Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training
Phase 3 - Advanced Flight Training T-1 Jayhawk
After finishing Primary in the T-37/T-34 (Navy Training) / T-6, if you track select the Airlift/Tanker track you will fly the T-1 Jayhawk. The T-1 program is divided into 3 stages: Transition, Navigation/Low Level and Mission Familiarization. Each sortie will contain 1 instructor and 2 students. Students will each fly a mission in the front seat on the sortie. Students will get 1 flight where they essentially solo (2 student pilots and no instructor) and take the jet to another airfield, grab some food and then fly back to base.
1. Transition Stage
The Transition stage is very similar to the Contact stage in primary. Here you are transitioning to the larger T-1 and will practice takeoffs, landings and area work. Since you are Primary complete, you have a basic knowledge of aviation so the Transition stage will also expect you to be able to get yourself from location to location using NAVAIDS, GPS, Airways, etc…as well as shoot basic instrument approaches. On your way from home base to an airfield to practice your patterns and landings you will also enter an air work area (MOA) and practice steep turns, stalls and the vertical-S. These maneuvers are to help your basic aircraft control. You will have a checkride at the end of the Transition stage.
2. Navigation/Low Level Stage
The Navigation/Low Level stage is the “meat and potatoes” of the T-1 program. This stage has the most flights, most simulators and its checkride has the greatest overall effect on your standing in your class. In this stage there are 2 types of sorties, Navigation and Low-Level. For navigation flights you will go from home base to another airfield of your choice and shoot instrument approaches. You are expected to perform each approach within specific tolerances as well as navigate to and from each location using all available means the T-1 has to offer. The average sortie will contain 3-5 instrument approaches per student. Students will generally swap seats at the end of the first student’s sortie and the second student will go to another airfield for more approaches.
Low Level sorties are very similar to Primary low levels. You will fly published IR, VR or SR routes. Students will get forecast winds for the route, analyze their affect on each leg of the low level route and plan accordingly. Students are expected to run the mission on the ground to ensure they takeoff at a time to meet the entry time for the route, and control timing to hit each point on the route within tolerances. The checkride at the end of the Navigation/Low Level stage will encompass an instrument ride as well as a low level.
3. Mission Familiarization
Air refueling flights give students a chance to see A/R from both the standpoint of the tanker and the receiver. Procedures and radio calls are almost identical to those used in the operational world. Students will analyze winds and weather and analyze how it will affect their mission. Although the mission fam stage gives students the opportunity to see flights more similar to those they will fly after training, the emphasis of this phase is for the students to run the mission from brief to debrief without the aid of the instructors. Students are expected to be the Aircraft Commander and run the mission as so, dealing with any set backs on the ground or in the air by themselves. Another aspect that makes the mission fam stage unique is it is the only stage where the student will fly in the right seat and run the radios to get them ready to be copilots; all other sorties are flown in the left seat.
Columbus AFB 08-03 T-1 Flight Video
4. Rack and Stack
Every student in flight training is ranked based on certain criterion that determines where they rank in the class. Class ranking isn’t known usually until the very end. When you finish the program and are ready for assignment night, you fill out a “dream sheet,” a piece of paper that lists your preferences on what and where you fly. What you get is determined on what is available vs. where you rank in the class. Class ranking is based on checkride scores, academic scores, daily test score, daily flights, simulators and Flight Commander’s Evaluation (FCE). Check ride scores and flight commander’s evaluation have the largest influence on your mass score. The flight commander’s evaluation is based on how the flight commander, and the other instructors in the squadron see you. If you are a hard worker, helpful to your classmates, easy to get along with and do your best then you will more than likely have a good FCE. If you are a negative person and don’t bother to help classmates having trouble or with various tasks, they will see that and it will reflect negatively. Another reason flight training isn’t an individual effort, but actually a class effort.
5. Assignment Night
This will be one of the most memorable nights of your flight training career. Assignment night is the night you and your classmates will find out what you will be flying and where. For Guard and Reserve guys, it’s a non event since they already know, but for the Active Duty guys, it’s the night they’ve been waiting for since they started flight training. There will be plenty of drinks and good times had. To start the night off each class makes their final class video. There really isn’t any criteria for the video other than it must be funny. Many classes to spoofs off of movies (we’ve all seen Lt Dynamite) while others are completely original. Regardless the videos are fun to watch and fun to make. Family, friends, and more than anything, fellow students and instructors are there to share and support your class in their enjoyment.
6. The Daily Grind
The daily grind in T-1 land fluctuates as you progress through the program. After you finish academics, you will go “across the street” to the flightline. You will still have some academics classes but your main focus will be on the Transition stage. Up front in the beginning, the schedule is very rigorous. You will show very early (0430ish) for checking weather and preparing for your brief. You will then have an hour brief, and then “step” (head to the aircraft) and hour before your scheduled takeoff. After a 3-4 hour flight (depending on your stage) you will come back, debrief for an hour and prep for the next event of the day. Other events that will fill your 12 hour day could be stand-ups, shotgun, various academic classes, mission planning for the next day or studying. Keep in mind although the days are long and strenuous up front, they do get better and you do get better at managing them. Flight training is very front loaded meaning that the beginning of each stage you are very busy, but as you learn the material and figure out what is necessary, it demands less of your time. Also, you will finish all of your academic classes within a month of going to the flight line and that frees up an incredible amount of time. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.
For T-1 Study Materials and Gouge, check out the definitive T-1 Driver website.
Information courtesy of Stephen Grantier.
Military Flight Aptitude
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