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For those who are voluntold or are going to volunteer for Vance AFB flight training!

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Terminatrix77

Registered User
I miss the Navy is the theme for this thread today!

First off I would like to say that the only reason I am writing this thread is help out my shipmates in the Navy and Marines and the fact that I actually have time to write this is only because it is a weekend Saturday and I am sacrificing some valuable study time because my personal time is very very valuable here.

I am a Navy SNA at Vance AFB going through JSUPT right now, and I miss the Navy! I am in week 5 of flight training here and it's very intense! I only decided to come to this website today because I wanted to hear about how training is going on the Navy side of the world. I am completely immersed in Air Force everything! I feel like I've been away from the Navy and the sea for way too long now. The days on the flight line here are very very very long and difficult. We work 12 hour days and are under threat of constantly getting in trouble. I am prior enlisted Navy and served 5 years enlisted before getting my commission and have my private pilots license and instrument rating. The training here is divided up into 3 phases, Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III. Phase I is about 4 weeks long and closely resembles our Navy API. The first part of training here isn't that bad at all but it is kind of a pain in the arse. The material is waaaaay easier and way more specific to the plane you are going to fly but that's about as easy as it gets here. It kind of sucks, cause you feel like you have to go through API all over again, you even have to do some physiology all over again, like PLF training!! Phase II is the equivalent to the Navy Primary, and then Phase III is the equivalent to Navy Advanced, but Navy students don't go through Phase III unless you get selected for E-6's. Phase III is where the Air Force guys get to fly the T-38's or T-1's depending if they get selected for fighters or heavies. Phase II is where I'm at right now.

Before giving you the horror stories, let me mention some of the positive things about training in Phase II here first. The best thing about Phase II that I can think of so far is that it is very time based oriented. You know the exact date that you are going to finish training here. Phase II will last exactly 90 days (weekends not included) from the time you start to the time you finish. It comes out to roughly 5 months with weekends and various holidays thrown in. Another good thing is how tightly knit you and your classmates become. Everyone in your flight goes through the same garbage together and you really, really have to depend on one another to make it through here. Another good thing here is the kind of planes you can fly here. You can fly the T-6 Texan II which is a pretty sweet airplane, or you can fly the T-37B which is a real twin engine jet. I am flying the T-37B right now. But the T-37's are going away next year, so if you come here as a Navy or Marine, you will most likely be flying a T-6. Ok, that's about the best good stuff I can think of right now, now for the other stuff.

The first 15 days of Phase II are complete and utter HELL!!! There is a program called the 15 day program which is what everyone starts when they start Phase II. The 15 day program is a very high gear, heavy knowledge, ball busting program that is an assault on your brain and to see how much hazing you can take and how much sleep you can go without. The Air Force designed the 15 day program like this because you SOLO the aircraft after only 15 flights, and you fly pretty much everyday. During the 15 day program you have STAND UP EP's, BOLDFACE OPS Limits, STAN Tests, NOTES/WARININGS AND CAUTIONS, and other Air Force paperwork you have to complete throughout the day. Every morning you have what is called a FORMAL BRIEF and it is where all the students in the flight (usually between 8 and 14 students) stand at attention in front of their seats until we are told to sit down. After sitting down we have to sit at attention for about an hour after that while the FORMAL BRIEF is being given. The Formal Brief consists of the following (usually in this order):

1. The Flight Commander (USAF Captain O-3 in charge of your flight) will come to the front podium and read off important notes from the squadron about the day, that just takes a few minutes.

2. The Class Leader (or as the Air Force calls it the SRO Senior Ranking Officer) will give a time hack.

3. One of the students will then give a weather brief to the entire flight. The weather brief is pretty hard and after they give it, they will ask if anyone has any questions and almost always one of the IP's will have a million questions if the weather brief is inaccurate or F$#ked up in any way. All the IP's will make sure the student feels worthless after the weather brief is over.

4. RSU Comments. This is where one of the students stands up and tells the entire flight if any student made any stupid mistakes from their flights the day before. If any of the students made a bad radio call then they have to pay money, which gets used for a SOLO party down the road.

5. Then comes the dreaded STAND UP EP. This event usually takes about an hour. This is where one of the IP's goes to the podium in the front and asks a student to stand in front of another podium in the middle of the room and to verbally go through an Emergency Situation in excrutiating detail as possible. Here is a short example of the kind of detail the IP's want and I'm not kidding! "In order to declare an emergency, I will put my left hand on the students throttle quadrant where the students mic button is located and depress the students mic button with my left hand thumb and say ....." This is no joke! After the STAND UP EP is over with each instructor will have their go at the student telling them all the things they did wrong or should have considered making the student once again feel worthless.

6. After the EP, comes the even more dreaded NOTES/WARNINGS and CAUTIONS. For everyday of the 15 day program the students are assigned about 8 to 12 NWC's to memorize and then recite verbatim during the brief the next day. Some NWC's are short, but others are very long paragraphs. I found my self spending at least 3 hours a night memorizing these NWC's. And then of course not everyone can possibly remember all the of the NWC's for everyday so the class misses some and the class has to remember these in order to finish the formal brief. So if your buddy misses one, you better know it or else you'll be there all day trying to remember it.

7. Then after this comes the shotgun questions, which is a series of questions each student has to know the answers to in order to pass. There are about 20 to 30 for every day. These aren't so bad, but with all the other stuff you gotta do, its a pain.

8. Then after all this is over with the brief is finally over and you are told to report to your assigned IP. After the brief things get chill again, but you have been sitting at attention and working your brain a thousand miles a minute for over an hour. When you sit down with your assigned IP, he goes over your gradebook with you and tells you how it's all jacked up and tells you to go shack yourself on the shack board. The shack board is another thing that the IP's can haze you with. It's for when you do anything stupid not flying related they can punish you with. They keep a white dry erase board somewhere in the room with all the students names on it. Whenever you get a shack you put a little tick mark by your name. For evey tick mark you owe 1 beer bottle to the IP's. So 12 shacks means you need to by a 12 pack of beer for the IP's. Multiply the shacks per student and that adds up to a lot of beer. My first week of the 15 day program I had 11 shacks!

There is some good news about the 15 day program though, as bas as it is, it is good in that everything you do during the 15 day program doesn't count against you. Which means if you fail a STAND UP EP by getting sat down then it doesn't mean anything bad. After the 15 day program is over with though, if you fail 2 STAN EVENTS in a row you get put on CAP, which is not Combat Air Patrol. It's Commanders Awareness Program, which basically tells the Squadron Commander (an O-5 Lt. Colonel) that you suck! It doesn't mean anything towards your NSS score though, but if you get on CAP too many times or can't get off CAP then you may attrite from the program here, which is worse than getting a not so good NSS score.

If you come to Vance your NSS score is determined by one thing and one thing alone, YOUR FLIGHTS! The NSS is not determined by how well you do in the PHASE I Academics nor any of the ground events or tests you have during PHASE II. Also EVERY FLIGHT IS WEIGHTED THE SAME here, which means that CHECK RIDES don't mean anymore than your very first flight in the plane. Another thing is also that your API Grades don't mean squat for your NSS here either. They might throw in your API Grades in case you come into a tie with someone else which rarely happens. So if you got all 100's on every test at API then you studied way too hard and wasted your time studying when all you needed was straight 80's! This is no joke.

It is true that a lot of Navy guys that come through here do well and get high NSS scores. In the class that my class just relieved, of the 3 Navy people in the class, they all got their first choice of what they wanted to fly in the Navy. If you want jets your probably going to get jets out of here, if you want helo's you probably are going to get helo's and so on. I've only met like 1 or 2 Navy people here so far that didn't get their first choice.

When you come here you will experience how backwards the Air Force is on the ground and how tough they are in the air. About 15 to 20 percent of the all the officers on the base here are in the Navy and Marine Corps. However almost the whole base are officers here. There are about 3,000 officers on this base and literally like 300 enlisted people. If you were prior enlisted before becoming an officer you will feel like an E-1 here garanteed. But for those of you high school and OCS officers you won't really know the difference until you get back to the Navy. It's just the way it is here. There are soooo many students and these Air Force 2LT's are not like Navy Ensigns. Many of the Air Force guys in my class are either from the Air Force Academy, have a Masters Degree, went to Embry Riddle, or majored in something highly technical. Also many of the Air Force 2LT's that come here for pilot training have there private pilot's license and many of them have higher ratings.

I once heard that Vance AFB is like the equivalent of Navy Nuclear Power School for flight training. I tell you it's true. Don't volunteer to come here if you did not study seriously in college or if you don't have at least some significant civilian flying experience. I did not take college very seriously at all and I lack the serious study skills I need to be able to do well on the ground here, but my previous civilian flying time of over 150 hours has made me an above average performer in the air. I know another Navy guy here who is awesome at being able to study seriously but has like almost 0 flying experience, he didn't even go through IFS. I am struggling on the ground and doing well in the air, my buddy is doing well on the ground and struggling in the air. They make you fly A LOT here, which is good and bad. After the 15 day program is over with the class is eligible to fly twice a day at the flight commanders discretion. I flew every single day, once a day, during the 15 day program and I have already double turned here 3 times since the 15 day program has been over with.

In conlclusion, stay Navy! Don't volunteer to come here, unless you really, really, really want to fly the T-6 or you think you want to have a better shot at getting your first choice, but its no garantee. And if you are voluntold to come here, like I was, just suck it up and do your best.

On a side note, Enid girls are the some of the worst quality girls I have every met in the United States. A nice girl with a brain here is very far and few between here. Plus if you think, that's OK, Oklahoma City has hot chicks (or guys if your a girl) then you are WRONG!! Oklahoma City is way too far away to be going to even every weekend at the least. It take about an hour and 15 minutes one way to get to Oklahoma City from Enid. Plus there are a lot of speed traps along the way, I've already gotten 2 tickets and all but 1 person in my flight has gotten a speeding ticket. Plus there is really nothing to do here as far as partying goes. You can try, but very few hardly succeed in having a good night here in Enid. The town is very small and it's the 3rd biggest city in Oklahoma! If you come here, plan on having little to no life, but studying and flying for at least 5 months. Can you make the sacrafice?

Ok, well back to studying. I may not be able to respond to anyones questions for a while, if people decide to write back. But I will do my best. Cheers! and Fly Navy!
 

HH-60H

Manager
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
I am glad to see someone at Vance passing on good gouge. Now that I am several years removed from it and have many other experiences to judge it by, I would say that you have really hit the nail on the head. I think it shows your experience and judgement that you gained in the Fleet.
When I went through Vance, IFS didn't even exist and I had 0 flight time, so I feel your buddy's pain. I also have a friend who FAIPed at Vance and then stood up the T-6 program at Moody, so if you have any questions please ask. I do have a couple comments:

It is true that a lot of Navy guys that come through here do well and get high NSS scores. In the class that my class just relieved, of the 3 Navy people in the class, they all got their first choice of what they wanted to fly in the Navy. If you want jets your probably going to get jets out of here, if you want helo's you probably are going to get helo's and so on. I've only met like 1 or 2 Navy people here so far that didn't get their first choice.
This is total ebb and flow. When I went through no one was getting jets, it was all helos. So what holds true today, may not in a year. No one should choose Vance or not based on increased chances for platform selection.

When you come here you will experience how backwards the Air Force is on the ground and how tough they are in the air. About 15 to 20 percent of the all the officers on the base here are in the Navy and Marine Corps. However almost the whole base are officers here. There are about 3,000 officers on this base and literally like 300 enlisted people. If you were prior enlisted before becoming an officer you will feel like an E-1 here garanteed. But for those of you high school and OCS officers you won't really know the difference until you get back to the Navy. It's just the way it is here. There are soooo many students and these Air Force 2LT's are not like Navy Ensigns. Many of the Air Force guys in my class are either from the Air Force Academy, have a Masters Degree, went to Embry Riddle, or majored in something highly technical. Also many of the Air Force 2LT's that come here for pilot training have there private pilot's license and many of them have higher ratings.
I totally hear ya, I was a fresh new Ensign when I hit OK, so I didn't know better. BUT you have to keep in mind that Vance is solely a UPT base and therefore is officer heavy, especially because they have contract maintenance. I would guess Whiting has a similar ratio.

Plus there are a lot of speed traps along the way, I've already gotten 2 tickets and all but 1 person in my flight has gotten a speeding ticket.
That must be the largest source of income in the area. Some ahole gave me a ticket on Dec 23 as I was driving to the airport in Tulsa for Christmas leave.
 

Physicx

Banned
What really sucks is Vance is one of the hardest UPT bases in the AF. They all have the same flow but Vance always seems to be harder.
 

Terminatrix77

Registered User
Thanks for replying HH-60 guy! Before I say anything else, I forgot to mention a very important aspect and gouge to attending Vance. The actual flying itself!

The flying itself is pretty awesome! I've only flown in a T-34C once during a midshipman summer cruise, but flying a T-37B has got to be better than flying a turbomentor! I love the sound of those 2 jet engines as I'm doing 250 knots in the area. Most of the instructors here are very cool in the air, its just on the ground they are kinda like drill instructors (Air Force Style). You always have to come to attention whenever you talk to them, but in the air everything is pretty chill most of the time. The only thing I don't like is the whole FAIP business. FAIP stands for First Assignment Instructor Pilot. They are usually 2LT's and 1LT's, (O-1's and O-2's) who are IP's. They go straight from flight school to instructor training and then come back to the training wings as instructors. It's a 3 year tour as a FAIP. We have one in our flight. He's a good IP, but I just don't learn that much from him, and he's very straight edge. Another good thing about instructors here also, are the reservist IP's. They have the life!!! All they do is instruct pretty much whenever they feel like working. And they are sooooooooooooo layed back. We have one Reservist IP who is probably the most experienced IP on the entire base, he's been instructing here for like 15 years or something. And I learn so much from him. So you get 3 varieties of IP's here, the FAIPS, regular IP's, and Reservists. Plus I can't forget to mention the very few Navy and Marine Corps IP's that are here. I'm sure they are cool too.

But the flying here is cool. I've done a lot already and I'm getting ready to SOLO very soon. I don't know how Navy training is yet, but I've already done about 15 spins, easily over 75 landings, and a couple of loops and aileron rolls thrown in there. The Tweet is a great aircraft, but I'd say it's biggest draw back so far, is it's high rate of fuel consumption. We can only stay up about 1.3 or 1.4 before Bingo. This is also a reason why the Air Force is getting rid of them.
 

Terminatrix77

Registered User
Yeah HH-60H, I just miss the Navy a lot right now. We have the head Navy guy on the base, who is a Commander, Prowler Driver and he's very cool. He offers to all the Navy flight students a "NAVY TIME OUT" anytime your feeling down and just want to talk or relax in his office. I have wanted to take some Navy Time Outs already but I have literally had no time. I was stationed on a ship for 3 years when I was enlisted and we had to go to sea a lot. I'd rather be at sea than here! I really do miss going to sea though. Well I got 71 days left to go here, soon I will be at sea again!
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
When you get a chance, you mind laying out what the JSUPT sylabus is like? I've heard from people there that you solo before a checkride, or Instrument sim, but the first solo is only a pattern solo. I'm curious to know how else things are different.
 

Terminatrix77

Registered User
When you get a chance, you mind laying out what the JSUPT sylabus is like? I've heard from people there that you solo before a checkride, or Instrument sim, but the first solo is only a pattern solo. I'm curious to know how else things are different.

Yes you solo before a check ride and it is a pattern only sortie. Right after you solo you go right into aerobatics. The sims are thrown in there kinda randomly. I've already done 1 instrument sim, and others in my flight have done 2 and they haven't even solo'd yet. More on this to come, I have to get out the syllabus and I don't have the time right now. But so far I hope this helps. How about tellin me what Navy Primary syllabus is like??
 

zab1001

Well-Known Member
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Excellent thread. I vote we put this on the home page under Primary info. Keep posting updates and info for any other poor suckers in this situation. A few notes and questions:

Another good thing is how tightly knit you and your classmates become. Everyone in your flight goes through the same garbage together and you really, really have to depend on one another to make it through here.
More a comment than anything else. A lot of AF guys I flew with in T-44 Advanced had serious issues changing over to the Navy way of "your time, your choice" (study on your own or go get wasted). I got saddled with a disgruntled USAF 2LT who apart from never shutting up about how much he deserved an Eagle over a Herc, couldn't fathom that our "class" didn't want to spend 4 hours a night quizzing each other. Let's see, I can study on my own for 1.5 hours and go to the gym, or I can sit and BS for 2 hours and then actually study for 2 hours with 9 other guys.... time management.

A sadder story was one of my NROTC buds who made it through Vance only to attrite in helos due primarily to his inability to change mindsets. (Not directed at you specifically Terminatrix, more of a general disclaimer, be ready to shift gears).

The Air Force designed the 15 day program like this because you SOLO the aircraft after only 15 flights,
More of question for Navy Primary guys, but T-34 solo is still after 13 or so FAM (contact, whatever you call 'em now) flights right?

5. Then comes the dreaded STAND UP EP. This event usually takes about an hour.
Alright, so how do EPs work in the aircraft? I've HEARD they aren't practiced at all. Is this true?

So if you got all 100's on every test at API then you studied way too hard and wasted your time studying when all you needed was straight 80's! This is no joke.
Eh...given the current ebb and flow of "our mission is attrition" to "have a pulse? be a pilot!" I'd say busting your ass in API isn't a bad idea. Especially if it DOES come down to you and another guy with identical scores come selection time, or heaven forbid some kind of Performance Review Board. Set yourselves up for success.

The only thing I don't like is the whole FAIP business. FAIP stands for First Assignment Instructor Pilot. They are usually 2LT's and 1LT's, (O-1's and O-2's) who are IP's. They go straight from flight school to instructor training and then come back to the training wings as instructors. It's a 3 year tour as a FAIP. We have one in our flight. He's a good IP, but I just don't learn that much from him, and he's very straight edge.
Ok man, use caution in calling someone out in a public forum read by A LOT more IPs than you guys think. Keep in mind the Navy used to have a program similar to FAIP called SURGRAD or SERGRAD, I can't remember. Right now, there's no glut of freshly winged guys necessitating the program. While those guys don't have any real world operational experience, they can be a lot easier to talk to since they're closer in age and rank to most students. You're also dealing with a guy who may feel weird being one of the few IPs who has yet to do anything "real-deal". If he's there as a resource, use him. If he turns out to be a douche, find another mentor. But he just may be the guy who turns on the lightbulb in regards to some concept you're studying.

(I had 2 "FAIPS" in Advanced. One was a douche, one was a great guy who helped me wrap my pea brain around the dreaded no-heading NDB approach by tweaking one of our Instrument flights to maximize training time to focus on that evolution.)

In conlclusion, stay Navy! Don't volunteer to come here, unless you really, really, really want to fly the T-6 or you think you want to have a better shot at getting your first choice, but its no garantee. And if you are voluntold to come here, like I was, just suck it up and do your best.
Great advice. Straight from the horse's mouth.

On a side note, Enid girls are the some of the worst quality girls I have every met in the United States. A nice girl with a brain here is very far and few between here. Plus if you think, that's OK, Oklahoma City has hot chicks (or guys if your a girl) then you are WRONG!!
That's just good gouge. Keep it coming.
 

zippy

Freedom!
pilot
Contributor
Anyone feel free to add if I missed something, but heres the Primary MPTS sylabus.

Ground School- 2 weeks (Systems and Weather)

Cockpit Procedures Trainers (CPTs)- 5 (Don't count towards NSS)

Contacts- 14 flights (first 4 don't count towards NSS). 13th is a Safe for Solo Checkride. the 14th is your solo.

Basic Instruments (BIs)- 7 Sims (divided into 2 blocks) 3 Flights
(I think the requirement is that you have to have the first block of BI sims completed before you can solo. Some students just get those done before the checkride and finish the rest before RIs, while others get all the sims and the flights done before finishing contacts- This varies depending squadron etc)

Percision Aerobatics- 4 safe for solo (SFS) flights, 3 solos

Formations- 4 flights, 1 SFS and 1 form solo (Unless you do a form cross country... then you get a "shotgun" solo where an IP rides in the back)

Cruise Forms- 3 flights

Radio Instrument Ground School (2 weeks)

RIs- 19 sims 10 flights (Last 1 is your instrument checkride.)

Visual Navigation- 4 flights

(Its my understanding that some the the RI flights and VNavs are knocked out during your cross country- which can be as long as 3 legs each way= 6 flights total.)

Night Contacts- 2 flights (thrown in at varying points in the program)
 

gregsivers

damn homeowners' associations
pilot
Yeah, thats the syllabus. And you're right about the RI and VNav flights on your cross country. I had a blast on mine, great way to pick up several flights and get some real world experience outside the bubble of your local working area.
 

CUNavy1

Registered User
pilot
I hear ya Terminatrix. Im in 06-12 now flying the T-6 and the whole AF program blows. I desperatly miss the Navy and can't wait to get back. Flying the T-6 is fun though, but we have way more sims and tests than the 37 guys and we finish at the same time. So all of you in API, I would suggest stay navy as well. Flight school is tough no matter where you go, but it seems here at Vance the difficulty is enhanced.
 

CUNavy1

Registered User
pilot
Hey greg! I was on the USS Tortuga MIDN cruise with you. I will probably see you in Whiting soon when Im done with the Vance stuff. Im done 17 JAN.
 
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