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Consolidated Advice for Primary

Igloojam

Well-Known Member
pilot
I’ve found jets to be less stressful than Primary simply because there isn’t an invisible line you are worried about (read: “jet grades”). I show up, do as well as I can, ask questions if something wasn’t making sense and try to internalize that flights lesson.

In Primary, I spent so much time stressing out about “I got a 5 on this, but a 3 on this while my buddy got 4s on both.....” that I didn’t enjoy it at all. Every flight was me trying to beat MIF by more than my peers, and it added a lot of undue (self imposed) stress to each flight.

So far through jets, I’m just trying to beat myself. I know what I did on last flight, and try to improve flight to flight, irregardless of what the grade sheet says. It’s a subtle difference, but it has made flying a lot more enjoyable for me.
Funny you say that. I heard an instructor say he hates having to grade us.
Thanks for adding this man. These are definitely hard truths. Luck is major factor - the draw with sim instructors and that you'll fly up to 14 flights with your on-wing, which can be a gift or a curse.

I second living with buddies with minimal distractions. A good method is to find dudes in your API class that are heading to the same place. I had two roommates which meant we always had someone for practice sims and studying.

From what I saw, prior flight time can a huge boost. It can also bite people in the ass. Being good at comms, instruments, and landing the airplane early on are game changers. However, the majority of dudes that I saw DOR were prior-time guys. They either weren't having fun or were overwhelmed with the challenge of primary. The highest NSSs I saw were also from guys with only IFS experience. These guys were committed to the practice sims and internalizing the knowledge. For the most part though, prior guys all wound up doing well. If you can combine manic work ethic with a solid foundation of flight time, then the sky is the limit.
Hammer you have prior flight time? Just curious
 

FormerRecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
OCS has a way of pulling people off the streets with no real test of dedication. When these kids showed up to primary/api they DORed. Leaving was just as easy as joining for them. They had no strings attached. No scholarships to pay back. No 4 years of grinding at the academy/rotc to test their dedication to staying in the Navy.
This statement is skewed at best. Every commissioning source has its good and bad. OCS lately has done a better job ensuring those who WANT to be there, get there. Each commissioning source produces both the best and worst. I would make the case OCS is still the toughest commissioning source when it comes to military training. USNA has a 6-week plebe summer and NROTC a 1-2 week INDOC.

Watching trends on AWs the past few years, it seems the majority aviation DORs are those with prior flight time. They come in with their own “habits” and end up struggling adjusting with the ways the Navy does things. This is across OCS, USNA, and NROTC/STA-21 pipelines, not just OCS.
 

Python1287

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
This statement is skewed at best. Every commissioning source has its good and bad. OCS lately has done a better job ensuring those who WANT to be there, get there. Each commissioning source produces both the best and worst. I would make the case OCS is still the toughest commissioning source when it comes to military training. USNA has a 6-week plebe summer and NROTC a 1-2 week INDOC.

Watching trends on AWs the past few years, it seems the majority aviation DORs are those with prior flight time. They come in with their own “habits” and end up struggling adjusting with the ways the Navy does things. This is across OCS, USNA, and NROTC/STA-21 pipelines, not just OCS.
Those “AW trends” are not scientific or accurate. Prior flight time dudes 99% of the time are perfectly fine to play by military rules in the airplane and they usually crush the program. After primary things may be different, but specific to primary the experience is huge. They are literally doing things they already know how to do, versus peers who have never seen it. It is common sense. I know this; I had prior flight time.

As far as commissioning source, I agree with you. That shouldn’t and doesn’t correlate to anything with regards to aviation DORs.
 

Brett327

Well-Known Member
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
I presume the various TRAWING staffs have stats on stuff like this. Would be interesting to delve into it.
 

Gatordev

Well-Known Member
pilot
Site Admin
Contributor
I presume the various TRAWING staffs have stats on stuff like this. Would be interesting to delve into it.
Admittedly dated info now, but I never really saw any sort of formal collection of who had what flight time. I suppose you could go by who was exempted from IFS, but otherwise, most of the knowledge about who had flight time was word of mouth between IPs. I think I may vaguely remember writing something down on some form stating prior flight time, but if that was the case when I was an IP, that data wasn't officially promulgated, at least to me.

I agree, it would be interesting know if such official info exists, or what its true scope is.
 

Hammer10k

Well-Known Member
pilot
I was given a print out with all my stage scores, commissioning source, preferences, API NSS, etc. There was a block for “All Prev Pilot Hours.” A couple stash Ensigns in the various squadrons could find the trends.
 

Igloojam

Well-Known Member
pilot
This statement will not age well.
I knew it would get a rise out of some folks. Just sharing my experience.

This statement is skewed at best. Every commissioning source has its good and bad. OCS lately has done a better job ensuring those who WANT to be there, get there. Each commissioning source produces both the best and worst. I would make the case OCS is still the toughest commissioning source when it comes to military training. USNA has a 6-week plebe summer and NROTC a 1-2 week INDOC.

Watching trends on AWs the past few years, it seems the majority aviation DORs are those with prior flight time. They come in with their own “habits” and end up struggling adjusting with the ways the Navy does things. This is across OCS, USNA, and NROTC/STA-21 pipelines, not just OCS.
I was stashed at API. While I was there not a single attrite/DOR came from prior flight time stud. I processed the paperwork for several in the 4 months I was stashed. Majority were OCS guys I knew from OCS. Their reasons included NPQs who refused to go NFO, IFS washouts, API failures. Not a single one had prior flight time.

At TW-5, the ENS underground is strong. We talk. The only motivation driven DORs came from OCS studs. The academy/rotc studs were either attrites or they DORed for inability to physiologically adapt or just straight up couldn't get past the contact check ride. Prior flight guys/gals crush. period. I have yet to meet one that is not doing very well. Females statistically do worse in primary than their male counterparts. Not trying to offend anyone here but the data is crunched at the wing level and an IP confirmed there has been briefings on this. That being said, a girl just selected jets... and guess what... over 300+ hours civilian.

I presume the various TRAWING staffs have stats on stuff like this. Would be interesting to delve into it.
Funny you say this, there is an IP who is currently using wing stats for his Masters Capstone. I too have a graduate level background using statistics so I found it interesting.

With all this, this is my perception of the program. I trust my ability to be objective, however I am willing to concede my perception of this is a "limited sample size". Overall though... to any studs reading this... I enjoyed primary. It was challenging, yet achievable with hard work and motivation. I'll finish mid pack though without ever having unsatted/failed anything and being below mif once. I stand by my conviction prior flight time, especially into the 100+ hours, is a game changer.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
I knew it would get a rise out of some folks. Just sharing my experience.



I was stashed at API. While I was there not a single attrite/DOR came from prior flight time stud. I processed the paperwork for several in the 4 months I was stashed. Majority were OCS guys I knew from OCS. Their reasons included NPQs who refused to go NFO, IFS washouts, API failures. Not a single one had prior flight time.

At TW-5, the ENS underground is strong. We talk. The only motivation driven DORs came from OCS studs. The academy/rotc studs were either attrites or they DORed for inability to physiologically adapt or just straight up couldn't get past the contact check ride. Prior flight guys/gals crush. period. I have yet to meet one that is not doing very well. Females statistically do worse in primary than their male counterparts. Not trying to offend anyone here but the data is crunched at the wing level and an IP confirmed there has been briefings on this. That being said, a girl just selected jets... and guess what... over 300+ hours civilian.



Funny you say this, there is an IP who is currently using wing stats for his Masters Capstone. I too have a graduate level background using statistics so I found it interesting.

With all this, this is my perception of the program. I trust my ability to be objective, however I am willing to concede my perception of this is a "limited sample size". Overall though... to any studs reading this... I enjoyed primary. It was challenging, yet achievable with hard work and motivation. I'll finish mid pack though without ever having unsatted/failed anything and being below mif once. I stand by my conviction prior flight time, especially into the 100+ hours, is a game changer.
Although you concede that you’re using a small sample size, I think it’s amusing that you say “prior flight time guys crush. Period.” There are people posting on this thread that spent years instructing primary students, not four months as an ensign stashed at API.

Yes, prior flight time tends to help. Some of them still struggle, and more tend to struggle in advanced when they’re learning things they have no experience with.

I don’t think there’s a magic number of flight hours that helps, but I’d guess having an instrument rating would be a big help. 50-100 hours puttering around in a c-172 isn’t much different than IFS. That’s just my WAG, though.
 

Python1287

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
Although you concede that you’re using a small sample size, I think it’s amusing that you say “prior flight time guys crush. Period.” There are people posting on this thread that spent years instructing primary students, not four months as an ensign stashed at API.

Yes, prior flight time tends to help. Some of them still struggle, and more tend to struggle in advanced when they’re learning things they have no experience with.

I don’t think there’s a magic number of flight hours that helps, but I’d guess having an instrument rating would be a big help. 50-100 hours puttering around in a c-172 isn’t much different than IFS. That’s just my WAG, though.
I’d still say from Fleet experience as well as talking to VT instructors, the notion that high times guys DOR is overwhelmingly uncommon in comparison to the amount that crush it. In my personal experience I have seen many a 75+ NSS (and a few 80s) from prior time guys. Never saw any below a 50. Does it happen? Sure. But let’s not let such a small percentage dominate the point: experience helps a shitload.

That being said, I agree that puttering around in a 172 for 50-75 hours helps just a little if any. But licensed guys who flew recreationally or professionally quite a bit...especially those with instrument ratings, do crush the program. I also agree that beyond primary the playing field is much more level.

Frankly, civilian flying and primary flying are MUCH more similar than some people lead on here (with the exception of forms). Beyond primary the divergence in skill sets is much more apparent. There’s very few habits that need to be “unlearned” and the ones that do are small nit picky things, not major flying mechanics or regulations (again, in primary only).
 

xmid

Registered User
pilot
Contributor
As a former VT instructor and STUCON officer for a year, my rough estimate was that 80ish% of the prior flight time students crushed the program. The other 20ish% did poorly and some even washed out. There were very few middle of the road students with significant prior flight time. Those with a couple hundred hours and the strong desire to learn the Navy way of flying did very well.

As previously said, everything is front loaded. The first couple of blocks of flights in each category determine most of your NSS. The program is designed for you to have zero experience talking on the radio, or holding altitude, or landing... So if you come in with the ability to focus on some higher level of learning vice just trimming the aircraft and staying on altitude then you are going to be ahead of the game early on. When it counts.
 

Gonzo08

*1. Gangbar Off
None
Funny you say that. I heard an instructor say he hates having to grade us.
As a former instructor, it's less about having to grade you, and more about having to write your grade sheet.

If I recall correctly, VT instructors give you your grade sheet right after your flight. That is not the case in the FRS, and the last thing an instructor wants to do after their 2nd AEA Grad flight of the day is write grade sheets.
 

bub513

Black Cloud
Hey guys i am finishing up the contacts stage this week, I dont have any prior flight time but I'm prior enlisted here's my 2 cents. I am having an absolute blast right now. I dont think alot of guys are enjoying primary for some strange reason(worrying to death about grades). As enlisted at the end of a 12 hour shift you have a 1 hour brief then you get to go home and hope you dont get called back to work because someone lost a tool. Being a SNA is such a great experience after studying for a few hours I brief and my god i get to go fly a million dollar airplane. Dont get so wrapped up on stuff you cant control because honestly the grades arent going to change how i prepare for a flight, if i suck at stalls im going to work at it in the practice sims youll know what youre not good at and what areas you need to improve in at least for me. Getting a 3 on a stall doesnt turn a lightbulb on in my head to practice stalls.
 
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