Short entry, I'm still sick as a dog. I think it's getting worse.
Had the first "fly the plane around and do some landings/takeoffs" sim today, pretty cool. Studied for the Flying Fundamentals test the rest of the time. I did well and so did most of the people I know. Guess we'll find out tomorrow if anyone didn't do so hot. Show was 0800 and we were out of there by 1730, same as the last few days, kinda long but not too bad.
Goin' to bed...
Wow, we've been busy the last few days. A sim on Monday (more checklists) plus a test (almost everyone did fine, one fail again but passed the 2nd time). We then started a new section, Flying Fundamentals. It's all about how to fly a pattern, approaches, landings, etc... There's actually a ton of different stuff involved so it's supposed to be one of the harder tests. The test is actually tomorrow afternoon, after another sim mission.
And on top of all this, my head has felt like it was going to explode since Monday. I guess this "crud" is now considered an epidemic in Oklahoma. Hacking and coughing, chills, congestion, sinus pain, I've got it all. I'm just counting myself lucky I don't have any stomach symptoms! I saw the flight doc today and he DNIF'd me, but I don't hit the flightline for a few weeks, so no biggie. I'm glad he didn't put me on quarters (I asked him not to) or else I would have had to roll back a class. I really like my class now, so I don't want that!
I got almost 12 hours of sleep last light and plan on getting the same tonight. Hopefully it'll help!!
So Thursday and Friday were pretty long. We had to show at 0700 and didn't get out until after 1700. Lot's of CAI's and lectures on Thursday, mostly on Aerodynamics (lift, drag, stalls, spins, etc...) but some intro to the checklists. Friday was a sim day, I got to use one of the ones with the screen which was pretty sweet. It was designed to mostly just get through all the checklists, but my sim instructor let me do a bunch of approaches. They sucked pretty hard at the beginning (that sim is touchy!) but I was doing OK by the end. At the end of Friday was a review for our test on Monday.
After that most of us went to the club for class 08-06's assignment night (free food and beer afterwords) then came back to my place to hang out. Nice ending to the week!
So it was nice not having to show up to class until 0900 this morning. We had 2 CAI's this morning: Aerodynamics 1 and 2, which I was done with by 1030. Then we waited for the review which started at 1400. That was done at 1530, then we had our "Intro to Operational Procedures" until 1630. Basically just a "here's what's in the checklist". We were done after that. Tomorrow starts at 0700... ugh.
So we had a long weekend, which was nice, but now back to the books. We had our Systems 2 test today (Electrical, Fuel, Propulsion, Environmental, Canopy, and Ejection systems). 47 questions and it was way easier than I thought it was going to be, but maybe that's because I spent an extra 5 hours studying yesterday. Did very well again, as did the rest of the class (don't know what the average was yet) but we did have one fail. He retakes it tomorrow morning and should be fine after that. You're allowed like 2 or 3 failures before they put you on the "Commander's Awareness Program" which just means they watch you a bit closer. Not a big deal unless you fail more stuff, then it can be grounds to disenroll you from the program.
After the test (we finished by 0830) we had to look at our flight pay paperwork at 1100 and yes, your flight pay starts the first day of academics, but it's only like $125 a month... better than a poke in the eye though. We were done with that by 1105 and then had nothing until our PFT at 1400. Everyone passed and we were done for the day by 1500.
Tomorrow we don't have to go in until 0900... woohoo!
So like I said, we all went to 08-05's graduation yesterday. It was cool, I'm glad I went, gives me something to look forward to. After that I hung out in the computer lab for 4 and a half hours studying for our systems 2 test on Tuesday.
The simulator mission after that was cool, we went through all the buttons and switches and stuff more in depth, then got to fly around a bit. I did a loop or two and the guy I was with practiced his prohibited maneuvers (where else can we do them?).
A bunch of us went to the club for a bit after that, then came back to my place to play some pool and Rock Band and helped me try to float my keg (didn't happen!).
Not a bad day!
So we had one CAI (Propulsion 2) this morning at 0800, then had our propulsion review with our instructor at 0930, then 4 more CAIs after that!! Environmental controls, ejection system, canopy systrem... Ugggh. The good thing is that most were done by 1430.
So my whole class has to go to the graduation of class 08-05 tomorrow... in service dress. I guess it's tradition that the class one year behind the graduating class goes to "take the torch" or some such. Oh well, should be interesting. The only bad thing is they bumped all our simulator missions tomorrow for it, now I won't be done until 1830!
I guess it'll give me time to study for our Systems 2 test on Tuesday. Supposedly it's harder than the Systems 1 test because no one can figure out the Environmental System. They have terms like "The Evaporation Blower Control" for the air conditioner, and the "Bi-level Heat Exchanger Bypass Control Valve" for the heat.
So everyone passed the test yesterday. The Navy students had a 96.3% average and the AF students had a 95% average. The Navy guys got a kick out of that, but they've only got 7 students to our 18, no biggie. The rest of the day was taken up with an Anti-terrorism brief, a JAG brief, another brief from the T-38 squadron (this time from the commander) saying, "If you want to be a fighter pilot, don't change your mind while flying the T-6!" This was followed closely by him saying, "Sorry, you guys are only going to get 3 or 4 T-38's vs. the 5 or 6 all the previous classes have gotten. And out of that, maybe one person will actually get a fighter! Sorry, cutbacks..."
Bottom line: If you want to be a fighter pilot, you'd better hope your class number doesn't have an "09" in front of it (in other words, graduating in fiscal year '09).
Today was more CAI's, this time on the electrical and propulsion systems, lights, oil system, etc... We had one review by an instructor for the electrical system, and were done by 1430. A buddy and I checked out one of the simulators after that and practiced our before start and taxi checklists. Towards the end though, we practiced flying some instrument approaches, just for the heck of it. It was one of the sims that has no "outside" view, so all we had to fly off of was instruments, hence doing instrument approaches months before they even tell us about them!
So that's been the last few days. We've got our second test, Systems 2, next Tuesday right after the long weekend, let's hope everyone studies!
So we passed our 3rd consecutive boldface/ops limits today, so no more blues... unless we bust a test later. They only give the tests every Monday now, though, so we're in flight suits for at least this week. We did a GPS CAI this morning, basically all about how to work the GPS system, and we had our first simulator. We just got in the cockpit and the instructor had us flip all the switches on and off to see what they did, not graded and no biggie, but pretty cool! The avionics on the T-6 are sweet!!
This afternoon they gave us a 3 hour test review for our Systems 1 test which is tomorrow morning. The test is on the computer, 47 questions, and pulled totally randomly for each class from a huge test bank (like 500 questions or something). Everyone in your class gets the same test, but the questions are in different orders, so are the answers, etc... We have to get an 85 to pass. The questions are all pulled from review questions in your study material, though, so it shouldn't be too hard (cross your fingers!!).
Wish me luck!!
So we're back to our normal training now, and back in blues. About 90% of the instruction we've received so far has been on the computer, which is actually working really good. Each section (Hydraulics, Navigation, Communications, etc...) has it's own ~1 hour "class" on the computer. They have rooms full of computers so everyone can "take the class" at the same time. You just click through the pages, they each have maybe 3-8 sentences and a picture or video, and answer the quiz questions at the end. I actually like it, because for stuff I already know (Navigation) I can zip through the lesson, ace the quiz, and move on to stuff I need to spend more time with (Hydraulics, Emergency Procedures, etc...). You can take a break whenever you want, and they usually allot 2-3 times the amount of time you actually need for each lesson, so there's lot's of down-time and we get to leave early most days (maybe by 1400 or 1500). I see why they call it "slackademics" now!
Don't get me wrong, there's a LOT of information, and I'm studying a bunch, but we're not sitting in classes all day listening to a lecturer drone on about stuff I already know, or zipping through stuff that I don't understand.
So we had a couple of these "classes" yesterday, and three more this morning. We showed up in the computer lab at 0800 (both days), did 3 lessons before 1030, at 1400 had a half an hour class from Life Support (how to take care of your helmet, g-suit, mask, etc...) and were done by 1430. Not bad for a Friday!
We're back in flight suits on Monday (and if we get all our boldface/ops limits right, then from now on too) for all our first simulator missions. No motion, and no T.V. screens in front of us, but we'll get in the cockpit and play with all the buttons, switches, knobs, controls, etc... the sim operator can make the displays do whatever, throw some emergency procedures at us, etc... Should be a good time!
2 weeks down!! Have a good weekend all!
So Monday morning was colder than crap, and we had to practice our "low" Parachute Landing Falls (PLFs) all morning... that sucked! In the afternoon we got a tour of all the simulators (very nice!) and got to check out a T-6 with most of the panels removed, so we could check out the guts. That thing looks like it'll be a blast to fly!
This morning we had a dusting of snow on the ground, and had to do all our "high" PLFs. It was even colder outside than yesterday! Oh well, glad I'm done with that stuff. The only bad part is we're back into blues tomorrow. If all our boldface/ops limits are good, the soonest we'll be back into flight suits is Tuesday. Let's hope all goes well! This afternoon was 2 different classes on the computer. One was "Flight Controls" and the 2nd was "Hydraulic Systems 1". Interesting stuff, but pretty basic. Most everybody was done before 1400. I went over to a classmate who lives on base's house after that, and we went over again what the computers just taught us, asking each other questions. And so the studying begins!
That's it for now from lovely "Enid America"!
More classes today, this time on managing stress, etc... Then after lunch we took the FACT (Fighter Aircrew Conditioning Test). It's basically just a weight-lifting and endurance (push-ups, crunches) test and EVERYBODY said it was harder than they thought it would be and were wore out afterwords. Unfortunately, my tubby butt failed miserably (well... maybe not that bad, but still a fail). It just means my chances of getting a fighter went down (I want heavies anyway), but you can retake it as often as you want. I didn't do so hot on the bench press part, but I've never been a big weight-lifter. I do want to pass it though. It just means I'm going to be spending a lot more time in the gym!
After that, we went and had our introduction to the CAI's (Computer Aided Instruction... I think). Basically just classes on the computer, I guess we're going to have a lot of those. We were done by 1330, but a bunch of us went back over to the Aerospace Physiology building to study for our test on Monday. Then a bunch of us met at the club for assignment night of the class getting ready to graduate, good times!
So, that's my first full week of UPT! So far so good...
So we all got our chamber rides today. For those of you not in the know, the "chamber" is a little room they sit you down in, with a bunch of oxygen regulators. They depressurize it up to 35,000 feet, then bring you back down to 25,000 feet. Then they tell you to take off your mask and do really simple things like writing your name and simple math problems. Within a minute or 2 everyone starts feeling different symptoms of hypoxia, and when you feel you could no longer fly an aircraft (i.e. you're getting really loopy), then you put your mask back on and "come to your senses". It's to show you what it feels like in case it ever happens to you, you can recognize the symptoms and go on oxygen.
After lunch we had to practice what to do if we had to eject or emergency ground egress in the cockpit trainers they had. After that, we all got to sit in the chair where they spin you around a bunch with your head in different positions then stop you real quick and everyone laughs at you for falling on your face. Good times!! Seriously though, it's to demonstrate the symptoms of spatial disorientation.
One more Powerpoint lecture on noise and vibrations, and we were out of there at little after 1600. Not a bad day!
So today was the first day of Aerospace Phys. Powerpoint all day. We had Physiology in all it's forms, then parachute stuff, and egress. One of the cool parts was night vision (not NVG) and Oxygen intro. They turned off all the lights and had REALLY dark powerpoint slides for the night vision class. You couldn't even see them fully until your eyes adjusted. The Oxygen intro had us in the high altitude chamber (they didn't depressurize it yet) and just ran us through how to use all the stuff (regulator, bottle, etc...).
I guess it was nice to be back in the a flight suit, but whatever. We lost another classmate today. We started with 29, but I guess one didn't make it through IFS at Pueblo, so we never met him. Another was a Capt who's wife was scheduled to have a baby during academics, they rolled him back a few classes, and another Capt got rolled back today for a sinus infection. So we're down to 26. At least the guys I knew weren't booted!!
Chamber ride is tomorrow, as well as practicing strapping in and egress. So it should be interesting!
So 0800 at the OSS, in short sleeve blues, began the day. The head civilian instructor started us off with a brief about both what the civilian instructors do here (everything except flying) as well as how to survive UPT (don't get in trouble, study a lot). Then we had briefings from our Asst. Flight/CC, and a Government Travel Card brief.
After an hour for lunch, we came back and got issued like 50 lbs. of publications (literally, 50 lbs, try stacking about 8 reams of paper [at least] on top of each other, and you'll start to get the idea). Then a Lt Col who was the DO of the T-38 squadron came and talked about why it's awesome to be a fighter pilot. I guess they have a problem with all the T-6 pilots being heavy-drivers and talking everyone into going heavies. He did NOT say going heavies was bad (he was an MC-130 pilot before going to A-10s), just that if you have the dream of going fighters, don't change it.
We were done by 1615, so I went and picked up a replacement for my kegerator (good times ). Boulevard Wheat is the nectar of the gods BTW.
We start 5-8 days of Aerospace Physiology tomorrow (I haven't checked my syllabus), so we're in flight suits, over at their building until we're done, then back to the OSS.
UPT has been pretty benign so far, but we haven't really done anything yet. I'm dreading the "First 15 days of Phase 2" that everyone has been talking about. Supposedly if you can make it through that, you can make it through everything else. We'll see!
So, I'm back. I had some friends who wanted a better idea of what it was like at UPT, and the blogs they found out there just weren't doing it, so now I'll blog UPT as well!
I'm in class 09-05 at Vance AFB. Today was our "official" start date, so now I'm in Phase 1, academics. We're supposed to be done with Phase 1 on 10 March, then we'll move to the flightline and start flying the T-6 in Phase 2. The end of Phase 2 is scheduled for 22 July, and the end of Phase 3 (and winging) on 12 Feb 09.
First, I was on casual status here for almost 2 months, and let me just say, casual duty here is MONEY! Mon-Wed-Fri we show up at 0800 in PT gear at the OSS, sit in the office watching T.V. and B.S.'ing for an hour, go to the gym for two hours, then go home. Tu-Th we're on "telephone standby", meaning we don't come in at all. It doesn't get much better!
So today was almost exactly like the first day at IFS. We had to show up in Service Dress (for the class picture) at 0800 where we then received briefings from the Wing and Squadron commanders (the OG/CC gave us his spiel yesterday). Same stuff: "Welcome to Vance, you're lucky to be here, don't F-it up." You'd be surprised at some of the stories they had about the dumb stuff previous students have done to screw up their time here! Mostly alcohol related. We also had briefings from Wing Safety, SARC (sexual assault stuff), and the Mission Support Group commander. Lunch was pizza with the class ahead of us, they gave us some gouge and the VADD cell-phone (Vance Against Drunk Driving: the junior class has to have someone with the phone every evening in case any drunk officers need a ride home). We were done by 1600.
I seem to be in a pretty cool, if older, class. We've got 4 Captains and 2 1st Lt's and another 4 or 5 of us with prior-E experience! Included in all that are 3 C-130 Navs and one F-15 WSO, so a bunch of military flight time too! We've also got 6 Navy Ensigns in our class, but no Marines, which I guess is unusual, and we also don't have any women in my flight, which is also unusual I'm told. Our first get-together was a bar-b-que at my place last Friday, which was a blast. I'd just finished making my kegerator and got the pool-table leveled, so good times were had by all! We've been told numerous times that more your class hangs together, the better everyone does, so I think we're off to a good start!
Uniform for academics is blues every day until everyone gets 3 consecutive boldface/OPS limits test perfect, then it'll be into flight suits for the rest of the time. T-6 Driver .com has those tests if you're interested in seeing what one looks like.
So that's all I can think of at the moment, if you have any specific questions, feel free to post a comment!
So I guess I had to have one more post.
It's tougher than I thought leaving my flight. Every single one of them are great guys and I see them doing fantastic things for the Air Force. As of the time I'm writing this, (Friday night at 2300 hours) we have one guy who washed out, and another guy who decided it wasn't for him. I wish them both the best of luck. That brings the grand total (so far) to 3 guys saying it's just not for them, and one not making it through, for a 15% "not graduating" rate.
I gotta say, I had a really good time here, met some fantastic people in the class before me, definitely in my class, and in the class after me. I know many of those of you whom I'm talking about read this, and I want want to say thanks for making it a heck of a lot better than it could have been!! In my time as crew on the Herk, I learned that what makes a flight good is not where you go, but the people you're with. I was once broke in Pohang Korea in December for 2 weeks, living on cots in tin-huts with kerosene heaters, but had a great crew and it made it an awesome time. I've also been broke in Hawaii with a crappy crew and it sucked.
Thanks for making this one of the good times!! Best of luck to you all, and to all you future IFS students!
I'm DUN!!! Did my checkride first go this morning. I had some mistakes, like everyone does, but overall did great. They have checkride gouge books here with info on every instructor. It tells you what knowledge questions they like to ask, what kind of stuff they have you do during flight, what emergency procedures they run you through, etc... You just study those and glance through all the stuff you've been studying for the last 5-6 weeks and your good!! They tell you over and over again that there's no such thing as a perfect checkride. They expect you to make mistakes, but they also expect you to recognize them and do your best to fix them. Overall, it doesn't take very long and isn't a big deal, unless you make it one.
So, it's Wednesday and they're making me stick around until the weekend because I'm the class leader. The guy who finished yesterday got to leave today. That's fine, it's just more time for me to NOT have to look at OPRs and EPRs!! Plus, our solo party is Friday, and I'm grabbing another keg for it, YES!
I think I'm going to spend some time consolidating most of the "good to know before you get here" knowledge into one document and send it to Mr. Baseops. We'll see how that goes.
So I guess this is my last entry for this blog, I'm sure none of you will really care about my drive back home. If you're reading this and you haven't gotten your questions about IFS answered, feel free to PM me!!
Later all! Thank you, and goodnight...
Not much to report.
Two more flights today and I did well enough.
My final checkride is tomorrow. If you're the praying type, a little something sent up to your particular omniscient being would be most appreciated!!
I also posted some more pics in the gallery if anyone is interested.
So I had my solo today, along with about 5 other guys. It was a blast. You have to do all your solo landings to a full stop then taxi back to the runway, but it's not a big deal. The problem comes in when you FORGET to do your full stop and just do a touch-and-go! Enter me... they understood that you build the habit patterns based on touch-and-go's, but they were still pissed after I told them about it (no one knew, the IPs were driving to the tower to watch us when I did it!). Oh well, the called me a dumbass and that was the end of it (tower had actually cleared me for the option).
I went on my next flight in the syllabus this afternoon too. The IP was a former F-15 driver, and about scared the crap out of me!! We were doing stalls, and he tells me, "I don't want you to go to the buffet, I want you to go to loss of control." For those of you non-flyers, when doing stall practice, you normally (in the civilian world) go until the plane starts shaking (the buffet). He wanted me to keep going. So I was doing a turning-to-the-right, power-on stall, felt the buffet, then the plane flipped on me!! The right wing immediately fell to about 90-100 degrees of roll and then the nose then dropped to about 60-70 degrees nose down. I pulled out of it no problem, but about crapped my pants! He tells me, "Nice job, it looked good!" Are you flippin' kidding me? The least he could have done would have been to brief me about it ahead of time!!
My next interesting experience was back in the pattern. We were doing a no-flap landing and he tells me. "Keep pulling the nose up to keep it off the runway, and we'll have a nice landing." I've heard this before, so it made sense. This time, though, during the flair, he keeps saying, "Pull it back, pull it back..." So I do, and have a perfect landing... along with the tail of the aircraft. He asks if I heard the the tail drag, and I told him I'd rather not say what I heard! He asks again seriously, and I tell him that yes, I think I dragged the tail for half a second. He says no big deal, it was a very minor scrape if we did, don't worry about it. So after landing, he looks at it, says sure enough we did, but didn't do any damage (there's a piece back there designed for that).
So that was my crazy flying day!! I have two more flights tomorrow, then they are having me skip two flights and go straight to final check. I should be done Wenesday, then get to go home Saturday. Everyone else gets to go home as soon as they finish, but they want to "keep the class leader around". Oh well...
Did my checkride yesterday, went well, I passed no problem. I actually thought I busted standards on a couple of the maneuvers, but the IP said they're more looking for people who notice when they bust and try to correct right away, which I did.
I solo with like 5 other people on Monday. Everyone in the class should be checking within the next few days, then doing their solo's. Yes, they are back to letting us solo by ourselves in the pattern. I've got 5 more flights in the syllabus after my solo before I do my final checkride, and I think they are going to double-turn me every day until I'm done (I asked them to). My civilian flight commander didn't seem to like the idea because it meant he would lose his class leader, but it's not like I'm doing a whole lot. If they don't advance me anymore, and I double-turn everyday, I should check on Thursday. If they advance me a few flights again (which they probably will) then I'll check on Wednesday. I hope it works out!!
We finished up yesterday at about 1500 so I went and grabbed the keg. We tapped it and started grilling at about 1700, and the keg was floated by about 2230! We got into a massive beer-pong tournament, so the beer went fast...
That's about it from here! Hopefully I should be home by the end of next weekend!
Flight went good again yesterday, getting ready to fly again here in a couple hours. The new class is supposed to start flying Monday.
I was told yesterday that they want to proficiency advance me. Same with the other guy in my class with a PPL. We're supposed to have 6 flights in this "block" of instruction, but they want us to skip the last two flights and go straight to the pre-solo checkride. So I've got one more flight today, then my checkride on Saturday.
Oh yeah, everyone is flying Saturday, briefing at 0600. Uggh!! Guess we'll have to hold off on the keg and burger-burn until Saturday afternoon!