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Yoda

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  1. Looked at similar questions during my search. Oregon has the most to lose if the F15 goes away due to K-falls being the training base. So the state as a whole will maneuver to keep the F15, but if they get something else that sends federal pork to Oregon, the state powers won't care if it is a blimp or fighter. That said, the F15C/D will have to go away at some point. Whether it is replaced by the F15X, F35, a new F22 line, a brand new clean sheet fighter, or some unmanned aircraft is totally subject to political maneuvering that is outside the desires of any unit as matmacwc said. The remaining F15 locations that hire for UPT would probably have to be replaced by some sort of fighter if the F15 goes away - but the safest are those that have no other fighters nearby like Fresno and Portland. I would also argue that the K-Falls location would be silly for the AF to give up due to the costs of the area being fairly low, high flyable days a year, balmy winters, and no hurricanes/tornados. However logic like that is not used in deciding base realignment/closure. Part of your search might also include where you can get your day job when the guard flying dries up, who you want to spend considerable amounts of time with (each unit has a different culture), and who is willing to say yes to you too. If air to air is the mission you want, visit the F15 units that are hiring and decide. If you want to mix it up with some air to ground then check out the -16 and -35 units as well. If you want to be in a fighter at all costs and don't have things in your file that distinguish you head and shoulders over your peers, then find whoever will say yes to you and run with it. There is definitely tough competition out there for the boards. Years down the road, after you pay your dues, you can apply to a rated board elsewhere and even in a different airframe if that's what you want at that point.
  2. Yoda

    Divorce

    Hey Duck, Wish things were better, but they are the way they are. I've not been divorced myself but I have had at least 20 of my peers, subordinates, and superiors in my Army time. Here are my insights added to what has been posted and I hope that are helpful: 1) Do not date until after your divorce is finalized. Especially if you are subject to UCMJ (which it doesn't appear is the case for you now?) as it is still adultery, even if legally separated, until divorce is final. Even outside the UCMJ you do not want the other party to muddy the process with "evidence" as well. You probably already know this, but there have been some fairly senior folks that were blindsided by this. I had a spouse who was encouraging girls to make passes at her soon to be divorced husband so she could "win" at the divorce. 2) The divorce process will corrupt even the nicest people sometimes. There are people who will see her behavior and see her honestly as the victim due to having the toughest job in world. In their eyes, her actions are just a symptom of the duress the military life put on her. They will coach her to do irrational things. Another spouse was coached to claim physical threat and even violence to get restraining order for "points" in the divorce proceedings. When they found out that path would lead to a Lautenberg amendment discharge, no retirement to get 50%, and a much reduced income to siphon off of when the Soldier exited the Army, they complete recanted. Be prepared for insanity to ensue due to coaching to lawyers, friends, and others and protect yourself from whatever accusals may come your way. 3) Watch what you say, write, text, email, post, snapchat, instagram, facebook, myspace, charge to your card, etc... It is all subject to discovery and usable as leverage. If you don't want the whole world to see it, including your children, do not do it. 4) Hopefully you have a lawyer and they understand your wishes. Some lawyers are really good at "winning" and burying the spouse. Just make sure you see eye to eye on the outcomes you want. As others have said, if you need to change lawyers midstream - do it. The wrong lawyer can be more wrong than no lawyer. No lawyer is pretty bad. 5) As others have said -- find positive activities and people to surround yourself with. With one caveat, if you do need to vent about the process -- suggest doing that with someone that has some sort of client/patient privilege and is obliged not to share information with other parties. Hope for a smooth path and tailwinds for you -- your posts have been very helpful in my move to the Air Force.
  3. 1) Make your lessons count. Know what you need to know, know the maneuvers, youtube them before you go. Getting you license in 40 is possible, but not easy. 2) Start when you have enough money to finish. If you string it out over a long time, you will need more hours. 3) Know your knowledge, if you ace the oral the DPE might overlook some flying issues. 4) Look at someplace that charges based on tach time instead of Hobbs. This can save up to 50% in pattern work - which will be a large part of your private ticket. Look for flying clubs that might offer this. 5) Compare apples to apples -- if one place quotes 10k and another 6k, one might just be more realistic than the other. How much does an hour of flight cost? Dual? Ground? When do you start paying for the flight instructor for a flight (ie flight time is when they get paid or when they show is when they get paid)? Tach/Hobbs? 6) Look at getting a glider license first and then adding on aircraft. Depending on your area and how quick you can switch to powered it _may_ be cheaper.
  4. If you ever see a red-haired captain in the OCPs with "spice" rank and name tapes you quickly realize which "spice" the thread is.
  5. While the extreme minority (for now), I have had leaders suggest precisely this with OCP 2-piece... More prevalent: we need to go see a GO/Ground COL therefore we must change out of these 2-piecers or don't wear the 2-piece unless you are on the flight schedule (good luck when someone drops or you need a maintenance test flight). While the "new shiny" will always get people (I remember when people rushed to buy UCP ACUs), if you offered the bag now you would probably see 90% of the Army pilots lining up for them. If the Air Force has a pilot crisis, then I don't know what the word is for the Army's situation. The difference is the Air Force has at least started making the control input while the Army is still in "everything's fine" mode. One of the complaints from the liberation front is that aviation has lost its identify via the bag and unit patches above the nametape. It might sound whiny, but it is definitely important to some. PS: When I have to change to go to the food court, it's civilian clothes. Preferably Affliction or TAPOUT brand.
  6. I'm reading it as an "opt-in" member being one that has opted in previously, separated, then automatically enrolled when they return.
  7. https://militarypay.defense.gov/Portals/3/Documents/Blended Retirement/Combined BRS Policy Document.pdf?ver=2018-09-19-094018-610 Your DIEMS (date of initial entry of military service) determines which plan you are in.
  8. It could be the straw that broke the camel's back or the DPE could be a tool. It'd be interesting to see what the actual disapproval notice (8060-5) says. https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/media/private_airplane_acs.pdf There is nothing that says he should or should not know what the shimmy damper is, but there are some obtuse enough tasks that could be cited. So "what's this thing here?" "I don't know" "it's the shimmy damper--do you need to check it?" "I guess" could be a failure under PA.II.A.K3 depending on what side of bed you woke up on: since the POH may say that you must check the shimmy damper, just the nose strut and tire and therefore you do not know "which items must be inspected". It's conceivable that after stumbling through a "barely passed oral" and three flights with the OP the DPE would be a little testy if he felt the failures on the first three rides weren't given enough effort before the re-test and we are seeing a little projection here. But it's also conceivable that the brand new CFI doesn't know which DPEs are legit and sent him to a dud DPE. First sign would be if it's possible to schedule days out. The good DPEs I know of (ie reasonable price and reasonable on standards) are booked weeks out. Rule of DPEs: price/availability/fairness -- choose 2 or maybe less in this case. If I were in the same boat, I would find a well respected CFI to give me a mock ride from oral to flying to post flight. From there I would build my syllabus of self-study, ground instruction, and flight instruction to ace a ride with probably a different DPE. Then I would work toward an instrument rating and crush the practical test for that on the first go.
  9. Address the letter to Lieutenant Colonel <Jones>. But then it'd be Dear Colonel <Jones>. Abbreviated it is officially Lt Col for Air Force officers and LtCol for Marine Corps officers. The great thing about the military is you will no longer worry about what to do in any situation, because someone has already written a manual or regulation telling you how or what to do. In this case it's AFH 33-337 The Tongue and Quill. The other great part of the military is that 95% of the people don't read or don't care about the manuals so you are good to go. "A serious problem in planning against American doctrine is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine." -unnamed Russian/German Officer from World War II
  10. ACU = Army Combat Uniform = Normal uniform of Soldiers in the Army, available in Multi-Cam, OCP and UCP A2CU = Army Aircrew Combat Uniform = Pilot Two Piece that shows off how fat your are or are not. When you ditch the Velcro straps because they don't reach you are ready for CW4+ or O5+. Currently available in UCP and Multi-Cam -- OCP coming to a warehouse near you soon. OCP = Operational Combat Pattern (aka Scorpion W2, close to Multi-Cam but with slightly different pattern - unless they are laying flat next to each other it is hard to tell) UCP = Universal Camouflage Pattern -- designed to universally stand out in all environments. It does actually work fairly well in the IR spectrum, but in a woodland environment it is useless. The sad part about the A2CU in Army circles is that we ditched our bag in order to have them. Reasoning: we will look more like the guys we live to support. End result from careerist: "A2CUs are not authorized at <insert event>, wear your ACUs instead so we blend in". Of course now they are considering bringing back said bags and the morale patches that were also a casualty along the way -- in order to solve morale problems/pilot attrition. Or maybe that is just the pipe dream. Edit to add: but the FREE (fire resistant environmental ensemble) jacket is probably the best thing since the poncho liner that the Army gave me. I still worry how leaky the two piece is in a fire vs the bag or if they had invested in making something more functional vs fashionable.
  11. Maybe it's just my home setup and software settings, but I have one of the higher resolution VR setups (Samsung Odyssey), but text on an FMS/GPS is unreadable due to not enough resolution unless it is in the "sweet spot" and I "lean in" a bit. For everything outside the cockpit it is awesome and way better than the bubble projectors outside a physical cockpit for immersion and perspective. Does the AF setup work better? If not then it might not be as good of a procedure trainer as hoped as even reading switch labels can be a chore. Still not sure what the long term impact of 100s of hours of that light being blasted right in my eye would be either, that and something weird with the focusing makes my eyes feel weird for about 10 minutes after taking the contraption off. I have the PD set to the same value measured on my last 5 flight physicals and all that...
  12. Yoda

    Pilot

    Those are good fields that can help boost your civilian career as well. I am guessing you are reserve or guard based on talking about having to balance two careers? After having served in multiple MOSs (AFCS) in the Army, my two cents are as follows: Nearly everyone in every other AFCS wants to be a pilot. No pilot I know wants to be something else. Yes becoming a pilot has some harder schools, and yes people fail out. That is a plus: there is at least a minimum bar to entry that doesn't truly exist in other AFSCs as the graduation rates for their schooling are near 100%. You have the potential to work with a lot of incompetent people that get filtered out in UPT and follow on training. Not to say I haven't run into pilot types that need to find new lines of work, but overall it's better. There are still top 10% officers in other AFCSs, it's just the bottom n% that gets culled in pilots. I've found Guard/Reserve pilots as a whole to take their jobs more seriously than other AFCSs. If it comes time to do the job for real, I want to do it with people who know what they are doing. Again, broad generalizations and I am sure there are plenty of clerks in the Guard/Reserve that really know their job, love it, and do a great job. The downside is that means you need to take your job seriously, and you will have to do more than a weekend a month / two weeks a year at your base. In addition, you will need to do studying even when not at your base. On failing out: my experience in Army flight training and what I have read about UPT. If you dedicate yourself to studying and apply yourself during training -- it's pretty hard to fail out if you are a solid person. Some people's minds aren't wired right to be a pilot, but these are fringe cases. Most of the issues I have seen are people that don't know what they need to know, or don't know it well enough. Their flight busts are usually based on their lack of knowledge/chair flying causing them to end up behind the airplane. Finally: flying is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. I'll second what JHO says above, go take a discovery flight, especially in something like a Citabria that can do some aerobatics. If after all that you don't want to be a pilot, then the smart thing to do would be to bow out. Good luck!
  13. For me the best plans are Google Fi or T-Mobile one with the international add-on. Internationally, they are the same in terms of coverage for practical purposes. Domestically, Google Fi adds Sprint and US Cellular's coverage. Google Fi also does some good Wi-Fi roaming. For data while abroad, Fi can be faster, recommend the $15/month add-on for T-Mobile for faster data and unlimited GoGo on flights. While Fi is cheap when you use little data, the data costs can add up quickly to take you to $80/month+tax on a single line. T-Mobile's prices (they also offer military discount) are inclusive of taxes and fees. Why all this about plans? Because Fi really needs one of their devices to work well. T-Mobile you can take your pick from Samsung, Android, iPhone, etc... T-Mobile also has some subsidies on phones. If you generally use 1 GB a month of data or less, Fi is cheap and a clear winner in price. Security. SMS is probably the most insecure technology we use day to day. Leaving iMessage for Android means you will now use SMS to talk to other iPhone users. Work around: get WhatsApp or Signal (your contacts need to do this too) -- of the widely used messaging platforms these are the most secure. As far as Phone security goes I would rate it as iPhone, Pixel, and then all the other Android devices. iPhone does better sandboxing of Apps (meaning its much harder for that random weather app to read data from your other apps). Pixel/iPhone both get updated fairly fast, while Samsung and others are flapping in the breeze for months to a year. Android 9 "Pie" was released on August 6th. Currently no Samsung Note devices run it. Android 8 "Oreo" released last year is only on 2017 and newer Notes. Android devices get orphaned fast. iOS 12 when it drops in a few days will run on everything from the 2013 iPhone 5s to the new Xs phones. So if you plan on keeping the device a few years -- there's that. Customer service. I was abroad and smashed my iPhone. Screen was unresponsive so I used iCloud to remote wipe the device. I walked into an Apple store and walked out in about 30 minutes with a replacement phone thanks to my Apple Care. I had three more weeks in that trip that would have meant getting a burner phone or something if I had to send my device off somewhere. Interface: Android wins. iOS was designed to be easy. But now with triple home button taps, peeks and pops, settings in the app vs settings in the settings menu, and generally subpar multitasking it can be infuriating sometimes. Each release of iOS and iPhone since the iPhone 4 came out feels iterative of their last phone and derivative from their competition. I currently run an iPhone with my primary number. This compliments my iPad as they both run ForeFlight. Bang out a flight plan on my phone while sitting in a Cafe, see it on my iPad when I pull it out of the bag at the aircraft. For my GA flying I get briefs and file on either of them. I have a secondary Pixel that I use for Android Auto as it has Google Maps. Apple CarPlay only supports Apple Maps for now -- iOS 12 is supposed to bring Google Maps/Waze support at some point. Apple maps doesn't work in many of the places I visit. That, combined with the ability of the new iPhones to simultaneously use two SIMs means I can have my main number, and a burner phone number for craigslist or host nation data plan or whatever kids do with their second phone number these days. So in a few months I will probably be iPhone only despite it being the inferior product due to the reasons listed above.
  14. I used their services, less than 20-30 posts, no positive feedback yet -- but I just started applying as I am not available for 12 months. I started with the resume prep, I am going to add the interview prep. The resume/CV letter guidance was really top notch. As others have said, nothing earth shattering but extremely helpful. For me, it's hard to write about myself and they really helped with selling myself. Overall, it really increased my confidence in my resume and cover letter. Picture this: unit is going to invite 10 people for interview, without the prep you are #11, with the prep you are #10. It is then worth every penny if that is where you want to go as you now have a chance to show in person what your paper might not show. Same goes for the #1 slot at the interview for 1 UPT slot -- there is some stiff competition out there and marginal gains may mean going where you want to go and flying what you want to fly and getting nothing at all.
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