Aero Club vs Powered Flight

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by AVT, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. AVT

    AVT USAFA 2015

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    Hi,
    I did soaring this summer and sucked pretty badly to the point where I believe I may not have what it takes to be a pilot in the AF.
    I will be taking powered flight when I am a firstie, but that is after I rank AFSCs. The Aero Club has a pre-IFS program for $1,350 which I can take earlier.

    Should I do Aero Club to see if I have the potential to eventually be successful at UPT?
     
  2. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    If you are really questioning if you can, then yeah, I would.
    It might crunch your cadet budget, but it would be worth it to find out if you aren't right for the job (as washed out UPT studs usually get what's left over rather than the AFSC of their choice, if they are retained).

    That said, it depends on why you feel you did so poorly. If you just stink at spacial orientation, a few hours probably won't cure that...especially when you get to cloverleafs and cuban-eights in a T-6. If you thought you just didn't have the "hands," in your first 3 hours of flying, those extra hours might give you a little more confidence that you need.

    Overall, it can be hard to judge. Flying gliders at USAFA is different from powered flight/IFS, which is different than T-6s. (Which is different than UH-1s :D )

    However, take this advice with a grain of salt. I only have a couple hundred hours of total flight time. Talk to some people with a few more years of flying.
     
  3. AVT

    AVT USAFA 2015

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    I've been getting "hooks" for aerotow, patterns, take offs and landings after 9sorties.

    I flew with the soaring squad comm and he pretty much said I was being too passive aggressive, letting the glider fly me. I would make the necessary corrections but not quick enough.

    I am thinking strongly of becoming a WSO/CSO also, yet they too go through IFS.
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Flying is like chess. If you are responding to what is going on around you, you are already too late. You HAVE to think ahead.
    I like being a tourist on an airplane sometimes, but you can't do that when you are at the controls.
     
  5. Scratcher

    Scratcher Member

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    AVT - I wouldn't get too spun up over it (pun intended). You will have many instructors say "you fly the airplane! Don't let the airplane fly you!" As long as you study your general knowledge, BoldFace and have a good attitude, that will take you far. Now if you totally hated soaring and didn't want to do it, then I would say start looking for something else to do.

    Flying to is like any other sport or skill. The more you practice it, the better you get. Also, if you practice and get good at it, but then take a break, your skill will atrophy. I'd be concerned that you spend money at the Aero Club but then not fly for 12 to 18 months and not really benefit from the money you spent. I'd wait for PFP and take it from there.
     
  6. iflylow

    iflylow Member

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    Only you can decide. Anyone can be taught to fly, but the greatest pilots I've know had a passion for the sky. If the poem below gives you chills, then flying may be a passion and you just need the right instructor. If it doesn't, then focus on making an impact in another career.

    "High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee Jr.

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air....

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
    And, while with silent lifting mind I have trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
     
  7. Nevada4

    Nevada4 Member

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    AVT,

    Your post really brings me back to the "olden days" when I was a USAFA instructor in T-41 and later T-3s for the cadet screening program. Your feelings of not being sure about your skills or even your desire to be a pilot are not untypical.

    - Some cadets love flying from the beginning. For many others, it takes a lot of work to get to the place where they feel competent enough to look outside and realize that what they are doing is cool. For me, it took all the way to the mid point in T-38 training (3/4 through UPT) until I realized what I was getting to do was pretty darn cool.

    - Don't sell yourself short. So you didn't tear up the soaring program. Pick yourself up, prepare better next time and press on. Scratcher is right, the more you practice, the better you fly. Practice means chairflying -- going through every single motion, radio call, pattern procedure, maneuver sitting in your chair in your room over and over. It is the most awful, boring thing in the world--and an instructor can tell within 5 minutes of a flight with a student whether they have been chairflying. It pays huge dividends and done correctly can be even more valuable than actual flight time. Find someone to show you how to chairfly properly when you start flying again and practice, practice, practice. The more you chairfly, the more muscle memory you build while making once difficult tasks simpler which will free your mind and increase your "SA."

    - Get the Pre-IFS program. I grabbed some time at the Aeroclub before my screening and it helped a lot. Do the Pre-IFS with a lot of chairflying and I bet IFS will be no problem. Flying is not rocket scientry. If you want it, go get it.

    - I was very mediocre in soaring (maybe even below mediocre) as well as IFS. I finished middle of my class in UPT and went on to fly B-52s, T-37s, T-41s, T-3s, T-38s and U-2s. I had some of the same thoughts you had and ended my 20 year career in a space suit looking at the curvature of the earth. Pretty awesome ride--glad I stuck with it when I thought "forget this, I think I'll go be an engineer." If you want it -- go do it. Use every opportunity and every honest tool to get ahead of the curve and be prepared.

    PM me if I can help in any way.
     
  8. billyb

    billyb Member

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    Nevada-

    That was one of the most helpful posts I have read in a long, long time. What a great use of your life experience to help guide a youngin'!
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012

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