Home > IFS, The Journey, This and That > Time to Fly – Week 2, as the Stress Multiplies.

Time to Fly – Week 2, as the Stress Multiplies.

Week two has finally come to a close. This week was definitely tough and it was a challenge along the way. I’ve always been pretty sure of what I wanted to do in life, but this past week really made me start to ask that question “Is this made for me? Do I still want to do this?” I don’t think I’ve ever had such thoughts before, be that good or bad. It was a challenge to deal with such thoughts, but then again this is IFS…this is the one time in our flying careers that flying is going to have this much suck.

For those people coming into IFS with a ton of hours (one guy in my flight has 1800+) than it really wont be that bad. For those of us with only a little time, or even no time at all (I have 13 hours in a Cessna 152) well, things are a little more rough. After all this is a screening process, it’s to really test us to see if we’ll stick it out and not just waste the Air Force’s money.

I flew four times this past week, everyday but Thursday. My Monday flight is your “intro” flight called a “dollar ride.” It went alright for the most part but I did feel a little nausea from the flight. I flew with the same IP again on Tuesday and Wednesday. This IP was alright, but I really wasn’t learning too much from him…he’d usually just correct the mistake himself instead of teaching me how to do it. It also didn’t help that I got active airsickness (actual vomiting)  on Tuesday, and then passive airsickness (Nausea that made me relinquish controls to the IP) on Wednesday. At this point my mind was a mess. Anytime I thought about flying my body would feel ill and not really encourage me to try to fly again. I switched Instructor Pilots (IPs) on Thursday and he could tell I wasn’t feeling well/doing well. I took Thursday to rejuvenate and study up for Friday. My Friday flight went about 300% better than the previous flights. I didn’t get airsick and only had a very momentary period of nausea. My new instructor is pretty awesome, and I learned a ton from him. I did my first completely unassisted takeoff and landing as well…so that felt pretty good. I am a good amount behind (about one flight) from where I need to do. This is due to my airsickness and I wasn’t able to execute a lot of the maneuvers or do some pattern work since I had gotten airsick by that point in the flight.

This place definitely makes you question what you want to continue to do in the Air Force. For some, they’ll leave because they just don’t enjoy it anymore (I don’t really enjoy it at this stage either, but that’s due to it being IFS…and flying a DA-20.) Though I did have fun on Friday…which was awesome. One of my friends (who is at Laughlin with me and was in my flight of 13 at ASBC) also left on Friday. His was more than just “this isn’t for me anymore.” With him it wasn’t about ability or not being able to fly, I mean he even has 60 hours in the DA-20 (the aircraft we fly here at IFS.) For him it’s just that he believes his happiness and life is meant to be doing something else in the Air Force. I hope he finds what he’s looking for, he’s a great guy.

With at least 10 people leaving from my IFS class of 80…it’s definitely a wake up call. Two of them were from my flight. I don’t blame or question any of their decisions…as I was wrestling with the same decision for most of Weds and Thursday. If I didn’t have a good flight on Friday, I don’t know what would have happened. I know my IP was going to make me fly a sortie with him before I decided anything. He knew what I was feeling and experiencing and his main objective on Friday was to make me comfortable in the aircraft so I stopped thinking about not being able to do it, as well as getting sick. Evidently it worked, and my self-esteem is renewed for the most part.

When it comes to academics or studying, I can do just fine…I’m not struggling or having trouble with that portion of it at all. What was happening was I wasn’t learning from my previous IP, and after I got sick then my body was just not wanting to have any part of it. I’m the only one of the 29 in my flight that were having airsickness problems. That’s an added huge obstacle for me to overcome. I talked to a couple people from the class ahead and they gave me some examples of people getting sick 5+ rides and still being able to pull through. It just meant I was going to have to chairfly (sitting in a mock up cockpit of the DA-20) and run through all the motions of the flight like radio calls, maneuvers, and navigation. Most of this stuff you have to commit to memory as  you just don’t have time to hesitate and think. The biggest hurdle is just getting the whole procedure of it all down…because each flight is very similar, it’s just knowing what to do and when to do it. “Being ahead of the airplane.” I learned a ton with my new IP so I’m pretty hopeful of what is to come. Regardless I’m going to stick it out and give it my all. I know I can do it now.

A huge help has just been the other guys here with me at IFS. If you get a little down or negative they’ll pick you back up and make sure you head is back in the game. Even the guy that left made sure I had a clear head about it all. One guy (Matt) has been chairflying with me…he’s got quite a bit more experience with it all than I do, so he’s been a huge help. He also went with me to Pikes Peak along with another group of guys.

Friday and Saturday definitely helped me to get my head back in the game and refocus on the next two weeks (hopefully I’m done before that.) Friday we had a class party for the three flights of people here at IFS. Beer, food, and friends…lol. I love the pilot type environment….gotta have beer. Then on Saturday I drove up to Pikes Peak with Matt. Got to finally use the lancer driving up a mountain…It was definitely an awesome time. I recommend anyone coming to IFS to go up to Pikes Peak on some weekend. And since it is “Pikes” peak….I definitely made it applicable to my fraternity (pike.) I even found a hoddie that had our fraternity colors.


(You can see my facebook album for more pictures)

Once the week was over though, I’m definitely glad I’m here and continuing on. I know this is probably about as much “suck” as there will be, and UPT also wont be fun, but it’s the people who make it a fun experience. Without these guys, It would be hell here.

Thanks for reading, and who knows, maybe next time I update I’ll have soloed!

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Categories: IFS, The Journey, This and That
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