Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Formation, recorder, brakes

Keith and I had the distinct privilege of having the earliest report times today to fly formation together. It went pretty well and my IP said I'm doing really well as far as formation is concerned. But, my pattern work was just down right ugly. My first break to Low Key was just awful, even downright pathetic. I was so far off on my estimates I ended up just making it look like a standard pattern. Then my next ELP from low key was almost as bad and I was told by the RSU to go around. At this point I was just upset with myself because I knew what I was messing up and I'm to the point where I know myself when it's really not the way it should be. So any second I kept expecting him to take the jet and be like: "Ok, Idiot, you've only done about a million of these in your training so far, but I'm going to show you another one since you still can't get it right." But he didn't, and I tried a third one, and it was better, but still not right. Again, I expected the IP to take the jet at any time for my complete incompetence, but he didn't. This time I was forced to go all the way around the pattern and stew in the front seat feeling like I was back in basic contact again. So this time I got a high key ELP, but then I had to orbit just as I was about 500 feet into it! Thankfully, that next one was decent and landable and felt so much better than the others. Of course, then I got slow on my next pattern because I started focusing on a guy taking forever on the runway and dropped my airspeed out of my cross check. On top of all of that I was making all kinds of stupid mistakes on the radio and sounded like a total moron, I'm sure. Ugh, anyways, the pattern needs a smoother ride tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow, I'm up for my formation solo in the morning! I'm pretty excited, it's supposed to be about the funnest ride in all of UPT according to most IPs! So, goal 1 tomorrow is to not hit the other guy, and then goal 2 is to have fun! I can't believe some of the stuff we get to do here sometimes, just thinking about take a multi-million dollar jet and flying it within 10 feet of another myself. :) Good times!

This afternoon I then sat RSU for 4 hours. I was upgrading a guy and told to just let him do it all since he'll be going solo Recorder next time, but he really wasn't able to keep up and is really early in the program so he was having a real hard time. So it made it more stressful for me because he kept messing some stuff up and I felt I could just do it easier myself without trying to correct him all the time while still somehow letting him do it 'by himself'. Not his fault at all, I remember my first recorder upgrade I was really lost; but it just made it a little more stressful for me today.

Then this evening before it got totally dark I replaced the front brakes on my motorcycle. The design of this bike actually made it pretty easy (comparatively) to do. It was still a learning process, but after a lot of sweat and grease I got it done. Still planning on biking to Montgomery if the weather is looking good...

It was great. When I'd got back earlier I found that Ryan had moved my table and computer and everything from the dining room into our 3rd 'office' room so that it could be hooked up to the internet easily without a cord running through the house. Then he also had it download and install all the windows updates and all so that saved me a couple of hours of work right there! We're both also reinstalling our WOW games and are planning on starting a couple of characters to play together for the next couple of weeks. It's a game that I've picked up and played off and on several times over the past couple of years, and it's always a fun time.

We've got an earliter report tomorrow and I've got to do the formal brief, so I'm off to bed.

No flying again

Once again the weather kept us down all day. Then, I was on the board for 2 flights tomorrow including my formation solo, but now I've just got an early flight and then a Recorder tour...oh goody...

Picked up that computer today, got him to knock off just a tad for taking both the computer and monitor as a package. I've been fighting it now for 3 hours trying to get a USB wireless receiver Ryan's given me to work, but it got so messed up that I'm now reinstalling the whole OS. He had XP Pro with SP3 on it, and I'm installing the same thing but back to SP2 which is supposed to be a little more solid anyway. This way, I'll have a system on there that I installed from the ground up now and I won't have to worry about it in the future. Just turned out to be a bigger pain...So now I'm hoping take 2 of trying to install the wireless receiver will go a lot smoother. We'll see.

We went out to eat at Martie's tonight and I got the chicken fingers. Have enough for leftovers at lunch tomorrow, which is always nice. Hoping to be able to make it to services tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I got us in trouble...

Ok, let me say from the start: oops, my bad. So I got in a little early today and Lenny caught me and started asking if I was the last one to sit FIDO on Friday. And I started thinking, Friday, I can't remember what I did yesterday let alone on Friday! But, yeah, I was the last one at Fido on Friday. (Fido is the desk in our flight room that is supposed to be 'manned' all day but is in reality the biggest waste of time because it serves absolutely no real purpose) I also had sat Fido the whole day on Friday while I was running around making 2 different runs for Snacko, and helping organizing the counting of the coins for that competition we'd had. And yes, I did leave while the last jets were in the air...but I thought we had left someone in the room, and I also hadn't really actually been at the desk itself for most of the afternoon. So, yes, I guess I did leave it empty for the half hour or so before the last guys got back. So again, all that being said, it certainly was my fault, but I didn't think it made a difference since absolutely nothing was going on. So, evidently our flight commander got back and saw the desk was empty and chewed out our student flight leader for a while about leaving it empty. So he had a talk with us in front of the IPs this morning laying out the exact rules about the nature of the FIDO desk. (better late than never I guess) So yeah, I started this day off on a great foot!

I was scheduled for 2 flights, but nobody flew because had a big storm all day. Then we had a 3+ hour briefing from IPs who'd flown all different planes in the Air Force to give us an idea of what to expect in each platform and to answer any questions. It was really great to present all of that info and I know we all really appreciated it, but it was over 3 hours straight and literally there wasn't even a bathroom break there! So it seemed to take forever. Anyways, then we terminated for the day and all went home.

Oh, and our class patches arrived today too! So FINALLY we're now all wearing our class patches as we'll do for the rest of UPT. I think they actually turned out really great.

I also heard back from a guy selling his 2.4GHZ Pentium 4 for really cheap and I'm going to look at that tomorrow and probably pick it up from him. I'm still wanting to put together my ultimate gaming machine some day, but this will at least upgrade me from my 5 year old laptop to something a little faster without a lot of $$ right now.

And it's off to bed for this guy. Here's hoping the weather's better tomorrow. I'm supposed to double turn a low level into a formation ride again, we'll see!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend wonder

Ok, so the title of this post may be a little deceiving, this was pretty much just a 'situation normal' type weekend. Friday night I went with Ryan and Ashley to go see Death Race, which was pretty much exactly what I expected. Lots of killing and action wrapped around a very strained plot line, if you could even really call it a plot. Then Saturday I slept in and Fay hit us sometime Friday night so that it's rained straight through the whole weekend. Ryan then went with me downtown to run some errands. We went by Game Ware and they actually had another Ipod like the last one I bought that didn't work! But this one is black, and it works! So I've finally got my hands on an ipod at a decent price. It's a 5th Gen 30Gig and I've got my library of songs on it now with plent of room to spare.

I also picked up brake pads for my bike and plan on replacing the front brakes some time this week. Then I got some shopping done at Walmart before we came back here and finished up at the BX and Commissary. Oh, I also bought Assassin's Creed for the 360 and played that for a few hours last night.

Church was good as always today. Bro. Jonny told me they're having a youth activity at the base bowling alley in September and has asked me to give a devotion for that as well. So I need to come up with a good topic and start developing that soon. I'm excited to get another chance to talk to them and pray the Lord will use me to speak to some hearts. Also, on the 13th Auburn is playing at MS State and Bro. Chuck is doing a 'Christian tailgate' he's invited the church to and asked me to help with. Should be fun! Anyways, I've now got something going on every single weekend of next month, which is awesome!

Also, I'm going to spend this coming 3-day weekend in Montgomery, it will be great to see every one out there again. That's why I'm trying to get those brakes in this week as I'm planning on taking my bike if the weather's good.

Tomorrow I'm double turning with a low-level with Col Boulard in the morning and a formation ride in the afternoon with Dove being solo on my wing. Should be a fun day! Puts me 2 rides closer to being done too! Won't be long now, looks like September 26th is track select, so really only a month to go in the T-6!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Catch up already!

Ok, I have been away from this for a while. It's just been super busy, especially losing a whole weekend to the cross-country. Not that I consider it a 'loss' or anything, it just wasn't a break! I guess I'll start there in my recounting, though. We met Friday to start setting everything up. A big group of other guys was heading to Denver Colorado, but Captain Dove didn't want to head out that far because it would be way too much time spent at just straight and level flight and wouldn't leave much time for practicing approaches and seeing other airfields. So, we decided to head to Talahassee that night in one jump since we were leaving later in the day. So got everything prepped up and headed out with no problems. We shot a couple of approaches at Dothan Regional on the was to Talahassee and then full-stopped there. That night we stayed in a hotel near the air port and got a rental car for the trip in and out from there and in order to find somewhere to eat. We went to a grill first, but they had some really loud live music, and both of us were tired and in no mood for that. So, we left there and drove up and down the street near the hotel and a fondue restaurant caught our attention...

So, yes, two grown men went to a fondue restaurant together, but I must say, it was some great food!! That was my first time having fondue and it was great! Actually, I even said at one point to Dove, "hey, man I don't want to make this awkward or anything, but this is one of those places that would be perfect to a girl out to for a really nice date." :) I got steak and I don't remember which fondue we got for the table. So, what they do is bring everything out to you totally raw, so the waitress came out and handed me a plate of bloody steak meat. I came SO close to saying "hey, I think you need to take this back, I don't think I ordered it still moooing. The chef needs to at least try to cook this!" But, I thought she'd probably heard it a few times in the past... We didn't get any of the dessert and chocolate fondue as the meal itself was PLENTY expensive already and plenty filling as well. Anyways, enough about the fondue.

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at the hotel and then headed back to the FBO at the airfield to plan the day. We'd decided to head for Charleston SC and stop at Gainesville on the way. So we crossed to the east coast of FL to the Kennedy Space Center and shot an approach there and then tracked back to Gainesville for a couple more approaches and a full stop. We got a courtesy car at the FBO there and then got chipotle downtown and debriefed the flight. Once we got back to the FBO I spent about 45 minutes and planned up our leg to Charleston. However, that was not to be. When we stepped to the jet and I tested to Aux-Bat, it wasn't holding its charge. So, long story short Capt Dove called back and they told us we couldn't go out to Charleston because it was too far if the jet died and they would have to send out a repair team. So, our plans changed last minute to head to Birmingham instead for the night. That was a good flight was a pretty long haul of straight and level that got pretty boring so I was happy to see Birmingham for a couple more approaches to a stop. That night we stayed at a really nice hotel so we had to cover the extra bit, but it was a nice place. Then Dove suggested a Thai place he knew within walking distance since we didn't get a car that night since the hotel had shuttle service to and from the airfield. I got a really good curry dish there that reminded me of a rendang dish we used to have in Indonesia all the time that I loved.

Sunday we went down to Mobile Alabama first which was really cool because much of pattern was over the water there. We got pizza delivered to the FBO there and then had to change plans again due to a storm developing between us and Columbus. So we went through Meridian and did some checkride approaches there before coming back to Columbus for some VFR patterns. We were actually flying in real weather for most of that trip including some rain for the last portion. Then we debriefed everything and left from there. It was a great weekend and a real fun time and Captain Dove was a great guy and I enjoyed flying with him. It was just a lot of stuff going on at once!

After that, I only had 2 I-sims and my to-check left to go. So Monay and Tuesday I did the last two sims, and then Wednesday I double-turned with the to-check and a formation ride. Usually they don't double turn you before a checkride, but I was running up on a 14-day break in formation but so it had to be done. The checkride then went really well on Thursday, though I had to change from the primary to GTR. I went out to the MOA first to do the 3 items or so that could be done out there, and then turned circles in the MOA while loading up the GPS approach for GTR. I did the GPS and ILS and then he flew back and did a few patterns of his own at columbus. We did the GK and EP after that, and I thought I did pretty well, but he still gave me one downgrade on GK, and then my only other one was for the ILS because I actually missed the glideslope until I hit the FAF. But I then talked him through my plan of just turning it into a LOC approach until hitting the mins or reintercepting the glideslope so he only gave me a downgrade on that mistake. So the Lord blessed me with a 2E in the end! Friday I sat the RSU all morning for my first solo tour for a crazy shift with a max of 11 aircraft in the pattern at one point (we can only hold up to 12 before we have to land some), and on top of that I was upgrading someone else; and then, the computer was on the fritz the whole time so I had to reboot the things literally a dozen times while we were out there! That night was a cottage chat at the church I made it to, and it was a great time with some volleyball games after the food and devotion. That Saturday I was so tired after 2 weeks straight of flying with no break that I pretty much just took the whole day off. Sunday of course was church with a nap in between.

If you've followed along so far, this brings us to this past week. Monday I had a formation ride that went really well. I got an excellent overall and really just enjoyed the ride. Tuesday Josh Dove and I were given the privilege of flying with the squadron DO and ADO (essentially our 2nd in command with the ADO being 'assistant to' the second command of sorts). So, Josh led us out to the area, and we did all of the area work up to extended trail (ET) stuff. Then, they called the move into ET and we started into it. Well then I heard the major in my back seat asking what in the world I was doing several times, and then took the aircraft. Then he said again that he had the aircraft. And I answered him...again! That's when we started to realize he was having some transmitting and receiving issues in the back. So we ended up knocking off the manuevering, and since we didn't have solid communication in our jet (we were in the process of making up some crazy spur-of-the moment sign language of our own at the time) we decided to bring the formation back in. So since I didn't lead anything the sortie was graded as an incomplete. Basically, it was a free sortie of practicing wing stuff for me! Wednesday I had nothing on the board, and I actually was able to get out of there on time to make it to church! It was great because Jonny had asked me again on Sunday if I could give a testimony to the teens. So the Lord worked it out great and I had had time to put together a decent outline and gave my testimony and about a 30 minute sharing-lesson of sorts. I was really honored to be able to do that, and just pray that the Lord will use it to work in their lives in some way.

Yesterday I had the makeup flight for the incomplete on Tuesday and that went really well too. I also had Taco CAP for the GK downgrade on my checkride. So I made Mom's recipe for chicken soft tacos in the crockpot. I didn't know how much I was going to need, so I got 12 pounds of chicken. Only when I started to fill the three crockpots on Wednesday night I realize just how much chicken that was! So needless to say, there was plenty of extra! I just set it all to cook when I went to bed, and then got up in the morning and shredded it all and combined it into one crockpot to take in and put on 'warm'. There was a ton left so I put a bunch in the freezer and more in the fridge. Ryan and I will be eating that stuff for a while! But it was a huge hit, I guess my culinary 'skills' impressed a few people 'cause I got a lot of compliments.

Oh, another thing that's happened: I am our flight's snacko guy now too since the senior class gets lumped with that spectacular duty. I'm almost to the point where I'll punch the next guy who complains because his favorite (and very specific) type of soda isn't stocked in the fridge! Haha, but no, seriously, so far all I've received is moaning no matter what we do to keep it stocked. It's just a no-win job. We basically spend all the money to restock, and then wait for people to buy so that there's more money, and then restock again. What that means is that we're not able to get any reserves and stuff runs out way too quick. I think some people aren't paying for everything they're taking either. Anyways, it's a huge pain.

Today I didn't have a flight again, so I worked on some snacko stuff, helped with sorting pennies for a competition that's been ongoing, sat FIDO for a few hours, and then called it a day around 1300 and played a few hours of final fantasy before getting some work done around the house. Currently I have no real plans for tomorrow, but I'm going to see if I can buy brake pads for my bike locally and replace them tomorrow.

And I think that may qualify as my longest post to-date. I know it's been too long since my last update...I even had mom and dad worried enough that they called just to make sure I was still ok down here. :) So again, I've got to make myself keep up on this more on a daily's not like I'm really busy or anything. Ha!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Out and back actually happened!

Ok, so I was supposed to have my out and back today with a VFR first leg out to Meridian and then a night ride back here to shoot approaches. However, we had some ridiculous storms and bad weather roll in early in the afternoon. However, everything started clearing up enough that we actually were able to make it out, although our plans totally changed and we were fully 2 hours past our original takeoff times. We didn't use the plans I had originally at all, but were able to use the VR1014 lowlevel route to fly VFR out to Huntsville, AL. Once there we did about 7 overhead patterns. My first 2 or 3 were awful, but the last couple were really nice.

I flew all of this with Capt 'Kegger' who I've flown with once before and I enjoy flying with. We landed a little before 8 and had to take off at 9 so we quickly jumped into the courtesy car and went to Firehouse which is a sub place that makes some great sandwiches. They also have a huge collection of hot sauces and I picked 3 that looked the hottest. I put the hottest one on there, and I really only wanted a dab, but about a whole teaspoon came out. Now, at this point I thought, no big deal; I've have had plenty of 'hot' stuff in my lifetime, this won't kill me, it can't be that bad. Then Kegger put some on his plate and just barely dabbed his sandwhich in it as I took a big bite with all that sauce on it. He asked me how it was and I said, "it's not bad". And really, at that point it wasn't. It had a nice little sweetness to it, and was only just starting to get a little hot. But then it kept going!! Pretty soon my mouth was literally on fire! I seriously thoguht for a while I might need medical help! I was instantly hiccuping uncontrollably, as was Capt Kegger across from me. I was having a hard time even breathing and was feeling the most intense pain I've ever felt in my mouth, it really felt like it was burning! I thought I was going to die, and I may have even welcomed it at that point! So here we were, both grown men in military uniform with tears in our eyes in obvious pain while both hiccuping, laughing, and choking at the same time. Just imagine it!

The only thing that helped at all was continually sucking cold tea down through a stall. Soon I was hurrying across the restaurant for a couple of refills, and Kegger was not far behind! Of course, on the way back I then suddenly had to go really bad for like the last 45 minutes of the flight. Oh well. I wanted to laugh for most of this, but it was just too hot! I can honestly say that's by far the hottest I've ever had in my life! And I'm no foreigner to spicy food!

So then, being the intelligent beings that we are, we THEN read the labels after it was a little late. There were all kinds of labels on there saying that we would not sue them, etc due to any damages from the sauce. Then we read another label for another sauce that only half the level on the scoville spiciness scale as this one, and that bottle said to try only a small drop at a time and even then with caution! And I had a whole teaspoon + in one bite of one that was twice as hot! This thing was a 375,000 on the scoville scale. Please reference the chart below:

You will notice that 375,000 is really not that far below US military grade irritant ammunition! That's weapons grade spiciness!! Also, for most of you who rank jalapenos as being really hot, notice that they don't even reach 4,500 on the scale. So just image something literally 80 times as hot as those! So needless to say, I will never underestimate hot sauces again in the future!

I spent so much time trying to survive there that Capt Kegger had to drive us back so I could try and finish eating on the way. We then got every prepped up and into the jet at around 9 for our night leg. We shot one ILS at Huntsville, and then came back direct to columbus for a GPS and then another ILS that Kegger shot. It was a great trip and beautiful ride back at night with the stars, moon, and city lights and the cool clouds we had out tonight. I loved it, it was a great ride.

Now we'll be leaving tomorrow for our weekend cross country trip. The plans keep changing but it looks like we'll be starting out to Tallahassee tomorrow to spend the first night, and then have 2 flights a day after that. So I'll be getting in around 12 tomorrow to get that all planned. I'm so tired tonight I've just got to get to bed but I'll be packing and everything in the morning and then heading out for the weekend. Should be a blast!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Surprise! You're briefing NOW!!

Ok, so, last night when I got the schedule off ATIS, I was not even on there. So it was going to be a nice relaxing (and short!) day. We didn't have to report until 1430 either, so I slept in really late until about 1045-ish (I did NOT want to get out of bed today). Then, while I was in the bathroom getting ready I heard my phone 'message' alarm go off twice in about 4 minutes. Then a minute later Ryan banged on my door and said "Hey, you're flying a low level and your briefing starts now!"

To which I responded, "Are you serious?!?"
"Yeah I'm serious, they just called me!"

So I then quickly finished shaving and brushing my teeth, and then listened to the 2 messages while I got dressed and then called back one of them to let them know I was on my way. As I was finishing tying my boots Zach got to the house and announced that he was here to pick me up and provide door-to-door delivery in his car to save me the walk from the parking lot! So I had enough time to grab us each a soda and get a granola bar for myself as we ran out the door (that was only thing I ate all day until 1815 when I got home and had 15 mintues to eat before heading out for church). I got to the flight room and Bryan was finishing up the Form-70 for my flight and I had under 5 minutes to get a data card ready as well as review the entire hour-long low level route! Then I briefed it up with my Cpt Dixon and we went out the door! Thankfully this was my first of 2 so he demo-ed the first 3 legs of the route for me, and then I flew the rest. This was a great ride, too! We spent the whole thing only 1000' off the ground and navigated solely based on timing and our maps. The terrain we were flying over was really cool, and it was awesome seeing everything going by at 210 knots only 1000' up! It was an awesome ride, and praise the Lord it actually went pretty well!

But wait, my fun morning was not over yet! We got back and debriefed just in time for me to make it to formal brief (and the crowd goes wild...yay...), and guess who got stood up for the EP today after literally only 5 minutes between events? Yup, yours truly! Thankfully, this one actually went really well, and I handled the emergency correctly and was complimented at the completion of the event. It was no where near perfect, of course, but it went really well. Then I spent most of the rest of the afternoon talking with the guy who I'll be flying my cross country with this weekend. We came up with a few ideas and I called and checked them out this afternoon. So we're meeting tomorrow again to try to finalize the plans as much as possible. We were planning on Chicago initially, but then when I called they said they'd have no ramp room left, so we had to completely revamp our plans. We'll see where we actually end up going, the plans tend to constantly change up to the last minute. Either way it should be a fun weekend of flying! I'll get 5 Navigation sorties out of the way in just 3 days and will see some interesting areas of the country in the process.

Tonight I was able to make it church for the first time in a while (on a Wednesday, that is), which was a real blessing. Though, I did have to go in my flight suit. Can't say I minded too much, though, you know what they say: girls like a man in uniform! ;) Then this evening Ryan and I hit the gym for well over an hour of weights and elliptical work.

I also made my first omelettes tonight! I always have a ton of eggs as I can only find them in 12-packs and don't use them that much, so I figured that would be a great way to eat them. I made one for both Ryan and myself, and they turned out pretty well. I put pepperjack cheese and bannana peppers in mine, and then put hot salsa on top and it was actually pretty good for a first attempt!

Tomorrow I fly a day-night out and back. Bryan is heading down to Meridian at about the same time, so I think I'll meet up down there with him so the 4 of us can go grab dinner together before our night sortie back to Columbus. This should be a pretty fun ride too. It's VFR on the way there, and then IFR (of course) at night on the way back to shoot at least 3 approaches at Columbus.

The next day is then the beginning of our cross country through late afternoon Sunday. To top it all off I should be finishing my last 3 instrument events and then getting my instrument check by about midweek of next week. So things are going to get BUSY! I'm pretty confident about my instrument check. The Lord's really blessed me with some good instructors for the block and I've learned a lot of great techniques and have had a pretty good handle on things for a while now. Pretty much I just need to make sure I don't make that one dumb mistake that would cause an unsat. Besides that, I just need to bone up on my instrument 'general knowledge' and, Lord willing, I should do just fine. After that, I'll be able to focus on just finishing up the formation block, which I'm currently the farthest along in out of the whole flight. I'd love it if they got me through pretty quickly and I could possibly start looking at some T-1 stuff to give me a leg up on phase III. Oh well, we'll see how that works out.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mom and Dad here and gone

Well, yup, there goes another REALLY long break without putting up any posts...oops again. I'm so bad at this! Anyways, last week I got through my 4th Formation ride and Mom and Dad got here Thursday night around 730 or so. I was really looking forward to them getting here! Ryan picked them up at the gate as I was still in the squadron, and then I got back as soon as I coule and that's when these next two pictures were taken:

It was so great to see them again! I saw Dad a couple of months ago when he came through Montgomery, but I hadn't seen Mom since I left Chester on my last birthday to come here. (Things like that always seem to fall on my birthdays!) I'm so thankfuly that they were able to make it through, as they'll be leaving for Indonesia again in September, and it will be a long time before I'll get enough of a break from training to go over there and visit, probably at least a year and a half or so.

So Thursday night we just chatted for a while and then I had to work on putting together a low-level map for a sim the next day. Poor Dad ended up passing out on top the air mattress we had set up in the 'office'. They'd been on the road over 12 hours from Kansas, so I know they were both tired! I was originally going to put them up in billeting here on base, but the soonest I could have gotten them a room would have been Saturday, so it wasn't worth it. Looking back I'm glad it didn't work out, though I think they're living arrangements would have been more comfortable, but at least I got to spend the maximum amount of time with them here!

Friday I had to work, of course, and I had a formation ride that morning as well! No one was available in the squadron to show them around or anything while I flew, but Ryan was able to take them out to a road parralleling where I'd be taking off so that they still got to see me lead the formation off! It was a really cool ride because it was me in one jet with a Reserve Lt. Col. in the back, and the other jet was a Reserve Maj. solo. Both of them are really nice to fly with, and this way I got to focus almost completely on my own training as the Major was really quick in getting into fingertip on rejoins and all so that we maximized our time out in the MOAs. Here's one of the shots Dad took of us taking off:

I got home around 8 that night, and Mom had put together a really delicious meatloaf with potatoes and broccoli. I've also got tons of leftovers from all our meals here too, which I love! We watched some tv afterwards while chatting and and then picked up National Treasure 2 which none of us had seen and watched that together! Saturday we all slept in and then I took them on a short tour of the base including a flight line stroll and some close up looks at the planes. It was just so hot out there, though! We were all just sweating and Mom and Dad kept walking in every bit of shade they could find! :)

We then did some shopping at the BX and commissary and then came back home. I made waffles for lunch while Mom cooked up the sausage and we had my weekly weekend-waffle meal. Then later that afternoon we went to the malls and JCPenny where they were having some sales Mom and Dad wanted to check out. They got sports coats for Dad and Ken at a great price. Sounds like Kenny will have to where a coat and tie 3 days a week, so he definately needed another one. We swung by Sonic on the way back and then chilled that evening. I also made my promised steak dinner, and it turned out great! Mom even said it was one of the best steaks she'd ever had! We also had some really good sweet-potatoes on the side, and it turned out to be a great meal! I've got a couple of nice seasoning that put on my steaks, and they don't even need steak sauce most of the time. I was really glad they turned out! We then sat around chatting and watched 16 Blocks on TV before hitting it.

Sunday went really well too. We ended up getting into the adult Sunday school just after they started, so we sneaked into one of the more open rows of chairs while they were getting prayer requests. They also had Dad stand up and introduce himself and Mom. We then had a chance to meet a few of the special people at Lighthouse before the morning service. The service went really well too, and Pastor had a great salvation message. Then we went out to eat with the Sanders and Fishers among others at the Country Buffet in town which had a good selection of some pretty good chinese food. It was really great for them to get to know some of the people here who've meant so much to me! We then took Sunday afternoon naps and made it to the prayer meetings before the evening service. Dad then opened the service in prayer and was given some time to share about the ministry in Indonesia. On the way home I tried to take them to Little Duey's for some BBQ, but they were closed so we went to Kroger and picked up some frozen pizzas instead. Then we swung by blockbuster again and picked up Enchanted (only because Mom wanted to see it, of course...yeah...that's it) and watched that with pizza and a good batch of cinnamon rolls Mom had heard about from Michelle and picked up. It was actually a hilarious movie, especially with that little chipmunk!

Monday Mom and Dad got up early to start packing, and then I woke up in time to see them off after praying together in the kitchen. It was so wonderful to see them again, although it definately felt way too short! I just praise the Lord that they were able to make it through here!

Monday I had no flights and just an RSU spotter-upgrade tour during the afternoon, so it was a pretty light day. Then we worked out in the evening after I got back until past 9; now that's dedication! Then today, our report time was not until 1300, but I had a brief that started at 11. I was flying a point-to-point VFR navigation sortie, so I got up this morning to plan everything out before the flight. Even then it wasn't 100% done by the time it was time to start briefing with the flight commander. This mission barely made it off the ground, though! Every time I fly with our flight commander we have difficulties with the jet and it's always a VERY interesting flight, and that held true today as well! We got everything briefed up, and he stepped me through some of the nav-specific stuff. Then we rushed out the door to get going as quickly as possible as he had a tight turn to his next flight. Of course, our jet was the only one in an entire row that was not under the sun shade, even though a good 4 or 5 of the shaded ones were not being used. Then we got to the jet, and the aux wasn't holding a charge so we had to call maintenance over for that. Then we finally got the canopy closed and engine started, and then the canopy light came back on! So we had to shutdown again, (and it was REALLY hot out there too!), open and close the canopy, and try it again. Luckily, even though the battery was of course a little weak after just starting, it made it back up again, and the canopy light held off. It was so hot in that jet today, that when my sleeve slipped up and the skin under my wrist touched the metal seat belt, it burned me! Then my flight commander sat on his, and it did the same thing to his behind! It was just miserable, I had sweat just pooling down my face. Anyways, somehow we made it all the way to 13 (of course, today we HAD to be on the farthest end of the runway too!) and made it off the ground somehow right within our flight time!

The VFR flight was a lot of fun. Basically you have everything timed out on your map, and you hack the clock to keep track of where you should be. But then we bumped up our speed to move things along, and I had to change all the calcs in the air. However, after seeing for the first 3 or so points that I knew what I was doing, he let me just use the GPS. We were at 4500 feet, and there was a good broken cloud layer there that we had to dodge in VFR. So I was being real easy about it, and he was like, 'I have the jet; this is how you dodge clouds!' Needless to say, it was a fun couple of minutes after that, and then he gave me the jet back to continue. So we had a good time dodging through those clouds to stay VFR. I plannded the trip out to the wet to Yazoo, MS and then we came back. I had it planned first to get us right over the Mississippi river into Luisianna, but that was a little too far for the time we had today. All in all it was a great ride. So, by the time we got back, the rest of the class was still in formal brief, and after we debriefed I was done for the day! So I stuck around for a couple of hours and then headed out and ran some errands before Ryan and I hit the gym again. Today we both just did 45 minutes on the elipticals since we both did weights yesterday. That a good 650 calorie burn right there!

This coming Thursday is my day-night out and back. The first leg will be another VFR leg to Meridian this time where we'll shoot a bunch of approaches. Then I'll meet up with another guy from my flight there and his IP and we'll go get dinner before flying a night IFR flight back. That will leave just 5 nav rides for the cross country this weekend and I'll be nav complete leaving only 3 more events to my I-check! Things are moving quickly! I'm also leading the class in formation right now too, so I'm happy to be just trucking along. Let me get it over with, man!