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Naval Introductory Flight Training (NIFE) Phase 2 AAR: Academics


Well-Known Member
Disclaimer: This is solely my personal opinion and experience of NIFE phase 2.

Naval Introductory Flight Training (NIFE) replaces API. There may be a better way to organize new NIFE threads but for now I just want to get it started. Keep in mind experiences and requirements may differ between Navy and Marine studs for some of the phases, particularly the first phase which is the "wait." Anyway, NIFE is separated into four phases. I wanted to post about phase 2 for now, which is 4 weeks of academics on aero, engines, air navigation, federal rules and regs, and weather. For context's sake I am a single prior enlisted Marine stud coming up on 30 y/o, with math complete through the 300 level and a B.A. in Philosophy.

During my wait I knew that NIFE was coming around so I admittedly didn't do too much of MOCU API. For those who don't know Marine studs have what is essentially an online flight school that must be completed during our wait (phase 1 for Navy studs) to class up for NIFE academics. There used to be one for IFS and API, the NIFE one should be coming along and there is a primary one as well. This "school" amounted to answering each of the ELO's from the academics books using a digital note on a PDF, then submitting completed PDF's for each class of academics. It's a lot, but many ELO's have been cut from the books to account for the shorter time so it should be much less daunting now, and definitely worth it to get ahead given the blistering pace. I'll explain...

The official NIFE pub says you have 4 weeks but I'm pretty sure you only have 3 weeks to complete the 5 required classes and tests. This means you will be taking a class while studying a different classes material for an upcoming test. You may have only 3 or 4 days between starting a class and taking the test. Due to this I recommend coming into flight school with the following mindset: You're not necessarily here to be taught, you're here to be evaluated. Your future and success are in your own hands. The Navy will teach you what you need to know but that will be the minimum. Having this mindset should inspire you to do the requisite preparation you need to be successful. I learned this the hard way in swim (I was held back within 10 minutes of getting in the water) and having to learn the entire weather book in less than 72 hours.

This has been said plenty of times before but I'll repeat it here: Study in groups. I'm pretty sure we had at least one dude who studied alone and passed everything. On the other hand we had a handful of dudes who studied alone, did well on engines, passed aero, but then failed nav and FR&R. I wouldn't risk it, and as a non-engineer (both by education and intuition) I learned a lot from the younger STEM studs. Our group met about 4 days a week at my bayside condo community room. We typically went through the book page by page, the study questions in the back, ELOs, then would use quizlets to quiz each other.

I got a 90-94 on each test except for air nav, which I failed once with a 78. You need to have an 80 to pass. The tests are designed with tricky questions to test the extent of your knowledge and intuitive understanding of the concepts. They make no bones about it being a tool to attrite those not ready to cope with the rest of the pipeline and being a naval aviator. If you fail you do a quick review and then retest the next day. This is bad as the additional stress and reduced study time and focus for the next test will set you back. If you fail twice in a row I believe you go to a board in alphas (or Navy equivalent) and they decide your fate. Most people who went to the board were able to come back and did fine. I know one Marine stud who was attrited but he was on his third or fourth failure. The program is new and there are definitely growing pains in terms of the book content, test questions and test time changes for air nav, so there has been some forgiveness. But, to stress one of my previous points again with an example, I didn't even know where the numbers were on the tactical pilotage chart for air nav during our first class on plotting and the instructor said that at that point we should have been perfecting the techniques. Ouch.

Eventually there will be no "validators" but for now they are allowing people with the requisite experience to "validate" in order to not overload the new phase 3 (flying) portion of NIFE. Due to that, validators have flight suit Friday after passing the weather exam. Non-validators will begin "flight-prep" the following Monday, and will have flight suit Friday that week after passing a quiz which is simply all memory-item EP's and limits for the Cessna 172. Failing that would be pretty embarrassing as I think they didn't let them put their flight suits on that day.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
So they took API, changed the schedule, crammed it into 4 weeks, and changed the name?

Otherwise sounds like the same old shit.
NIFE phases 1-4 cover check-in, the wait, swim/PRT, academics, 7 flights in the cessna with associated prep, and physio week. So, pretty much, except "new" IFS is thrown in as well and a lot of the admin etc. is streamlined.


Well-Known Member
I hope someone got a really solid fitrep out of that.
I don’t think I can edit the post now but I should’ve said that NIFE replaces both IFS and API. NIFE phase 3 (flying) is modeled based on expectations at primary which does seem to be a pretty big change. I’ll make a separate post on NIFE phase 3.


Pope of Chili Town
Making IFS more like primary is probably a good thing. My IFS experience was frankly pretty silly and not sure it did anything to improve my performance in primary. The standards and practices were so different you might as well have been hoping that going to the batting cages will improve your golf game. Sure, they're both sports and both involve hand eye coordination but that's about where the similarity ends.


Well-Known Member
So, they're really only evaluating the CFIs they're paying to instruct you is what I'm hearing. With the added bonus of you being on the hook for whatever the mixed bag of less-than-contractors let's you get away with or cares about.

Yeah, totally worth a glowing fitrep.


Well-Known Member
Just a heads up to anyone that's looking here for gouge: as of right now they're not allowing retests the following day for failures. You roll into a subsequent class, pending availability, and get a pink sheet then and there. All the more reason to really push through it. At least it's over in 3 weeks.


Per Diem Mafia
So if you have no pink sheets and fail a test, it’s not a simple “pink sheet and redo”?
That sucks. Must really be trying to filter people out. Especially with getting rid of blue and yellow sheets in primary and advanced.