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Keydet

18X Pipeline Q & A

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Hello everyone! I figured I'd finally attempt to get acquainted with the community rather than just lurk the boards endlessly. I came into the service last year as one of the first 18X officers behind the beta classes for the RPA pipeline. There is not a lot of information on what potential and impending 18X'ers will face in the training process, outside of the guys that got non-vol'd or didn't go through the entire program. I figured I would at least cast the thread out there and attempt to shed any light on questions others might have on it. I'm by no means an expert, but finishing up the training program here at Holloman right now, I'm pretty fresh out of the Randolph schoolhouse.

Looking forward to getting into the convo's on the other parts of the board!

Edited by Keydet

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So my best understanding of training is:

IFS - 7 weeks

IRQ/RFC - 4 months (at Randolph)

FTU - 5 months (at Holloman)

Is it true that you can get Reapers straight out of school now?

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Im here at Holloman as a B course student as well for the 9's. Your timeline is about right. Just know that even though you will be at Randolph before IFS and during RIQ and RFC, there may be waiting time before you start each portion. I arrived at Randolph in September of '11 and didnt go to IFS until Jan '12. Then had waiting time after RFC and now Im at Holloman. And yes you can get 9's right out of randolph, thats what I am doing right now.

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So my best understanding of training is:

IFS - 7 weeks

IRQ/RFC - 4 months (at Randolph)

FTU - 5 months (at Holloman)

Is it true that you can get Reapers straight out of school now?

The famous short answer: It depends. Those numbers are roughly correct concerning the pipeline, but casual status in between class dates (IFS, RIQ, RFC, and FTU) are all up in the air. You could come on active duty, sit for five months and then go to IFS. Or you could come on active duty and go to IFS two weeks later. This applies for the latter three classes, as well. You could come back from IFS and sit another two months before a slot opens for RIQ.

Mileage varies, of course. If you are a cross-trainer coming in as part of an extended TDY to Randolph, you typically will class up pretty quickly and then return to your permanent station until you TDY-en-route to Holloman.

And yes, you can drop Reapers out of Randolph. It is becoming the norm now, rather than the exception to the rule. Yes trolls, har har, RPA pilots compete for their airframe.

Edit: Didn't see Landfill's post prior to writing this. Spot on.

Edited by Keydet

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And yes, you can drop Reapers out of Randolph. It is becoming the norm now, rather than the exception to the rule. Yes trolls, har har, RPA pilots compete for their airframe.

Easy bud. No one will troll you for saying that. Big Blue has always wanted its best to play with the nicest equipment.

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Haha, there's actually a thread somewhere around here where someone comments on RPAs having drops.

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Haha, there's actually a thread somewhere around here where someone comments on RPAs having drops.

There's more than one to pick from, of course there is a drop. And make sure to do well so those of us nonvolled into this business can go back to doing what we actually signed up to do.

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There's more than one to pick from, of course there is a drop. And make sure to do well so those of us nonvolled into this business can go back to doing what we actually signed up to do.

We all signed up to be Air Force Officers so quit bitching and do your job.

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We all signed up to be Air Force Officers so quit bitching and do your job.

Seriously get a fucking clue

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We all signed up to be Air Force Officers so quit bitching and do your job.

LOL

You are going to be one popular dude.

The USAF needs more of you. I would suggest you turn it down a couple notches. Recruit your other prior service friends to become officers and help you displace the whining pilots who want to go back to actually being inside the airplane.

It is a win-win.

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The USAF needs more of you.

The senior leaders I work with agree with this 100%. Their theory: The kids who think this way will put service before self all the time, happily take the bad deals, won't miss the cockpit while killing themselves on staff, and, when they become Sq/CCs, will perpetuate themselves! Won't need an ACP bonus if we get enough of these guys. And the easy "tactical stuff" (you know, winning air combat, putting the airdrop when/where it needs to be, supporting the rifleman, etc) will take care if itself over time! The Coroprate Air Force, that's our REAL battle space...where we need our budget warriors, our planner commandos, our "officer first!" Teammates!

So, if you joined to fly drive jets...sorry, your country is calling, so stiff upper lip and all that old chap, and enjoy your ops tour....we need you on the staff.

I know I've been lucky to fly 14 years straight...

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Just as an aside while this thread is totally derailing, I will still answer any questions for anyone legitimately seeking answers about the 18X career field.

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I'm an 18X select for OTS. I have zero flight hours, but I was hoping the experience at IFS could get me most of the way to a PPL, in case I ever have time to use it. Reading on this forum has made me think this may not be the case at all. I understand IFS is not to benefit me so much as it is to benefit the Air Force. I'm asking here, because I know the curriculum at IFS is different for RPA pilot trainees. Do you know if you would have to start form scratch working toward a PPL? Thanks!

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Some of the IFS syllabus activity may satisfy FAA PPL requirements, but not all, and certainly not all FAA req'ts are addressed at IFS. The instructors are fully licensed FAA instructors, so if you have a logbook and talk to the IPs you might get some activities signed off. However, to get your PPL you'll probably have to go to a "normal" training facility and do a lot of it over, particularly the cross-country and solo work, I would suspect. The good news is that after 25-30 hours of time at IFS you should be able to get thru a PPL course a lot quicker.

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HiFlyer is in the ballpark.

You will satisfy most of the requirements for a PPL through the Doss IFS RPA track. It's unfortunate that RPA students are not allowed to land on solo cross-countries, because we actually DO all of it, except are only allowed to do low-approaches at the out fields. Pretty much everything else counts towards the PPL, though. I am finishing up mine right now and the main things you will have to focus on are:

- A few more night time landings. Two night flights are done at Doss, but they most are just touch and go's.

- Cross country solo time. You'll have to tack another flight or two on to get checked out at another flight school to go solo x-country.

- Precheck, checkride stuff.

All in all, I am ten hours away from finishing it. Lots of folks take the opportunity while at San Antonio to finish up the license. Can easily be done in two months at a moderate pace.

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Thanks for the info, HiFlyer (as always) and Keydet. Did you have no flight hours before IFS, Keydet? How many hours have you flown since you got back from IFS, or do you mean those 10 hours plus IFS will wrap it up? And what do you think would be the ballpark pricetag on your remaining hours in the Randolph area? Thanks!!!

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Thanks for the info, HiFlyer (as always) and Keydet. Did you have no flight hours before IFS, Keydet? How many hours have you flown since you got back from IFS, or do you mean those 10 hours plus IFS will wrap it up? And what do you think would be the ballpark pricetag on your remaining hours in the Randolph area? Thanks!!!

I had zero flight hours before IFS. 10 hours plus IFS will typically wrap it up, especially if you can find a DA-20 to finish up in. There are plenty of flight schools in the San Antonio area that will assist you in getting it done. The transition flight at the squadron will have all that info. Ballpark estimate would probably be around $3,000 based on renting the aircraft, instructor fees for dual sorties, and paying for the FAA checkride. I topped it off a little bit because you will be doing some driving to get to either airport (~30-45 minutes one way), so gotta figure car gas, too.

Edited by Keydet

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+1 to what's been said so far. I did IFS locally in San Antonio when that still was an option and finished up my PPL afterwards at the same flight school. I flew with San Antonio Aero Club and in 2007 they had a DA-20 at least so if that's what you're used to that's good. YMMV in 2012. Flew both that and a -172 and neither is exactly rocket science so don't be afraid to switch airplanes to finish your licence if all a place has are -172s.

The $3K is a good estimate...I think I paid something like that, maybe a little less, to finish up since I was able to get more requirements paid for by Uncle Sam during IFS (i.e. landings on the cross-country, more night work, etc.). GL and have fun with it...I'm not a pilot and haven't flown in front seat since I did that flying but I had a great time and figured why not finish the PPL since I already had about 69% of the requirements done.

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Thanks again, guys. That's very helpful info. Now I'm going to take this in another direction, since some breaking news just cropped up in our little family of two...

If, hypothetically, my wife were to have a baby while I was at either OTS or IFS, what would my options be for being present? I would have an option, right?

I am assuming that I will get an OTS class date by this spring, and that I will either be on casual, at IFS, or back at Randolph by this hypothetical due date.

Looks like I might have to put those plans to finish the PPL on an indefinite hold...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If, hypothetically, my wife were to have a baby while I was at either OTS or IFS, what would my options be for being present?

Being present for the birth is overrated. Plus it's gross.

I had a 50% hit rate and it worked out just fine.

Look, she doesn't need you to be standing there for her to do her job any more than you need her to be there at work when you do yours. She can have the kid and chill until you can get there.

Just tell her that and you'll be cool.

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Thanks again, guys. That's very helpful info. Now I'm going to take this in another direction, since some breaking news just cropped up in our little family of two...

If, hypothetically, my wife were to have a baby while I was at either OTS or IFS, what would my options be for being present? I would have an option, right?

I am assuming that I will get an OTS class date by this spring, and that I will either be on casual, at IFS, or back at Randolph by this hypothetical due date.

Looks like I might have to put those plans to finish the PPL on an indefinite hold...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I cannot speak to the possibilities of having to deal with OTS, however some different points of view on the various stages you might be in beyond that...

IFS - Depending on when this happens, you may be able to cut out for the weekend + a day on either side of it and still maintain the flying schedule. If it's the middle of the week, again it depends on how many days you can avoid missing. You may have to suck it up at IFS.

If your IFS date starts within a few weeks of your baby coming, you may be able to push your IFS date to a later or earlier class, depending on when you arrive at Randolph. Talk to director of student affairs at Randolph and they should be able to flex your schedule if something works out like that.

Casual status...take leave when you need it.

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I cannot speak to the possibilities of having to deal with OTS, however some different points of view on the various stages you might be in beyond that...

IFS - Depending on when this happens, you may be able to cut out for the weekend + a day on either side of it and still maintain the flying schedule. If it's the middle of the week, again it depends on how many days you can avoid missing. You may have to suck it up at IFS.

If your IFS date starts within a few weeks of your baby coming, you may be able to push your IFS date to a later or earlier class, depending on when you arrive at Randolph. Talk to director of student affairs at Randolph and they should be able to flex your schedule if something works out like that.

Casual status...take leave when you need it.

Gotcha. Thanks again!

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I always told my guys "The AF will help you be present for EITHER conception OR delivery...and you get to choose half the time"

They laughed until they realized the deployment schedule meant I was right...

Consider: once you know the due date, get her mom or older sister, aunt, etc to arrive to be with her 1 week before due date, and then stay until your mom, sister, aunt etc arrives a week after delivery. She'll need the most help in the first two to three weeks after baby comes home.

Good luck.

Edited by Learjetter

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Thanks again, guys. That's very helpful info. Now I'm going to take this in another direction, since some breaking news just cropped up in our little family of two...

If, hypothetically, my wife were to have a baby while I was at either OTS or IFS, what would my options be for being present? I would have an option, right?

I am assuming that I will get an OTS class date by this spring, and that I will either be on casual, at IFS, or back at Randolph by this hypothetical due date.

Looks like I might have to put those plans to finish the PPL on an indefinite hold...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I graduated OTS in 2006. A guy in my flight was in your situation. Even though his wife was scheduled to induce the birth on a weekend; they would not let him leave, even though he would have left after class on Friday and returned in time for class on Monday. YMMV.

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