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Aircraft selection

PMPT

Member
There are a lot of variables that go into flight hours. Squadron priorities, deployments, workups, qualifications, jet health, etc. If you are a training priority for a healthy squadron, have needed qualifications, do a couple deployments, etc, then it is possible to fly >200 hours per year in the Hornet.

For the past two years I think flew around 185-200 hours each year in the Hornet, and I had to sell my soul to fly that much... 12+ hour work days every day and I don't even know the last time I didn't go into the squadron to work on a weekend when I was in the same city as the squadron, i.e. not on leave somewhere else (in which case I was working from my laptop). Those long work days were not driven by studying tactics, mission planning, practicing model work to brief a roller, etc. Reading about the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions resonates with me, especially the parts about fatigue and training.

200 hours per year may seen fat compared to some horror stories you hear but it is still not enough to maintain a minimum level of proficiency in the skill sets you can be called to do in a multi-role fighter if you do not get quality time to brief, debrief, study, and utilize sims. It is also well below what other services or the air forces of other western countries get.

As your time in the squadron increases you are going to accumulate ground job(S!) and go from really caring about studying and having what you think is ample time to learn a lot about weapons and tactics (until you fly with someone from an organization whose only job is to mission plan, train, and fly, and you then learn how little you know and how non-proficient you are... they might even know more about your tactics than you do) to barely having time to check weather and NOTAMs to go fly... never mind know what all the current recommendations are.
jesus. please tell me there's a silver lining buried in there somewhere.
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
Contributor
There are a lot of variables that go into flight hours. Squadron priorities, deployments, workups, qualifications, jet health, etc. If you are a training priority for a healthy squadron, have needed qualifications, do a couple deployments, etc, then it is possible to fly >200 hours per year in the Hornet.

What really makes me wonder where/when we fell off the wagon is that it wasn't terribly long ago that getting 1000 hours in your first fleet tour wasn't unheard of.

Now guys are leaving without an FCF qual.

I sometimes lament the UAS transition that was forced upon me, but then I talk to my buddies still in the fleet and realize that my life is pretty damn good.
 
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