Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday again!

Well, it was only a 4-day week but it was certainly long enough, Uncle, Uncle! Glad that's over with, one more week closer now to graduation and wings! Had my 4006 ride today which finishes up the block, and I was pretty happy with it! I went from 4 bad radio calls yesterday (which at 25c each cost my $1 this morning) to being the only one NOT to get one this evening during second go flying! Got a lot more work at Gunshy (our auxiliary field) as well today, and I need all the pattern work I can get right now. All in all a great flight, though, I actually didn't feel like I was trying to catch up the whole, which is awesome!

I also got a good little work out in this afternoon as well. Before I left I asked about getting a permanent locker there instead of having to bring all my stuff back and forth every day, and they were very helpful about putting me on a waiting list. However, the list is 3 pages long; so basically by the time I make captain in 4 years I MIGHT have a locker...What they don't know is I've been using a 'permanent' locker every day I've been there for the past few weeks, and no one else seems to be using it. So, maybe I'll accidentaly leave my stuff in there, lock it, and the locker may just happen to become mine. We'll see...

No plans for this evening right now, just going to stick around here and chill out then get some sleep. Tomorrow night a bunch of guys are going to a race at one of the dirt tracks here in Columbus [yay Redneckville! :)] but I'm not sure if I'm going to go with them or not at this point.

One our fellow students started the dropping-out process this past wednesday, but he's back with us now. I'm hoping he'll be staying for the long haul, but he's got to make the decision himself as to whether or not this is what he wants to do with his life. It's certainly not for everybody.

I'm actually starting to relax a bit more into the program here now. I feel like now that we're a couple of weeks in I have a better feel for what to expect. I realize that it's a training environment, so a lot of things are there just to add a little stress on our lives, but I see it all as a big training 'game' like BCT or so many of the other things I went through at the Academy, and surprisingly not much has bothered me here. I'm pretty confident I'm going to make it through (Lord willing) and at this point I just need to put in the time and effort and stay focused.

And on to the weekend. I'm going to get some dinner.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Grad shout-out to Kenny

Almost forgot, this is Kenny's graduation Friday! I'll literally be in the air tomorrow during his graduation if my flight goes as currently scheduled, so I probably won't even get to call him until way later. Kenny has also kept the Quinlan Kids tradition of graduating Valedictorian with a 4.0!! Not bad for the 6-foot 'runt' of the litter, huh?

Ken, I'm proud of you, little bro', and looking forward to watching you attack the next big step in life: Bible college! Can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for you both in the near future and down the road. I know He has great things ahead, just hold the course and like Dad told me before I left for the Academy: "roll with the punches" that life's going to throw at you. And get excited, college is a great experience and you're going to get to do and see so many new things and places. Even more importantly, you're going to meet some great people and make some friendships that will last you the rest of your life. Have a great graduation and eat some extra cake for me!

Fly Day!

Yes, and the weather cleared today!! I got to fly for the first time since last Thursday today, and I was glad to finally get up again! I was definately really rusty after so long of a break between flights, but I caught up pretty quickly and I got a lot accomplished and made some good progress today as well. I flew with a guest IP today and I liked his teaching style, I'll remember not to mess up the things I messed up today because he actually let me mess them up, and then corrected me afterwards when I usually failed to see my errors. That way I really will remember what NOT to do, and it emphasizes to me what to do correctly. Tomorrow is my 6th and last flight in the block so everything needs to be up to minimum passing standard. I brought up all 4 things today that previously were not up to par, but I dropped one other category in the process. So tomorrow I just need to get everything right on and caught up. I actually enjoyed the flight today even though it was a little rough on the edges so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's sortie. I'll be coming back again a little bit before sunset so it should be a good view if nothing else.

No plans yet for the weekend or tomorrow night. I'd like to see the new Narnia if I can find someone to go with me. Otherwise we have a big test on monday over instrument flying that I've got to put some really good study time into. Also, I must have messed up like 10 radio calls today and I REALLY have to work on those. And I'm sure somewhere in there I'll have to make some time to relax a bit too. DQ signing out...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weather Day 2

I almost titled this post 'long day', but then I realized that every day for the next LONG TIME is going to be this long or longer. That being said, today was still a long day. I did not get to fly again due to the weather, but I did accomplish an emergency procedures (EP) sim ride, and actually did fairly well on that. Tomorrow we have a big test on local area procedures consisting of 50 multiple choice questions, so I'm going to be putting in a lot of study in the morning for that one. It's 9 right now and I just got home, so I'm planning on going to be before 10 since I'm too tired to learn anything else anyways, and then I'll be up at 6 to get about 3 hours of study in before our first class of the day which will be a 3 hour review session.

And for such a long day I'm running out of things to write about really quickly. Every day is more of the same, it's all spent studying and learning new material and attempting to solidify older material. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting a flight in tomorrow as it will have been a week since my last one. We'll see if I get on the schedule. Time to scrounge up some dinner. Here's something Grandma sent me that I just have to share, it really touched my heart when I read it earlier and I've printed it out and put it on the wall by my calendar next to my door:

Just maybe... we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Just maybe... when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, often times, we look so long at the closed door that we do not even see the new one which has been opened for us.

Just maybe... it is true that we do not know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we do not know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Just maybe... the happiest of people do not necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Just maybe... the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you cannot go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

Just maybe... you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.

Just maybe... there are moments in life when you miss someone -- a parent, a spouse, a friend, a child -- so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more.

Just maybe... the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you have ever had.

Just maybe... you should always try to put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that something could hurt you, it probably will hurt the other person, too.

Just maybe... you should do something nice for someone every single day, even if it is simply to leave them alone.

Just maybe... giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Do not expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but, if it does not, be content that it grew in yours.

Just maybe... happiness waits for all those who cry, all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have touched their lives.

Just maybe... you should not go for looks; they can deceive; do not go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Just maybe... you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy.

Just maybe... you should try to live your life to the fullest because when you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling but when you die, you can be the one who is smiling and everyone around you crying.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weather Day

We had thunder storms coming through all day today, so nobody got to fly due to the weather cancelations. It was a great day for getting a lot of other things done, and I listened in to a lot of briefs as well as got drilled on a lot of general knowledge questions that we'll need to know in the future for check rides.

That crockpot taco recipe Mom sent me worked out great today. I was able to get it all together this morning and then set it on low as I walked out the door. Then when I came back today it was waiting for me and smelling delicious! It's like having a wife who has dinner ready for you but without the added credit card bills! Heheh, with comments like that I'll never get married!

Got a good workout in today after work since we got out a little early. I did my weight routine first and then got on the elliptical machine for what I planned on being a quick 10minute run. Of course, then a cute girl got on the elliptical next to me and it turned into a good 30 minute run on there! After all, I just couldn't let a girl beat me!! I know...guys...we can't help it! Of course, I burned a good 300+ calories! So that meant an extra big meal tonight to compensate of course....yes...guys...

And it's off to bed for this kid. I just got off the phone with Cin and enjoyed a nice chat with her, otherwise would have posted this an hour ago but forgot about it while chatting.

Chaos Blurb

Well, I've got the meal ready to go in the crockpot so I just have to turn it on as I walk out the door, I've made sandwiches for lunch and pre-dinner, and I still have about 10 minutes until I need to leave. So, I thought I'd put in a quick update on my new game with Chaos.

Get this, I think he's missing the dog who became quite the playmate because he keeps meowing and begging me to entertain him. So, I now chase the cat around the house until he dives under the bed in my room, then I'll turn around and run the other way into the rest of the house, and Chaos will chase me at full speed! How many of you have ever been chased by a 12 pound cat? I'm not making this up! Then I'll turn around suddenly so that he slides into me on the hardwood floor trying to stop, and I'll chase him the other way. Of course, he tends to run in place for the first couple of seconds as he's trying to get his momentum so I have to give him a head start, but it's hilarious! Who put the soul of a dog into my cat??

Monday, May 26, 2008

End of Memorial Day Weekend

And the long weekend went by way too fast! Ryan's parents did make it in on Friday and left early Sunday morning. They set up an inflatable bed in the office, which was really to have. They were really appreciative of me allowing them to stay here, as I guess there have been problems with that in the past with other room mates, but of course I just figured I'd want the same if my mom and dad were coming in!

I spent much of the weekend resting, relaxing, watching movies, and getting laundry and shopping and such done. Friday night I got an invite to watch the new Indiana Jones with Mike, Keith and Obi, and it was pretty good! Definitely unbelievable in many parts, but funny and a good action movie--go Harrison Ford! Earlier that evening Ryan's parents also took us out to the Santa Fe steakhouse in town, and that was some good eatin'. Then Saturday morning I went on visitation and then Eric and I went out for coffee afterwards. We had a really good chat and he shared a vision that the Lord's laid on his heart to try to focus more outreach to the military on base for our church. I've actually been praying about much the same thing personally, so of course I was interested in helping when he asked! So, we are going to see where the Lord leads in that area, and where He'll open some doors. We'd like to do some sort of activity with food (a great attraction for mostly-single guys) and have a salvation message/devotion along with it. This way we can try to not only reach the lost but also get the church out to people who may not know it's here.

I also got a lot of the leg work done this weekend for the Florida concealed carry I'm working on getting. It looks like once I have both a VA and FL carry license, I'll be licensed in almost every state in the US. Just need to get one form notarized this week and I'll be able to get that application packet sent in. Figured I'd better get this done before some anti-gun hippies take too much power and begin trying to cut back our rights.

On Sunday we had some good services, and I even got a workout in during the afternoon. After the evening service I stopped by our class leaders' place where a bunch of our class was having a BBQ and hung out there until around 9 or so before getting back in last night. Good times, we have some good people in our class and it's always nice to get a chance to hang out.

Today has been mostly spent studying and preparing to start back up tomorrow. The change in times is pretty drastic as now we have the late week schedule. Our first event is at 1015 instead of 0430, and my flight's take off will be around 1700 tomorrow instead of my usual 0600. Crazy! I think I will do much better with those hours, though, as I usually don't really wake up mentally until around 0900 or so anyways. I much prefer this late week to that super early week!

Mom sent me a crockpot recipe that I'm going to try for tomorrow as well. It'll cook all day while we're gone and then be pretty much ready to eat by the time we get back. Should make enough to freeze some and still have plenty left over for a few extra meals. That's my kind of cooking!

Well, it's back to the books for me. I'm really trying to get these departures, arrivals, and patterns down tight!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday safety day

And we're out for the weekend until Tuesday! Woohoo, what a good long break! But must study as well...Ryan's parents are getting in sometime this evening and they'll be with us through Saturday and leave sometime Sunday morning. I think they're shacking up in the living room or something on an inflatable mattress. Then they'll be taking poor Oreo away from us. It's probably for the best, though, we just can't give her the attention she needs and she's still leaving a present by the door almost every day since we've been gone 12 hours at a time.

This morning we gave our peace offering to the flight IPs which consists of just a ton of higher quality beer and liquor. I guess it's a tradition that the classes usually do at the beginning. It is very clear that it's not 'mandatory', but it's one of those things that we need to do for the sake of not looking like jerks. And, anything that makes our IPs happier to work with us seems like a decent idea to me! So, I'm a conscientious objector, but we seemed to definately impress them today, so that bodes well.

We had a briefing from the squadron commander this morning at 0830 followed by a safety briefing at the base theatre at 1030. It was actually one of the best I've seen! Usually it's a 'crusty old dude' up front with a powerpoint presentation and some videos telling you to be safe, don't drink, etc. But, they had comedian Bernie McGrenahan who made Happy Hour Comedy ( giving his presentation of about 30 minutes of comedy followed by a more serious discussion on alcohol and especially alcohol abuse and the problems that come from that. Was a very good presentation, very funny and with a very serious message from his own life that I think most people would take more seriously than the 'crusty old dude's' message. Bernie does a LOT of shows for the military as well as school's across the country, and it's a message that needs to be heard. Alcohol has such a bad influence on so many people, and very rarely does anything good come out of heavy drinking. While there are those who can control themselves and have the discipline to keep it 'under control', there are so many more who can't, and that has caused so much hurt across this nation from abuse, to murders, assaults, and killers behind the wheel. It's running rampant in the US, especially with the youth, and people need to start standing up and being the 'different' ones to deny the draw of the poison that has destroyed so many lives. To those of you who do drink, I'm not condemning your actions, it's your right to do so, but just remember that others are watching you and while you may be able to control yourself, maybe they can't. Anyways, didn't mean to get on that topic, but it was a good briefing.

Let the studying begin. Going to get some in today focusing on the patterns here and our auxiliary field, and then relax tonight and tomorrow morning followed by more study in the afternoon. Have a great 3-day weekend all, and be safe!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

4th ride complete

4 flights in 4 days, what a week! While yesterday's flight was rather on the rough and dissapointing side, however, today's was awesome! The weather was beautiful with a pretty solid layer of clouds between 5 and 7 thousand feet. So, when we climbed up to 7k and broke through them, it was beautiful! The sun was shining in a blue sky with a layer of the softest, puffiest clouds you've ever seen, downright breathtaking! My takeoff today was so much smoother, as were most of my landings, though my patterns need some work still. We also acted as the chase ship for another plane in our flight that had a gear malfunction indication. So, we traveled in formation with them and got right under them to check the gear out for any visual indications that something might be wrong. Then, to top it all off my area work was vastly better than before. The slow flight especially and most of my stalls felt really natural today. Then we did some 'cloud chasing' on the way back, which was a blast. Really today's flight was exactly what I needed because I was feeling kind of down about yesterday's sortie. Then, I even made some time for a quick workout at the gym while the second go was in the air this morning.

Also, tomorrow morning's showtime is going to be something way more gentlemanly, like around 830 or so; and it's only a half day. Then, we have monday off as well! So, I'm going to get some much needed rest this weekend, but also some much needed extra study. I'm learning so much right now, but there's still SO much left to learn. I need to really dedicate some time to chair flying this weekend so my brain will just get some of the step-by-step processes down pat so I can then focus on the other aspects of flying.

I wish we could get out of here on the weekend, as I just heard from Aunt Cheri that Grandma and PaLee are coming down to Montgomery for the weekend and leaving Tuesday. If I was aloud to, I'd definately be going out there tomorrow, but our flight commander even reiterated again today his rule that we are not to leave for the next 3 weeks or so on the weekends as he feels (and probably rightly so) that we need to really dedicate some study time to all of this stuff upfront. Oh well...

This Saturday I'm planning on making it to visitation with Lighthouse. I got a call from Eric last night at 830 or so (of course I was asleep already by then but got the message this morning at around 4) inviting to go to that and then go get some coffee or something afterwards. I've been wanting to make it on visitation, and this will be the best opportunity with such a long weekend. Should be a good time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday of a very long week

What a long week, I just am NOT an early-to-rise kind of guy! Once again, though, there was a nice moon out on my way to work this morning, the really odd part is that the sun was out when I went to bed...

Today's ride was pretty rough. We did pattern work most of the time out, and I still need a lot of work on my landings! The good thing is that I really felt it on my very last landing after we returned to our airfield, and I think I can do that again. Only problem was, I was still slow on the descent. I think my biggest problem is that I'm just not moving fast enough to keep up with the air plane. It doesn't help that I feel so tired either. Tonight I'm prioritizing sleep over anything else and plan on being in bed by 7. All in all I think it was a profitable flight, though, as I really know now what I need to focus on to get better. Tomorrow is mostly focused on area work so I'll be trying to improve stalls, slow flight, etc out in a working area. I tend to understand these maneuvers a little better than landing, so it should be a slightly better ride, but I'm needing to really go over the parameters for each of those maneuvers tonight as well as the departure and arrival work for the trip out and back

And I can't think of anything else to write right now, literally my mind is mush. So I'm going to go make a sandwich for tomorrow's lunch, take a shower, and try to finish up a little more in the books before hitting the sack. Thank goodness Friday is a half-day and Monday is off!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dollar ride and second flight

So it's almost 8 and past my 730 bedtime, but I can't let two days go by without at least a quick blog update. These 0345 wakeups are killing me, though! The only consolation is that the last two morning's I've seen a beautiful full moon on my way to work...

The dollar ride was awesome yesterday! The weather was great, and the sky was crystal clear. We did an area tour of the West areas so that I could see ground reference points for all of those areas. Then we entered a low area and I was able to do some basic maneuvers like climbs, steep turns, and we even pulled a little over 4 G's! All in all it was an awesome ride and definately a good motivator for what's to come! I also got him the dollar soon after the ride, and he seemed to really like it!

Today's ride was the first graded sortie for me, and I'm not sure yet how that turned out because it wasn't submitted yet by the time I left. We've started full standup EPs now too, so any one of us can be in the lime light for these EPs now which are pretty stressful. I felt like today was a good flight overall, and there were definitely some areas I've improved in, mostly in the groundops and checklist work. However, my landing attempts were awful! My area work was actually pretty decent considering it was my first time, and he said my power-on stalls were not bad at all. Then, before we left the area my IP put us through a few of the aerobatic moves we'll be doing later and that was awesome!! It was like a roller coaster without the rails! Then, I pulled off a couple of barrel rolls too, which were sweet! You definitely couldn't do anything like that in the DA-20s at the academy. A good time! I actually started feeling slightly sick today, but I just pushed through and didn't let it interfere with the sortie. The winds and turbulence were pretty rough today, so that may have brought it on, but I've never been sick in a plane before and don't expect it to happen to much more. At least I didn't throw up or have to give up the controls or anything. Those guys who are getting airsick have to jump through some extra hoops with the flight docs and meds and such that I'd rather just avoid dealing with.

Today we got out a little early so about 6 or 7 of us ran out to a little BBQ joint downtime for a meal somewhere between lunch and dinner before coming back here to study for tomorrow. Keith and I both have the same flight tomorrow with our IP so we spent some time going over the generalities together too which was a big help in covering the flight as a whole. Tomorrow I'm hoping to really get in a good number of landings and work on bringing that up to par.

And this guy is off to bed before his EARLY rise again...I'll be glad when this week in over, and thankfully Friday is a safety day followed by Monday off! 2 four day weeks, I like that!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


This is a picture of our T-6 Texan for those of you who've been wondering what the plane I'm going to fly looks like.

And this a picture of Chaos I just had to post after taking it this afternoon! Vicious killer cat...

Pre-Dollar-Ride Sunday

Just finished preparing my dollar to give to the IP giving me my dollar ride tomorrow. It's a tradition that dates back a good ways, evidently, that the student gives the IP giving them their first ride in the plan a dollar, and over the years they've been decorated or adorned in different fashions to commemorate the ride. I'm hoping you can click on the image and zoom in or save it and zoom in to be able to see the detail (if interested). I'm going to put the IP's name in the bottom right, and finish of the date to the left (left the day out in case it gets canceled or something).

We had a good service this morning, and Jason invited me to sit in the very front with him again. So we ended up with a row full of the youth department, with me randomly in the middle of them! Oh well, guess it helps me feel 'young' again. After the service I went with Bro. Jonny and Bro. Chuck and their families to a mexican joint called Tampico Bay downtown, and it was some good eatin'! It was really nice to get a chance to fellowship this afternoon with them as well.

Sadly I'm not going to make the service tonight, however. And on top of missing the service, they're having cake and punch afterwards for the graduating seniors, as well as a back auction that I'm going to miss! I've yet to miss a service since coming out here, which was a goal I set for myself and felt like the Lord would want (obviously), so I didn't make this decision lightly. But, I have to be up by 0330 tomorrow, so in order to get a full night's sleep I'll need to be in bed at 1930, and then I got to do that 4 times this week! So, like it or not, I have to get all the sleep I can to be as alert as possible this week with those awful wakeup times. Already last week I was really fighting sleep, and these next days will be even earlier. Anyways, that was something I really struggled with, but I know the Lord knows where my heart is, and I'd make it if I could!

So, back to the books in preparation for this week. I'm really looking forward to that flight tomorrow, and plan on taking my camera with me so I should have some good pictures to put on here soon from the flight! And I will post 2 more pictures here in a second.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cottage Chat

Had a great time! There was some really good food, and brother Frank gave a great devotion on personal prayer life. I also met Fran and Frank's other 2 daughters and sat near the three of them and chatted for a bit during the meal. Then a group stayed around after that was over and we played a few games of volleyball. Definitely a good time, and I'm looking forward to the one for next month! Also, the weather was good enough for me to take my bike, so I enjoyed that little ride as well, as I usually do.


Wow, what a day! I was up at 0420 this morning, and it was just a long day after that. We had our first sample of what standup will be like this morning, and saw an example EP (emergency procedure) as well which was done on one of the instructors. I was sitting close to where he was standing, and I saw that even his hands were shaking! So I know it's going to definitely be tough on us.

I didn't get my flight today, but I'm on the board for Monday and I'm looking forward to it! I sat in on both the brief and debrief of one of our guys today, and it gave a good idea of what to expect. Basically this very first ride is no-sweat, but they come fast and hard after that! So I plan on spending most of tomorrow deep in the books getting everything out of them that I can before next week. Also, it looks like our report times will be somewhere around 0400, so I'll be getting out of bed a little after 3 in the morning every day next week. What a crazy way to start off! So, my internal clock is going to be so totally off for a while.

Tonight is a cottage chat at Lighthouse where familys bring in food and have a potluck style dinner together and then someone gives a devotional as well. It should be a lot of fun, and hey, there's going to some good food! I think I'm going to make to make a batch of brownies really quickly so that I have something to contribute. And that's about it for my weekend plans rounding everything out with church on Sunday, of course. Just a lot of studying, though I'm sure I'll get in a little bit of gaming time in between, and I'll be hitting the gym tomorrow as well. One top priority for this weekend is also sleep, I am tired!

Thank goodness it's Friday!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 1

Reported at 0700 and then had a briefing from the squadron commander as a class at 0800. Most of today was spent with a few briefings on everything from patterns, to standup expectations to studying for the rides. We also did a lot of setup on the computers and in our flight room to make sure we all the permissions we need and are able to access the materials that we need to access.

Oh, and another bit of entertainment showed itself today as well. As I was sitting at one of the computers being shown how to set it up for each morning, I heard one of our IPs on the phone next to us use my name and the name of the Lt stepping me through the computer setup. Well, long story short, we got to go see the secretary and then make a nice little trip in the downpour to the clinic to do a drug test. AKA peeing in a cup. And to top it all off, I had literally just come back from the bathroom 5 minutes before that call came in! So I then proceeded to down 3 large bottles of water on our way to the clinic. We also pulled into the parking lot and almost hit this lady walking next to the road who chose that exact moment to step out to cross in front of us without bothering to look first! Then, she had the gall to come up to us as we were about to enter the clinic and tell us that we ought to slow down in the parking lot! My friend was the one driving, and he was not doing anything crazy or dangerous, so I could not just let that one go! So in my most professional and respectfull tone I told her "Ok, we'll keep an eye on that; but, ma'am, you should really try actually looking both ways before you step out in front of a car!" Some people... I think she just scared herself and decided to take it out on us, who knows, but I wasn't about to pass that up since she came back and found us! So funny!

So we got up to the drug testing area on the second floor of the clinic and I finished one more bottle of water. By now my stomache hurt, but I still wasn't ready to go! Luckily, though, in about 15 minutes or so I was able to provide a sample for the good people at the clinic. Now, as bad as it was for me to have to go and do that with an observer looking on, I realized that it would be even worse to be stuck with the job of that observer! He's a fellow 2Lt but his class doesn't start until July so his job for the past week has been to 'observe' people taking care of filling the test cup; talk about an awful casual position! So I guess it's true that it can always be worse.

Random note: I found the greatest thing at the store today--diet Barq's Rootbeer!! It's the wonderful taste of Barqs but without the guilt-laden calories! I didn't even know that they made the stuff, but I HAD to pick up a 12 pack when I saw that today! Dad, you'll have to keep your eyes open up there in VA.

Sadly, I am not on the schedule to get my dollar ride tomorrow, so it looks like it's going to be Monday. But, it's not too bad at all. I'm going to study tonight as if I had it tomorrow, and then I'll sit in on a briefing and debrief of one of the guys who will fly. I'll also get a chance to spend some time in the sim and work on getting my ground-ops to the fastest speed possible. The faster we get through that, the quicker we start the jet, and the faster we get the plane running, the sooner we can get the AC on, and the sooner we get the AC going, the happier our IPs will be, and the happier the IP, the better our grades! See the fancy correlation there? So really, all this practice is just so we can get the cool air going faster!!

We also have a 0530 (that's pronounced 'o-dark-thirty') show-time tomorrow, so that means I need to get into bed around 2030 to get a full night of sleep! So, I had best get off of here and do a little bit of studying before trying to knock myself out for bed (warm milk, anyone?).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 0

Tomorrow is Day 1 of Phase II! These past 6 weeks have just flown by already, and it's about to get even more busy! We met our Flight Commander for the first time today and he gave us an expectations briefing in the flight room; which will be our room for the next 5 months of training. Tomorrow we are officially in the 37th FTS (Flying Training Squadron), the Bengal Tigers, and we got the patch today:

My flight is the Thunderbolts or T-Bolt flight, and includes 13 of us out of the 25 in our class. It seems from talking to others and from the briefing today, our commander is one of the 'tougher' ones of the 37th. But, from what he said today his expectations are clear and reasonable, and he just expects the best from us. As long as we work well together as a flight and take the initiative and know our stuff, we should stay on his good side. No problem.

This evening was great, I got a home-cooked dinner! Brother Jonny and his wife had me over for porkchops before church. They had told me Sunday to expect to eat with them this Wednesday, but I didn't get a call from him until about 445 today, and I was still in the squadron meeting. So I got back and called him up, and basically had to cancel since my car is still in the shop, and it was pouring down rain so I didn't want to take the bike. He offered to pick me up, but we both thought the meal was ready to go so we planned to just do it next week. Then he called me up and said it would come out of the oven a little later anyways, and long story short he picked me up and then of course got me to church and back. It worked out well! I enjoyed chatting with both of them, and of course the food was great too! She's another graduate from PCC, which is pretty cool since Cindy just graduated from there. Then, Jonny invited me to join them for the teen service which they have every other week on Wednesday nights, and I of course took him up on it.

It was nice to be a part of that, and he even mentioned me sharing my testimony and bringing a lesson or something sometime as well. I told them anytime I could help out with a service or activity, I'd be more than happy to! I love working with teens, they're always blast, and there's never a dull moment! Like going to the WILDS this past summer as a sponsor, that was a great time!

So, tomorrow is Day 1, and one of our first full days on the flight line. I'm excited! Our commander told us today, to just realize from the get-go that it's not going to be a lot of fun, and we are all going to have bad days, just don't have a bad week. I've pretty much put myself into that mindset already. Every day is going to be really long, and chocked full of 'learning'. I'm going to mess things up, I won't be perfect, and yes I will be corrected! So, now that I've got that out the way, I'm going to try and enjoy whatever I can! And this budding aviator is off to bed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Wow, it's a pretty big day! This morning we finally did have our Contact phase exam, and I got my first 100% since physio! I spent 6+ hours studying for this one, so at least it payed off. Also, after 4 solid hours of studying last night, I got an Excellent overall rating on my sim today, and had a pretty good ride. It was quite hilarious, though, as my IP ended up getting himself quite confused in the sim. We were a pattern that he rarely does, so he had me turn at the wrong place, and got us all confused. Then he tried to fix it by moving the plane to different landmarks on the computer controlling the sim, and two or three time it still wasn't right and I had to point it out each time! I felt for him, though, as he's a good instructor, but he was being watched over today himself by a major to make sure the IP was doing well. So, of all days for him to get turned around! But finally we got it right. Then, on another procedure in the pattern, he got a couple of other things confused as well, and I had to correct that too! So, in the debrief he complimented me on my knowledge and marked me up on the grade card. At least it was a good opportunity to show-case what I know!

And to round it all out, I've had over 500 hits on this site now! That's not bad considering only a relatively small number of people actually know about it. Of course Dad's only been on here a couple of times himself (just picking on you...). It's a good thing Mom shares everything! ;) Oh, and a belated happy mother's day to all you mother's out there, inclduing of course all my adopted moms. I actually remembered it this year, and I got a card sent to Mom last Wednesday or Thursday, so I was quite proud of myself.

I also got my car dropped off at the shop today. The windshield and brakes should be finished tomorrow. It's still a hefty sum, but I feel I'm getting a pretty good deal on the repairs after shopping around for a few hours yesterday. I'm hoping after this and the oil change yesterday as well that I shouldn't be spending any more on this car for a while besides gas. Which by the way was up to 3.75 a gallon yesterday for the cheap stuff! This is when it's nice to have a bike that gets 55 mpg!

This evening I'm covering the callouts and radio calls and trying to get those memorized along with a good number of the inflight checks. 2 more days to the flightline!

Monday, May 12, 2008

We Broke the Exam

This morning was supposed to be our 1st Contact phase exam. However, when we went to load it up, the program froze on every single one of the computers. So, they then realized that there was some sort of software problem with that particular test (brilliant), and we're now supposed to be taking the test tomorrow morning instead.

After that failed this morning, I finished up another lesson in the lab, and then spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon driving around looking for the best place to get my windshield and brake pads and rotors replaced. The third shop I visited ended up giving me the best price, so I'm going to get my car down there tomorrow after my sim.

At 4 this afternoon a few of us met up at the gym and played some basketball for a couple of hours too. It was a blast, it's been way too long since I've played, though. I've definitely lost whatever 'skill' I had in the past.

This evening I've spent immersed in my books and reference material for tomorrow's sim. After almost 5 hours of study now, I'm wiped out! I should have a little more time in the morning after the exam to study some more, and I feel like I should be pretty well prepared for this sim ride. I'm starting to get the pattern down a little better, but right now there are just so many little bits and pieces of the flights that I still need to commit to memory. In time this will all just become second nature after so much use, but right now it's a mind-boggling amount of material.

Only a few more days until we hit the flight-line now! I'm hoping we will get our first rides on Thursday when we show up, but I'm not holding my breath. Also, the ORI is in full swing right now. I had to buy a new backpack even so I'd be in regs in case any of the inspectors pay close attention. It's funny, the backpack I've had for 4 years at the Academy is not authorized out here in the rest of the Air Force. Oh well. Luckily Mike had just bought a backpack online that he didn't need anymore and hadn't used, so I bought it off of him this morning. And now, I'm hitting the sack so I can get up and get some more studying done in a 'few' hours.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pre-Mother's Day Saturday

This morning was the Mother-Daughter tea at Lighthouse that I was signed up to help out with. We put all the food together on plates and then served all the ladies during the program. We also kept them well-stocked with beverages of their choice. As a nice fringe-benefit there was a ton of food left over so I had a good brunch myself while I was there! I also got to call home for about 40 minutes while one of the ladys spoke. Then we helped clean everything up and get the area set up as a cafeteria again.

On my way home, though, I thought I recognized the 15pac van pulled over right outside the gate to the base, and sure enough it belonged to the Heatons, a family from the church. They have 7 kids (hence the 15pac van) and they were stuck there on the side of the road! So I pulled over to see if I could help. Eric was there as well, as his wife had called him when the van died. He thought the fuel gauge must be broken, and it must be out of gas. So between my car and his we got his wife and kids back home (they live just down the road from me in this base neighborhood) and picked up my gas canister to get a gallon for the van. We put the gas in, and sure enough it started right up! So I followed him to the gas station on base to make sure he made it. The Lord worked the timing on that situation just perfectly! He made sure she died in just the right place, too, 'cause there are long stretches of road that would have been difficult to pull over safely on. Anyways, Eric mentioned that he is planning on taking his sons fishing in a few weeks, and asked if I'd be interested in coming along. Of course, I told him I know little to nothing about fishing with any semblence of skill, but I always enjoy relaxing next to a body of water in the shade! So he's going to get back to me on that one, it sounds like fun.

This afternoon I'm going to put in a couple more hours of study for Monday's test. I was going to wash my car too, but a big storm is headed this way. I might still wash my motorcycle since it's under an awning. I need to get the 2-inch think layer of dollar-sized bugs off of the front! This evening I'm also getting a group together from the class to go see the current hit-movie Ironman! Should be a good time!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rough Sim Today

This afternoon I had a sim starting at 12. However, I've been totally wiped out lately so I ended up sleeping in a little later than I first planned. So, I could have used about an extra hour or so today to get ready for this one, because my radio calls, checklist fluidity, and my pattern familiarity can all use some work. Starting tomorrow night and then on Saturday I plan on putting in a good 4 or 5 hours plus of studying and chair-flying in to try and get some of these things to become more second-nature so I can focus more on the flying instead of trying to remember those little bits and pieces of info.

Anyways, I had a very interesting instructor today who definately started off a little on the surly, derogative, and negative side. Though, I'm certainly not a stranger to criticism and certainly can't claim to have 'thin skin', so it wasn't like it overly bothered me or anything but he didn't seem to be making this a little 'fun' like some of the other instructors have. However, once we got into the sim, I began to realize that a lot of his 'abuse' was just sarcastic and was meant to be more of just a game and I was able to relax a little bit more and play along. I just know in the future when I sim with him again what to expect a little better. All in all it was a good flight, and my first time in the OFT which gives about 180 degrees of screen to look at, and was really cool! However, my straight-in landings left a little to be desired, and we kept resetting and trying those over and over again; which I appreciated as it gave me a good chance to really practice them. By the time we were done I was getting really close to having them down and had definately improved a LOT! However, he still marked me as Unsat for those, and they needed to be up to a Fair level by this ride. So, that means there is some push on me for my next flight to get those straight-ins up to a Fair level or else I may run into some pressure!

Tomorrow we actually most of the morning free so Ryan and I are planning on heading to the gym. I got in a good hour and a half of racquetball with Rob again tonight, and we had 3 hard-fought and very close games! Right now overall the tally 3 games to 2 in my favor, and I have a feeling that will fluctuate even more as time goes on. Talk about a good workout! Both of us were complaining about knees and other joints like old men by the time we left too! All in all, another good day of UPT gone by. We already hit the flightline next Thursday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

And the Days Get Crazier

Wow, so this week has already been super busy. It's almost Thursday and I don't know where the time went! So far, I've had a sim every day for like the last 5 days, and have one again tomorrow. At least its not like today, though! It was near the end of our class this morning when an LSI instructor handed me a sticky note telling me to be ready to brief for a sim by a little after 12! That gave me a sum total of about an hour to prep for this sim that didn't know I was going to have today! It actually went ok in the end, and I have to say the sims have been a lot of fun so far, but talk about short notice! Suposedly that's fair game from now on, though. If we've done the pre-reqs for anything, we have to be ready to execute it at a moments notice. So, I have another sim starting tomorrow at noon, so I'm getting up to study in the morning. I need to really memorize the traffic patterns and all the radio calls and checklist procedures right now, which will involve just a lot of chairflying. Guess what I'll be doing Saturday? (after helping serve at the mother-daughter tea at church)

And an update on Chaos, of course: he and the dog have started picking on each other now. Earlier, Oreo was just standing around minding her business, and my cat walked up to her and bit her in her back thigh! It's both ways, though, because Oreo also enjoys blocking Chaos whenever he's trying to get somewhere. Anyways, it's hilarious to watch the two of them going back and forth like siblings or something!

And I'm heading towards bed, have another long day tomorrow. Oh, and my next book in RA Salvatore's Dark-Elf series arrived just on time yesterday for me to continue after finishing Drizzt's previous adventure. These are some great books! If they ever get in the way of my studying, though, I blame Josh!

And Congrats to Cindy who graduated today as Suma! Again, I'm so proud of you, Sis!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm Back!

Ok, wow, it's been WAY too long since I've updated here, I know. However, last week quickly got ridiculously busy to the point where I was gone all day and studying all night. I won't try to write on everything from last week, but there were a couple of highlights. I missed only 1 question again on the exam, and I also scored pretty well (for me) on the PFT we took Friday morning. Posted randomly within this post are pictures from some sim practice I did last week.

This past weekend, however, was especially great! Dad was going to be visiting Calvary in Montgomery on Sunday, so I drove out there Friday night as soon as I could get out. I got in around 830ish to the maxwells. Soon after Michelle and Luke showed up and we all talked for a bit and put together some nice sandwiches. Had a great night with the Smith's, and Luke and I got into some great discusions, as always! Dad was not originally going to make it in that night due to a slightly late start, but then he made good time and realized that he also lost an hour coming west, so he made it in around midnight and I got to go over and see him again.

This weekend was also a very fatty weekend. Saturday morning we all met at Golden Corral for breakfast with the Maxwells (juniors and seniors), Smiths (Juniors and Senior), and another family that was staying with Grammie and Grandpie. Then we chowed down. What a great breakfast! That afternoon I did get some studying done while Dad got a haircut and changed the oil in his car. I also watched Amazing Grace with Luke and Michelle, which was a really good movie! That night we were over at Grammie and Grampie's for another HUGE dinner and were over there for quite a while enjoying each other's company before going back and crashing that night. Oh, and this whole past weekend little Kaitlyn was just the sweetest thing with me! She kept asking me to hold her, and then would also came over while I was sitting on a couple of occasions and just lay her head against my leg. She's so cute! She's getting words down and a bit, and also sign-language on top of that! So funny!

Sunday morning we went to church at Calvary, and then Dad and I went to Panera before lunch to have a bit of time together. We had some coffee and split a breakfast muffin over some highly, highly intelligent (of course!) banter. But really, I enjoyed getting to see Dad again (and the rest of the fam too, of course) and our talk together Sunday morning as well. We had lunch at the Maxwells, and then I left around 1500 to get back home in time to do some more studying for my Sim on Monday. Dad promised he and will get through here sometime before they head back to Indonesia, so I'm looking forward to that!

Yesterday my sim went well, and I got another 'good' overall rating. It was another long day too because I had a later sim, and then also had to study for both a test and a sim today. Today's test went ok, I missed 3 giving me around a 94%. It was definately a tough test, from everyone I talked to it seems like most scores dropped a good bit from the norm. My sim today went really well too, with an 'Excellent' grade overall! The Lord has really blessed in all my efforts here so far. I'm feeling confident that this is all definately stuff I can handle, but I'm figuring out more and more just how much work this next year is going to take!

Cindy graduates tomorrow from PCC, and I got some great news from talking with Dad earlier that she found out she got the highest graduating honors of Suma Cum-Laud! (spelling? You can tell I didn't graduate with honors...) So I am very proud of her. Cindy put in a LOT of work these past 4 years, and has pushed herself so hard to get those awesome grades she's had. On top of that, she also minored in a language while she was there. Congrats, Sis, I'm proud of you!