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Consolidated Advice for Primary

#76
Nah, I disagree with this. I had a guy I went through in primary with who would never come out because it could mean he could have been studying. He was the kind of guy that would do the CAI's over and over and over again just to show he had a perfect 100 on every.single.one. He would post screenshots of himself "in the break" or flying the predicted approaches he would get on MS Flight Simulator X on his Facebook page with captions... he bought a software package that included the T-34C cockpit with working gauges. He'd poo-poo on any of us for doing anything but study, and the second I selected helo's and he got Harriers, it was total vindication to him. To him, I was 100% the failure, despite wanting to fly Navy helicopters. Today, he's a very disgruntled and disappointed Harrier pilot who constantly bitches on Facebook about how poorly the Marines treat their pilots.

In my mind, every class has one guy that's at least somewhat like this. I remember finishing up primary, being near the cockpit trainers just helping a friend who was starting up, when a guy who was just classing up with him asked me for help, but right before I started going through the checklist with him he asked "so what did you select?" When I told him "helicopters," his face literally soured and he said "Ah, I think I'd rather have help from someone who was more successful. I will become a Blue Angel one day." He has no idea, but I've remembered his name all these years and he ended up on my deployment as a C-2 guy, which, by all accounts the dream life, but it's pretty far removed from the Blue Angels... I always felt vindicated seeing him.
Good on guys like that. Honestly. I half-respect, half hate on people with that kind of work ethic and drive. Maybe because I don’t have it. And maybe this says something about me as a person, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of being (in my opinion) ~80% as good a pilot as people like that, with far, far less work.
 

DanMa1156

Land of the Milk and Honey.
pilot
Contributor
#77
Good on guys like that. Honestly. I half-respect, half hate on people with that kind of work ethic and drive. Maybe because I don’t have it. And maybe this says something about me as a person, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of being (in my opinion) ~80% as good a pilot as people like that, with far, far less work.
Yeah, I'm with you on that, but what made the first guy in particular such a tool was all the bragging about the studying and trying to show off his work ethic by showing his screenshots of a perfectly flown ILS or break on MS Flight Simulator on facebook.
 

Python1287

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#78
Yeah, I'm with you on that, but what made the first guy in particular such a tool was all the bragging about the studying and trying to show off his work ethic by showing his screenshots of a perfectly flown ILS or break on MS Flight Simulator on facebook.
I still say we need to emphasize that the guy you’re describing is overwhelmingly the exception and not the norm.
 
#82
My work/life balance in Primary worked fairly well (I like to think so, anyways). Friday nights were off to party, Saturdays were always for the boys. Either went shooting, to the beach, rode my bike, watched football, whatever. Sundays, I got up and lounged and went to church at 11. Got home at noon, and started reading. I would write every discuss item from every event I was qualified to fly that week (use that JPPT flow chart, it really helps). Then, I would find the items and write the pg # from the FTI/NATOPS/FARAIM, whatever and document it. Then I'd read it all. That way, each night before the brief, I could use those pg#s and look up what I needed to know for my brief the next day and crush it.

Also, screw camping out for free OFTs. Outside of learning procedure, those things have some serious diminishing returns. They are helpful with a sim instructor running them, less so if you're by yourself beating the pattern up. Your time would be better spent chair flying the procedure and prepping for the flight.
 

Hammer10k

Active Member
#83
A question came up about studying comms so I figured this would be helpful:

The comms in Contacts are very scripted. Use the course rules guide that the sim guys use - there was a binder by each sim. Borrow the folder from an inactive sim and photo copy the pages in one of the sim offices or find someone with a PDF version. Once you have that, sit in the sim bay each day and study course rules/comms along with everything else. For example, the first call on takeoff out of Navy Corpus after you get switched from tower is "Corpus Departure, Boomer 123, 500 feet off Navy Corpus, working Kings 4." Recite that a dozen times then move on to the next call. You'll be able to memorize the calls getting to the working area, leaving the working area, getting to the outlying field and back, and the calls during the pattern. In total, it's like 30 radio calls that you need to know.

The pattern calls take a lot of practice because of the speed they require. You'll be making a call at each point in the pattern and it will differ whether you are at Navy Corpus/Milton, at an outlying military field, civilian towered, and civilian non-towered field. You want to really hammer these in so that they just come second nature. Just sit there and read the call off your course rules sheet over and over, and then close your eyes and recite them all in order for the different kinds of airfields. Get these calls down early because eventually you'll be doing a mix of normal patterns and Precautionary Emergency Approaches (PELs), which have different radio calls.

The first couple months of Primary should be the hardest you've worked in your life. There's a lot to digest but getting ahead early will make your life infinitely easier. A guy coming into the plane with course rules, comms, tight basic air-work, and a good attitude is someone who will set himself apart. The three phases of Primary (Contacts, RIs, Forms) are all step learning-curves at the start so you'll have a month of insane work load, but then you'll be able to start easing up as you become familiar with the maneuvers and flow of each block. Towards the end of Contacts/RIs/Forms as you get closer to your solos or cross-country you'll have everything you need internalized and it just becomes a discipline of getting rest, prepping the brief, and showing up to perform.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
#84
Recite that a dozen times then move on to the next call. You'll be able to memorize the calls
A more general tip that will help with this is to think about and understand WHY you're making a particular call at a certain point in time. Obviously that's a little harder when you haven't even done FAM 1, but you can use that study technique once you understand the general flow (if not the actual verbiage). It will save mental energy later when you're trying to work through all the other things that flying involves.

I recently went through some training with a former Apache pilot who had several thousand hours, was a MTP, and lots of combat time. He struggled with some checklist items throughout the whole training because he was trying to learn the script verbatim rather than just trying to understand the procedure in order to make the flow easier. Something like the take-off checklist can be broken down to what you're doing, and then the script will come with it.

"Hey, all the needles are matched at 100%. That's winning." "There are no warning lights, that's good!" "Hey, there aren't any caution lights on the panel (yay!*)." "The engines aren't at idle (yay!*)." "I look to the right and the engines STILL aren't at idle (yay!*)." "And the engine instruments look good."

Understanding all that makes the required script super-easy: "Triple-tacs are matched 100%, no warning lights, no cautions, no idles, no idles, instruments are good." Just as an example.

* Checklists can be more fun if you hear Kermit the Frog's voice in your head while doing them.
 

wlawr005

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#85
Nice post. I was going to say the same thing but you shacked it. It sucks when you memorize something but find yourself in a situation where none of those things fit. A basic understanding of what you're trying to communicate and why you are communicating will pay dividends. That is something that comes from experience though, and there's nothing wrong with learning things verbatim as a point from which to deviate. I guarantee the IPs aren't memorizing that stuff. This logic will prove sound in all phases of your aviation career.
 
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Ken_gone_flying

"I live vicariously through myself."
pilot
Contributor
#86
The comms in Contacts are very scripted. Use the course rules guide that the sim guys use - there was a binder by each sim. Borrow the folder from an inactive sim and photo copy the pages in one of the sim offices or find someone with a PDF version.
I would recommend studying from the Contact FTI, not a gouge script made up by the sim building instructors. 90% of the time a student was using non-standard comms and I asked them where they got it, their answer was "the sim building binder." You're graded by the FTI, study the FTI.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
#87
The first couple months of Primary should be the hardest you've worked in your life. There's a lot to digest but getting ahead early will make your life infinitely easier. A guy coming into the plane with course rules, comms, tight basic air-work, and a good attitude is someone who will set himself apart. The three phases of Primary (Contacts, RIs, Forms) are all step learning-curves at the start so you'll have a month of insane work load, but then you'll be able to start easing up as you become familiar with the maneuvers and flow of each block. Towards the end of Contacts/RIs/Forms as you get closer to your solos or cross-country you'll have everything you need internalized and it just becomes a discipline of getting rest, prepping the brief, and showing up to perform.
I wouldn’t say there was any point in the VT’s that ever came close to “insane workload”. For me and everyone I knew that did well enough in primary to go on to jets, drinking, fishing, and wake boarding took much more of our time than studying.

To primary students seeking advice: study a hour or so with your friends. Stay friends with people ahead of you, and pass the gouge to those behind you. It’s not rocket science. If you find you need to work harder than ever before, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

RI sims are largely how I got my NSS high enough to select what I wanted. I’d go to the empty room in the Corpus sim building an hour or so before my sim with a Red Bull and gouge on that sim’s events. It worked out ok.
 
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