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If the offer was good, I'd do it.

The retired officer voluntary recall thing looked good... until I crunched the numbers.  Mrs Huggy would slit my throat while I sleep if I took a pay cut that significant.  

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Just to confirm what several people have rightly assumed, the FACT program is essentially a 2 year T-38 FAIP tour with a U-2 interview at the end. It’s by no means guaranteed because if you can’t land the jet (or we don’t trust you to handle missions by yourself), we don’t want you. I’d assume they’d be assignable anywhere in the CAF, to include going to IFF (with 2+ more years of T-38 experience) if they don’t make the interview. But it’s a good shot at joining the Brotherhood while spending a couple of years flying jets in NorCal. I’d have put it at the top of my dream sheet for sure. I’m excited to see who they bring out, and how they do.

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1 hour ago, Kelvin said:

because if you can’t land the jet...

I'd like to clarify one thing, as a former U-2 interview pilot.

When someone says " can't land the jet ", it's an expression for "we don't feel you will do well in this aircraft".  We base that on a lot of tangibles.  I can't speak for the others but I based my decision on intangibles too.  No matter how it is phrased, the interview pilots look at a lot more than "landing the jet".  There are some world-class pilots out there that really don't belong in the U-2.  It's an odd duck.  

I can teach anyone to fly the U-2 safely.  But I only have so many bananas to give out, as per the syllabus.  If you're coming from a pointy nose jet or C-17, you will have a lot of stick-and-rudder stuff to unlearn in 3 rides.  I've hired fighter guys that flew like shit, but showed a huge learning curve.

By the way, if you come to the interview and hit on our flight surgeon, expect to pack your bags and leave.   

 

Edited by HuggyU2

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Honestly something nothing I've ever understood is the idea of "not allowed to screen" prior to entering training.  We've asked for years to be able vet people coming to gunships but were told that we are not allowed to screen people any longer.  Everyone gets a chance at the trophy.  So if that's the case.. how is it U2s can hold interviews yet other communities cannot?

Edited by Chicken

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I'd like to clarify one thing, as a former U-2 interview pilot.
When someone says " can't land the jet ", it's an expression for "we don't feel you will do well in this aircraft".  We base that on a lot of tangibles.  I can't speak for the others but I based my decision on intangibles too.  No matter how it is phrased, the interview pilots look at a lot more than "landing the jet".  There are some world-class pilots out there that really don't belong in the U-2.  It's an odd duck.  
I can teach anyone to fly the U-2 safely.  But I only have so many bananas to give out, as per the syllabus.  If you're coming from a pointy nose jet or C-17, you will have a lot of stick-and-rudder stuff to unlearn in 3 rides.  I've hired fighter guys that flew like shit, but showed a huge learning curve.
By the way, if you come to the interview and hit on our flight surgeon, expect to pack your bags and leave.   
 


Focusing on the landings was an oversimplification, although I do think it’s the main reason big AF still lets us interview people. The fact that we expect people to handle SRO and/or combat missions right off the bat without the benefit of a Flight Lead or Aircraft Commander is also a completely valid reason to choose our own. The intangibles play a big part in that. I don’t pretend to understand them, but we’ve turned guys away in the last year without letting them fly because they clearly would not have been a good fit.

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6 hours ago, Kelvin said:

 


Focusing on the landings was an oversimplification, although I do think it’s the main reason big AF still lets us interview people. The fact that we expect people to handle SRO and/or combat missions right off the bat without the benefit of a Flight Lead or Aircraft Commander is also a completely valid reason to choose our own. The intangibles play a big part in that. I don’t pretend to understand them, but we’ve turned guys away in the last year without letting them fly because they clearly would not have been a good fit.

 

And that's what I'm getting at.. there are folks that simply do not belong here.  Yet they wanted a shot so we waste time and resources on them.  From what I understand, AFSOC did't take people out of the pipeline initially but either manning of feelings drove that to change.  Now, we are not allowed to screen/interview or anything of the sort.

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1 hour ago, Chicken said:

And that's what I'm getting at.. there are folks that simply do not belong here.  Yet they wanted a shot so we waste time and resources on them.  From what I understand, AFSOC did't take people out of the pipeline initially but either manning of feelings drove that to change.  Now, we are not allowed to screen/interview or anything of the sort.

AFSOC is a huge MAJCOM vs a relatively small U-2 community. Especially when you consider the growth in AFSOC over the last 15 years. It’s simply way too big an operation to be selective like that. There are selective units out there but that’s a different animal 

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Saw the obligatory AFPC U2 email.  Not my cup of tea to fly around in the bozosphere for long missions in a pressure suit... but what's the b-course / tx like for that?

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1 hour ago, Chicken said:

And that's what I'm getting at.. there are folks that simply do not belong here.  Yet they wanted a shot so we waste time and resources on them.  From what I understand, AFSOC did't take people out of the pipeline initially but either manning of feelings drove that to change.  Now, we are not allowed to screen/interview or anything of the sort.

As Moose said, there are only a handful of U-2s and U-2 drivers. There are what, 3 combat AC-130 squadrons, crews of 7-8 ish, plus the training units/test stuff. Fairly sure y’all are the largest community in AFSOC. I’m sure the U-28s, CVs and everyone else would love to hand pick everyone in the community, but it’s just not feasible. 

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Whats so special/challenging about flying an AC130 vs a regular 130, U28 or a fighter for that matter?

No trying to be a smartass but seriously curious why you'd think they require a boarded process.

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1 hour ago, icohftb said:

Whats so special/challenging about flying an AC130 vs a regular 130, U28 or a fighter for that matter?

No trying to be a smartass but seriously curious why you'd think they require a boarded process.

Mission employment, and the relative difficulty of it, is the answer you are looking for.

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I don’t think there’s anything especially difficult about flying anything these days. Fighter, bomber, transport etc etc.

its the mission specialization. Kind of like graduating Med school. Anyone can do it. But then doctors specialize. That’s what makes our Air Force great. We have people who are word class experts in their field. ISR, tac airlift, Air refueling, bombing, Air to air. 

 

Edited by BashiChuni
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3 hours ago, icohftb said:

Whats so special/challenging about flying an AC130 vs a regular 130, U28 or a fighter for that matter?

No trying to be a smartass but seriously curious why you'd think they require a boarded process.

You can teach damn near any monkey to fly. It’s the mindset, decision making, and most importantly the ability to learn, that screening looks at.

 

 

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On 10/6/2018 at 3:36 PM, Bigred said:

You can teach damn near any monkey to fly. It’s the mindset, decision making, and most importantly the ability to learn, that screening looks at.

 

 

But not 6 years of experience

https://amp.businessinsider.com/air-force-changing-recruiting-process-for-u-2-dragon-lady-spy-planes-2018-10

 

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On 6/18/2018 at 8:36 PM, Majestik Møøse said:

The suit is definitely weird at first; you first fly with it on ride 8, and it feels like a brand new jet again. Like you’re in a cocoon and disconnected from the world. Then it becomes normal after a while and you don’t really think about it.  

The tolerance for this varies among U-2 guys. It seems proportional to your mass; some taller or wider guys complain a bit more about tired backs and shoulders. And some are totally ok, it differs from person to person. Go figure.

The good thing about the suit is that it was designed to accommodate an 8-10 hour single seat flight as well as could be expected given the constraints. The methods for eating, drinking, pissing, and temperature control are pretty well sorted. I’d guess that the 6-9hr missions that some fighter guys are doing in the desert can be less comfortable.

The worst part is being on the ground when it’s hot/humid. Cockpit starts to swelter pretty quick, and the suit air doesn’t get cooled on the ground. The U-2 doesn’t like being anywhere near the ground. It likes to go up. Once it’s going up, everything is as it should be.

After flying C-130Es in and around Iraq in the summer, I thought the spacesuit was plenty comfortable. No matter the heat before takeoff, ten minutes later it's nice and cool.

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On 10/5/2018 at 8:41 PM, Chicken said:

Honestly something nothing I've ever understood is the idea of "not allowed to screen" prior to entering training.  We've asked for years to be able vet people coming to gunships but were told that we are not allowed to screen people any longer.  Everyone gets a chance at the trophy.  So if that's the case.. how is it U2s can hold interviews yet other communities cannot?

First, you have a screening process, it's called "Aircraft Commander Upgrade." ANYBODY can sit right seat in a gunpig, the transition to the left is the discriminator. 

Second, the full pressure suit.

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Attention former U-2 bubbas:

We've got a mini-reunion next Friday, 16 Nov.  About 35 Alumni are showing up not to mention the hoards of active duty folks.  If you do not know what I'm talking about, drop me a text.

If you don't have my number, drop me a pm here on BO.net.  

Include your email and phone and I'll send you the new U-2 DLA newsletter I wrote.  Things are changing, and if you want to be a part of it, let me know.  

The main reunion is going to be in Summer/Fall 2020.

Edited by HuggyU2
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