consists of approximately 87 flight hours, 50 simulator hours, and 320
hours of academics. Academics start in Phase I, but continue for about
the first 2 months of Phase II. In addition to flying and sims, your
time in Phase II will consist of RSU duty (monitoring the traffic
pattern from a small control tower located adjacent to the runway), and
weekly Emergency Procedures Quizzes (EPQs). Each day begins with a
formal brief, created and briefed by the students, that covers weather,
patterns trends, and flying restrictions, among other topics. This is
also where you will be faced with “Stand Up” Emergency Procedures (EPs)
that require you to stand at attention in front of your IPs and peers
while you talk your way through a scenario set up by one of your
instructors. Your flight will be on formal release for at least the
first couple months, so days will usually be 11 – 12 hours long with a
formal release at the end.
Primary phase of pilot training is divided into 4 stages. These stages
are further sub-divided into 4 – 6 ride blocks, with each block
requiring a higher standard of flying ability and comprehension than the
previous. Failure to meet the standard at the end of a given block, or
regressing below a previously established standard will result in an
overall grade of UNSAT, usually requiring you to repeat the ride.
fly the T-6 in the following stages:
1. Contact Stage
Here you will learn the fundamentals of flight under Visual Flight Rules (VFR).
You will practice take offs, landings, and touch-and-goes. You
will build your confidence as you perfect these maneuvers.
Landings are done in the military overhead traffic pattern - distinctly
different than civilian traffic patterns. Also, you will be
practicing simulated emergency procedures including no flap landings,
engine-out, and forced landing procedures. You will enter and
recover from the (practice) spin maneuver on most of your Contact
sorties as well in order to perfect your response in the event that you
find yourself actually entering a spin.
You will start all your contact work with a G-Awareness Exercise (G-Ex)
that tests your G-tolerance that day, and gets you warmed up. In the
working areas, you will perform stalls, spins, and recoveries from both.
T-6 Spin Video
Initially, you will be working on your habit patterns, building a
good "flow" for your ground operations (groundops) and establishing a
good instrument cross-check. In the landing pattern, you will be
working on pacing, radio calls, clearing outside of the aircraft, and of
course landing the plane. To help you memorize and execute these
procedures, you will find yourself chairflying these maneuvers at home
and also spending a lot of time in the
cockpit flight trainers at the squadron. These trainers are
mock cockpits complete with all instruments and dials and gages and even
the flight stick. Lots of repetition and visualization help you
commit the normal and emergency procedures to memory.
proving proficient at these maneuvers, you will practice aerobatics - to
include the loop, immelman, split-s, cuban-eight, clover leaf, barrel
roll, chandelle, lazy-8, and aileron roll. Your confidence will soar as
you take the plane solo - first in the traffic pattern only, then out to
the working areas to perform aerobatics. Nothing beats walking out to
the plane alone and flying it without the instructor!
Next, you will learn the basics of
instrument flight. Academically,
you will take the basic and advanced instrument classes, then you will
apply this knowledge in the flight simulator and aircraft. You will
study USAF instrument flight procedures and regulations. Your work
begins with establishing a good instrument scan, using steep turns,
vertical S, and confidence maneuvers. You will progress to flying
instrument approaches both locally at your home field and on the road at
unfamiliar airfields. Near the end of the instrument stage, you and an
instructor will take the plane cross-country and practice instrument
approaches at unfamiliar fields at a variety of out-of-area
destinations. While flying in this stage, you will be busy studying and
memorizing instrument procedures, flight rules and regulations, and of
course chairflying instrument flight. Your eight instrument flights
will be the only time you occupy the rear cockpit.
You will fly 2-ship formation with your classmates. You will taxi, line
up, and do a wing take off in formation. Once in the working areas, you
will perform your maneuvers in formation. The 'fingertip' formation is
just a few feet away from your wingman. Teamwork, communication, and of
course smooth flying is required for successful formation flights. You
will get to practice flying as the lead aircraft as well as a wingman.
As you progress, you will be introduced to Tactical Formation and
Extended Trail Level 3, where you will be doing lazy 8’s, loops, and
barrel rolls as a formation. Your confidence and skills culminate in
your formation solo flight - where you are a wingman solo in your
aircraft and are flying in formation with another aircraft. This is one
of the most rewarding flights in the program.
Low-Level Stage Only
2 sorties, these usually come near the end of Phase II. You will plan
and fly various low-level VFR routes. You will get a winds forecast,
analyze it and calculate how it will affect each leg of your low-level
route. Chart reading, navigation, and time control are concepts being
trained in this stage. Your goal is to identify and "hit" each turn
point and the final point on time and on target.
Checkrides are flight evaluations - think of them as mid-term exams.
They count for a huge portion of your grades. Each checkride involves
an evaluation of your flight maneuvers as well as detailed one-on-one
questions and answers session with your evaluator. Generally, a
stressful event, there are a total of four check rides in Phase II (2 in
the contact phase, and one each in instruments and formation). There is
no low-level checkride. Checkrides require you to plan and execute a
full 1.3 hours sortie with no intervention from the IP. In fact, there
will be no instruction offered on these rides. Unlike a daily ride,
failure of a checkride results in an immediate Progress Check, which
determines if you are fit to stay in the program.
challenging daily sorties and demanding checkrides, you will progress to
your Track Select. Based on your grades from daily rides, checkrides,
academics, and the all important Flight Commander ranking, your
performance will be broken down in to a numerical value and ranked
against your class. Your track for Phase III is determined by how well
you stack against your class, how many slots are available for each
track, and how many people want each track.