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Merle Dixon

Degradation of SUPT

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4 hours ago, pawnman said:

Because despite not getting into high-g dogfights, those bomber guys have spent a career flying the aircraft as a weapon, integrated into a package, studying air threats and learning how to prioritize tasks in the cockpit to fly and release weapons.

That’s my point exactly. Mobility guys don’t do that? I’m not a Herk Guy, but they either have the worlds greatest PR machine or they do some pretty tactical stuff. Same with Gunships, MC-130, C-17 etc. If a bomber pilot is somehow up to snuff, then those other guys should not be excluded. I’m willing to concede that not all 11M’s have the natural ability to get back into the FM and tactical after years going from A to B on autopilot. Those individuals shouldn’t make it through PIT.

The more I think about it, this seems like a lot of easing off of standards and hoping it will work out in the end. If that’s due to pressure from leadership, inadequate syllabus, or something else, I don’t know. I also went through UPT and IFF 10 years ago at KSPS and I know that place is a bit of an outlier when it comes to syllabus anyway. I wish you UPT bros luck.

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4 hours ago, SurelySerious said:

Danger,

Disagree. If our major issues are basic aviation skills like maneuvering in formation or instrument procedures (moreso), then I don’t think we can put the blame on a follow-on course. If UPT produces the equivalent of a Commercial MEL, then I think it’s fair to have standards in mind. In your mind, is UPT meeting that? I don’t have the IFF syllabus handy, but I doubt it includes the resources for building instrument proficiency to a passable level so FTU doesn’t have to; those aren’t Fighter Fundamentals, those are pilot fundamentals we should probably expect from Pilot Training. 

 

But that’s just my 25,000 ft perspective from my damn gold plated bomber throne as I wait to program the FMS to fly the CATIII ILS and never touch the controls. Kidding aside, all communities I’ve interacted with have to push more fundamentals further into training as each formal training syllabus is cut. The problem is at the undergraduate aviation training level across the Air Force. 

Valid points. If a UPT grad shows to IFF and can’t fly instruments, then that person shouldn’t have made it out of the instrument phase. If IFF instructors are dealing with that and not rate fight mechanics or whatever, that’s a foul.

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5 hours ago, HuggyU2 said:

The past UPT instructors I've known were good, and their instruction was far from inept.  They worked very hard to produce the best product they could within the constraints of the syllabus...  despite poor "management" from the leadership... and operating in a system where their hands may not be tied, but are often restricted.

 

I'm no fighter pilot by any stretch of the imagination, and simply do not know what basic "stuff" you are referring to.  

However, in all facets of flying I've done... as well as a myriad of other non-aviation hobbies... "the basics" need to be revisited.  The fundamental skills will atrophy and it affects the more advanced skills.  

I would imagine that a graduating IFF pilot needs to apply "those basics" to their initial training (and even continuation training) in the F-16/F-22/F-15/etc, and adapt them from what they did in the short T-38 IFF course.  

I’m not blaming instructors, it’s a problem with the whole system of UPT. I think anyone can learn to teach the 38 syllabus well, but it will take a non 11F a good amount of time to develop the skills for it. Time that isn’t available at PIT and affects a portion of the students they will have. I’m clueless on how to set someone up for success going into a U2 or MAF platform without time to learn it. It doesn’t help that it’s extremely difficult to remove students from UPT, and the syllabus has had so many cuts. 

The basics out of 38s are the tactical formation. That is where the issue is arising. UPT does well with instrument flying and getting from point A to B without violating yourself. Skills need to be used to not atrophy, but time on a syllabus dealing with employment is limited. IFF requires instrument approaches, and in the CAF you can always do instrument approaches for the RTB if you let flight lead know you want practice. It’s something you are responsible for maintaining.

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5 hours ago, Danger41 said:

IFF is not about employing an airplane as a weapons system. It’s an admin course that teaches you how to speak/do the basics of being a fighter wingman. Hell, it’s right in the title of the course (fundamentals). Even the end of block sorties are demonstration of proficiency, not expertise. I agree the FTU shouldn’t be spending time on that. I vehemently agree that Brabus shouldn’t have to do that during MQT in a Viper.

 

Admin and fundamentals for what? Beginning steps to employing as a weapons system. It’s air to air and range admin. Do they drop real bombs? No, but it doesn’t exist to instruct transition/instruments/formation. They work what they can into and around the syllabus. Many of the sorties require a penetration or some instrument approach. But that’s not the weak point of new graduates, that’s typically found with higher hour guys.

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15 minutes ago, Hawg15 said:

Many of the sorties require a penetration 

Only at Klamath

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Don’t like 11Ms at UPT? Great, don’t take ‘em. Leave those dudes in the MAF so we have somebody left to fill all of these missions after I’m out on the street. It’s not like we have spare 11Ms for y’all to bitch about all day.

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12 minutes ago, ColoradoAviator said:

Don’t like 11Ms at UPT? Great, don’t take ‘em. Leave those dudes in the MAF so we have somebody left to fill all of these missions after I’m out on the street. It’s not like we have spare 11Ms for y’all to bitch about all day.

But HAF just briefed MAF manning at 110%. The glitch has been fixed. 

 

 

 

 

We just got this thread out of the MAF/CAF hate defensive death spiral. 

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Posted (edited)

I kind of liked the death spiral... 

When I got to the herk the crew/tail ratio was 2.XX. I'm sure you're shocked that isn't the case anymore... which magically fixes the problem every couple of years. We are running out of numbers to lower though... 

For the CAF brethren:  Provide the manning to train them or stop bitching about the quality of IPs. It's your fault. Blame the enterprise or the culture for the separations.. but in the end it's the CAF's fault for having your people punch at higher rates than others. MAF's take rates are finally below the CAF's, so we aren't doing better... just took a few more years.

To the MAF brethren:  Suck less at training CAF folks. Brace for the suck because the quality getting to the MAF is bad too. Don't bitch at CAF when we get bad pilots... or a 3 page thread will ensue. 

Edited by BroncoEN
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7 hours ago, pawnman said:

Because despite not getting into high-g dogfights, those bomber guys have spent a career flying the aircraft as a weapon, integrated into a package, studying air threats and learning how to prioritize tasks in the cockpit to fly and release weapons.

So have many C-130 dudes, just replace weapons with airdrop; 5 C-130 guys who would’ve probably stayed in the Air Force just got their orders turned off to 38s.  

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5 hours ago, BashiChuni said:

... more with less is meeting the breaking point. OH WAIT WE'RE OK WE HAVE VIRTUAL REALITY TO REPLACE FLYING HOUR SYLLABUS CUTS!

 

 

 

We all want to talk about the nuts and bolts of quality slip, but you hit the nail on the head... "do more with less... okay now do even more with even less" is just making things worse and worse. I firmly believe that a lot of well-to-do colonels and stars out there are racking their brains about how to make it work but the fact of the matter is they can't, and they don't even realize it yet because they've been a 'rock star' at every level so far and they think they can do the impossible.

This mess needs to be fixed by congressional level changes. We've been burning cash in the desert for years, wearing our people out (and our iron) we're trillions of dollars in debt and we're surprised that everything is falling apart now? Yet here we stand still trying to do more with less because telling the truth and saying, "Hey this is stupid we can't do this we need way more resources" doesn't get you the job or the promotion... it gets you the door. So time and time again we're following shiny pennies that over promise and under produce. 

AETC T38 land is a pressure cooker right now, trying to produce more pilots with a less experienced instructor corps in less time without sacrificing quality. Do more, with less. 

Feels a bit like rats jumping off a sinking ship to me. 

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31 minutes ago, BroncoEN said:

I kind of liked the death spiral... 

When I got to the herk the crew/tail ratio was 2.XX. I'm sure you're shocked that isn't the case anymore... which magically fixes the problem every couple of years. We are running out of numbers to lower though... 

For the CAF brethren:  Provide the manning to train them or stop bitching about the quality of IPs. It's your fault. Blame the enterprise or the culture for the separations.. but in the end it's the CAF's fault for having your people punch at higher rates than others. MAF's take rates are finally below the CAF's, so we aren't doing better... just took a few more years.

To the MAF brethren:  Suck less at training CAF folks. Brace for the suck because the quality getting to the MAF is bad too. Don't bitch at CAF when we get bad pilots... or a 3 page thread will ensue. 

You need to work on your Root Cause analysis. 

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Guys chill, relax. This has been in the works for at least 5 years. Everyone knows the product is worse. No one is even trying to debate that. The Air Force has realized that they are never going to be able to retain the pilots that they need. They made a conscious effort and even publicized it that they are going to grow out of the retention problem from the bottom. The problem is the pipe is too long to push out as many pilots as they need to grow out of the problem. Who cares about absorption, all they care about is bodies. I sat on countless meetings in T6 land with leadership trying to figure out just how much they can cut to get the very bare minimum Air Force pilot trained. Couple that with massive changes to the pit syllabus and big cutbacks to the simulators required in the instrument phase and you have what you have now. Read the tea leaves what is UPT next all about or the VR experiment going on in Austin? The Air Force has made a clear choice that they need quantity and they don’t care about your idea of quality. I agree that as a fighter pilot you would be able to add more big picture training to the T6 and T38 syllabus. You are fooling yourself though if you think that would magically make a better product. Sheppard is a great case study in that. When I left there were only 2 heavy 38 pilots who both flew 38‘s in UPT. Yet magically we were still getting complaints in the T6 world from IFF and the FTU that Sheppard grads were not living up to the standard of basic formation skills in follow on training. This has so much more to do than just a bunch of heavy guys trying to teach guys in 38‘s how to stay in position and do tac turns, but I guarantee the Air Force will use that excuse on why we need more fighter pilots and completely overlooked the fact that training has been cut by over 40%.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app

 

 

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18 hours ago, pawnman said:

Because despite not getting into high-g dogfights, those bomber guys have spent a career flying the aircraft as a weapon, integrated into a package, studying air threats and learning how to prioritize tasks in the cockpit to fly and release weapons.

There is nowhere near the level of SA and understanding that a bomber pilot/crew has, especially regarding air threats, when conducting any type of large force, deep strike scenario that requires fighter escort when compared to their fighter brethren. I’m sorry if that hurts, but it’s the truth. I witness it every day.

And there is nothing particularly difficult with releasing smart weapons, particularly the GPS-guided variety.

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2 hours ago, VMFA187 said:

There is nowhere near the level of SA and understanding that a bomber pilot/crew has, especially regarding air threats, when conducting any type of large force, deep strike scenario that requires fighter escort when compared to their fighter brethren. I’m sorry if that hurts, but it’s the truth. I witness it every day.

And there is nothing particularly difficult with releasing smart weapons, particularly the GPS-guided variety.

I think there’s a boat with 6,900 dudes floating in the gulf calling your name...may wanna go check it out. Bring your crayons. 

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Posted (edited)

Yeah VMFA cause f-16s have ALL the SA IN THE WORLD when they fly around and join a stack. 

Stop hating on the line UPT IPs (LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE)

this is a problem created by big blue. Period. And to echo what someone else said you can thank the maf for sending their dudes to upt To fill slots that the CAF is unable to fill so maybe you should be grateful and not so god damn self righteous. 1 mile LAB it’s not hard. 

Your IFF SPs have met that MIF. The rest is on you 11Fs. 

Edited by BashiChuni
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8 hours ago, VMFA187 said:

There is nowhere near the level of SA and understanding that a bomber pilot/crew has, especially regarding air threats, when conducting any type of large force, deep strike scenario that requires fighter escort when compared to their fighter brethren. I’m sorry if that hurts, but it’s the truth. I witness it every day.

And there is nothing particularly difficult with releasing smart weapons, particularly the GPS-guided variety.

I get that you’re now part of Big Blue... but it’s poor form to comment and critique SUPT considering you did not attend....there’s something to be said for being a graduate of a course and thus being familiar with the intangibles...

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11 hours ago, VMFA187 said:

There is nowhere near the level of SA and understanding that a bomber pilot/crew has, especially regarding air threats, when conducting any type of large force, deep strike scenario that requires fighter escort when compared to their fighter brethren. I’m sorry if that hurts, but it’s the truth. I witness it every day.

And there is nothing particularly difficult with releasing smart weapons, particularly the GPS-guided variety.

A lot of bold assumptions in your post, and most of them are false.  I assume you fly hornets and I seriously hope to god you don’t have that cavalier attitude when employing your smart weapons. 

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On 8/8/2019 at 5:13 PM, BashiChuni said:

 

folks its not rocket science. cut T-6 flying, cut T-38 flying...of course you're getting a worse product than 10 years ago! more with less is meeting the breaking point. OH WAIT WE'RE OK WE HAVE VIRTUAL REALITY TO REPLACE FLYING HOUR SYLLABUS CUTS!

 

 

 

Shack.

Basic math folks. As a current UPT instructor, I contend there’s no substitute for seat time in aircraft. Thus, by reducing time we are reducing experience, albeit SP experience..but the point still stands.

Again, this is simply a mathematical issue. 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, VMFA187 said:

There is nowhere near the level of SA and understanding that a bomber pilot/crew has, especially regarding air threats, when conducting any type of large force, deep strike scenario that requires fighter escort when compared to their fighter brethren. I’m sorry if that hurts, but it’s the truth. I witness it every day.

And there is nothing particularly difficult with releasing smart weapons, particularly the GPS-guided variety.

I'll bite on this, because this sounds like a pretty huge case of you don't know what you don't know (i.e. low SA).  I'm not going to sit here and tell you being the bomber requires the most skill in sorting SA to launch smart weapons vice cleaning up the air picture in a single seater...but yeah, dropping the one or two you're used to is easy.  In this high end fight you're talking about, though, no one is calling a bomber to drop two weapons.

In a RF or WSINT type vul, there are probably 20 DPIs per jet in the formation all roughly co-located that you're trying to hit in one pass battling system limitations that make it challenging to get the releases done if everything goes right. You're probably sorting in a few DTs last-minute in a jet that requires two people to input weapons data because it's in a computer programming language from the 60s. 

We tend to lack SA because literally the airplane has no way to convey us SA outside of radios.  No A-A radar, no Link picture, simply listening to the Strike and OCA freqs.  So when you're the Strike Package commander, you're sorting your targets and listening to the thrash within, monitoring the other striker formations, and assessing the threats from verbal calls the OCA dudes are all making on OCA freq because AWACS is always behind.  All while some non-pilot in your jet talks over every radio call there is.

Every air frame has their mission challenges in the high end fight.  Bomber dudes don't have to be the smartest, no we're not setting our lift vector all over and maneuvering 3-D, and not every dude is capable of RF strike package commander type SA, but it's not sitting in Afghanistan dropping one or two 31s on a mud hut.

Edited by SurelySerious
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Completely agree re: the do more with less.

Also interested in how much of this is an “uphill both ways” emotional bias. I’m sure if I could instruct 10 years ago me today I’d be disappointed. (Despite being the best pilot I know, obviously.) 

To try to cut through some of that: does anybody have a historical example of UPT producing a better product than the year before?

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Klepto said:

 

Someone honestly needs fired for this. It's not just you. They are revoking all PIT waivers. Very good friends of mine on a join spouse just got split after moving to a UPT base they didn't even want (but at least they were together) when AFPC denied one of their waivers and PCS'd them elsewhere. Total assery! Not to mention, how much money did I as a tax payer just waste on moving someone twice in a week!?!?! 

Edit: Removed quote at request of OP. 

Edited by FLEA
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We're conflating grievances here. They could give him a T-6 to SPS, problem solved. No meltdown, no waiver needed, no PCS expenditure loss, wifiey can still be assistant DA (jesus how many times did he mention that, it was like watching one of Khalessi's minions announce all her titles on GOT). 

As to the rest? Get a fvcking grip man. I have a story too. Many of us have a story of personal grievance in this line of work. Life's not fair, we make lemons with the batch we get pelted in the head with. I didn't go on a whiny bender on the internet about it. I have family challenges too, one I seriously considered quitting the military over. Jesus T-1 driving Christ do you AD folks not have better friends to commiserate to than the internet? Or is this a millennial thing, and it pains me to say that as technically I'm the oldest year of a millennial.

Here's a pro-tip for that guy: Fighter units in the ANG/AFRC pick up separating heavy drivers every now and then as a consequence of circumstances/PFA/et al. Having a god damn melt down and posting it forever on the internet, where you allocute to still having a fundamental chip on your shoulder about legitimately sucking hind teet in ENJJPT and/or not getting what you wanted out of UPT 6-9 years ago, is not the starting point to a clean transition to the next chapter of your flying career. 

Here's another pro tip: There's a metric fvck ton of AFRC UPT drivers on this board (and FB). Ask me how I know. Guess who's also at the hiring boards for said FTG. Our main source of guys is separating AD UPT cats. Don't drink and internet,folks, though it may be a bit late for some.

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Why do you say “they certainly won’t get any more coming in to the active duty squadrons in the  foreseeable future”? I’ve heard recent rumors about T-38s trained MAF ACs/IPs requesting to teach T-38s being denied... 

Can verify. AFPC turned off some MAF IPs’ orders to T-38 PIT just a couple days prior to RNLTD. That was last week. This week apparently it’s fights on.

And yet the AF wonders why it’s losing 10 yr guys.
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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, hindsight2020 said:

We're conflating grievances here. They could give him a T-6 to SPS, problem solved. No meltdown, no waiver needed, no PCS expenditure loss, wifiey can still be assistant DA (jesus how many times did he mention that, it was like watching one of Khalessi's minions announce all her titles on GOT). 

As to the rest? Get a fvcking grip man. I have a story too. Many of us have a story of personal grievance in this line of work. Life's not fair, we make lemons with the batch we get pelted in the head with. I didn't go on a whiny bender on the internet about it. I have family challenges too, one I seriously considered quitting the military over. Jesus T-1 driving Christ do you AD folks not have better friends to commiserate to than the internet? Or is this a millennial thing, and it pains me to say that as technically I'm the oldest year of a millennial.

Here's a pro-tip for that guy: Fighter units in the ANG/AFRC pick up separating heavy drivers every now and then as a consequence of circumstances/PFA/et al. Having a god damn melt down and posting it forever on the internet, where you allocute to still having a fundamental chip on your shoulder about legitimately sucking hind teet in ENJJPT and/or not getting what you wanted out of UPT 6-9 years ago, is not the starting point to a clean transition to the next chapter of your flying career. 

Here's another pro tip: There's a metric fvck ton of AFRC UPT drivers on this board (and FB). Ask me how I know. Guess who's also at the hiring boards for said FTG. Our main source of guys is separating AD UPT cats. Don't drink and internet,folks, though it may be a bit late for some.

Nevertheless, hard to argue that the AF did not fork the guy... I have empathy.  Especially when this has more or less been my experience every, single, PCS.  Unfortunately, like you said, it seems to happen to everyone.  That said, if everyone stayed silent there would be 0% chance of leadership accountability or change.

As far as the pro tips, good stuff.  In this guy's case he sounds like a prior E guy who is going to finish out his 20 in 4-6 years.

Edited by Klepto
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7 hours ago, viper154 said:

Equally belongs in the “what’s wrong with the AF”  thread.  Want to know the root cause of UPT quality going downhill? Airline hiring combined with the AF/DOD incompetency and treating pilots like we aren’t important. You fuck with peoples lives and family’s like this they aren’t going to stay. No bodies means less instructors, which means we need more bodies to replace all those leaving. It’s a death spiral. 

You forgot to mention the shear incompetence and complete lack of foresight in personnel management of aircrew over the last 15ish years

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1 hour ago, Klepto said:

Nevertheless, hard to argue that the AF did not fork the guy... I have empathy.  Especially when this has more or less been my experience every, single, PCS 😂.  Unfortunately, like you said, it seems to happen to everyone.  That said, if everyone stayed silent there would be 0% chance of leadership accountability or change.

As far as the pro tips, good stuff.  In this guy's case he sounds like a prior E guy who is going to finish out his 20 in 4-6 years.

Indeed. I'm certainly not defending the AF assignments process. Our PCS outlays are an example of FWA imo. But that's part and parcel of the total war campaign the AD component has always had with the concept of homesteading in military life, as a matter of principle it seems. It certainly has spilled into Active Duty Lite (aka AFRC), while the NGB is probably the last remaining bastion of hope on that front. I've never witnessed a professional organization so gratuitously and pointedly contemptuous against their employee's home life, as the DOD. 

I know late-to-UPT guys who gambled and lost at ENJPPT. They took a special assignment heavy, which was a hell of a lot better than an FEB, then pivoted to T-1 land and moved on to better things, whether it be an AD retirement, or an airline pivot, or both! The unfairness of life is noted, but you gotta make some lemonade if you want to move forward.

As to the degradation of UPT. Again, we're conflating subjects. From my vantage point having done it for the last decade (I've done all subsets of the UPT/PIT mission, with the exception of T-1s): it's pretty much a lowering of the hours/culling of events imho.

MAF folks in 38s are frankly a red herring on this topic. Yes, there's an aggregate pressure on the development programs as a result (sorry if that triggers some, but it's what we've witnessed in PIT and phase-III alike), but most end up doing ok for the job given enough time and mentorship. 

Furthermore, I disavow the dismissive notion that phase III 38 rigors are so overstated, the ladies at the CDC could be tasked to do it and thus there's nothing to complain about on the IP development side. It is something I've heard from both some disgruntled T11K3D coded 11F that find the UPT mission set beneath them, and MAF guys resentful of the waiver impositions. I'm a casualty of the "bomber cap" stonewalling myself for years, so I'm not speaking from the cheap seats on this one. But a spade's a spade. Not everybody is cut out for T-38 IP work, upsetting as it may be for those who may resemble the remark.

 

From my perspective, the MAF-38-butt-hurt "problem" arose when PIT got timeline/production pressured to punt that extra mentorship, a syllabus/resource allocation PIT was never designed for mind you, to the TI side of the UPT 38 squadrons. UPT 38 squadrons naturally wailed when IFF started throwing shade at them for a product that was legitimately rushed through, in part (not in whole) due to the low turnout of IPs based on said no-kidding attrition from TI. The finger pointing went off the rails at that point. And here we are....and now we have these drunken embarrassments on FB, coming full circle. Color me not surprised. 

 I've seen the dynamic from two of the three-sided mexican standoff now (aka UPT-PIT-IFF). Everybody has a valid gripe on that, but again from my perspective, the product is rotting at the UPT level due to syllabus cuts.

At the macro level, the problem is that every time one makes this argument as an older head, one gets accused by the NAF/MAJCOM of making a Luddite argument against PTN, which isn't the case at all. Fact is Kwast is out that job, and hopefully that good idea fairy will die with it. It caused enough chaos and production losses last year as it was (again, don't ask me how I know). Guess what made up for the losses at the expense of fatigue and manning for the least year? You guessed it: surging for a year on the legacy syllabus. And now AETC wants to take credit for that, whilst touting PTN as the solution to the problem they created, and not the genesis of the problem in the first place? Typical gaslighting. It's a total con job.

The ultimate reality is that HAF has essentially accepted this dilution of quality, and the deaths we have and will cause as a result of this greening, are an acceptable and more importantly, plausibly-deniable quantity to them. So we're tilting at the windmills here as the labor pawns with no say in the matter. We all signed up for a certain level of commodification of our lives when we agreed to this indentured servitude. The kitchen just happens to be getting real hot on that front as of late. I'm not being flippant; I have a family I'd like to come home to at night, and buried two co-workers in the last year alone on account of this "so easy a CDC lady could do it" job. I'm just describing the water here with the benefit of a decade's worth of hindsight. Don't hang the postman.

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