Sunday, April 20, 2014

Week Fifty-Four: One more week

Finally down to the last week of UPT!

After a long year of training, only five days remain before we get our wings. I've got four more flights to complete before that happens though, so this week will still be full of flight, at least for the first couple days. Hopefully I can double-turn and knock them out on the first two days of the week. Two more four-ships, a two-ship proficiency ride, and a formation low level will be my last rides of pilot training.

I get to see family and friends again, which will be awesome, especially after only two weeks.

My first four-ship this past week was a pretty awesome experience. I was #4, which is pretty difficult actually. You're on the outside of the flight most of the time, which puts you "on the whip." Basically any movements #3 makes you have to deal with in addition to #1's. So they're amplified a bit and you have to maneuver a bit more than you do as #2 or #3. VERY cool to see three other jets in close proximity to your own though. One of my favorite things was completing the battle damage check at the end of the sortie. 2 checks out everyone's jets, and then 4 checks out 2's. As I moved back over to 3's wing, it was pretty sweet to see three jets flying in fingertip right in front of me.

My first two-ship proficiency ride, or F58xx ride, was interesting as well. You fly as #2 the whole time, and your flight lead IP intentionally does things to mess with you and get you out of tactical position, like speeding up/slowing down randomly, overturning/underturning tac turns, and climbing/diving without notice. As a wingman, it's your job to be in position, so you just have to fix the problems he gives you and do your best to stay there.

That's about it, some pretty cool experiences and still riding the high of finding out I'm heading to the F-16. One more week!

~ Dakota

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