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Everything posted by brabus

  1. brabus

    Hurricane Michael

    Consider the extra time, money, and depot absorption limfacs to push normal phase externally. Unlikely to be a palatable Plan A. The most cost effective and efficient way forward is likely in the realm of building HAS with weather driving the design (as lawman pointed).
  2. brabus

    AD to AFRC help

    The guard and reserve do plenty of fighting, not sure where this idea keeps popping up that AD is the only way to "get into the fight." I know several AD Lt Cols who have never been to war...shitty timing, nothing they could do about it. I don't think this desire should steer you one direction or another...luck and timing will play out whether you're on AD or in the ARC.
  3. The best advice I ever received on AD was from a SQ/CC who is a great dude, pilot, and officer...he was also a HPO on the rocket ship, and he got there without wearing a single knee pad or being anyone's bitch boy. He is the type of person who the AF should promote to senior leadership, so they got it right at least once. That all said, here he sat as a HPO SQ/CC with a "bright" future (and he has gone on to do great things), telling me I hit a fork in the road at my UPT commitment. He painted his career path so far, then what it could be in the guard. He then unequivocally told me I should without a doubt get off the train at that stop and not be "trapped" into said track like he was. Best decision I ever made, and I'm thankful every day he gave me that talk early enough that I hadn't made any decisions yet that may have hurt my ARC options. Bottom line, when a dude like that is saying these things, you're only hurting yourself by not listening...and this was 5 years ago, things have mostly gone downhill since.
  4. brabus

    How important is visiting units?

    At least for us, mostly hanging around the squadron and talking to guys who have time. You'll find most guys will introduce themselves and make conversation if they're not busy. Don't be awkward and sit quietly in the corner - introduce yourself to dudes, but have SA on what's going on and don't insert yourself into a conversation/start talking to a dude who's obviously busy doing work. If there's a lunch push, go on it. Maybe someone will have time to show you a jet, but I wouldn't ask for it. Your goal is to meet people and get a feel for the unit, while we're trying to get a feel for who you are as a person and assess if you mesh with us definitely/maybe/not at all. Be yourself and go with whatever direction each conversation goes. You'll probably answer the same questions 10 times, mostly indirectly focused around "tell me about yourself" type questions.
  5. VLPAD has opened up a lot of options (likely what Evil was referencing with the 3 yr Kadena assignment). I've seen multiple Viper guys stand their ground and get exactly what they wanted with AFPC - location they want with caveats in their favor (i.e. no non-vol deployments). As long as that program or variations exist, there will be good options to do a lot of 3 year assignments elsewhere if one chooses to do so. You also have an option to do operational test later on if you're looking for a few years change of pace (and you're the right guy for the job).
  6. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    For starters, Draken's L-159 is better than a Viper in a few ways (and way better than a T-X). At a very basic level, an ADAIR jet without a good radar has limited effectiveness. ADAIR companies are already putting together 4th gen fighters with radar, datalink, EA suites. They will do it cheaper/more effective than the government could ever dream to do. Again, I think the government itself will be very limited in providing good ADAIR support until the LVC concept is actually useful (and that's a long time from now).
  7. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    There's far more to adversary rep than a nice EA pod. You can't make good threat rep with just a pod - it takes several more components. And that's why the T-X in it's current state is not a great ADAIR platform. Perhaps contract ADAIR is the only good solution until solid LVC training is reality.
  8. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the AF make the T-X ADAIR at some point, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. T-38 ADAIR is barely useful (i.e. better than nothing, but that's about it). Now if those guys had jets with a respectable radar, better EA, and ability to legitimately rep adversary weapons/tactics, then it would be a lot better. Still doesn't meet 5th gen adversary needs, but better than what currently exists.
  9. Valid, but the "I'm making shitloads of money with two retirements!" isn't going to happen if you're not going to 55 or near there. If you punch at 12, you still have to make up 8 years somewhere to get the AD retirement, then you still have to work enough GS time to be "worth it." So essentially you have to put in 13 more years (8 AGR+5 GS) to get both, and that 5 GS isn't going to be that much retirement, or at least not worth it for most people to do 25 years of total service. If you're a guy who wants to do 20 and go to airlines or other similar paying job, that 20-25 year period of service is going to be nowhere close to making up for your lost earning potential outside of government work. If your intrinsic value of service is worth enough to stomach an "extra" 5-10 years of GS time (i.e. 25-30 years of service), then more power to you, but that doesn't seem to apply to the majority of people. I think the GS thing can work for some people, but its an entirely different animal than most people first realize (myself included). I'm not a "bail to the airlines ASAP" guy, but after getting more insight into it, and having been a GS for the last 1+ years, its not nearly what its cracked up to be for many reasons. I'm not saying guys are idiots for going that path, but there's a reason many of us are only looking at AGR options for long term (GS is fine for a short period). I have a lot of friends +/- a couple years of my year group, and I don't know any that are planning on long term GS for retirement purposes.
  10. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    I suppose anything is possible, but I'd say near 0% chance that'll happen, nor should money/time necessarily be spent on such an endeavor (in relation to other requirements).
  11. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    Except the T-X doesn't fit the bill for ADAIR reqs. Firstly it doesn't have a radar, but even if it did, it's still a 4th gen adversary. We really need 5th gen ADAIR, or at least "4.5 gen" (e.g. more shit than this T-X could probably support). But that said, if it had a decent radar and ability to legitimately rep adversary HMS and weapons, it wouldn't be a bad thing...doubt we'll see that happen. Contract ADAIR is likely going to be the solution for a long time.
  12. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    Still not worth it - it'd be a sortie spent doing very low yield training...guys can't even fly tactical formation or not fuck up other basic admin shit out of IFF. They need to unfuck those problems before even thinking about AR training. In a perfect world where those problems are solved, then I think you have a good idea, but still doesn't require an AR system on the T-X.
  13. Reasonable points, but I think the most honest answer is it depends vastly on the state (guard) and the wing (guard or res). Some states are handing out step 7 with a bonus like free candy, other states/wings will start you at step 1 no bonus regardless of your quals. Our HRO is even denying step increases to weapons officers and OGV, because "what do they do that deserves a step increase? Denied!" I've been in a squadron with a reserve presence where I'd say quite possibly some of the most important/influential Maj/Lt Col fighter pilots work and they were making less money as ARTs than I did as a new Capt in 2012...I shit you not. So while there may be specific "decent" deals out there in the GS system, there are probably far more shitty deals. I doubt this will change until wings and HROs get their craniums out of their asses. The big "IF" to always consider too is will an individual honestly be willing to do this job until 55? I thought it sounded awesome when I was a Capt, but it took only a few months of working around a couple of those guys to realize there's no fucking way I was going to do that...I didn't know if I would eventually decide to go airlines, work for LM, or any other host of non-mil related jobs, but I knew that guy was not who I wanted to be (and not because they're bad dudes). To each their own, but this a significant piece of the puzzle that every person has to do some serious thinking about.
  14. brabus

    Future T-38 replacement?

    I hope it's not true they want to add AR to IFF...the AF has cut/is cutting horrendous amounts of training and producing lack luster products, but somehow we have time to add AR into the syllabus. Even if we we're healthy and producing pilots like we did years ago, I'd still say AR in IFF is a waste of resources. Not to mention the bigger question of which tanker units are going to support this...there are guys coming out of B-Course without AR because of tanker availability, now they think IFF will magically find tanker support? Guess I shouldn't be surprised.
  15. Not worth it. If that's all thats available at the unit a guy wants, then I'd take it initially to get in the door, but I wouldn't plan on that for the long term/retirement purposes. 1. The GS system is filled with bullshit of the worst kind - a perfect example of govt bureaucracy and agonizing idiocy. 2. Who wants to work in the AF until they're 55 to get a retirement that you won't get paid until 60 (or maybe slightly earlier if you run it down with deployments, etc.) To really have a shot at two retirements, you're going to have to buy back your AD time (yeah I didn't want that $15K in my savings account anyways, can I please give it to the govt!) 3. Airlines aside and only comparing AD to FERS retirement, you have to live until around 80 at min before the FERS retirement starts netting you more money than an AD retirement in your early to mid 40s. And personally once I'm 80, I don't really give a shit about that paycheck...I would rather have been 42-45, start getting that check and living life/having experiences that I can look back at when I'm 80. Bottom line, the GS thing works out for that guy who joined in 1990 as a permanent GS and is still slogging along. That guy's life choice is great for him, but I think the majority of people are not looking for that lifestyle, especially for marginal pay and a very late retirement (compared to AD). Bring in the airline pay, and its laughable. I don't remember the details, but a break in service does have consequences, and you might be right about the BRS thing. Bottom line, do not have a BIS if you're going to punch to the ARC.
  16. Yeah I know the staff gigs don't interest those getting out at 12...that's why I said that. I know several dudes who are O-5/O-6/COE for 1 Star on various staffs, several of whom are airline guys. As I previously stated, that avenue is reasonable for a guy who's at 15 or more years AD and wants to punch to avoid the AD bullshit (i.e. 365), get a line number earlier, then eventually take mil leave and finish up 20 for the AD retirement. The catch of course is you have to endure staff work and as you said, cost of living is not awesome in DC. For the punch at 11-12 year types, I don't think you have to do career AGR to 20, then go airline. You absolutely could get to 20 with a few years of USERRA exempt orders on top of your 5 normal years. Things like changing new aircraft, deployments and certain schools are exempt. You can also delay your airline hiring until you're at about 14 years of AD time, then you just burn your 5 years and get to 20 (assuming ~6-12 mo additional time in there for USERRA-exempt deployments over that time period). For example, take 3 years of AGR orders upon AD exit, then go airline for a few years, then come back for 5 years of AGR orders to finish out 20. That may have been a complete pipe dream several years ago, but its becoming more and more realistic nowadays.
  17. brabus

    The Next President is...

    I wonder how many "near center" democrats are fed up and withdrawing support for a party that probably once aligned with their viewpoints, but now has turned into an emotional dumpster fire? Personally I'm fed up with the majority of our politicians and disagree with several Republicans, but this incredibly polarized left is destroying their own party's credibility. The big problem across the entire political spectrum these days is so much emotion - absorb credible facts, look at the data, then make decisions. People of all political affiliations are unable to apparently do that these days, but the left is in general significantly leading that charge by miles.
  18. TONS of AGR opportunities that'll get you to an AD retirement. It can vary widely at the unit level, but if you're willing to do staff, etc. it's about a 99% guarantee you can have AGR orders for as long as you can avoid blowing your brains out. I know the staff stuff doesn't interest many guys with 6-9 yrs remaining until 20, but for a guy who's at 5 or less and wants to bail from AD, they'd be a great way to finish out your 20 and not be at the whim of the AD AF for another 1.5-2 assignments (and avoid the 365).
  19. brabus

    Grumpy MC Driver

    There is still the issue of subpar students making it through formal courses. I understand they met standards on paper, but clearly there have been too many that met standards by the pen, not by actually performing. That's not on the line IPs, it's on leadership at multiple levels who are pushing the turd right instead of calling a spade a spade and FEBing a guy.
  20. Question for the group: Is explaining the shimmy dampener covered in the ACS? Obviously pre-flight and basic systems knowledge is, but I've never checked a shimmy dampener in my life...seems like something that is outside the scope of a baseline pre-flight/system GK and could be a legitimate point to make with the FAA as supporting evidence for the type of bullshit this DPE was pulling. I mean for fucks sake, that's like the douche bag SEFE I had for my first T-6 ride who among other asinine questions, asked me how much refrigerant was in the T-6 (as in something that's not part of the pre-flight and a MX-only function). When I said I didn't know, he then had this asshole smirk on his face as he thumbed straight to page 1-269 and pointed it out in an obscure paragraph. Maybe this guy retired from the AF and is now a DPE in the Nashua area. Sounds like you're on the right path to fix this issue. When it comes to future interviews (guard, airlines, etc), be ready to answer questions asked about these failures - recommend steering away from badmouthing the CFI/DPE (though it may all be valid) and instead explain what you did to solve the problem, the lessons you learned from these failures, and how the experience has made you a better pilot, individual, improved your situation assessment/decision making ability, etc. Bottom line, turn this shitty experience into a positive learning experience for the interviewers. If you come in swinging and talk about how the CFI was shit, the DPE was just milking you for money, and you got hosed (maybe all true), it doesn't come off well and will likely not net you a job offer.
  21. You can be a flight test engineer right out of commissioning, no requirement for TPS. I believe its still a 62E AFSC, just your assignment is Eglin/Nellis/Edwards as an FTE vs. Wright Patt (as an example). At least from what I've seen, "other" FTE jobs go to 2nd assignment FTEs, with a lot of them being TPS grads. I don't know how you get into an FTE slot, but worth a talk with leadership, AFPC functional, etc. PM your friend's contact info (mil) and I'll get him in contact with a couple FTEs.
  22. I booked them myself (with SA on govt max reimbursement). They will only get paid for day of travel (we didn't stop anywhere enroute). So they should receive one day's worth of per diem (at 75% of your rate) regardless if they fly straight to or stay for a week somewhere else enroute.
  23. The AF will pay for all of you to fly, regardless of car situation. Seeing as you have a car, you can drive it and are owed mileage plus per diem based on the alloted travel days. Your family gets, I think, 75% of your per diem rate since they're traveling separately. There's a table in the JTR that discusses dependent per diem options...I think it's 50% if they travel with you same day, and there's also an age component for kids. I did exactly what you want to do on my last PCS - Finance had no issues and it didn't seem like a weird situation to them. It's been 1.5 years so I don't remember specific paragraphs, but it's all in there. You may need to look at separate sections of the PCS part and combine them to get your answer (i.e. they may not reference each other).
  24. brabus

    How important is visiting units?

    Inside a year of the board you expect to apply for...anything further out isn't likely to help you that much (but it can't hurt). I'd say in a perfect world go visit 9-12 months out, then visit again 3 months out, then see them the third time at the interview weekend. Completely technique and probably more than most can afford to do. My opinion is anything beyond that is overkill. Even one visit 3-6 months prior to the board can make a difference on getting selected for an interview or not. Of course this is a general statement and not a guaranteed formula for success.
  25. I've been in the same MWS for 10 years and have experienced/accomplished new things the entire time. At least in the fighter world, if you've "done everything" in a few years, you're lying to yourself.