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Winged, Takeaways


Well-Known Member
Hello all,

Thought I'd make a post to help anybody in or getting into I Jet/A Jet. It's a combination of things I noticed and advice I was given by a variety of individuals.

This isn't Primary. You'll be challenged much more in every phase of flight and the standards are higher. Prepare accordingly and stick with the program. You made it this far, give every event your best effort and don't sweat the grades as long as you're progressing. On your rough days remember that Pass/Complete means P for Pilot!

Get practice sims. Every experience you gain from practice sims will help you. I didn't take advantage of too many practice sims in Primary outside of Contacts and some advice I was given early on was to get practice sims for the T-45. It helps tremendously. 45 minutes a day will have compound effects. Friday nights if you're feeling motivated you can probably find some freebies that fellow students signed up for and then forgot about after Beer O'Clock. Highly recommend for Instruments, Fams, Forms/Night Forms, Strike, and CQ. When I was unscheduled or canceled I'd go jump in a practice sim to try to retain personal currency.

Call the SDO after the flight schedule comes out and ask for open trunks after you finish your EP sims or however it works these days. All of this is brand new to you so getting as much exposure before you're at the controls is great. You can sit back in the rear cockpit and get to see the flow of these flights in a relatively low stress environment. You have a great opportunity to observe and learn from an event you aren't being graded for, ask for techniques real time from the lead IP you're trunking, and you get to see techniques for how they fly. It gets your G tolerance up as well. This is useful for Forms, but it really pays dividends in TacForm, Strike, SLL, and BFM. Plus with BFM you can maintain ACM currency with any dynamic flights in the trunk.

Lastly, ask the PRs to help you out if your Primary gear doesn't feel right. They're there to help you be as comfortable as possible in that stuff so ask for the guidance. Ask for CEPs for your helmet too so you can actually hear on the radios it makes a world of difference.

I Jet

I Jet is an equivalent of Primary for the T-45. It teaches you how to basically fly the jet.

I Jet is mostly instrument training in my mind. The bag sucks, but it makes you an capable instrument pilot. Partial panel sucks and it's mind melting but it adds pressure to make you better so go practice it in those sims! Haze yourself in an IFT with the cockpit closed or bad weather OFT so when you're actually flying an event you're more capable of handling those scenarios. Blank screens, frozen ADIs, Gen Fails, the works. Grab a friend to throw the book at you and you can switch out and learn from them too.

Put in for Cross Countries! They are great experiences that help you deal with flight out of the local area and you get to travel somewhere else. You'll get to see the real flow of an instrument flight dealing with concern about fuel planning in flight, getting handed off to various ATC and planning descents, navigating via navaids and manually plugged in waypoints, doing a variety of approaches, the whole nine yards. Plus when you get to your destination you have somewhere to explore.

For Fams, practice the landing pattern as much as you can and keep that orange doughnut happy. Practice PAs too. Once you get good at them they're pretty fun and I did a few on my later solos. Don't worry about the ball flying too much in the beginning as long as you don't lead lows or blow it off the top constantly. Just try to stabilize it above the datums and fly that glideslope with your left hand after you trim on speed.

For Forms, practice Tacan Rendezvous because thinking about the geometry will help you a lot. It's a new concept coming from Primary so it's important to nail this early. You'll use those Tacan Rendezvous to actually join up on bad weather days in later Form flights and A Jet so it's worth getting good at them. Same thing with B&Rs. Go practice them as much as you can you'll do them at least twice a flight in later stages so it helps to be good at controlling your closure using geometry and airspeed as needed.

NFams is relaxed, it's just an exposure to night flying and night pattern ops.

FCLPs is fun and you get to learn some basics of CQ admin and get better at ball flying. After your flights you get to hang out in the War Room with buddies and beers.

By the end if I Jet you should have memorized all of your normal checklists so you never have to reference your checklist. This will free up your brainspace for stick and rudder skills.

A Jet

For strike selects, this is your exposure to the stuff you signed up for. It's a blast!

Admin and TacAdmin. Admin is as important as everything you're learning in the jet. This is everything from Normal checklists, Comms, LAT checks, Fence Checks, Master Arm settings etc. I was told all the time that most flight failures stem from Admin and from what I observed that was true. Nail your admin before worrying about the rest!

ONavs were some of the most fun experiences I've ever had. I got lucky enough to do them out West in the mountains for a Strike det. Chart interpretation and chair flying is so important to managing being down low and fast. The more you can memorize your route headings and visualize the terrain you'll see, the better off you'll be. There's a good part of ForeFlight that will show you the terrain I forget exactly where it is but do some digging I found it was helpful. Google Earth is useful too. This goes for Section LL as well for my fellow Meridian students, I heard Kingsville axed those flights.

Strike is challenging and fun. The best way to prepare is to get in the sims with a buddy and practice the pattern and comms. Once you have an understanding of what you're doing get with your fellow strike students and do some walkflying around a pretend pattern. Getting used to the comm flow and hearing their voices will help when you're in flight zipping around and you hear an "Off,Safe" call behind you to remind you of what you have to say. It's not just you out there, it's a team effort. Bullseyes will come so don't worry too much unless you're slinging blue death two counties away.

Advanced AirNavs is nothing new. Just don't blow it off and maybe jump in a sim or two if it's been months since your IR Check. Your solos should be fun!

TacForm is all about geometry and airspeed control under light G. The VR sims are moderately helpful. If you can understand the timing of turns and get used to flying by feel while looking for lead you'll get it.

Section Lows is TacForm down low and fast. I thought they were fun.

Navy doesn't do Road Recce anymore so I don't have any recommendations for that. A Marine's input would help.

BFM is a beast. Personally this was a challenging block and I found it very rewarding when things started to click. The importance of TacAdmin between sets so you can set up the next set is important so get in position ASAP. Offensive and Defensive are very mechanical. You'll go up and do the exact same thing every time and learn sets and reps. HA is more of an art after the set up and no artist started off good in the beginning so don't worry too much if you're blind more than visual after the pass just fess up. If you can chairfly with a friend playing lead and vice versa and really internalize your actions it will help. SEM was just two flights for Navy and by the second flight I was wishing we had more because it was so much fun to go up against Viper with my buddy. Easily one of my favorite flights. As long as you show up knowing the canned setups and Comms like boldface you'll be fine and that goes for BFM as well.

CQ is a great time. This is what sets Naval Aviation apart from everything else. Listen to Paddles and learn from every pass ;)

Last note, something I didn't really think about in I Jet/A Jet was observing other people's sims. I've started doing it at the RAG and I think it would have been helpful to have done that in jet training in hindsight. Give it a thought. It's free exposure to an event you'll be doing and you get to learn from other people.

I really got bit by the flying bug in I Jet and especially in A Jet. I've seen some incredible sights and flown a jet in ways I could only dream about when I started this journey almost 4 years ago. Along the way I met some amazing people who had a great impact on my life and made some life long friends I hope to meet again someday, even though we went our separate ways. I hope you do too! Any questions feel free to DM me.