Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week Five: Sim City and Patch Creation

Hello there, and welcome to the fifth edition of the groundbreaking epic tale brought forth for your enjoyment by yours truly.

Alright, that was lame, I was just trying something different for my intro... haha.

This week was a very different one, as we were more involved in our own personal schedules than in a group schedule. So for the majority of the week the class didn't really see each other too much. On the plus side, I ended up with very reasonable wakeup times and end times, but others weren't so lucky. Overall though, things went well.

We took our Flight Fundamentals exam, which covered basic flight procedures such as airport operations, takeoff, landing, climb/descent, cruise, etc. I missed one question on this one... so that brings my total missed to four. We also delved heavily into emergency procedures this week, not only in class but in practice. We had three sims this week! One per day on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It has been pretty awesome spooling up to get to the flight line, and starting to actually DO stuff instead of just learn stuff.

My first sim of the week was awesome. I was fortunate enough to get into an OFT simulator. Picture a giant sphere completely closed off except for one door into it. Once you walk inside, the majority of the inner surface of the sphere is made to look like what you see while flying! There are multiple projectors showing the outside conditions, even your wingtips sticking out on either side. So when you're sitting in the cockpit, it's about as close as you can get to flying. Pretty cool stuff. That specific sim ride dealt with the normal departure and recovery procedures from and to Vance, so it was very hands on with flying, radio calls, checklists, and staying calm and controlled.

My two later sims were in a UTD (no screen anywhere) and an IFT (screen in front) and dealt almost entirely with emergency procedures (EPs). While going through different phases of ground ops and flight, the instrument panel would light up with warnings and abnormal indications based on what the instructor punched into the computer controlling the sim. And then you'd have to deal with them. A few of the more interesting ones were engine fires, engine failures, immediate airstarts (starting a failed engine while already flying), and of course ejection. On all three sims I got three more excellent grades! 

We had to deal with some more CAIs this week, as expected. We started learning Contact, which if you remember is the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) maneuvering portion of UPT. On Monday we have the exam, and we haven't even had any human instruction in it! Good stuff.

There were also some humorous and fun parts to this week. The weather has been crazy: one day it's sunny and freaking hot, the next it's cloudy, rainy, and windy. Pretty ridiculous variation, though at least we're not getting snow in May (like Colorado is... haha). We also got together as a class and narrowed down our class patch options. The class patch is an age-old tradition in UPT. The patch defines your class and is worn (after everyone solos) on the right side of the flight suit in place of our squadron patch. There's usually some inside joke or theme, and almost always people try to slip in (so to speak) some kind of sexual innuendo. In fact this type of thing is extremely common in the pilot world, and I'm definitely one of the bigger perpetrators of subtle impropriety. Remember the joke about not being able to be a pilot AND a grown-up? Yeah that's pretty much the case.

Perfect example: my original patch submission. The concept was agreed upon by a lot of people in the class, but I put it down on paper. Completely inappropriate, absolutely NO chance of getting approved by upper leadership, but totally awesome. I decided to take the picture down... haha.

UPDATE: I removed a lot of the patch section of this post based on events that happened the week after this post.

The class voted and chose a design that's pretty funny, but it's just a concept. No one actually has a patch drawn out. Even though I don't really agree with it... I decided to help out as much as I could to at least make it well done and something to be proud of. At least it will be MUCH better than this pink abomination patch a class above us has chosen. The theme is "My Little Pilot" based off of My Little Pony. It's horrible. The fighter guys hate it, so whoever heads into T-38s is in for some heartache haha. Anyway, I will post pictures when I get it all sorted out and finalized.

Lastly, on Friday night I went to my first ever Drop Night for the class that is about to graduate. This is when they find out what aircraft and base they'll be going to. It was pretty awesome to see. They'd call up each individual of the class, make fun of them for the stupid stuff they'd done over the year and then dramatically reveal their aircraft. Starting with three on the screen, zapping one of them off, and then finally getting rid of the second to reveal their new aircraft. Sometimes they'd even psych the guy out by showing their supposed plane and then switching it at the last minute! One guy's possibilities were amazing. His three aircraft were an A-10, an F-15, and an F-16. Win-win-win, am I right? He ended up getting an F-15. Freaking sick. They would then salute their squadron commander and grab a rose for their wife/fiancée/girlfriend and go back to their buddies to get congratulated. Then everyone proceeded to party (or pout, in some cases). Plus there was free beer for everyone in attendance so that was pretty cool. One year more...

Honestly I'm more nervous about track select night, where we will find out if we will be flying the T-38 or the T-1. That's more defining of the future, I think.

That's about it for this week! As of this writing, only 11 more days until we hit the flight line! I can't believe how fast it's gone, and I'm stoked to get up into the air.

Have a good week and see you next time,

~ Dakota

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