Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'll take my wings to go

With a whoosh and a bang, the weekend festivities came and went. It all started Wednesday night when my roommate and I headed down to OKC to pick up the parents from the airport. It just so happened that our parents were on the same flight, which normally one would think to be advantageous. However, with two sets of parents and a brother, it still took about a half hour of searching through a severe thunderstorm to find each other. I guess I overestimated our abilities to work in adverse conditions. Anyway, after a fun time at a local pizza joint, the whole crew made it back to Enid, ready to start the next day's activities.

Red Carpet Day is the day the Air Force gets to show off to it members family and friends. It started off with a breakfast meet and greet in our flight room. Thence, we went to a briefing and slide show by our esteemed flight commander. Being Joe cool that he is, it went very smoothly and relatively funny. The video/slide show showed motivating scenes of planes in the Air Force inventory doing amazing things. I am proud to say that about half the video was the C-130 being the beast that it is. Finally, our acting squadron commander came in to talk and present us each with a squadron coin. There is tradition with the coin, however, I'll have to talk about that another time. After the speeches we started Red Carpet Day.

It began with our group heading over to the control tower to see what they do. It is a funny thing about military pilot training bases, they train pilots, as well as the controllers. So think about this for a minute, students controlling students, sounds like a recipe for disaster right? Well, they have been doing it for years, and it has worked this long so I guess why change it. Anyway, the controllers have a very difficult job, that can be very high stress at times. After the control tower, we went over to the physiological building where they do all kinds of funny tests and training on us. Perhaps the most interesting is the altitude chamber. It is a fifty year old steel chamber that seats about 20 people. Basically, what they do is give students hypoxia. Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen to the brain caused by high altitudes. It is kind of like being really drunk. You are unable to do simple tasks like patty cake with the guy next to you. It is a good time because the moment you start getting oxygen from the mask, you feel great. After the physiological building, we had a lunch break and a sim. This is where it got fun.

I got to teach my mom and dad how to fly in one of our simulators for an hour. I must admit, I am a little disappointed in my teaching abilities as neither one was competent to make a radar approach to minimums with crazy cross winds on the standby instruments with one engine. But hey, I guess they only got a half hour each. Truthfully, it was quite fun to see them attempt to fly and land the simulator. Both did pretty well, I am proud to say. Maybe these skills are genetic.

To be continued....

After our sim, we kind of had the rest of the day to ourselves, except for we had to pick up my brother at the airport later that evening. We couldn't hang out in OKC because of the big event in the morning.

The weather had been nice all week. Quite a treat for our visiting guests because the previous weeks had been downright freezing. However, before our graduation, we got some nice winds when we were standing out there in formation waiting for our guests to arrive. Anyway, we made it through, to our winging. After some speeches by people with more brass than myself, we were presented our first pair of wings. Military tradition has it that is is bad luck to wear this first set so we saved them for later. After countless pictures, we made to lunch. I, however, had to take care of unfinished business. I was supposed to go to Little Rock this weekend to start c-130, aka "herc," training on Tuesday. I had not yet received my orders to go so I had to go hassle some people to see that they got here. A little known fact about the AF and I'm sure a lot of business are the same, but no work gets done on Friday's after lunch. After much hassling, I received my orders at 4pm on Friday. I was shocked. Sweet, now I can go to Little Rock, but first there were some festivities to attend.

Friday evening we had our formal dinner. We got all dressed up in our mess dress and had a great time. It was a great time to reflect on what we students had been through and look forward to what lies ahead. I introduced my family to the base leadership and got to meet there families. After dinner it was time to party. For me it was mixed feelings. I was sooo happy to be able to officially call myself a pilot, however, I was really sad I had to leave my friends so soon. Most of them are going to Altus AFB to learn how to fly the c-17 or kc-135. This also includes our assistant flight commander who is going to learn how to fly the c-17 as well.

Until next time, pray for SURF


1 comment:

Sam said...

I would love to play hypoxia patty cake with you and the guys sometime.