Thursday, August 21, 2008


Whenever anyone would say that my training at requal for Undergraduate Pilot Training would be easy my answer was always the same--"well, it's not exactly like riding a bike."

Apparently, in a lot of respects, it is.

I'm doing well. Very well. I've been through eight official aircraft training formal schools and I've managed to keep my head above water in all of them. The hardest of them all was, surprisingly, the Cessna 172 training that I went through in Hondo, TX in 1993. But I survived them all. Key word in that sentence is "survive." For the first time in my career, I'm excelling at a flying program.

The T-6 Texan II is an absolutely amazing aircraft. Usually when that description accompanies a weapon system it implies a great deal of complexity. This plane is no exception. I am essentially going from a go-cart to a sports car. But there have been two concepts that have been pulling me through that apparently are working in my favor.

First--the single-seat mentality. In T-37's 90% of your flying was a notch higher on the difficulty scale than flying by yourself. You were actually flying with another person that literally had no idea what exactly he was doing--so your awareness had to be even higher than if you were alone. That ability, that I thought would have been lost after four years of sitting on the ground, has served me extremely well in the last month or so. The mentality that I am truly alone, rather than being safeguarded by an instructor in either the front or rear seat of the plane, has allowed me to make decisions and fly the plane better than I could have ever hoped to fly my last one. It seems to be paying off.

Second--the "training" mentality. I have been going through this course not only with the perspective of surviving to the next flight (which is definitely a concern) but looking at it through the eyes of a basic UPT student. How would what I am doing come across to a student learning to fly? That thought has allowed me to not only look at it from the 1st-person perspective, but also to expand the possibilities of what we are actually doing here. It has made me very comfortable with operating the plane.

So, as an update, things are going well. I have never "slam dunked" a course in my life, but thus far I seem to be doing just that. I just hope that it can carry me through to the end.