Monday we spent time in the CAI lab learning about several of the on-board systems to include the different flight computers and instrument displays. We received a decent amount of snow last weekend which delayed our PT test from Monday afternoon to Tuesday afternoon. Although we weren't running in snow, the winds were around 20knots and it was only about 20 degrees outside. The new Air Force PT standards actually has a rule that says you can't test in weather that cold with that much wind, but those standards don't apply to us until this summer apparently. So, Tuesday afternoon's run in shorts and a t-shirt was pretty chilly.....!
Tuesday morning was spent in the CAI lab learning about the Navigation systems, Communication systems, and GPS systems on the plane. A lot of the slides we were reading attempted to explain how to use the radio stack to go through different functional menus. The instructions would read something like "Press the left function key, pull the inner knob and rotate clockwise 3 times, rotate the outer knob twice, clap 3 times and wink once and you have now arrived at the NAV2 page"..... Yeah, obviously that doesn't really work for my personal learning style! To help us, the instructors took us to the lowest level simulators known as UTDs and gave us an hour each to practice working with the radios and GPS units as well as a few other systems. The UTD is a cockpit mock-up without a visual screen, so you can't really see where you're flying. But all the buttons and switches work and light up as if it were the real thing, which is good enough for what we need it for right now.
Thursday we took our first systems test on the computers in the CAI lab. After finishing the 47 multiple choice questions, I stood up as instructed to do so to singnal an instructor that I was finished and ready to be graded. He hit the grade button and it came back that I missed a couple, but passed with a 95%. You only need an 85% to pass, but I was still mad that I missed a couple. My slight anger was further encouraged when my computer proceeded to eat my test score and claim I never even took the test! Luckily the instructor wrote the score down when he hit the grade button and we eventually got the problem fixed about an hour later. Hopefully this week's test will be a little less eventful....
Friday we learned about the Fuel and Electrical systems as well as the propulsion systems through about 4 or 5 hours of CAIs. After everyone left for the day, I stayed behind in the SIM building and got some alone time with a UTD simulator. Even though you can't see any visual cues of where the aircraft is, it's still useful to work with the instrument panel. I could see very easily how you can become task-saturated in a matter of seconds with all the information that's in front of you.
I'll have plenty of time this coming week to continue learning about more systems and some of the operating procedures. Oh, forgot to mention, our class passed 3 boldface/ops limits tests in a row, so we are now permanently in flight suits at least until after Academics! It may not sound like a big deal, but when you're told you no longer have to dress up in blues and instead get to wear a giant green sleeping bag to work everyday, it's kind of exciting, haha!!
Until next week.....