Little Rock School House Guide

Welcome to the C-130 FTU

Welcome to the world of the C-130.  Congratulations to the UPT graduates just receiving your wings!  Welcome back to those of you who are returning to the Herc.  For the cast of thousands that are en route to Little Rock for the training, there are many questions to be answered.  We will address most of them here.  Any further questions can be emailed to the webmaster or posted on the Baseops Discussion Forums for the general audience to answer.  Got corrections, tips-of-your-own?  Send them to us.  Our areas of discussion are: 

Syllabus- New changes to Instructor, AC, and Initial Qual Syllabi at Little Rock.
Lodging- On-base versus Off-base and the rules governing Little Rock
Mail- What is offered, where to pick it up
Academics and Sims- What to expect from the program
The Flight Line- break down of the flight training
How is the base?- A brief synopsis of what is available
In Town- summary and link to Jacksonville AR site
TDY Pay issues- TDY Finance, and your CA$H
Packing List- some key items NOT to forget
Other Support Agencies on-Base- A review of your support

Syllabus

Student Information Handout
Download (Updated APR 2009) the latest C-130 FTU TIPS Guide (student handout) published by the 714th Training Squadron. 30-page handout on what to expect at the Little Rock AFB C-130 FTU. The Schoolhouse has also created a section on the AF Portal to help out new students. (Thanks to Jeremy Bower).

Instructor Upgrade Course

This information is for the C-130 Aircrew Instructor Candidates that will be doing their flying portion with the Arkansas Air National Guard here at the 189th Airlift Wing.  Any C-130 Aircrew students that will be doing their flying portion with the 189th Airlift Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard. Please make sure you have the following information with you:

1. 189th ARMS: Needs the IDS, ITS, FHR, AO, ACFT and all acft AO's, copy of current AF Form 1042, copy of current AF Form 702. We DO NOT need their FEF. Student must bring their medical records.
2. 189th TRAINING: Needs all Pilots and Navigators students only, to bring a current copy of their Information Assurance Awareness (IAA) certificate with them (Pilots and Navigators Only). They will need access to our computers, so we need a copy of their IAA certificate.

AC Upgrade and Requal Course
Aircraft Commander Upgrade Course (AC Prep Course) must be completed by students coming from an operational unit.  A Completion Letter signed by the Unit Training Office verifying successful course completion should be hand carried by the student to inprocessing. PRA and PRB (requal) students must complete the new CBTs and workbooks prior to arrival at the C-130 FTU. All AC upgrade and PRA/PRB students will inprocess, receive a review and be given a test. Failure to pass the test will result in that student being sent home. A POC at each base has been sent a copy of the CBT CDs to be shared with students coming to Little Rock. Contact the Registrar for additional information at marsha.ullendorf@us.af.mil.

C-130E courses have recently changed as a result of the Mobility Pilot Development (MPD) and Transition/Qualification (TX) concepts at Little Rock AFB.

The AC upgrade and requal courses now require that certain CBT lessons be completed via distance learning PRIOR to arriving at Little Rock AFB. 

BOTTOM LINE:  A CLOSED BOOK TEST will be given on the first day of AC upgrade and requalification classes to evaluate systems knowledge.  FAILURE of the test will result in DISMISSAL FROM THE COURSE. Squadron training shops should have copies of the CBT lessons on CD.  If students cannot get a copy from their training shop, contact the Little Rock Registrar to receive a copy.

MPD Syllabus (updated as of Jul07)
As of Feb 2007, the new MPD program at Little Rock is up and running for all new pilots coming through the pipeline. 
As new co-pilots, you will leave Little Rock as left seat pro qualified, right seat mission qual, NVG airland, and NVG airdrop. New MPD graduates are NOT left seat assault landing qualed, only qual for that is pilot monitoring duties (from the right seat). Once we got to our first station, we could be come NVG Assault qualified, which, again, is just pilot monitoring duties (from the right seat).

All new MPD studs accomplish left-seat training only in the PRO phase (landings -- 6 events and then a landing check in the left seat) and then once the Tac phase starts, it is all RIGHT seat (both up on the hill for sims and when you go back down to the squadron).

The MPD program changed during late 2006 / early 2007.  Flying squadrons were apparently unhappy with the finished MPD product, particularly with the lack of emphasis in right-seat training (The original MPD program had very little right-seat TAC training in actual co-pilot duties). Newcomers can now expect Tac training to be focused on right-seat responsibilities, down on the flightline especially. Co-pilot studs are expected to be proactive in backing up the AC and Nav and run the comms. Lots of chart-reading, backing up timing, and threat avoidance. How much you actually fly depends on the IP, but studs can expect to fly a few legs around the route, but IPs fly the departure, drop, and recovery.

There are now about 3 less events in the Tac phase on the flightline, bringing it to 15 total plus your checkride. 4 Day-Vis (3 Leads/Single Ship, 1 Wing), 6 SKE (2 Lead, 4 Wing/Element Lead), 4 NVG Air Drop (2 Lead/Single Ship, 2 Wing), and 1 NVG Air Land (Flown from the right seat). The Schoolhouse IPs seem to be happy with it, if anything because they get to fly again. We'll see what the squadrons think, as they are basically making up our syllabus as we go along (thought it shouldn't be too tough, as this is how it was before "MPD" came along, so I'm told). --update thanks to Phil Newman.

Updated Jul07: For the MPD students, there are 3 checkrides:

1. Instrument pro checkride (standard ILS, holding, TACAN, 3-eng approach, go around) in the Simulator
2. Pro checkride ("landing check") from the left seat (100, 50, no flap, 3-eng) in the aircraft
3. Tac checkride from the right seat in the aircraft. One vis route as lead, one SKE route as wing. I don't remember flying at all on my vis route, just backing up the nav and talking on the radios. I flew one leg on the SKE, including a turn. That's it.

There are also two EPEs: One systems-oriented EPE in the non-motion sim a few sims before your Instrument check in the sim, and then a tabletop EPE in the tac phase down on the flightline a few flights before your Tac check. Both were with instructors from one of the flying squadrons. An instrument pro checkride is accomplished in the flight simulator for CP and AC. The "landing check" still occurs down on the flightline before the Tac academics/sim phase.

There will no longer be an AC school as of FY 08. Any remaining legacy copilots will have to be upgraded in-unit.  Original MPDs upgrade to AC via a ~2 week course called the Pilot Checkout Course (PCO), which consists of only NVG airland and day/night assaults. Little Rock offers extremely limited numbers of PCO slots at the schoolhouse (Dyess is only getting something like 4 slots total for FY 08) the rest will be in-unit upgrades using the same syllabus. Both the 463d and 317th have developed their own "PCO Prep" programs which focus on systems, left-seat tac, etc.

Note regarding the TAC portion and your charts (Jul07):  The tactics shop now supplies all your charts for your low levels. You just need to chum them for updates after they were last printed. It seems like there was some disconnect between the flightline and the sim instructors... might be advantageous to go get your charts while still in sims and bypass your need to "make your own hand drawn" charts in the sim? My sim instructor just raised an eyebrow when my sim partner and I showed up with CFPS charts and grumbled something about how they "all used to have to hand make them".

 

Sweetheart Wings

UPT Pipeline and Initial Qual Course
Note:  Pipeline UPT students and initial qualification courses have been significantly changed  (i.e. EPE and instrument evaluations will be completed in the simulator). UPT students will complete the majority of their training in the left seat and will graduate as flight pilots (FP qual). Copilot qualification for new students has gone the way of the dinosaur.

There are no prerequisites that are required of the UPT grads.  The old CIQ course will be called PIQ under the new syllabus.  The biggest change is that the vast majority of training will be accomplished in the left seat. 

Additions (all from left seat):
Engine-out approaches

Engine-out landings
No flap landings
NVG Airland
NVG Formation landings

Changes:
NVG Airdrop (left seat, formally taught only copilot duties)

Deletions:
Night Unaided formation (all night formations will be on NVGs now)

MPD is going to challenge the UPT grads much more than the old CIQ course did.  Good luck.

J-Model Schoolhouse
Gouge submitted by Denny Tutwiler (as of 30May07):
I am currently in PMQ - the full length Pilot Mission Qual. There are only two mission courses for the J model that I know of - PMQ and the shorter TQS for prior qualed C130E/H types. I was a C130E and AFSOC 130 pilot, and they made me attend the full PMQ even though I am currently an IP in 30-40% of the 'quals' I am learning here. TQS basically shortens the SKE course and you compress everything by a ride or sim or two. PMQ - 18 Sims at CAE and 12 flights at the 48 AS. Expect the full 94 days that your course is progged for. The 48 AS will have 6 aircraft soon, but they aren't fully manned as a schoolhouse yet. CAE SIM PHASE- at present, CAE is running Mon-Sat due to an AF mandate. That should change June 07.

Unlike the E model schoolhouse, where you have a couple weeks of classes then start sims, your classes and sims are interspersed in the J schoolhouse. You will start sims your 2nd week. You will flight plan prior to the sim as you usually show 3-4 hours prior, then have a 4 hour sim then debrief for an hour. Sim times are similar to E model time - although the 200-500am times are for MX. You will have a tac approach/assault sim, then SS LL then NVG LL then SKE flight for your SKE check, in the sim. You will get trained via the VTRAT while in the sim phase. After your checkride you have a restricted Form 8, due to the fact that you have never landed a C130J (unless your are prior qual - as the PIQ folks only fly the sim). You have a mid course and EOC exam, which are both open book. You review prior and they are challenging as the questions are out of DATE...but the IPs know this and are helpful.

You will be issued a laptop with PFPS and your CBTs on it..when you come in for class you dock the laptop and it updates its information and logs your CBTs for you. FLIGHTLINE - you will most likely be flying the day or two after you inprocess the flightline. Great bunch of folks at the 48AS, but be patient as they are getting more MSN PLANNING computers, etc. You usually plan the day prior to your flight. I recommend making 3 or 4 daytime and NVG LL charts and sticking with those routes - unless you want to punish yourself by fighting with a computer and color printer eveyr other day - and this is coming from someone who is good with PFPS/Falconview.

You will fly a daytime Pro/Tac App trainer then an assault trainer, then 2 single ship day LL msns (2-3 routes/drops per). You then fly 2-3 Day Form LL msns and you start your NVG LL missions. During training you will get one hi-low route to Kansas for on-call airdrops and a visit to the smokey sam range. You then RTB to the drop zone at Blackjack - this is very much like a WIC mission and you have two TOTs to hit, you get experience with a 9-line and with 'actual' sams. Your checkride is a day or night form to drops. One lead, one wing, VIS-no SKE ( you already did that, remember?) Inprocessing and outprocessing are the same as the other schools..for those of you coming from Es, just realize they do not teach you to tear down and rebuild the J model and you will be doing everything the Nav used to do. Once you get in the plane, you will have better drops and TOTs than before so it will all work out.


Fully Furnished Lodging near LRAFB

Lodging: (501) 987-6753 or DSN 731-6753.  Lodging Office is in Building 1024.  In most cases I refuse to stay on-base.  Obviously you get more per diem by staying off-base, and usually you can beat out what billeting has to offer.  In this case, I actually support staying on-base. What are the conditions on-base?  Lodging is roughly split-up into two categories.  Enlisted dorms - situated next to the chow hall and right across the street from the academics building.  Officer Dorms - split up among three buildings - right in the vicinity of the Main Lodging -- here you are right next to the O'Club and across the street from the BX, approximately a 5 minute walk to the chow hall and academics; rooms share a common bath with neighbor, sink is in the bathroom only, and each room has mini fridge, microwave, toaster, TV, VCR, and phone with DSN & commercial access.  The main billeting building 1024 has been newly renovated and the rooms are nice.  ALL OFFICER ROOMS now have a "suite" setup - i.e. two rooms interlinked by your own private bathroom.  Yes, things have changed, all the rooms have their own bathrooms.  They are set up as a bedroom linked to a living room by a bathroom.  The rooms are pretty nice.  Especially the newly remodeled buildings.  Since there are no more shared bathrooms, the billeting staff has been much more considerate to officers bringing their spouses or "guests" to stay with them in their quarters.  They said there's no problem for having spouses come and stay in the room as long as they are in a suite.  Each billeting building has its own (free) laundry room averaging 2 washers and driers - sometimes the wait is quite long.

You can get a cable modem from Cebridge Communications installed in your billeting room. Installation is $60 (including first month's charges), and $39.95/month after that. Service was iffy when I first got it, but the upgraded their servers since I've been here, and I haven't had an outage in a month. The $40/month plan is a 1.5 MBit plan, but I think you can also pay $20/month and get a 128 KB plan as well (though I don't know why you would). Sure saves on dial-up charges!

Matthew Wilson writes - "I'm here for NIQ in the two room setup with private bathroom in the dorms near the dining facility across the street from the schoolhouse.  Just installed the 1.5mb cable internet this week through Cebridge, and for me setup was $19.95, it's $34.95 a month, and you can either buy the modem for $49.95 or lease it for $3.95 which is what I chose since I'll only be here 4 months."

Update (Jul 07):  They have now privatized the on-base housing completely. Your housing rate is your BAH rate for the local area. For a "furnished" house - it is your BAH plus 150/month. Keep in mind that the furnished housing also includes cable internet and vonage phone and all include a fenced back yard for doggies. Call way ahead of time to get "on the list". Also if you are married/accompanied you can get into the TLF pretty easily (with a reservation). No pets allowed - but the rooms are great... full kitchen/cable/washer dryer.... like a small apartment. You just have to put up with "housekeeping must come in every 48 hours to justify their existance. It can really get annoying... Check out their website.

(Jul07) You need a non-A letter to live off base and get full per diem. You can refuse government quarters and still get partial per diem while living off base. Single guys WERE still getting Corpus BAH during their TDY at Little Rock.

(Jun2011) Here is an excel spreadsheet from Little Rock AFB's housing office that lists over 50 of the area apartment complexes, with information on prices, numbers, lease terms, pet policies, etc.  This should really help your apartment hunt.  (Thanks to Jon Rodgers).

Benefits to being on-base? You are close (walking distance) to BX, Chow Hall, Academics/Sims, Gym.  Also, most other students (including your classmates) are on-base and it is easier to talk to them, study, etc. if you are also on-base.  Your rooms and parking are secure and the staff is generally good.  Another consideration is driving thru the gate each time you need to go to class, sim, flight, gym, eat, etc...  And remember, you will be in Threatcon B or C...  What is bad about on-base?  You get less perdiem (partial perdiem rate), approximately $22.00 per day (partial perdiem rate) instead of $34.00 (full perdiem) for off-base.   Starting 1 June 06 a new USAF wide policy regarding chow halls starts. No TDY personnel receiving full per diem will be allowed to eat in USAF chow halls.  Little Rock AFB will enforce by making individuals show their orders and billeting key.

The rooms are so-so and the air-conditioning systems was typically weak (although latest reports indicate the air conditioning is working good now).  If you do decide to stay on-base, make your reservations early (call more than 1 month prior to your report date, if able) -- they are in the middle of renovating the dorms, and if you do not call well ahead, you will be staying off base.  Also, make sure for your reservations you put a buffer (add about 4 weeks) on your graduation date at Little Rock.  The schoolhouse is notoriously about a month late in graduating guys - if your date slips and you don't have the room reserved, THEY WILL make you move off base - even if it is the day before your checkride...  Billeting gripes: The phone system at billeting is atrocious.  Very limited lines and it is a challenge to get an off-base line at times.  Thinking about an internet connection?  You can do the standard AOL, etc...  but expect very slow connection rates, 28.8Kbps at best!  Instead of actually addressing this chronic problem, the base has instituted FINES to keep people off the phone - I think it is 25 cents penalty for every minute after 60-minutes on the phone (local, long-distance, internet, ANYTHING).  You can get around this by talking for 59 minutes, hanging up, then dialing up again - it is a pain, and if you lose track of time, the charges add up.  Don't own a cell phone?DO NOT do direct dial long-distance, this is atrociously expensive; also, using one of the Big Three (ATT, Sprint, MCI) calling cards is not too cheap either...  A good alternative is a Pre Paid Calling Card direct from Baseops.Net.

Benefits off-base?  First and foremost is that you get more perdiem.  Second, you retain your BAH if you are not lodged ON-BASE.  Most of the hotels on the Contract Quarts List at billeting are absolutely awful.  I have first hand stories of rooms being robbed, cars broken into in parking lots, etc.  Service is poor and they know that they don't have to do a damn thing to please you, because they have the government contract... For more complete lodging information, go to the Baseops TDY Gouge section and reference LRAFB.  Again, if your number one goal is to save $$, then if you can suck up the drive to and from the hotel and class and sim and gym, etc..  and the meager living conditions, this is the place for you.  If you do show up with the intent of being off-base, keep in mind that at any time if a room opens up on-base, you will be forced to move into it - even if it is at an inopportune time.  You do have the option of refusing billeting when you check in (this refuses on-base as well as off-base hotels) -- then it is your responsibility to find an apartment, etc. to stay in -- see more below under "FINANCES".

 
The Links Apartments
The Links is a fully-furnished Apartment complex in North Little Rock caters to a lot of military tenants - here is an update to what a stay at the Links is like (as of September 2005), as submitted by email:

"I've been here for five months now and have been pretty unimpressed. There was a string of break-ins within a week of my arrival: my roommate had his car window smashed in, and a buddy had someone come in through a window while he was asleep in the apartment. An abandoned car has been sitting outside my apartment since I got here. The management is quick to enforce the no grilling on the second floor rule, but seems to miss the vast amount of people who leave their trash bags outside of their doors (another lease violation) which leads to animals visiting - we've had two raccoons right outside our door. During heavy rains, the entrance near my apartment floods and is under 3 ft of water.

The worst, though, for those of us in school here, is their lease policy. They don't pro-rate. I was supposed to graduate in the middle of September, but am now facing the possibility of not graduating until early October. I now face the choice of either not paying October's rent and having to move right about the time I'm preparing for my check ride, or paying another $810 for a few days' stay. With E-model maintenance so bad, people who come here expecting to graduate at the end of a month face the likelihood of having to pay another month's rent for a few days\' stay when they wind up getting a week or so behind.

It's true that it's one of the few places that offers furnished apartments around here, but there are lots of other nicer apartments in nicer, safer areas." 

 
Additional Billeting Gouge (30July02) submitted by Dave Lopez 41AS - "Of course I made no reservations, and showed up at 2AM the morning of my class start date.  The plan worked; they had no rooms on base. Usually they (Little Rock billeting) pick from a list of contract quarters to get a room among the sub par hotels right off the gate. They have this list because apparently they have this deal with the local community (Jacksonville, AR) that they will send their overflow people to hotels there instead of North Little Rock.     Well, all the hotels on that list were also filled up.  So the lady had no choice but to give me the nonavail slip (reluctantly). 

UPDATE from Denny Tutwiler (30May07): Update to previous comments on the Residence Inn, Little Rock. Turns out Little Rock billeting is speaking out of both sides of their mouth. They told my squadron mate and myself that the reason they aren't sending folks to the Residence Inn is due to the CA ANG folks making reservations with the hotel and bypassing billeting. CA ANG folks say that isn't so. The guest services manager at the Residence Inn is great and is trying to get more military business now that the base has stopped sending folks. She says Billeting was upset when the GM of the Res Inn put two short term folks in the Fairfield Inn (Marriott Property) next door. There are now 3 of us staying in the Residence Inn and it took some 'schmoozing'. The guest services manager, Lana, is going to meet with the Billeting folks at Little Rock to try to get more business. This hotel is GREAT, all around - I recommend you ASK for this hotel and maybe Billeting will stop making it so difficult.

Another fact is that if your orders say "Reimbursement of transportation expenses necessarily incurred in the conduct of official business in and around area of temporary duty location,"  you can claim 36.5 cents a mile for going back and forth to the Residence Inn (or whatever hotel you stay at).

The only downside to all of this is that about a month into my say at "the castle" (that's the nickname for the Residence Inn), a room on base became available and I had to go back on base. I got in and got the lady to keep me off base.  This was because just a couple of weeks ago the regs at Little Rock changed.  Now, if your unit does not specify that AETC will pay for off-base billeting, they (the unit) will by default.  So if you get the right person at billeting, you can get the contract quarters letter (or the non-avail slip if no contract quarters are available) even if rooms are available on base.  The bottom line is:  $34 bucks a day off base (good), $22 Bucks a day on base (bad)."

Mail Call:  There is a PSC (Postal Services Center) on-base, NOT co-located with the US Mail Post Office.  The PSC is in the same building as the chow hall (Building 864).  Mail can be forwarded here for General Delivery or you can get your own PSC mailbox (this is recommended).  They'll assign you an actual PSC box if your TDY is over 30 days.  Call ahead and get your box number ahead of time before you start forwarding your mail (instead of what many do--forwarding to PSC 2400 then getting here and having to change my forwarding info again.)  The phone number at the PSC is comm 501-987-3478, DSN 731-3478.  For General Delivery:

Rank and Name
General Delivery
PSC 2400
Jacksonville AR 72099-2400

Academics and Sims: Registrar and Student Administration Duty Phone: 731-6044.  Your report date is your first day of class, so make sure you show up the day prior to move in, etc.  On day one you will meet in the academics building - make sure you bring ALL of your paperwork, medical records, copy of FEF, etc.  DO NOT expect to get a flight physical here unless you are stationed at Little Rock or you have God-Like powers -- i.e. TDY people, get your physical prior to getting here!  The Med Group is hostile and cranky at best.  Expect to get a quick intro into the course and a tour of the facility, then they will more than likely give you a bunch of CD ROMs containing the course material.  Then, you will be dismissed for about the next 4 days to do the CBT coursework at your own pace.  If you brought your own PC, you can do these in the convenience of your own room; if you have no PC then you will have to do it in uniform at the CBT room at the academics building.  BRING YOUR OWN PC!  After this it will be the standard USAF classes - reading / assignments the day prior, lecture, followed by review, followed by test.  There are mass volumes of workbooks and courseware that you will get at Pubs Issue (along with all your C-130 Pubs).  If you are going on to fly E-models at your unit, you will keep the pubs, if not, you will return them at the end of the program - either way, you are responsible for ALL write-in pubs changes. 

The program is divided into several parts:  Academics first, then CPTs (cockpit procedural trainers), then Sims.  This first part is dedicated to aircraft familiarization and pilot proficiency, i.e. VFR patterns, instrument approaches, and EPs.  Then you will go down to the flight line and fly with this focus.  After a bit of this, you will go back to academics and go back to classes and sims for the Low-Level TacForm portion of the training.  And then back to the flight line to fly these missions.  Different people will be at the schoolhouse for various parts of the program - the Slick C-130 active duty guys will do the "long course" which involves all of the above and takes about 4-5 months total.  IF you are a special guy, i.e. Spec Ops, EC-130, H3s, some H2s, etc, you may only do part of the training at Little Rock and the rest at Kirtland, Atlanta, or home unit.  They will explain all of this to you- just know that some folks will be at Little Rock for only 6 weeks (EC-130 guys and other Non-Tac guys) and some as long as 5 months.  There is so much Academics gouge available from previous classes and Office Max. Its well worth your while to hunt it down. Especially for Phase 2 and 3 academics.

The simulators are run by civilian contractors.  They are mostly ex-herc guys with a wealth of knowledge and no kidding with several thousand hours of combat time (Vietnam, mostly).  The sims run 24-hours a day at the Rock.  Yes, this means that you can end up with a 2100 brief time for a 2400 sim to be done at 0300 and debrief till 0400 - that is not a good deal, I had this slot.  Usually the slots are dished out by rank or other means of dividing the pain.  The sims are both motion and vis with detailed profiles and thorough briefings.  As before mentioned, most pre-brief for 3 hours, for a 3.0 sim and an hour or so debrief.  Many of the sims are with Flight Engineer students and the FE instructor in the box as well.  A decent amount of prep time including some homework assignments, TOLD, etc is required for each sim. 

The Flight Line:  The flying training at the Rock is again divided into Pilot Pro (Instrument Approaches, VFR patterns, EPs, etc.) and TAC (low-levels, formation, assault procedures, etc.  For all of your Pro airwork, you will fly to outlying transition fields 30-45 minutes flight away - i.e. you won't do too many touch and go's at the Rock due to traffic saturation.  So you will fly your missions to places like Springfield MO, Greenville TN, etc..  Weather is the big determining factor on where you choose to go.  Strangely, the flying squadrons are very resistant to actually physically going to the weather shop for a face-to-face weather briefing - so much of your planning is via phone / fax....  Of course you can get all the latest aviation weather at Baseops.Net.  Weather and NOTAMs (standard) are about the only prep things needed.  Your low-levels are all in the local area and are all canned routes over the same turn points.  There are only two drop zones at the Rock - however you may fly to them on different run-in courses (rectangular and circular DZs).  In preparation for the TAC stage, copilot students will need to get all their charts made and chummed.  Copilots only have to draw out one low level route now. The rest are all pre-printed on FalconView and all you have to do is chum the last couple of months.  Again, this is AETC so ALL the finer points will be touched upon in your briefings.  The standard formation flight is a 3-ship, but you may get to see a 6-ship formation as well.  Keep track of your own training, the schedulers here are neck-deep and need some guidance on what your requirements are - so take the time to review your grade books, etc...  Mostly day flying, but with a few mandatory night sorties (including night TAC).  Intermixed with the flying, some days you will be scheduled for GT (ground training) at the squadron - the topics of discussion will be provided and you will go over various knowledge items.  At the end, there is ONLY ONE CHECKRIDE.  In years in the past, there was two separate checkrides, Pro and Tac, but now it is just one large painful checkride - 2 low level routes (1 each for you and your stick buddy) and then the instrument approaches, and finally end with the assault landing.   Also, much more night vision goggles flying has been integrated into the course - NVG Airland, NVG Formation Landings, and NVG Airdrops are now performed.  Assault landings will be done day and night, light and heavyweight as well.  Mostly you will be dropping training bundles (sand bags) but expect a few actual heavy equipment loads.  As for the flight line itself,  the box lunches are average.  Chow hall hours are sucky such that you will land many times and the chow hall will be already closed.  You will need your HELMET - so don't get rid of them, and make sure you get them inspected!  If you don't still have your helmet, the squadrons will LOAN out helmets one sortie at a time (this is tedious, so get one before you get there -if you can.)  Of course, helmets will be expected to be inspected monthly.  Scheduling is quite tedious at the flightline, as of recent, expect the rankers (Majors and higher) to get top priority in scheduling.  As a junior person (i.e. new copilot) you will have tons of time off - yes the day completely off.  You have to call into the answering machine to find out your schedule and it is erratic at times.  Worried about airsickness?  Read this article.

Some good Gouge on where to laminate your TAC Low-Level Charts, from Marc Lovelace: "The best place I've found to do it is a Christian Books & Office Supply Store called Mardel. It's located on the corner of JFK (Hwy 107) and McCain Blvd in North Little Rock. They're currently charging only $0.25 per foot of laminating you do! In practical terms.. I've had friends walk in with ALL the charts that they handed out to us and come out only spending about $3.00 for the lot! And they're all laminated on the front AND back! This is MUCH cheaper and better quality than going to a place like Target or Wal-Mart and buying the clear contact paper and doing it yourself. I KNOW.. I already laminated one of my charts like that.. Never Again! Hope this'll save someone some money and frustration.

How is the Base?  Little Rock is a large base.  There are two active duty AETC squadrons (62AS, 53AS), two AMC squadrons (50AS, 61AS) and an ANG wing as well.  As of 2007, they recently stood-up the 48AS, the J-model squadron and the 41AS (C-130E models) just arrived from Pope AFB due to the BRAC.  There is now a brand new gym at Little Rock AFB.  The new gym is probably one of the best gyms in the USAF - it is two-stories tall, with an indoor track, many windows and even mirrors to check yourself out in.  It is located across the street from academics and has flexible hours and is open most days of the year and it is located right next to the academics building, directly across from the chow hall.  Large free weights area, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, nice outdoor sand-volleyball court, locker rooms, and tons of cardio equipment.  Little Rock offers a couple of nice swimming pools for your leisure.  The Chow Hall is only fair at best.  For the 6-week guys you can stomach it, but for the long course folks, it will be painful.  Absolutely insane and UNflexible hours makes it a challenge to get in there.  Standard hot food line + separate grill line and a tiny pathetic salad bar to top it off.  The line can be out-the-door at random times in the day - watch out for ANG Drill days / weekends - the cafeteria will be jam-packed.  The food quality is unpredictable. The pricing scheme is confusing. Money is much better spent at restaurants and the commissary.  Commissary, BX are standard.  Shoppette is 24-hours, with gas station.  Other than the chow hall, there is the Golf Course with good grilled food (including a good breakfast). 

May07 Update: The Deer Run Golf Course Club house has been closed and relocated in the Consolidated Club building. The former JR Rockers area reopened on 15 May as Hangar 1080. The Duffer's Inn (grill at the golf course) menu and some items from Rockers have been consolidated into the Hangar 1080 menu. The layout of the golf course is being changed to start by Hangar 1080.

In Town:  The air base is located north of Little Rock proper in the town of Jacksonville.  This is a small town with very limited offerings.  Some decent (small) restaurants.  Wallmart, etc...  In Jacksonville (Main Street), there is a nice County Rec Center with a gym and a great 25-yard indoor lap swimming pool.  The next big center is North Little Rock, about 25 minutes down the highway.  Here is the shopping mall, franchise restaurants (Outback, Johnny Carino's, Friday's, etc..) and several movie theaters.  There are an assortment of furnished apartments available for month-to-month leasing.  This may be an option for you and your family (see TDY Pay issues, below).  Many are located fairly close to the base in Jacksonville.

TDY Pay issues, Finance, and your CA$H:  Many questions exist here.  Also, many myths are floating around.  We will try and dispel the rumors here.  If you find an error, please email me and I will correct it ASAP.  The big deal is: No more BAH for single guys and gals, if you stay on-base.  Yes, if you are TDY enroute to your PCS (as most newly-winged guys are), AND you stay in on-base billeting you will lose your BAH from the time you check out of your last base, until you check into your permanent duty station, unless you have dependents.  If you have dependents, you will keep your last BAH regardless of being on or off base.  For the single persons, this stinks.  The only real way to avoid this is if you can swing your admin guys, orderly room, or AFPC to allow you to PCS FIRST then go TDY from your unit - i.e. from Corpus PCS to Pope AFB, then go TDY from Pope to the Rock.  This, however, forces your gaining unit to pay for your TDY- something they will rarely do.  For the ANG and AFRES folks, this is good, since most will have the option to go to their unit FIRST, then go TDY to LRAFB (since their unit would be paying for their training either way.)  Another option to retain BAH is going TDY from Corpus (or other UPT base, etc) to Little Rock, then BACK to Corpus prior to your PCS (not an enroute TDY).  This MAY happen to the spec ops guys who will also incur a TDY to Kirtland...  This although being painful, allows you to continue getting paid BAH while at the Rock.  If you choose to stay off base at the Rock you can get an apartment (for those with families that want to stay with you at the Rock; or groups of guys wanting to share an apartment, etc..)  Again, if you have dependents, you WILL retain your last BAH rate; if you are single and stay on-base, forget about it, it is gone.  If you are single (no dependents) and "refuse billeting" upon arrival, you will be authorized daily full perdiem and you will retain your last assigned BAH!  In other words if you and your buddies choose to refuse billeting and split an apartment downtown, each person will receive BAH and full perdiem expenses --see example below...  For everyone retaining BAH, remember, it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that Finance does NOT take away your BAH...

Here is the scoop:  Finance will pay you the daily rate at billeting and you have to foot the rest of the bill.  For example: You find an apartment for $1000 a month; your room on-base costs 27$ per day; Finance will pay you 30days X 27 dollars = 810$.  You have to come up with the difference, in this case it is 190$.  Of course don't forget to factor in phone hook-up, electricity, cable TV, security deposits, etc...  There are many furnished apartments available near the base.  Few people know that Finance WILL pay the billeting rate for you to stay off-base.  Also, you can expect the off-base FULL Perdiem rate.  Don't be intimidated, know what are your rights.

1LT Miguel Rivera emails:    

"I am at the C-130 CIQ course at Little Rock and I managed to get with a  few finance pros on the subject of BAH and Per diem.  Here's the current  policy of entitlements according to them and the JFTR:  If you are SINGLE AND HAVE NO DEPENDENTS, you get to keep your last BAH  as long as you DO NOT LIVE ON-BASE for a period of 30 days or more once  you're at the school.  As soon as you live on-base for 30 days, your BAH  immediately stops.  I know this because I refused government quarters and  got a furnished apartment at the Links the second day I was at the school.   I am keeping my BAH legally and I still make the 21.50 lodging max and  proportional per diem rate.  Finance here actually SUGGESTS doing this as  you will make much more money doing this, obviously, and it is legal to do. I did not believe this at all, but once I researched it with the chief of  finance there and separately asked finance members there on various  occasions, they were all in agreement!  If you are married and/or have any dependents, you keep your last BAH,  period.  It doesn't matter what you do or where you live during the school.  If you are SINGLE and have NO DEPENDENTS, it is therefore a great  option to try and grab a furnished apartment before you get there in order  to keep your BAH.  "The Links" have decent apartments that are below the  lodging cap of $21.50 a day and are just minutes from the base.  You even  drive against the flow of traffic to and from work every day so it's a quick  drive.  I am doing this along with several other Pilots/Copilots in training  and it's working out great.  

Just remember, the actual rule from finance is "must be ON-BASE for a  period of 30 DAYS OR MORE consecutively".  You can actually go on base for  three weeks, leave, and still keep your BAH.  This is good to know because my class right now is in the middle of  Christmas Break.  Since we have to take leave for it, you don't receive any  lodging or perdiem while you are on leave.  In this case, some people are  being told to either move out from base lodging while they are on leave or  stay on-base, but pay the lodging costs out-of-pocket while on leave status.    Staying off-base will allow them to keep their apartment, and, while it is  not a perfect solution to the problem, still allow at least their last BAH  to at least offset the missed lodging and perdiem costs compared to their  base pay doing that.  I hope this helps out people coming to Little Rock.  Apparently it's  supposed to work for all schoolhouses, too, but I didn't really research  that part of it.  Maybe this will put some questions to rest!"

Billeting at LRAFB is now $27.00 ($810/mo), and partial per-diem is $30.00($900/mo). If you add up the new numbers, you are now making an extra $405 bucks a month if you take the "billeting refused" option at the schoolhouse. ($1710/mo vs. $1305/mo with the old rates). --updated Jan06

Some of you newbies may ask why do they pay you less perdiem to stay on base?  Well, this is all based on their acceptance of the chow hall as "government meals provided."  By JFTR regulation, the Government cannot mandate you to eat in the chow hall (meals provided) if you are off-base.  The technical term there is "TDY to a Non-Government Installation" - these words on orders, etc. mean that you will get the Full Meal Rate.  If you stay on-base and it is deemed that the chow hall can provide for ALL your meals (i.e. the hours of operation allow for you to eat and do not interfere with crew rest, flying, alerts, etc.) then you will get NO compensation (perdiem) for meals.  In the case of on-base at Little Rock, since the chow hall hours suck and are not conducive to aviators, the Government will cough up your "Proportional Meals Rate" - also known as Partial Perdiem.  This is to reimburse you the meals you will have to purchase when the awful chow hall is closed.  In review, off-base = full perdiem ($34).  On-base = partial perdiem ($22), due to chow hall hours.  One last thing, if you think that you may be eligible for "Missed Meals" by filling out the AF-2282 form, you are wrong.  This form only applies to persons who have ALL of their meals provided - i.e. no perdiem due to chow hall open ALL the time (i.e. Al Udeid, Qatar).  Clear as mud?  Need examples and instructions on how to fill out your Travel Voucher? Go to our new How-To section.

The following FINANCE topics are discussed in detail in the Frequently Asked Questions section at Baseops.Net:  Don't forget to start the paperwork for your PARTIAL DITTY move.  You must initiate this with TMO prior to leaving for Little Rock.  Now, all you have to do is weigh your car empty then weigh it full and get reimbursed for the weight and mileage too.  Don't forget about Terminal Mileage- if you stay off base, you can (and should) list your mileage everyday to and from hotel to work - this is reimbursable.  Also, if you have been authorized a Gov rental car (Alaska guys, Ramstein, etc..) - all gas receipts should be kept and these are reimbursable too!  For this TDY you are actually eligible for 800 pounds to be shipped both to and from LRAFB - I actually capitalized on this when I saw I had accumulated a bunch of excess stuff, I had the packers come to my billeting room and pack up and ship some stuff to my permanent duty station while I was at the Rock (in addition to my PCS shipment).

You may (if you choose to do so) opt for an "Accrual Travel Voucher" - this is a travel voucher you can fill out after every thirty days that you are TDY to Little Rock.  If you put a dollar amount in the top blank, then at the end of each month, Finance will pay you your TDY perdiem each month AND deposit that dollar amount that you specified into your Bank of America Gov't Card account -- this way the government automatically pays to your Gov Card each month (to cover your billeting charges, etc.)  Having personally had many problems stemming from trying to use this Accrual Voucher, I will never do one again (if you are bold enough, go for it!)  Typically Finance will overpay or underpay you and at the end of your TDY, if you use accrual vouchers, it is very difficult to track how much they have paid you and to catch their errors (there will be many!)

To the pilots coming from Navy Corpus, you will have to outprocess at Randolph AFB on your way out of Texas to Little Rock.  Your records that you brought to Navy Corpus from your T-37 base (i.e. Personnel records, flight records, etc..) were sent to Randolph and you will need to pick them up on your way out.  Also, there may be various other offices that you need to stop and sign paperwork - fill out security clearance info, etc...  Start off in the Taj Mahal (big temple-looking building on the main drag at Randolph) at outbound assignments and go from there.  You should allocate a good day to do all that you need - you should be able to do this after winging, prior to leaving Corpus (i.e. drive up to San Anton for the day and do this before you PCS from Corpus).  If you still need to weigh your vehicle, there is a handy weigh station very close to Randolph.

Packing List:  Don't forget the obvious stuff, all your flightsuits (you should not need any other uniform), flight jackets, flight boots, gloves, flashlights, etc..  Again, if you can fit it, bring you own PC, don't forget associated power cables, phone lines for the modem, etc.  Bringing your own answering machine is not a bad idea either - that way you don't have to rely on the billeting voice mail system rig amoral.  If you plan on cooking in the room, bring some cooking items (pyrex bowl, can opener, utensils, etc.) - however, no sink in your room, only in the shared bathroom and it is a small sink at that.  They do provide a small coffee maker for your use (billeting).  Entertain yourself - bring video tapes (billeting supplies the VCR) - if you want music, you will have to bring your own stereo; billeting offers a clock radio alarm clock.  Recreation items: Golf clubs - you will have plenty of time for this and the course on base (and driving range) is popular among students.  What's nearby?  Fishing, camping, rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, etc...  This is the outdoors state, remember?  Bring anything associated with these activities.  For the partial DITTY moving people, there is a convenient weigh station right on base.


Military Personal Loans - 24 Hour Service

Other (Support) Agencies On-Base:  Although Little Rock is a relatively large base, as a TDY member, don't expect anything more than rudimentary support.  Flight Physicals?  Forget about it - you better get it done prior to arriving at the Rock.  Mil Pay / Travel Pay is located in the MSSQ building - they will offer some basic services for your, i.e. print out LES, file certain paperwork, etc.  As far as helping you with PCS stuff (i.e. Alaska, Japan, and Germany bound folks) they are slow and irresponsible.  For the most part you will be treated like a leper because you are a "student" here.  If you are PCSing to Alaska, check out our Alaska PCS page.

You will be able to file an Accrual voucher while TDY - this is a monthly travel voucher (that you have to come in every month that you are TDY and fill out at finance) and you will get 30-days TDY pay each time (instead of waiting for the lump sum at the end of your 5 months at the Rock.  Plusses here are that you can keep some extra cash flow to pay for billeting and other TDY expenses.  The bad thing is that Finance constantly dorks up any piece of paper or form.  I have seen many an instant of this type of voucher backfiring (overpay, underpay, late pay, etc..)  so I am a big fan of getting one large sum at the end - further, I think that it is easier to track what the government owes you this way.  Questions on how to fill out a travel voucher?  Check out our Interactive Travel Voucher.

Final Words:  Enjoy yourself here; the course is long and Little Rock does offer a lot.  Don't be a recluse and lock yourself in the dorms.  Little Rock has plenty to entertain you.  The cops on-base are pretty overzealous and speed traps abound - so watch out!  Welcome back to AETC, remind yourself that it is Training Command...  Keep track of your paperwork and military pay - you are the only one responsible enough to keep track of all your billeting charges, your orders, your DLA, and all other payments -- years ago I was personally overpaid $1500 for copilot school - I caught the error, paid the government back immediately, then almost 12 months later, they asked my to pay the 1500$ (not realizing that I had already given it back).  Bottom line:  you are the only one that cares enough to keep your paperwork straight.  If you choose to do the split reimbursement (i.e. getting paid every 30 days) keep in mind that this adds more paperwork for the desk jockeys and they are definitely Junior Varsity at best.  Help me keep this gouge up to date - send in other tips, advice, anecdotes, corrections, etc.  For more C-130 Student Info and detailed phone listings, go to the official Little Rock AFB Student Page.  If you haven't already done so, check out all the downloads and information in the  C-130 Study Gouge section.