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Doing Well in UPT

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Drelyn8,

You brought up a good point in the fact that a lot of us throw around terms like Formal Release and people not yet in the military or at UPT/UNT may have no clue as to what they mean. Here's a few terms off the top of my head...

FORMAL RELEASE - This is an Air Force thing. You don't leave until you flight commander releases you. Usually at the 11 hour and 59 minute mark, unless that doesn't give you 12 hours till the next days events, then it may be earlier. This usually ends at the end of final contact, about 6-8 weeks into Phase 2. It happens again in T-38's and T-1's. It sucks.

FORMAL BRIEF - Usually happens first thing in the morning in Tweets. The IP's walk in, the room comes to attention, the SRO reports the flight in, the weather is briefed, and then it's time for Stand-up and Shotgun questions.

SHOTGUN - The IP will go around the room and ask a smorgasboard of questions. When he gets to you, you will stand at attention and answer it. If you get it right, you sit down. If you get it wrong, you remain standing until someone gets it right. When someone gets it right, they'll go back to the first person to get it wrong and ask a new question. So, if you keep getting them wrong, you'll be standing there like an idiot for a long time.

STAND-UP - The IP will present an emergency situation, and then call on a student. That student will stand at a desk facing the podium with his/her checklist and inflight guide and work through the EP as if he/she was the pilot in command. If he/she messes up, he sits down and a new student gets called on. This also sucks.

BOLDFACE - Critical action emergency procedure checklists that must be memorized. These are also written verbatim by the students for grading.

DOR or SIE - Drop on Request or Self-Induced Elimination. Basically resigning or quitting pilot training.

HOOK or TACO - An unsatisfactory overall grade on a ride. Happens to everyone eventually. The terms ar based on the fact that a U shows on your gradesheet, resembling a taco. "I Hooked the ride/test/standup." or "He gave me the Taco." or "I made a run for the border on that flight." Sometimes, this will be presented silently by merely making your hand into a U like you are eating a taco.

TRACK SELECT - Happens at the end of Tweets/Texans. This is where you see your fate decided (actually, you decided it based on performance and merit). You buy beer and pizza for everyone, then you stand before the crowd while your IP's basically roast you for a few minutes, then you turn around and see if you are going T-38's, T-1's, T-44's or H-1's.

There's tons more, but I hope this helps.

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I'll add a few more to the thread:

Informal Release - Your flight's reward for hard work and good performace. While on informal release, you will still show up in the morning for the formal brief. However, through the rest of the day, you will be allowed to leave the flight room as long as you don't have any events scheduled. Normally you will have to show back up at the flight room every flying period to see if the scheduler has anything for you.

88 ride (Progress Check) - An extra ride given after your first checkride bust or after hooking three daily flights in a row. The purpose is to see if you will progress normally at UPT. If you pass the ride, no further action is taken. If you hook it, you go to an 89 ride.

89 ride (Elimination Check) - Stay away from these. You only get one 88 ride, after that you will always go to an 89 ride. The flight is about the same as a 88 except that it is flown with the SQ/CC or the DO. If you hook this one, you go to a Commander's Board. In other words, you're gone.

Slackademics - Self explanitory. Your last freedom for 52 weeks.

EPQ or Stan Test - Written tests given once a week testing your general knowledge. Normally about 20 question. 85% and higher is passing.

Double Turn, Triple Turn - Means you have either two or three events scheduled back to back. Triple turns SUCK. If you are scheduled for a triple, make sure to bring some snacks for in between each flight, because you'll start dragging ass. If you're doing three flights in a row, expect to hook your last one since your head tends to find it's way up your ass after the second flight.

PD

Edited by HerkDerka
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I always hear "just bust your a$$ in UPT and you'll get what you want". What does this consist of? What can you do that everyone else in your class isn't doing? Stay in and study while everyone else is going out on weekend? Is most of it natural ability or can you really control your fate?

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Study with your buds.

Keep a positive attitude as best you can

Be where you are supposed to be on time

Keep your gradebook immaculate.

Help your classmates - to teach is to learn. The more you explain a system/procedure, the better you know it.

Attention to detail.

Push it up Friday night through Sunday morning, go to church or whatever you do on Sunday, hit the gym then buckle down for the week.

The Air Force doesn't have to make you a pilot, it is a privelege to be there. Remember that.

"What can you do that everyone else in your class isn't doing?" is the absolute wrong mindset to be in. I cannot stress this enough. If you are the guy that is trying to be better than everyone else, the following things will happen. First, you will alienate your flightmates. If you are the lone wolf, eventually study groups will be formed, nobody will call you to go out, etc.

Then, the flight IP's will notice that wnanna takes off before everyone else, he's not there at the club, he sits by himself at the flight room table and reads while three other dudes are drawing the Tweet fuel system on the board trying to figure out what lights come on when the float switches move. Your flight commander will ask your SRO wht's up. He'll say "I dunno, wnanna just goes off on his own on the weekends, I guess he has more important things going on."

Then, at the end, after you kick ass in Tweets (or maybe not) it will be time for peer evals and the flight commander ranking. You won't be at the bottom, the jackass who ****ed his buddy and caused him to show up late to formal brief will be there, but you'll be bottom third. Maybe there are 4 T-38 slots, and you are neck and neck with the guy who stayed up until midnight on Sunday night helping a guy get ready for his midphase ground eval, or made up a gouge sheet with the changes to 11-217. Your test scores are identical.

Who do you think is gonna come out on top?

[ 25. May 2005, 22:22: Message edited by: PAB ]

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Originally posted by wnanna:

I always hear "just bust your a$$ in UPT and you'll get what you want". What does this consist of? What can you do that everyone else in your class isn't doing? Stay in and study while everyone else is going out on weekend? Is most of it natural ability or can you really control your fate?

I am sure many have done better than me at UPT and many have also done worse, so FWIW here is the advice from an "old" ANG Captain that got tankers on track select night:

You have got to want to be there! I know this sounds stupid, but you would be amazed at how quickly the "new" wears off and people start b1tching about UPT. The same thing happens right before assignment night - people forget just how lucky they are to be flying ANYTHING in the AF. Thus, you get someone literally CRYING IN PUBLIC about getting an A-10 instead of an F-15. WTF!? Anyway, I digress. You must be willing to put in the work. That means generally no Halo marathons, no drunken parties during the week, and no constant jabbering to your girlfriend who is 1200 miles away. At least during the week. I'll get to weekends later. Remember why you are at UPT - to learn to fly AF airplanes. There is only a finite amount of time in the day, and if you don't prioritize it well (see my examples above) you won't do well at UPT.

You have to be consistent with your work ethic. There are TONS of things that need to be done on a daily basis. Academic exams, EPQs, stand-up, briefings, plus usually 2 or 3 actual flights per day. Toss a checkride in every few weeks just for fun. In order to keep everything straight, you MUST keep your nose to the grind stone. For me, I spent at least 2 hours a night studying (except Friday and Saturday). I would get home, spend 1-2 hours with the wife (eat dinner, walk the dog, f*ck, whatever) then study for 2 hours, shower, and go to bed at 10pm. Up at 5am and repeat. EVERY NIGHT. For the entire year. There is no shortage of things to study, so you must study/read something every night just to keep up. If not, you will get behind quickly and the pace of UPT is such that once you're in a hole in one area it is very difficult to recover (to the point where you do well vs. just getting by). I will caveat this by saying that you need to study and work hard, but don't panic about it. There were many nights that involved a few beers while chair flying! Gotta keep it real.

CHAIR FLY - CHAIR FLY - CHAIR FLY. I can't stress that enough. As the SRO of my class, I was fortunate enough to be one of the 'go-to' guys when folks had trouble. I was always amazed that guys would tell me "Yeah, I know the procedures for a no-flap straight in" but when I would sit them down in my living room and say "Talk me through it - in excruciating detail. I want to know every single thing you are going to do...every switch, radio call, where you're looking, etc." and they could not do it! They would miss steps, forget checklists, or not know the radio calls. If you can't chair fly a mission at ground speed zero, you will never be able to do it at 200 knots with an IP staring you down. As a side note, helping others chair fly is one of the best ways to study, IMHO. If you can teach it to others, it shows you have a command of the information. Again, there is a never ending amoung of information to cover so you had better chair fly every night (esp. in T-1s when you're shooting 6-8 different approaches every flight. Lots of details to remember, and the more you know before you step to the jet the better you will do in the air.) There's an old saying that goes something like "Never let the airplane go somewhere you mind hasn't been to 5 minutes prior". Chair flying gives you the ability to rehearse everything the day prior. Sure, things will go wrong or change, but if you've practiced the "perfect mission" 3-4 times before, you'll be able to focus on the changes and not get wrapped up worrying about the basic profile. The ability to remain calm and excel when the profile changes is one of the things that will set you apart from the rest of the class. Perhaps some of our FAIP mafia on here can comments on that...but in my experience, that was the case. Anyone should be able to fly the profile as briefed. But how people react when the feces hits the rotating oscillator is when you find out how they really perform, IMHO.

Balance. You must balance the day to day stress of UPT with your life. For me, I would stop worrying about UPT stuff on Friday after our last event. Party it up at the club, drive to San Antonio, whatever. We'd go boating, travel, or BBQ on Saturdays and Sundays until about 5pm. Then it was time to eat dinner and hit the books again to get ready for Monday. Use the weekends to catch up on your life...spend extra time with the girlfriend/wife/kids, go do whatever you do for fun. The people that never let UPT go soon self-destructed.

Those are just a few things you can do to improve your chances. It's true that natural ability plays some part in success, but it's more mental than anything else. You can learn the monkey skills of actually flying the airplane. It's keeping your SA and being able to answer IPs questions that is the real b1tch - and the part of the equation you have direct control over by studying/chair flying. You will never hook a ride for a firm landing [hand-eye stuff] but you certainly will if you bust out of the MOA [brain power stuff]. That's where work ethic, consistency, and attitude come into play.

I know some folks reading this will say, "He's full of sh*t! Everyone has GOT to study! Everyone has GOT to chair fly!" You'd be surprised how many people I knew that spent 0 time outside of the flight room studying. And they all got what they deserved on assignment night.

Whew. Guess I got off on a rant there. Sorry if I was long winded, but that's my perspective.

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Newbies listen up...

This thread is PURE F*CKING GOLD.

Thanks for posting guys.

Chuck

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Guest rumblefish_2

The Trinity has spoken. :D Do exactly what these guys said and you will get what you want. I would say the most important part about pilot training is your class. Help each other out and not only will you have bros for life, but it will also make pilot training alot easier and more fun...

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Guest Rainman A-10
Originally posted by Bergman:

SOOO...what do the FIGHTER GUYs have to say? Obviously you folks did something right at UPT to get a fighter.

Beaver shacked it. So did Bergman. Getting a fighter is all about attitude and poise under pressure.

You can come up human highlight reel clean and pretty with bad hop shot to the hot corner and rip it to first but lose the game because the bases were juiced in the bottom of the 9th with one out and you should've gone home with it. You "looked good" making the E-5 but your team and coach are pissed because you were a robot.

Feel the jet, remain calm, know where you are and where you're going, memorize everything, trust yourself, try to think of a reason you are glad to be there so you can smile, never kiss anyone's ass and most importantly...be part of the team.

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This is an interesting post. It's been a long time since I was at UPT, but it got me thinking about how I would have done in this new dual-track system.

I started out slow in T-37s. The only flying experience I had was the 15 hours or so of C-172 (T-41) that you got prior to UPT back then. I probably wouldn't have gotten to go to T-38s in today's program. Eventually the light bulb came on, and I did well in T-38s and got an A-10.

I would think, that with the track selection coming half-way through UPT, that you'd want to get a great start out of the blocks. For you FAIPs and recent UPT grads...do you think this system favors folks with a bunch of previous flying experience? I could see how it might. One of my problems early on wasn't the flying part, but that I just didn't have any overall aviation awarness/savy (things like radio calls, clearances, airspace, pattern deconfliction, instruments). I would have really benefited from some previous flying experience, but I had time to "rebound" under the old system where everyone flew T-38s.

One of my main concerns is...what basis do the instuctors have for being able to predict who is "fighter pilot material" and who isn't? Are there enough fighter pilots flying T-37s/T-6 to have the overall picture, and a basis for deciding who is best suited for fighters? What are the percentages of FAIPs/Heavy/Fighter guys instructing in T-6/T-37 these days?

Are these guys (UPT students) being split into the heavy and fighter tracks for the right reasons? Some of the guys I've instructed in A-10 FTU in the past few years don't seem all that swift to me. But...I know they must have made it to the top of their classes in UPT...somehow. I'm bias...and a product of the "old" system, but I think you need more than six months in a T-37 to know who's got "it" and who doesn't.

Anyone?

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Guest JArcher00

Bergman, I know exactly who you are talking about regarding crying about A-10. Funny thing is he talked about the F-15 since day one. He even had plate cover on his car until some ripped it off solo night. Everyone needs to remember the best do not always take -38s. I my class like I preached before the top 3 or so did not take the -38 but the T-1 and T-44. That cocky attitude of the fighters are the best is a little off these days. I had the scores to go -38s if the opportunity was there and I was in AD, but I am too lazy for that kind of flying anyway and you could not pay me to do it.

But I guess we still have a toiltet and can get up and walk around. Not too rough.

Just buckle down like all the other posts before said and you will be just fine. You obviously got through a college or university of some sort, with the parties that go on, unless you went to the academy. Study as much or as little as you need and you will get to fly. Good luck

[ 29. May 2005, 08:20: Message edited by: RedDog ]

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Originally posted by B-O-double-Z:

One of my main concerns is...what basis do the instuctors have for being able to predict who is "fighter pilot material" and who isn't? Are there enough fighter pilots flying T-37s/T-6 to have the overall picture, and a basis for deciding who is best suited for fighters? What are the percentages of FAIPs/Heavy/Fighter guys instructing in T-6/T-37 these days?

Unfortunately, it's basically scores. We had a guy who, in my (herbivore) opinion, would have made an outstanding fighter pilot. Unfortunately, he also got a slow start. By Formation he was kicking ass, but the damage had been done. We only had 4 T-38 slots, so needless to say he went to Tones. He's now kicking ass as a Tweet FAIP.

Of our 4 Talons, three had advanced flight ratings, but one had the minimum 40 hours of IFT (which is what they give you these days) and he got a Strike Eagle and cleaned up the awards for the -38 side at graduation.

Same thing (having the decision made for them) happened to a couple guys in my unit who came to us from Guard fighter units. I guess today you have to be in the top 50% of the Tweet class to advance to T-38's. This determination needs to be made six weeks prior to your track select, so even if you smoke your Instrument check and fly formation like it's your job, you're doomed to a life of enroute cell unless you rocked in Contact.

I finished somewhere in the top third out of Tweets, but if you took my flying scores exclusively and left out academics and commanders ranking I was bottom half. My Final Contact check was atrocious, I didn't know you could get so many downgrades on a sheet of paper and still pass, although they said I did the best Cuban Eight they had ever seen (a skill that will serve me well, I'm sure) so, there is no way I would have gotten a -38, Active or Guard.

[ 29. May 2005, 08:40: Message edited by: PAB ]

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B-O-double-Z,

I would say that there are also good reasons to "force" someone to go T-38s. There were a couple guys in my class that I wouldn't want on my aircrew regardless of how good their flying was. I think it fits them better to be flying a single seat type! Their attitudes just wouldn't fit in the heavy community. Good to have them on the same team, just not the same jet.

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In tweets I was afraid to try and go T-38's. I thought I wanted to fly C-130's. Here's my semi-embarrassing reasons why:

I'm naturally lazy and I thought fighters would be a lot of work. (They are)

I was a little scared flying formation in tweets.

I didn't really like flying solo. I thought I wanted to have someone else in the jet to back me up (lack of confidence)

Tweet squadrons are full of heavy guys who told me how great it is to travel and go to different countries and collect per diem. Fighter guys are dicks and it's constant competition and no fun.

Fortunately I had a flight commander who helped me see that I was really just trying to cop out of putting in a little extra effort. He was the only fighter pilot in our tweet squadron and he helped dispel some of the myths put out there by the heavy pilots.

When I see someone who could fly T-38's but picks T-1's or T-44's instead, I naturally think that they are trying to cop out like I did. People who have never flown a fighter can not even imagine what it is like. I try to encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go for it. No one ever sat in an F-16 and said, "God, I'd rather be flying a C-17."

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I just meant to say that is usually my initial feeling. I know that everyone has their own issues. I also know that tweet studs get VERY little fighter influence. If I can shed a little light on what it is really like and maybe steer someone in a direction that they are leery of, then I will. Especially if I, in my infinite wisdom, think they'd make a good fighter pilot.

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A couple talking points that are on my mind...

--It's crazy to think you can predict the potential of a pilot based on the first couple months of UPT

--If you are forced to split the pack that early, the guys with prior flying experience will probably have an advantage

--Air Force UPT shouldn't reward the students who know the most about flying on the day they show up

--Most UPT instructors can critique a students effort and attitude...but IMHO it takes a guy with previous fighter experience to discern the other indicators for success in a fighter squadron

--The instructors at UPT should refrain from talking sh*t about the other teams airframes and pilots (heavies vs. fighters), especially in the T-6/T-37 phase.

--It's one thing to be proud of what you flew, but it's another thing to convince young impressionable dudes they "don't really want to be fighter pilots, because fighter pilots are dicks and it's too hard."

--I don't know if the right qualities are being rewarded. I hope they are. (I'm assuming it's not politically incorrect to call getting a fighter a reward...maybe it is). I know this is not exact science. That's why I hate to see it reduced to academic test scores, shoe shining, yes sir/no sir, and TP stalls.

--There needs to sufficient representation in the T-37/T-6 instructor cadres, from all weapons systems, and enough time to make a fair appraisal of a students capabilities

I don't presume to know what the indicators are for success are in a heavy unit, but I have been a SIC and PIC on civilian crew aircraft (about 1000 hours in Learjets), and I do know that it's a totally different kind of flying than Attack/Fighter.

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Guest Rainman A-10

I have seen guys wish they were not flying single seat aircraft. They are flying something else now.

I remember sitting in a Tweet during FWQ wishing I was flying a Pave Low. Flight school was far less fun the second time, especially since I wasn't a volunteer.

I know there had to be some Eagle guys wishing they flew something else after they were cut out of the herd in OEF and OIF. Their best hope is that they get to fly the F/A-22 and drop a Ladyfinger IAM from 69,000 feet...<yawn>.

That said, I would venture a guess that less than 0.69% of the fighter pilots would rather be flying something else.

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Originally posted by Rainman A-10:

That said, I would venture a guess that less than 0.69% of the fighter pilots would rather be flying something else.

.69 :D . Conversely, how many heavy guys do you think wish they were flying something else? Do heavy guys that wanted fighters gripe about it, or do they move on and take what they earned? Just curious.

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Guest SHAVED DOG'S ASS

One guy in my class, and another our senior class both had over a thousand hrs. Both did well in phase 1 and 2... both did shitty in 38's and are now flying Buffs.

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I have heard scuttlebutt before...

There are a few guys in my wing that flew the 38 and busted outta IFF or Eagle RTU... Im sure that in the begining they were hating life. Now one is going to McGuire for Air Mobility Weapons School, the other is steadily moving up the ranks. Both are examples of what I would call 'good' aircraft commanders...

From what we hear Gen. Handy at AMC wont take guys who washed out anymore - as policy (at least in the 17 community).

There are young guys who gripe about the 'lifestyle not being what I expected...' I bet that happens in a lot of airframes though. There are a few that I have had conversations with that gave 100 reasons (excuses, IMHO) why they should be flying a fighter... or shouldve tracked to 38's. Well, life sucks, timing is everything. Shoulda woulda coulda. Boo Hoo. Ive got no sympathy. All these guys have wings; all of them graduated. They may not be the pilot they wanted to be but they are still flying for a living, not shoe-clerking it around the man-power or finance shop... Some guys lose sight of that one.

The real problem is that the DO/ADO's know who the whiners and the problem children are. Thats the wrong attitude to have, the wrong reputation to have and the wrong vis with the leadership...

Chuck

[ 30. May 2005, 11:24: Message edited by: ChuckFlys17s ]

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Guest Rainman A-10
Originally posted by ChuckFlys17s:

I have heard scuttlebutt before...

Now one is going to McGuire for Air Mobility Weapons School

Cool. I know some guys going to:

  • Jumbo Shrimp School
  • Exact Estimate School
  • Advance Basic School
  • Instant Classic School
  • Ill Health School
  • Holy War School
  • Cheerleading Scholarship School
  • Minor Miracle School
  • Paid Volunteer School
  • Industrial Park School
  • Peacekeeper Missile School
  • Criminal Justice School
  • Light Tank School

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Guest rotorhead

Rainman, you (still) crack me up!

I know you're just envious of those other "patches"!

You're about to start the "how can you have a weapons school without a weapon?" flame war!

Giddyup brother!

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The only math that doesn't add up in my mind is the question of how is EVERYBODY happy when there are more people who wanted to track 38's than people who actually do.

My point being, I don't see how everybody that is flying heavies now is absolutely, unequivocally a CRM personality. Particularly the close calls at track select, those folks don't just become CRM friendly overnight. That they have to is one thing (I allude back to Koolkat's post), that they actually do is another. Moreover, I'm inclined to suggest the same for those who actually had their stint as fighter pilots and transitioned to the heavy side. I think that [single seat personality] would be the source of most hesitation for -38 hopeful, I know it would be my hesitation if I came in #4 out of 3, the dreaded gear flippin' seat. I concede I do not know for a fact if that is what the right seat is all about, just anecdotes from the civi side...if it's true maybe the new MPD program might be a mitigating factor, hell maybe an incentive, on getting over those sentiments, FWIW.

Any thoughts from the folks who actually have gone thru this?

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As a Tweet FAIP I wanted to jump in and comment about how we determine who willl do well in the 38 side of the house as well as the general mix of the squadron, i.e. prior MWS experience. Let me first start by saying for the most part in my 1 year and 6.9 months as a FAIP, previous flying time normally isn't a huge make or break item. Don't get me wrong, it can often be very noticeable if and when somebody has prior time but it very quickly becomes not much of a factor. In my Tweet squadron we only have about 5 dudes with fighter time and only one is right out of fighters so we definitely don't get a good perspective that way. Mostly we rack and stack the way everyone thinks, flying scores, test scores, and flight commander ranking and then that gets mixed in with what the drop is vs. what the studs want. In my experience it almost always works out, just like anything in the Air Force. We have plenty of older dudes who were IPs in the everyone flew the 38 days and they all seem to think this system works better, at least from our side of the house. I certainly wish that we did have a better mix of IPs though, nowadays its alot of FAIPs who think they are fighter pilots and heavy MWS guys who, at least lately post-OIF/OEF, tend to even scare people away from heavies due to the 270+ days gone. Anyways I have rambled enough.

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Guest pucho4pr

Those are very nice words Mr Tweep FAIP!

However, I must say that you are probably more savvy about the topic than other FAIPs. I have to disagree with you on a few things. Some Flight CC and FAIPs state their opinion about students based on what they see on a daily basis. Unfortunately, that is not enough information to determine who will succeed on either category following track select, especially when they could be biased because the guy was an academy grad, or they just like the guy. We have a couple guys in my class with previous experience and they are kicking so much ass is unreal. And yeah they are flying 38s (even when don't fit the typical profile of a Fighter Jock.) On my case, I prefered to go Heavies because I think some of our missions are somehow more interesting than blowing stuff up. Don't get me wrong, fighter missions are exciting but they don't last long. On top of that, sometimes there is no difference between missions; I flew OIF/OEF plenty of times in a plane with no weapons, basically exposed to the same threats as the fighter guys. My only option was to open the window and shoot my 9mm!!

I got more beef but it will be posted later!

Cheers

[ 31. May 2005, 21:09: Message edited by: 3 Mile Final ]

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Originally posted by my_daddy_is_not_connected:

The only math that doesn't add up in my mind is the question of how is EVERYBODY happy when there are more people who wanted to track 38's than people who actually do.

Because happiness is not always getting what you want, but wanting what you've got!

95% of folks "get over it" and play the hand they're dealt. Like BeerMan said, folks need to keep in mind just how lucky they are to be serving and flying ANYTHING. I think most folks eventually understand that, press on, and have a great career.

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