Sunday, September 20, 2009

Transition complete; Navigation, start

There are two major blocks of training in the T-1. The first is transition. In transition, you basically are learning how to fly the plane. It involves all the standard basic aircraft control maneuvers and learning how to land the plane. Most is done in clear weather, where instrument flying is not required. I had my transition checkride last Tuesday, finally. I am so sick of doing the same thing every flight.

In AF pilot training, checkrides are a huge deal. A very large portion of you overall score is resting on two checkrides. In a way it is kind of unfair because you could just get extremely unlucky with weather, other traffic, or a strict IP. Well, we got two out of three. On Tuesday the weather was going to be marginal but doable. Dave flew first and was flying great, until the touch and go's. Then he got hosed, big time. We had to switch airports, had to fly a lower than usual pattern altitude, and had to dodge a ton of other planes. The traffic was horrendous. Eventually he got through it and it was my turn. Magically, the traffic kind of lifted for me and I flew pretty unobstructed. The only downside was the low patterns. Oh well, I watched Dave do his for like an hour. My patterns turned out great and we headed back to Vance, with a pit stop to do some stalls and such. In the end, I thought my flight went pretty well. Made a few small mistakes but nothing major by any means. Awesome. Then I spent the next hour convincing Dave he didn't fail and that our debrief will go fine. At the end of the debrief, everything turned out great. We both got good scores, if I had to equate to something familiar, I would say we got A-'s or B+'s. Sweet, I was so relieved to have my checkride complete. However, I didn't have much time to relax in my post-transition state, I had to plan a navigation out and in the next day.

An out and in (aka out and back) is a flight were we fly to another airport, hopefully some distance away and practice instrument approaches, land, have lunch then do the same thing and come home. Most students look forward to this stage. I just wanted a day off.

Anyway, for my first nav flight, we took two jets up to Omaha, Nebraska for lunch. It actually turned out to be a great time. Omaha seemed like a super cool town, and the food was great. The flight went well, too. Sweet, maybe I'll have the next day off. It wouldn't be until we landed back at Vance about 10 hours later that I had another nav out and in on Thursday. Ugh.

This time we went to northwest Arkansas, near Fayetteville. It turned out to be a nice airport with good food. The rest of the day was relatively uneventful as I flew us back to Vance. Sweet, maybe I'll have Friday off. Nope.

Friday, I was scheduled to fly a local flight. I was so drained at this point. During the mission brief, my instructor asked if I was ok, and I was, but I was just drained. I have had no time to sit and absorb what I have learned over the last few flights. I had some motivation to make it back though, there was an assignment night that evening.

As I've said before, assignment nights are a huge deal. It is basically determining where your career is heading. I did not know anybody in this one, but it is still cool to see everyone have their dreams come true, hopefully. It turned out to be a pretty good drop too, as a lot of people were very happy with there assignment.

Anyway, I have Monday off and I'm struggling for motivation to study. So, pray for motivation please.

Until next time, pray for SURF.


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