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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.
 

greenguy

New Member
My choices at each stage of the process from dream to poolee to OCS to TBS to IFS to API and now near the end of primary have changed significantly. The further along I got the more I realized how little I actually knew and what I might actually enjoy flying and want to get out of my military service. I've talked to instructors and others about their platforms and fleet life and can see pros/cons for each (tho sometimes hard to tell what's kool aid and what's not). I know I am ultimately at the mercy of the Corps but I like to think my dream sheet may have some effect on what I select and I can't decide what to put. Was anyone else conflicted like this and how did you ultimately decide what to put down?

Semper
 

Gonzo08

*1. Gangbar Off
None
If you go through life and never have to kill another human being, that's not a bad thing. I've worked with people who haven't had that luxury. Just saying . . .
Yeah, I'm gonna dogpile on @nittany03's comment here because I don't think this point is getting enough attention.

If your major motivation for platform selection is whether or not you're going to get to kill people, I think you really need to take a step back and think about your motivations. Because even though you say "combat" really that's what you mean; you're saying it's hugely important that you fly an aircraft that has the potential and gives you the opportunity to take another human beings life, and that's REALLY not a mindset you should be comfortable with.

Just my $0.02.
 

Slingblade

Huge Member
pilot
My motivation was not killing the bad guys. It was doing whatever it took to keep the bad guys from killing my guys. Using an aircraft as an instrument to do what was necessary to make sure people made it home. It is up to you as a professional aviator to make sure that when they need you that you are prepared to deliver that support. This does not always involve kinetics.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
None
Contributor
Yeah, I'm gonna dogpile on @nittany03's comment here because I don't think this point is getting enough attention.

If your major motivation for platform selection is whether or not you're going to get to kill people, I think you really need to take a step back and think about your motivations. Because even though you say "combat" really that's what you mean; you're saying it's hugely important that you fly an aircraft that has the potential and gives you the opportunity to take another human beings life, and that's REALLY not a mindset you should be comfortable with.

Just my $0.02.
There is 100% nothing wrong with a person wanting to fly a platform that has higher likelihood of engaging with and killing the enemy, and actively seeking out that platform. Just because you aren't comfortable with it doesn't mean others also must feel that same way.
 

Gonzo08

*1. Gangbar Off
None
There is 100% nothing wrong with a person wanting to fly a platform that has higher likelihood of engaging with and killing the enemy, and actively seeking out that platform. Just because you aren't comfortable with it doesn't mean others also must feel that same way.
Maybe I didn't convey my thoughts properly. I'm all for the idea of wanting to be in a platform that can help out a fellow American in combat, was just making sure that the motivation behind the desire was more than strictly a desire to kill people.
 
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