start later. Our show time was 0915 this morning and probably would have gone until 1900 or 2000 but we got to go early because of the weather. That was good though because we have our Instruments 1 test tomorrow morning that I had to study for.
So all that and I've been renovating my guest bathroom since Saturday, I've been a busy man!!
Back to relaxing for a few minutes...
More of the same. Showed at 0645, 0700 brief, lot's of shotgun questions were missed and like 4 people got sat down during the stand-up. I didn't take off until 1240, so I spent the morning taking care of queep (paperwork crap), doing another CAI, and studying for my flights.
Flight went very well according to my grades but I felt like I wasn't sure what was going on a bunch of the time. It was fun though, so that's all that matters. After that, more studying until we were released at 1600 (yeah! no 12 hours again!!).
Now another 3 hours of studying and I can go to bed!!
Yesterday was "Day 0" of the 15-day program (the scripted harassment of the first 15 days on the flightline). They showed us all how it was done yesterday, then we had to perform today (Day 1). That meant us doing the formal brief (that was a cluster-f), then stand-up and shotgun questions. The shotgun questions all come from required reading they give us each day, including the "notes, warnings, cautions" (NWC) out of the Dash-1. There can be up to 7 or 8 NWCs for each emergency procedure (EP), and we have to learn like 4 EPs a night. We actually thought they were going to go around the room saying, "You, what's the first note in the Abort Start checklist?" and, "You, what's the third caution in the Emergency Ground Egress checklist?" Turns out it was more like: "True or false: you can abort a start by reselecting Auto/Reset?" MUCH easier studying!!
My flight went good again. I was much better with the checklists and radios, and actually got a few landings. This plane has a CRAZY amount of torque when doing a touch and go! Plan on FULL right rudder every time! I was first-go (took off about 0830) and was done by 1100. I did a couple more CAIs on Instrument Procedures and studied for tomorrow after that. We were actually released by 1600 (only 10 hours today!!) which was nice, but I don't know how often that's going to happen!
Flying again tomorrow...
Dollar ride was a blast! It was kind of weird because they actually put my IP and I in a van to go to another airport down the road to take off. They had a number of aircraft come in off of cross-country's yesterday while Vance was closed so they had to park at Woodring. It's not unusual I guess. What was unusual was having a guy on his dollar ride do his first ever takeoff in a T-6 at someplace other than Vance! Anyway, we took off (this thing climbs like crazy!) and did a touch and go at Woodring, then went over to Vance for another T&G. They were both done by the IP, he was showing me around. Then we went to a working area and did a bunch of different stalls. After that he asked if we missed anything and I said, "Uh yeah, we need to do a split-S!" I was joking because you're not necessarily supposed to do acrobatics on a dollar ride, but because I asked, we did a split-S, a barrel roll, a loop, and started to do a cloverleaf before I recommended we stop before I got sick! I wasn't feeling at all bad, but knew I would if we continued doing that stuff. Anyway, we then went over to the aux field (Kegelman) and did a pattern (it was closed, so no approach) then went back to Vance. I almost had a landing, but flared just a touch too much and ballooned a bit, so he took over and we touched down no problem.
I was done with the debrief by 1100, went and did a CAI and spent the rest of the day studying and taking pics of other people doing dollar-ride walk-around's of their planes. We started at 0600 and left at 1757 tonight... the full 12 hours!! 2.5 more hours studying tonight and I'm done, yeah!!
Had my first "Contact" sim today and it was in one of the sims with the full wrap-around screens. Very cool! It doesn't move but I actually caught myself getting queasy a couple of times! I've been told they've had a ton of students yak in there. Anyway, we took off from Vance, flew up to Dogface (the aux field north-west of Vance) and did some pattern work. Then went to one of the training areas, did a spin, some slow flight, and a power-on stall. Came back to Vance after that and beat up the pattern for like 6 touch and go's. This plane moves FAST! I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, but by the time I hit the downwind after a touch and go, I was already at 190 kts! I barely had enough time to slow down and configure before perching (turning base). Doing the actual approach at 105 kts isn't as bad as I thought it would be, but power management in this plane is HUGE! Anyway, had a blast.
The rest of the day was studying, then we had a flight commander brief at 1630 which lasted until about 1745-1800. It was a basic overview of the "15 day program" and a lot of "Be-no's" (i.e. there will be no slacking, sleeping, or slumping in the flight room). Now it's on to some !!
Have a good one!
We're pretty much done with Phase I but it's not "official" until Monday. We all showed up at our Phase II flight room on the flightline today at 0800 and studied for our sims and did publications updates to all our pubs. My sim didn't brief until 1100, so I got all my pubs up to date and studied a bit.
The sim was another Emergency Procedure (EP) ride, so it was pretty much one malfunction after another. I did have a good time flying around when I wasn't taking care of EP's though. The only bad thing about EP sims is you have to wear your full g-suit, harness, helmet, mask, etc... and it gets a bit hot after a while. After that I went back to the flight room and studied a bit more. We also put together a "practice" formal brief and gave it to one of the IPs. The formal brief is given every morning, there is very specific information which must given during it, and everyone must sit at attention during it. Not too hard once you get used to it, you'll have to do them at IFS when you go.
We were done by 1700, then went to to class 08-13s track select. They only got 2 T-38s!!! Crazy...
Anyway, I'm on the flight schedule for Monday for my Dollar Ride... yeah!! I'll be taking off for the first time in a T-6 at 0848 Monday morning, so steer clear of Enid if you're flying, the Riddller will be in the air!!
We had CRM training at AeroPhys today and were actually done by 1030! We decided to head over to the flight room to work on getting stuff ready, so didn't actually leave until 1230, but it was still a short day.
I guess we're actually hitting the flightline on Monday, maybe even a dollar ride!
Guess we'll see...
So one of our boys busted his boldface/ops limits test yesterday, so we were back in blues today. That sucks after having been in flight suits for so long. The good thing is we have to go back to Aerospace Physiology tomorrow to learn about Crew Resource Management (CRM), so we HAVE to be in flight suits, and we have simulator missions for the rest of the week, so we have to be in flight suits then too! So technically we're supposed to be in blues for the rest of the week, but so much for that.
Yesterday was a couple CAI's then like 3 hours of Emergency Procedure classes, then today started out with like 5 hours more of Emergency Procedures classes! The instructor was good, but I'm sorry, it gets old after a while listening to ANYONE drone on about that stuff. We had our "last" official test of slackademics today after the EPs, this one was over Contact stuff. Contact is the first round of flight training you get in most planes, i.e. slow flight, stalls, steep turns, etc... basically all the stuff you do to get a PPL or going through IFS. The test was over how to set up for all that stuff (speed, pitch, power settings, etc...). I and most of the people I know did really well, so it wasn't a bad test, as long as you studied for it.
We then spent the rest of our afternoon at our Phase II flight classroom (the "flightline") going over what was expected of us from the class ahead of us which is now finishing flying the T-6. They leave on Thursday and we report next Tuesday... less than a week until we hit the flightline!!!!! Yeah!!!! I and half my class will be in "R" flight over there while the rest of my class is in "S" flight (it's random who gets what flight), both flights being in the 33d Flying Training Squadron (FTS). Later!
I'm still sick, but now it's just down to a cough. Friday was a Emergency Procedure sim, full g-suit, hemet, etc... It was neat, I learned a bunch. After the day was up we went to the club to cheer on our team in the crud tournament, then went to roof-stomp the OSS/CCs house. Good times! Ended up back at the club after that and hung out for a while longer. Not a bad evening!