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Flight Evaluations and downgrades


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19 minutes ago, Magnum said:

Viper SEFE.  Never given a Q3 to a US pilot.  I've seen only 2 Q3's in my 19 years - both FTU students.  Q1 no hits is by far the norm.  Probably because our community is made of pretty awesome pilots...

Does the AF still have the EQ category? 

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FWIW I've given a LOT of checkrides, a minority resulted in downgrades and even smaller minority resulted in Q-3s.  I've also sat on selection boards (WIC, IP upgrade and such), where we reviewed FEFs as part of the selection process.  

I always viewed checkrides as a necessary evil and approached them as a continuation of the learning process, you should always learn something because you are typically flying with a more seasoned aviator and not one of us is perfect.  Yes the stated purpose is a periodic standards check to ensure compliance but it was also another opportunity to evaluate the instructors in a squadron and their training program...this is a team sport.  At the end of every checkride I gave a final grade based on the following optic, do I feel comfortable sending this person into combat with my brothers and sisters in this community.

I never once gave a Q-3 to someone who made a technical mistake like being off airspeed or altitude for weapons employment or an instrument approach.  On the rare occasion I did give a Q-3 is for something blatantly unsafe, usually related to attitude and most importantly...effort.   Case in point I once gave a scheduled checkride to an attached guy who had a reputation as an ungood pilot.  The day prior I sat down with and went over the profile I wanted to see and outlined the areas of general knowledge we were currently focused on.  The next day he absolutely floundered in the briefing and general knowledge portion...basic blocking and tackling stuff...as if he didn't even try to study the night before.  I could have ended it there and no-stepped but I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt and see where he was in the airplane, at that point I wrote down "downgrade for GK" in my notes.  We took off and went to the range, he skipped two checklists and tried to arm the guns before we had cleared the range or completed our basic checklist set up.  It was gross and pure safety of flight, I called knock it off and ended him right there.  That was by far the exception...although I once Q3'd a dude walking down the hallway...not kidding...he was bragging about something he did that was so unsafe and outside the regs that I had no choice .  I confronted him and he admitted it as did some others on his crew...absolutely GROSS.  18 years later I still can't believe they did it, story for another time perhaps.

AFSOC has a unique setup in that the GUNSHIP FTU was colocated with the ops squadrons (that is about to change unfortunately with a move to Kirtland), so newbies got to do training with mixed crews.  The training sorties were tailored to their training but there was a lot of benefit to training with folks who were cycling in and out of combat all the time.  I gave a lot of initial qual checks and most turned out fine but I always finished with the same statement.  If I am here I can GUARANTEE you will get a no-notice within the next six months.  Here was my rational...for a newly qualified person completing an MR check meant that for the first time since they were 5 years old they were not forced to study.  I reasoned that they were forced to study through grade and high school, college, UPT and FTU...probably 20 years of continuous studying.  They suddenly had time and disposable income...AND they were living in Destin Florida. There would be a huge temptation to exhale and get lazy.  If they wanted to be safe and credible, now was not the time to back off.  I honored that promise on every occasion (with a VERY large optic).  Once or twice I had to take a recently MR dude or Dudette into a private room and give them the WTF are you thinking speech (had one dude who broke down in tears he was so disappointed in himself), I never Q-3'd anyone but I think it set a tone in the squadron.

On the subject of downgrades in particular, the FEF was used in discussion for things like WIC.  Sitting on a selection board we never once excluded someone for a downgrade, sometimes it led to deeper discussion and the only time it became a deciding factor was if there was a pattern of downgrades which I only saw on one or two applicants that were being pushed to WIC for the wrong reasons (careerism).

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13 hours ago, uhhello said:

Any ACC/fighter world guys wanna give their 2 cents

Admittedly, my data is now going on 10 years old, but...

Q-3s and Q-2s are unusual unless the examiner's hands are tied.

Q-1s are the standard.

Single item downgrades are not unheard of on Q-1s, but not the standard by a longshot.

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BTW, for anyone concerned about the longer-term flying career implications of downgrades on USAF checkrides....

...nobody cares at the airlines.  They won't know, and won't ask.

Even Q-2s and Q-3s are not a big deal, so long as they are not trend items or repeat performances.

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10 minutes ago, VMFA187 said:

What are these downgrades and Q1, 2, and 3?

EQ = Exceptionally qualified

Q1 = fully qualified

Q2 = remedial training

Q3 = unqualified

These are the overall evaluation qual level.  Downgrades are for individual tasks not meeting the criteria outlined in the vol 2 for Qual.  For each task, you can be evaluated at Qual (Q), Qual - (Q-), or Unqual (U).  Q and Q- have specific criteria.  Want to stay clear of Q3 and U's.

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18 hours ago, uhhello said:

Any ACC/fighter world guys wanna give their 2 cents

 

15 years and the only Q-3 I've heard of was my B-Course roommate who Q-3d his inst check in the B-Course (by a serious reserve Santa Claus...funny story)...he later became a patch.  I'm sure if I dug through the squadron FEFs, I might find one or two, but probably not more than that. 

 

For the most part, we've always viewed checkrides as just another ride.  I know I've had a few downgrades and probably deserved a few more, but I couldn't tell you what they were.  They were likely debriefed by myself anyway.  I've heard ridiculous stories from my MAF bros about how a Q-3 is used as a punishment for buffonery.   This is foreign to us, we just use the ole fear, sarcasm and ridicule method.  Temp groundings, blues briefings during academics...stand up in front of the bros and explain how I fucked up.  Everyone learns and the point is usually driven home.  

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3 minutes ago, SocialD said:

I've heard ridiculous stories from my MAF bros about how a Q-3 is used as a punishment for buffonery.   This is foreign to us, we just use the ole fear, sarcasm and ridicule method.

Sadly this is not limited to AMC.  A currently pinned on 3 star who is likely the next AFSOC/CC is said to have given 20 plus Commander directed Q-3s as punishment while a SQ/CC.

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42 minutes ago, ClearedHot said:

Sadly this is not limited to AMC.  A currently pinned on 3 star who is likely the next AFSOC/CC is said to have given 20 plus Commander directed Q-3s as punishment while a SQ/CC.

Side note and RUMINT only- timing no longer favorable for that member to take over the command.  GO moves are palace intrigue/cloak & dagger stuff, so who knows, but it’s a good rumor.

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37 minutes ago, tac airlifter said:

Side note and RUMINT only- timing no longer favorable for that member to take over the command.  GO moves are palace intrigue/cloak & dagger stuff, so who knows, but it’s a good rumor.

Copy, also RUMINT that has changed again.  Current lunatic going was going to stay another year but is now pegged to be next AF/3 opening the door for complete chaos.  Q-3 to GO selection system.

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34 minutes ago, ClearedHot said:

Copy, also RUMINT that has changed again.  Current lunatic going was going to stay another year but is now pegged to be next AF/3 opening the door for complete chaos.  Q-3 to GO selection system.

Why’d you have to shit all over my happy rumor? 

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4 hours ago, ClearedHot said:

Sadly this is not limited to AMC.  A currently pinned on 3 star who is likely the next AFSOC/CC is said to have given 20 plus Commander directed Q-3s as punishment while a SQ/CC.

AFSOC over the last 5 years has slowly turned into AMC lite. Talking with my AMC bros I question if AFSOC is actually worse now, maybe not on the checkride front, but just about everything else  

I’ve seen 4 Q3s the last couple years in my corner, 2 deserved clean kills, 2 were BS punishment. I have seen a couple bone headed things happen that weren’t deliberate negligence, in which the crew made good decisions after to get down safely, they fessed up immediacy and it went way of the public humiliation Friday brief (in my opinion as it should have) so that gives me hope. 

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2 hours ago, viper154 said:

AFSOC over the last 5 years has slowly turned into AMC lite. Talking with my AMC bros I question if AFSOC is actually worse now, maybe not on the checkride front, but just about everything else  

I’ve seen 4 Q3s the last couple years in my corner, 2 deserved clean kills, 2 were BS punishment. I have seen a couple bone headed things happen that weren’t deliberate negligence, in which the crew made good decisions after to get down safely, they fessed up immediacy and it went way of the public humiliation Friday brief (in my opinion as it should have) so that gives me hope. 

 AMC at least has shed a majority of Nav commanders, which is a good thing.

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7 hours ago, SocialD said:

we just use the ole fear, sarcasm and ridicule method.  Temp groundings, blues briefings during academics...stand up in front of the bros and explain how I fucked up.  Everyone learns and the point is usually driven home.  

Most importantly, it doesn't leave a visible mark on someone's FEF/record.

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On 3/31/2022 at 12:12 AM, Magnum said:

Viper SEFE.  Never given a Q3 to a US pilot.  I've seen only 2 Q3's in my 19 years - both FTU students.  Q1 no hits is by far the norm.  Probably because our community is made of pretty awesome pilots...

I’ve worked Stan/Eval in DT, having seen FEFs of nearly every MDS type. Before TPS, I was a SEFE and Chief of Stan/Eval in a fighter FTU.  
 

My take: Q1 no hits is the norm in the CAF. Elsewhere, Q3’s are more common but so are EQs. I know there are phenomenal pilots in the CAF too, but just like we don’t give Q3s or Q2s for being unqualified, I think we think no one is Exceptionally Qualified. 

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Any fighter guys that moved to a crew aircraft? 

Im curious what the take is on if it is easier/harder to evaluate someone when you are not sharing the same cockpit space with them? 

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13 hours ago, herkbum said:

I always said during my career that if you treated every ride like a checkride then the checkride wasn’t an issue. Fly every day like you’re being graded.


Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app

I kicked an IF out of my sim one time for telling a student "We do it like this, but on a check ride we do it like this." I was like WTF? Then GTFO and wait for debrief. Some guys develop techniques that they think are so good it'll reverse global warming, then later realize it wasn't so great after all.

 

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8 hours ago, FLEA said:

Any fighter guys that moved to a crew aircraft? 

Im curious what the take is on if it is easier/harder to evaluate someone when you are not sharing the same cockpit space with them? 

You are in the other fighter's cockpit... Via the hours-long tape debriefs that record everything. You're just there after the flight. 

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18 hours ago, Sua Sponte said:

 AMC at least has shed a majority of Nav commanders, which is a good thing.

Go with quals that qualify you to make this statement, please.

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6 minutes ago, brickhistory said:

Go with quals that qualify you to make this statement, please.

You first, but I can already assume what you had.

What qualifies me to make that statement? Someone who had Nav commanders and Pilot commanders and spent 16 years in the MAF. I was a -135 Boom, but that really doesn’t matter. I also currently work on the KC-46 program and interact with the MAF on a daily basis. 

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My general rule for Q-3s was a solid attempt to kill me or the rest of the crew.  So, I gave 2.  Downgrades were usually reserved for an inability to do something after multiple attempts, so not too many of those any usually happened to studs.  Everything else was a debrief.  But that was me.  I spent more time fighting CC directed Q3s that a solid "mentoring" session could address.  But fighting CC douchery was very challenging.  My favorite quote, "what's the OG going to think if I don't Q3 them?"  and my reply, "that you have the balls to stand up to the OG."  Yep, Q3 given for an error, not gross violations.  Come to think of it, most of those fights were against Nav CCs!!!!

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As an IP, you’re always instructing/viewing performance through an IP lens, regardless if you’re writing a grade sheet that day. You should do the same as an evaluator, meaning you know how an individual is doing overall when they get to an eval. So, take the big pic approach and don’t be the douche who downgrades a guy on a mistake he just happened to make that specific flight. If you can’t take the big pic/is-it-a-trend approach, you’re a shitty SEFE. I hope this helps a young SEFE in the future be a good one.

To answer the original question, I’ve seen one Q3 and one Q2 in my entire fighter career…both are patches after the fact and one is a graduated SQ/CC. Downgrades happen occasionally, but are fairly rare. 

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