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P-3s--What's the community like?

MPrice07

New Member
My Husband is looking to finish primary soon and we were wondering what the P-3 community is like. We have heard that it is a really small community. Is it likely that we will be running into the same people often? By the end of my husband's service contract, will we know most people in the P-3 community by then? Just curious!!

Thanks!
 

picklesuit

Living the GeoBachelor dream...
pilot
Contributor
My P-3 experience was as a junior enlisted AW (the guy back in the tube doing all the work;))

The P-3 community wasn't small in numbers, but was a "small town" atmosphere. Everyone knew somebody in another squadron. The pilots from the same year group knew each other as we all go through flight school about the same time. When we went out on the town the guys/gals all hung together at the bar/restaraunt etc. It was really good to me.

The wives seemed to do stuff together, on the O side anyway...the E's didn't seem to do much in Jacksonville.

I think anyone would enjoy P-3's, but tell yer husband to fly what he wants based on more than just how "cool" the community is (even though we are the coolest!)

PM if you want to talk to my wife more about the spouse side, or hit up the spouse' forum.
Pickle
 

othromas

Member
pilot
I'm just a 3P, so take this all for what it's worth.

When I was going through Primary, most of the P-3 IPs I met were pretty cool, and had good things to say about the community despite having gotten shafted by the advent of HONA (Health of Naval Aviation, which puts a restriction of the number of flight hours each aircraft can fly based on a complex equation involving airframe age, the probability the wings will fall off in flight, and silly things), which cut their flight time down into the hundreds of hours for an entire tour vs. the thousands of hours guys had been getting prior to that. This meant that it became much harder for people to become PPCs because you need at least 700 hours of total flight time, which typically works out to about 500 hours in-model.

Now, you take a bunch of aviators, then keep them from flying. Add realization that without as much experience, these pilots are going to need to know even more about the aircraft to offset their lack of experience, so total knowledge of all of NATOPS, down to a genetic level, becomes standard. Couple that with the fact that the aging plane is starting to exhibit symptoms that were never covered by NATOPS, so not only is NATOPS a requirement, but so are several other publications (HAZREPs, Job Aid, Blue Brains, FE Job Aid, P-3 Digest, etc.). This sets up a highly demanding environment where your systems knowledge, while still secondary to your ability to fly the plane and your general pilot knowledge, becomes nearly as important. People get very nit-picky and quiz you all the time, in other words.

The final piece of the puzzle, from my perspective, is the advent of CMO (Combined Maintenance Organization). One paper, it makes total sense: with fewer aircraft due to red-stripes, there's not as much of a reason to have individual airplanes assigned to each squadron, so a single, wing-level maintenance organization divvies the planes up to the squadrons as they're needed. What this does in reality is reduce the power of the individual squadrons to do things their own way, as well as taking away lots of the jobs JOs had in maintenance since maintenance is its own command, separate from the squadron. Since we can't have guys without jobs, new jobs get created to fill the void.

So to finish answering your question, the P-3 community is indeed pretty small; I've already run into three or four of my friends I went through Advanced and the FRS with out on deployment. The Navy itself is pretty small too, though--I've also run into guys I did middie cruises with my senior year out here too, and even my roommate from the Naval Academy Summer Seminar, of all things.

This is probably far too much information, but I'm bored and trying to get my sleep schedule turned around for this week.
 

gaetabob

Registered User
pilot
NFO's do now...they're refered to as "UMFO's"...can't remember what that stands for. No more Randolph for student NFO's.
 

Sky-Pig

Retired Cryptologic Warfare / Naval Flight Officer
None
My Husband is looking to finish primary soon and we were wondering what the P-3 community is like. We have heard that it is a really small community. Is it likely that we will be running into the same people often? By the end of my husband's service contract, will we know most people in the P-3 community by then? Just curious!!

Thanks!
Are you guys going into the P-3 or EP-3 community? Despite the aircraft similarities, there are some differences between the two.

If you go P-3, by 2009 there will only be 3 P-3 bases...which does make for a somewhat "small world" feel to it. If you end up with EP-3s, there is a single base and this world is so small the word "in-bred" is not altogether inappropriate...and I'm smiling when I wrote that since I am an EP-3 type.

Either way, in a single tour I doubt that would be able to meet the majority in either community, but you will get to know a not inconsiderable percentage. And the spouses clubs are usually fairly active.

These are pretty solid communities...bonded by a love of (really) old airplanes, 12000 foot runways and per diem checks.
 

Sky-Pig

Retired Cryptologic Warfare / Naval Flight Officer
None
Well the P3s are supposed to be replaced by the P8s in a couple years right.
Correct. However, it will take some time to fully replace all the current P-3C airframes once they do start rolling off the ways up in Seattle. There is only so much production capacity at Boeing. Additionally, very few programs reach Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on time...though P-8 may be one of them...primarily due to the need to no-kidding replace the older airframes. I just wouldn't bet the farm (or my future airline employment plans) on it.

I haven't seen the latest implementation schedule...once they flow into the fleet, then all VP guys will still be bonded by 12000 foot runways, per diem check...and the ease of getting your 737 type rating on the Navy's dime. Except for those JOs stuck in a legacy P-3C squadron...they still get to "enjoy" the old warpigs and wonder what they did to anger the detailing gods. At least the supply of boarding ladders should improve by then.

On a related note, EP-3 replacement is still too far away to accurately predict the who/what/where/when.
 

Longhorn

New Member
so for example if i enter into ocs early 2009, would that put me on a path to maybe get p-8's? or is that still too early??
 

scoober78

(HCDAW)
pilot
Contributor
Nobody knows...Don't bank your plans on any airframe. Do you want to fy Navy or do you want to fly P-8's...or jets...or....???

In short though...nobody can answer your question with any certainty.
 

BACONATOR

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
To give you an example, a LT who is now an instructor at NASC said that when he was an SNA, they SWORE that the T-6 was coming online very soon and that he was extremely lucky to be in Naval aviation at such an exciting time!.... that was in 2001. The T-6 is STILL not a part of Naval flight training for SNAs. They say by 2009, but we'll see. I think it's finally starting to happen. 7 years after they said it would.
 
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