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NSS Facts


Back at last
The fact of the matter is, not all of us are rock stars and know we will have a 70 NSS, some of us are average, but we still want jets, and for that reason it is harrowing to think you are sitting on the edge or below it, or wherever and not know...
So its a peace of mind issue? If you are doing the best that you can, knowing that you're below, at, or beyond jet scores doesn't do much for you. Bust your ass and the rest will work itself out.


Living the dream
What was that quote from The Rock, Sean Connery saying something about your best and a prom queen? ;)


FLIP Maker
Super Moderator

I am not a flight instructor, but I can tell you that you're NSS is 40. They may tell you a different score at some point through your training, but they're wrong. It's just 40. Is that good enough? Do you want at least 50? Well I guess you better keep working hard then! Give it your best and let the chips fall. If you're wanting jets: worry! And take that worry and turn it into studying and performing! Guess what... sometime in your career you may be coming back to the ship with an emergency... it doesn't matter how good of a pilot you have been up until that point. You still have to perform when the going gets tough. Have you prepared for that occasion?

Think of your upcoming graded events. Who cares what you've done in the past. Just focus and perform. You can stop to worry when you get your wings. And then you can start the whole process over again throughout your career.


Well-Known Member
Site Admin
Now, IMHO, knowing where you stack up will help dictate whether or not you need to change your study habits.
I say this all the time, and THIS is where grades matter (in the short term) in my opinion. However, if your Onwing is doing his job, he should be giving you this feed back early and often, long before there are enough grades in the system to actually figure out a NSS.

I was going to split this thread earlier, but it continues to yield some good stuff.


Living the dream
So what does that mean exactly? What kind of feedback should students be looking for, or have looked for? I guess I'm just confused by what that feedback should be. Specific to selection, or just run of the mill debrief items?


Well-Known Member
Site Admin
"You're on track w/ your brief. Keep doing what you're doing."

"Your brief sucked. Procedures/EPs need to be faster."

"Good procedures, but your knowledge is lacking."

For flight:

"You keep making the same wrong calls in the break/pattern/departure/etc..."

"Good procedures on the ground, but in the air, you become a retarded monkey. Study w/ distractions (juggle, bounce the ball, etc)."

Obviously technique should follow these and most are negative, but you get the idea. If you're hitting MIF early and often on a particular manuever, keep it up, but don't expect a big hug and special cake because you did it right. Much (but certainly not all) of a debrief is going to be things you need to continue to work on.

Malice 1

Why I want to know if I have a 79 or a 39:

I'm putting jets first. If I have a 79, I'm probably gonna get jets. If I get jets, I'm definatley gonna be moving once I complete primary. By knowing that I'm most likely gonna be moving in 6 weeks, I'm gonna start packing some of my non-essential junk on sunday afternoons so that I'm not loaded with moving chores when the time comes.

I'm putting helo's last. If I know I have a 39, I'm probably gonna get helo's, and stay right here at whiting. Instead of packing my stuff on sundays, I can watch TV. Instead of waiting till I move to buy a nice new couch, I can do it now, considering I'll be living here for another 8 months.

That being said, It's 4:25 on friday. My squadron is switching to TIMS on monday, and the mid point projected NSS is not available with TIMS. I had a chance to find out my projected score, and I forgot to do it. I'm such a retard.

oh well. My onwing told me on my first flight not to worry about that crap. I guess I won't.


Living the dream
I'm sure that I will look back on my NSS in many years and wonder why I worried so much about it and bitched about not being able to know how I was doing...for now Im just a young SNA who doesnt know better


Active Member
Shouldn't you, as the student, be given something, anything to know how you are doing before the very end (other than your ATS at the end of a flight). People can say, "work as hard as you can and you will get what you get" till the cows come home, but imagine going through all of high school not knowing if you had the grades to get into Harvard or the grades to go to a crappy college. Then imagine going all through college not know if you were strong enough to get a top job in the sector of your choice, or go to the grad school of your choice
I guess I wasn't quite clear enough in the original post. You want to know how well you are doing? NSS does not and can not tell you that. NSS just tells you what your ranking is in a class when you are done.

Why can't you know what your rank is at any given time? You used going through high school or college as an example. I wonder if you knew exactly what your class rank was during any given time while you were in high school or college. There are some high schools that can provide that at the end of each semester, maybe. College...not likely. What you did get every day while going through school was a grade for tests and assignments and a final grade for the course. Getting an A on a test doesn't tell you what your rank is or is going to be in your graduating class. Getting an A in a course doesn't tell you what your rank is or is going to be in your graduating class. It does tell you that you are passing.

So, what happens in flight school? You get daily grades on your exams and tests. Getting a 100% or 20 above MIF doesn't tell you what your rank is or is going to be in your selection class. It does tell you that you are passing. In fact, passing your flights tells you you are passing.

At the end of each Phase (API, Primary, Advanced, FRS) you will find out what your rank (NSS) is. Just like when you finally graduated from high school or college.

Maybe as a college freshman, you finished your first semester with a 3.9 GPA at a school where the average graduate finishes with a 3.0. So you figure you're near the top of your class, right? Not so fast. Your first semester was filled with classes like algebra. Just about everyone gets high grades there. What about when you're in your senior year with applied astrophysics? Will you still be getting that 3.9?

OK, maybe you just look at all the students who finished the semester at the same time. The average GPA was 3.8, so you're above average and on your way to "jets". Wait. Turns out all those students are on a 3 year program and you're on the 5 year program. You won't be ranked against them when you graduate. 4 1/2 years later, you look back to compare where you stood back then against those you finally ended up graduating with and it turns out the average was 4.0. So you were really below average. In fact, everyone but you had a 4.0, so you were at the bottom of your class and would have had a 20 NSS... if it could have been calculated.

Starting to get an idea why it is impossible to tell you what your NSS is after solo or starting forms or pretty much anytime before you select? Any number anyone gives you for an NSS before you are done has as much chance of actually being your NSS as winning a couple Lottos in a row.

This also should start to answer your second question as to why the ratio for a 50 NSS changes. When you were in high school, did you know what your class average GPA would be when you graduate? It probably ended up being pretty close to the classes that graduated a few years before you, but maybe very different from those that graduated decades before you.

It is the same in flight school. The average score of those selecting changes. It may go up. It may go down. Therefore, the average ratio that is equivalent to a 50 NSS changes.

Plus, and I'll dip my toe into some stats here, just as the average can change, the standard deviation of scores for a class change as well. +/-1.5 standard deviations from the average is a 65 and 35 NSS. That means that the scores for 65 NSS and 35 NSS could change even if the average score remained the same.

One last time...NSS is not a measure of performance. It is only a ranking within a specified group of people. The measure of your performance is the individual maneuver grades you get from the IPs.

How do you know if you are not passing? Maybe more appropriately, how do you know if you are on the road to attrition? Your IPs will let you know. If an IP in your chain (onwing, flight leader, student control, ops, XO, CO) hasn't cornered you and said, "get your ass in gear," you are passing. But basically, if you have more than a couple UNSATS, especially if they are consecutive, you should be concerned and better have your ass in gear.

So, the guy in the class ahead of you had a ratio of 1.2, was the top of his class and got jets. You've only got 4 flights left and have a ratio of 1.5. You tell your landlord you're moving, break up with your Pensacola debutante girlfriend, and start packing boxes. But then on selection day you find out there's only one jet seat your selection week and its going to a retread NFO (transvestfo) who has a 2.9 ratio. All the other seats are helo. Now you are homeless, have a psycho chick out to kill you, and can't find the box you put all your porn in. Did you make a good plan? Could anyone tell you it was going to happen? Did your NSS make any difference?


Hanging out in K-Vegas.
You're all making a huge deal over NSS...If I actually get accepted in and make it to API/Primary/Intermediate/Advanced...I'll thank god or whatever supreme power that the chips fell my way, and do my best because I'm one in hundreds who actually made it. And if my best isn't good enough to get me jets, then so be it. If you do your best, what do you have to lose?


Registered User
What do you have to lose...Jets of course!

Gatordev, you hit it right on the head with what IP's should be debriefing. They should be debriefing you on your weak areas from brief to debrief. Its been a while since I was in the pipeline, but more often than not, the IP would be gone before you returned your gear to the PR shop. Sometimes the IP might be double pumped that day and has to head to his next brief. Other times, they would just give you a slap on the butt and say nice flight see ya tomorrow. The gradesheet would not be completed until a week or later and by then, the IP lost all recollection of the flight and decided to throw in his standard blurb.
Now on the other hand, this is your life and your dream. If you aren't asking questions at the end of your flight, then you aren't putting forth a 100%. If the IP says "nice flight, any questions" and you failed to ask your IP why he wanted you to work on your ELP 6 times that day; your loss. You should understand what your weak points are and how to fix them. A debrief in the plane during the manuever or after is not as effective as a debrief out of the plane.
Just my 2 cents.


A debrief in the plane during the manuever or after is not as effective as a debrief out of the plane.
Curious why you say this. I have found that some of the best debrief/instruction I have gotten was in the plane...especially about the details...eg. riding the ragged edge between recovery and stall to minimize altitude loss, the importance of nailing airspeeds in the pattern, especially after the 180 (105 does not equal 100) etc...

I agree with you if the procedure or course rules are just dicked up, but the details I think, 4 into 5 stuff, was better taught in the aircraft.


Internet killed the television star
Well, TIMS should be up soon for everyone, but if you really need to have a score/grade/whatever, just log into TIMS and look at your overall average. It'll be on one of the boxes in the review gradesheet portion, and you'll have some number that is greater than one (1.08, 1.20, etc, etc). You can look at them over all of your blocks (contacts/forms/....) and you'll see how you're doing.

Is it an NSS? No, but it will tell you something. My advice, look at that ratio, and work your ass off to make it as high as possible. The ratio to NSS changes monthly, so don't worry about your NSS, just work to raise the ratio.