Before we fly, we have to brief the IP (instructor pilot) about the flight. There are several things that go into the brief. You have about 10 or so discussion items, which could be pretty much anything related to flying. These are the standardized for each flight, meaning, every FAM 1 will discuss the same things, every FAM 2 will discuss the same things, etc . Then, we have to know by heart the planned maneuvers for the flight. Meaning, we have to know how to set them up and the steps to complete them. For FAM 1, there was probably 5 maneuvers I needed to know. However, this does not include, takeoff or landing, cruising, climbing, descending, nor the procedures to depart the airport, enter the training area, leave the training area, and arrive at the airport.
On FAM 1, I was only able to practice 3 of the maneuvers. The rest of the time, my on-wing was giving me an area familiarization tour of the training area. This was difficult because the clouds were at about 4-5000 feet AGL which is a very unfortunate altitude. Plus, there was this incredibly nasty haze that severely limited our diagonal vision of the ground.
The T-34c, which we fly, is probably 30-40 years old. The air conditioning on these isn't the greatest, but it worked good enough at altitude. Down on the ground and at low altitude was a different story though. It was hot, really hot. We are wearing our flight suits, which don't ventilate at all, a vest with some safety gear on it, and a parachute. We also had helmets on. Things get hot quick. And when your hot, and not used to flying, it makes for a bad combo. I was ok at altitude, but after coming down on our way home, I admit, I got a little airsick. Definitely the worst I've ever had it, considering I don't think I ever have gotten airsick before. After I got over that, I felt like I could have flown for another hour, but it was definitely time to go home.
After landing, I was so exhausted, mentally and physically. Flying like this is an hour and a half of pure concentration, any distractions and bad things can happen, fast. By the way, we are flying an aircraft with over 1000 ft lbs of torque at speeds over 170 kts.
So in the end, my on-wing told me things went pretty average for a FAM 1. No big screw ups, nothing extremely outstanding, which is fine by me. Now I have about a week off of flying because my on-wing is going on leave. This gives me a lot of time to catch up and get back on track.
Thanks for the prayers and encouragement.