Transition from P-3 to P-8

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Born-To-Fly_024, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. Born-To-Fly_024

    Born-To-Fly_024 Member

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    Howdy. I'm currently aiming for USNA class of 2015. Furthermore, I'm aiming for a pilot slot. For the longest time I've wanted to choose the ASW/Patrol platform over the jet platform- mainly because I want to fly the P-8. Anyways, the P-8 isn't scheduled to replace the P-3 until 2014 or so. So my question is: How will this affect people in flight school? Will they train to fly the P-3 and then switch to the P-8 once they completely phased out the P-3? Or will they train all newcomers on the P-8?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yv7YFxn080
     
  2. ENSmom

    ENSmom Member

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    Born-to-Fly:

    I think you are "jumping the gun" here. You have several obstacles to overcome prior to sitting in the cockpit of a P-3 or P-8.

    You are hoping to be in the class of 2015. Assuming you are successful in that quest, your next challenge will be the academics at USNA. Unless you graduate in the top third of your class in your overall order of merit, it will be particularly difficult to obtain a pilot slot during service selection. Then there is your pilot physical, which i understand is more rigorous than your admittance physical.

    If you are selected for the pilot platform, your first stop is IFS (initial flight screening). You will go to an introductory flight school and fly a small plane. If you do not pass the written and solo portions, you cannot advance. Once you graduate from USNA, the next stop is API (aviation preflight instruction, I think.) The actual program is about 4 months, I believe, but there are often back-ups in forming classes which could delay this so that is takes a year (or more) to complete. The program is intense and not all who begin will complete.

    After API is primary instruction, which takes another 6-8 months, but could be longer, again due to waiting for classes to form. Competition is rigorous and again, not all who begin this phase will finish. Your ranking at the end of primary combined with the student preference and the "needs of the Navy", determines the platform that the student gets assigned (helo, jets, props). (Our family has a friend who finished #2 in his class for this phase and did not get his preferred platform). On to Advanced, which is about 12 months plus waiting. The ranking after jets combined with the "needs of the Navy" determines what type of jet the student gets assigned. And further training from there.

    (Those who have a better handle on this feel free to correct me if I am in error). My point is that you will not be flying on your own for a minimum of 2-4 years after graduation. That leaves 2019 or so in your case.

    I would not stress about which plane will be in service 10 years down the road from today. Just work to the best of your ability and stay healthy.

    Best of Luck
    ENSmom
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  3. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    ^^^

    Agree with ENSmom.

    Let Big Navy figure out how they are going to phase out the P-3 and conduct training. Many people come to the Academy to fly, many graduate and service select something else - either by choice or for other reasons (medical/grades).

    Not sure what your height is, but that may be something that is an automatic dis-qualifier for you. Each aircraft has certain anthropometric measurements (usually prop planes are more flexible) but surprisingly even "regular" height people don't meet requirements b/c their arms are too short/long, or measurement from hip to knee is too short/long. I've had friends get down to flight school and find this out the hard way and get sent to the SWO community (mainly b/c mids are good at getting the docs to "fudge" some numbers or give you a little lee-way on certain things so you are medically "cleared").

    Also, you might get to your midshipmen cruises and summer training blocks and find out you really like something else.

    First, focus on that 25m target (keeping your grades up and getting into the Academy).
     
  4. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    Nothing wrong with having an idea of what he wants to do.

    You don't need to be in the top third; do the best you can, but people from all ranges of class rank get pilot (our class had 250 some odd pilot slots, and quite a few people don't want pilot/ aren't physically qualified). In fact, probably the easiest route to aviation is the Academy (lots of slots, ASTB becomes pass/fail, etc.).

    API takes 6 weeks, but does usually have a huge backup (depends on how quickly you get there after graduation - anywhere from a few weeks to a couple months). If you go Academy and then go aviation, the API classes shouldn't be too rough, and the grades there count very little anyways.

    P-3s is a different select than jets, and right now is probably the least popular choice. Maybe the P-8 will change this, but who knows.
     
  5. mombee

    mombee Banned

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    The best advice, bar none, that can be given on this topic. Take the first class available and report a couple of weeks early and you will graduate a year ahead of your classmates who lolly gag along.

    Everything else you say is also absolutely correct.

    First off, I am not sure Pax has yet flown a P-8. It will not get ahead of schedule. There will be budget issues, performance issues, contract issues, etc etc A plane this complex and an order this large will take several years to deliver. First off, when you graduate from flight school, if you are lucky, given possible delays, you will be given a choice between the P-3 and the P-8 FRS. Grades are paramount. If you select P-8, you will eventually report to one of the first P-8 squadrons. If you select P-3, you will train in the P-3. On completion of FRS, you will be assigned a squadron. Some will transition sooner than others. Make your druthers known. Grades are not necessarily paramount. In any event, you will report to your P-3 squadron, train, fly, deploy, and attain your aircraft commander and mission commander qualifications. At a determined time, the squadron will fly their P-3s to Davis-Mautham and report en masse to the FRS to be retrained in the P-8. Upon completion of the entire squadron finishing retraining, they will be given their new aircraft.

    Flight time is flight time. In 30 yrs, people will view your P-3 squadron patches with awe. Old planes require a lot of maintenance. The mechs know how to work on old planes. New planes are never on schedule. New planes have a lot of bugs. Tech reps are the only people who can make them fly.

    If you are lucky, you may have a choice. If you are smart, you may stay with P-3s as long as you can. There is always the next tour where you can fly it once the bugs have been worked out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  6. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    I don't think Boeing hasn't even delivered a P-8 yet. They performed a "low" pass at Whidbey Island recently which I'm not sure I would have called "low" at all. They have yet to test much of the electronic equipment as far as I know. I did get a chance to go in the P-8 simulator and it was pretty nice. Looked basically like any passenger jet in the cockpit.

    As to the transition: I assume it will be much like the current EA-6B to F-18G transition. The fleet replacement squadron has two sides: the prowler side and the growler side. Students can end up in either one currently based on any number of factors. Those who are currently training in the Prowler will go to some of the last prowler squadrons and will then go back to the FRS when their squadron transitions to the F18.

    For those who are already flying the prowler they come back to the FRS when their squadron transitions to the F18 and become a student yet again for a short time. Interesting to see some O4's/O5's going back to the FRS as students :smile:

    The P-3 is an interesting plane with a pretty cool mission. It isn't very popular among students; however, as with every airframe the one your flying is the best one.
     
  7. Born-To-Fly_024

    Born-To-Fly_024 Member

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    What makes the flight physicals so tough?
     
  8. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    You are putting the cart slightly before the horse, to use a hokey term. If you are cool enough to get an aviation slot than here is how it will work. Not being in the first class to go down to Pensacola doesn't have anything to do with lolly gagging. It actually isn't bad to sit in Pensacola, golf, eat, swim and drink for 4 months while getting paid to simply have a pulse. If someone thinks that isn't cool, they're insane.
    API is 6 weeks, it's a joke. Primary takes 6 months and it isn't very hard. The wait times are being taken out of the pipeline and are only occurring before API. Advanced multi-engine (at NAS Corpus Christi) takes up to 6 months. After that the rag takes 6 months then you go to the fleet. Word has it the transition to P-8 is going to go squadron by squadron. One whole VP will switch from P-3 to P-8 with all of the pilots in that squadron being retrained on the new platform.
    As for getting P-3's, it is pretty easy right now. I actually think a brick could put in for P-3's and get it. The needs of the Navy only apply to P-3's if you suck it up in Primary. To clarify a bit, the P-3 community is cool. They don't live on the boat and they get mad per diem. Most students today are turned off by the ancient platform and mundane mission.
     
  9. Born-To-Fly_024

    Born-To-Fly_024 Member

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    P-3's are awesome
     
  10. mombee

    mombee Banned

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    Tell me this two years into your first squadron. Comparing fitreps with a classmate who got there a year ahead of you. Flying wing on a division lead classmate because you don't have your quals yet. Flying copilot with a classmate for the same reason.

    Tell me this when you screen for command and your classmate has been able to squeeze another full meaningful shore duty out of his career.

    You will find yourself golfing, eating, swimming, and drinking while you watch the world go by. Backlogs accumulate. If you have more professional ambitions than golfing, etc., getting there early will hold one in good stead.
     
  11. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    Put succinctly, weird things turn up you won't even know you had. Or your arms will be too short. If you have a waiver for anything, you'll get the pleasure of defending it once a year.
     
  12. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    I'd still lolly gag for a few months if given the option.
     
  13. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    ENSmom,

    Then things must have really changed. I have not kept up-to-date with service selection since my days ('79 grad), but I do not recall anybody who was physically qualified not able to select a slot as a naval aviator. But maybe that was because there was a natural weeding-out process in those days since anybody who wore glasses could NOT opt to be a naval aviator, only a naval flight officer.

    I understand that the Navy provides free Lasik surgery for those who wear glasses and want to be a pilot. Is that true? If so, I can see where the slots would become a lot more competitive.

    I have two sons (twins) currently in the Class of 2013 and, when I was there for I-Day, I was stunned to see the number of new plebes who wore glasses. Plebes cannot wear contacts during Plebe Summer, so they really stand out. Plus, the glasses are really dorky looking. I do not recall nearly that many wearing glasses back in my days.

    If what you say is true (that you must graduate in the top third of your class to become a pilot) then things have really changed. In my day, midshipmen wanting to be a pilot were worried about maintaining their vision more than maintaining their grades. If you could do both, that was just a bonus.

    David Emerling '79
     
  14. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I ended up flying A-7's but I had to get an anthropometric waiver for my "sitting height" - which is the distance from the bottom of your butt to the top of your head while sitting. I am slightly over 6'2" which is tall, but not unusually tall. Nevertheless, my "sitting height" was "code 8" which, apparently, is unusual.

    That waiver was given by a flight surgeon after observing me actually sitting in the cockpit of an A-7. But I was already in flight school at the time.

    The code 8 sitting height was not a disqualifier for entering flight training, but it was a disqualifier for flying certain aircraft. I was very proactive in trying to eliminate as many of those restrictions as possible prior to being assigned an aircraft when I got my wings - that way there would be more options.

    However, as already mentioned, there are certain anthropometric dimensions that will preclude you from entering flight training. The more modern day aircraft are much more forgiving in this area, I believe.

    David Emerling '79
     
  15. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    Anthro is still a big killer for people in flight school. People with high sitting heights get cornered into the mighty multi-engine platform. Short females (I mean near midget height) are sometimes relegated to the back of the plane (NFO). PRK has done in the ease with which aviation slots used to be had. Now it is somewhat competitive, but as long as you aren't near the comma club (OOM>1,000) you should be in fair territory for Navy air. Oh, and don't put subs in the top 3.

    With PRK, you also have to get a waiver. This is a painless, nearly automatic process.
     
  16. ENSmom

    ENSmom Member

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    Not having personally gone through the process, my information is second-hand. it was related to me that many more mids who would have previously been excluded due to vision problems were now in the runnng for a pilot slot. Thus the increase in competition.

    I do not know if the number of pilots slots is fairly constant, or fluctuates sustantially from class to class. I do know of quite a few who wanted pilot and ended up with NFO instead. I also know of more than one who was very close to the top of the class who wanted SWO and ended up with subs.

    I also understand that the pilot training, especially primary, can be intense, despite what Marvin relates. (Marvin, have you been through this already, or are you in another community? or still at the Academy?) I have heard of more than one disappointed student aviator who wanted jets and ended up with helos due to the lack of slots with respect to the class rank coming out of primary.

    I also know that mombee is spot on with respect to selecting the start date for API. The closer to graduation, the less likely one sits around waiting to "class up". Navy is finding creative ways to keep those in the "pool" from hitting the golf course too often, including all kinds of "community service".

    ENSmom
     
  17. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    ENSmom, have you been through primary? Yah, I suppose if your goal is to be a carrier jet pilot, and nothing else will make you happy, primary will be a bit intense. Getting jet pilot is a combination of good grades and a huge amount of luck, and if that's really all that will make you happy, you'll stress a lot. If you want P-3s (which currently, you'll get if you pass and have a pulse - no disparagement to the community, it's just not what a lot of people are selecting), primary will be significantly less intense.

    I do know of a few people who wanted pilot and got FO. The vast majority of those were in the bottom third of the class. Almost anyone who was in the top 2/3 who wanted pilot got it (this may be different from year to year - ours had a large number of SWO wannabees, but it seemed to be roughly the same the previous year). it's certainly more competitive than Memphis' time because of the bionic eyes, but if you want to be a pilot, the Academy is a significantly easier route than OCS or ROTC.

    As for sitting around, I sat around for 6 months (not my choice - IFS, but still was pretty cool), but was proactive and got a sweet stash job instead of doing random tasks. I'll tell mombee how that worked out when I'm screening for command.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  18. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    I was concerned with the possibility of getting FO (ranked in the top 50% of my class), so I gamed it out and put SWO second. The word on the street (or in the p-way, if you will) was that a vast number of my classmates put SWO first. Armed with this tid bit, I put it second and FO third on my list. Maybe I didn't need to do that or maybe it helped. Either way, I got what I wanted. As I previously stated, if you put Subs in the top 3 you should be prepared to become good friends with Hyman Rickover and angles and dangles.
    I will finish Primary tomorrow. I must have missed the intense portions of the program. If the person you talked to went through the program at Vance AFB, then it may have been different thanks to our blue brothers. If they went through the Navy version, intensity isn't part of the syllabus. There are jet slots to be had if you have the grades (this has been the case for about 9 months). Just like academy service selection though, if you aren't somewhat of a rockstar you should be prepared to do any one of your top three choices. It is the Navy, not Burger King.
    In terms of mombee being spot on, during my A-pool vacation in Pensacola (pre-API) I did one community service event (took maybe 4 hours) and played close to 40 rounds of golf. That sounds like a good ratio. This took place over the course of 3 months. My '09 friends who are in the pool now have told me that the lifestyle hasn't changed. Muster at 0730, then free to do anything but get arrested or die. There are a limited number of stash jobs in relation to the >200 ensigns sitting around. It is a great time to work on the tan.
     
  19. marvin7794

    marvin7794 Member

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    If you want a precise measure as to how intense Primary flight training is, I have one for you. SteveHolt and I teed off around 1 this afternoon. We both shot 99's. I blame the wind, and the lack of grass in some of the fairways. Intense it was.
     
  20. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Enjoy this time. No sarcasm. That's been the rhythm for a long time, down time interspersed with intense activity. You learn to enjoy these rare gifts along the way, such as being able to take a whole 30 days PCS leave, getting boondoggle TADs, stash jobs in between PCS orders, etc. You will pay for them many times over by going in harm's way and working your tail off.
    We just had an '06 sponsor son call us. He finally got spit out of the pipeline/RAG at the other end, joined his squadron, met his division, got stuck with the usual JO SLJs like wardroom mess treasurer, and deploys in less than a month. He's working 14-plus hour days and feels like he has a firehose clamped to his face. He said he's never worked so hard in his life, now thinks USNA was easy in retrospect and has fond memories of his Pensacola down time. We welcomed him to the Fleet...

    Fly safely!
     

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