Going into Monday I was a bit concerned about my airsickness that I experienced last week. I knew if I didn't get over it quickly, I'd have to go on medication and maybe some other "training" (ie, spin you in a chair until you get sick on the ground.....not fun!). In the morning I had a simulator designed to let me practice flying a normal sortie on the ground. It went really well, and in the end the instructor let me practice my landings in the pattern (which we sometimes refer to it as a closed pattern if we stay close to the runway and make multiple landings very quickly). Another choice we have in the pattern is to fly around a large rectangle that takes about 2 or 3 minutes to circumnavigate before we can make our approach to landing.
I was a little uneasy about being scheduled in the afternoon to fly (usually a little more turbulent in the afternoon), but it turned out just fine. The weather was decent and I got to practice all my maneuvers, including all my stalls, slow flight, unusual attitude recoveries, and a G-X exercise (where we practice pulling G's). The G-X is where I got sick on Friday, but Monday went really well. I think it helped that I was flying more so than my IP. I felt a little queezy while flying in the traffic pattern at Vance and at our Auxillary Field called "Dogface", but that's pretty typical for someone's third flight. In the morning, my sim IP reminded me to try to have fun while flying....I remembered him saying that when i was flying in the afternoon in the traffic pattern. To make some of our turns, we are only 500 feet above the ground at 200knots and are pulling up to 3 Gs sometimes. When I was flying part of the pattern, I looked down and saw the road that leads the front security gate of the base. Going 200 knots at about a 90 degree angle (a little steeper than I should have been)...I realized how awesome this was!! I started to really enjoy the flying, and would intentionally try to yank the plane into the turns as fast as I could, just for the fun of it. Not sure my IP enjoyed the ride in the back, so....sorry....
Tuesday we were cancelled for weather, but we flew again on Wednesday. I got a chance to perfect my maneuvers I flew on Monday, and this time I got all of them at or above the required standard. Again, we had a blast, but the weather was a little tough to navigate through. There was a point where I had to fly into a cloud during the recovery back to Vance, and had to rely on my instruments to get me back home. I felt a little disoriented at one point, because I was entering a left turn and didn't realize it. I looked up, it was all white outside, looked down, and saw I was in a 30 degree bank to my left on my attitude indicator. I quickly recovered, but it was a good lesson learned on focusing on the important gauges when flying in a cloud.
Wednesday night I read John 8:48-59. In this passage, Jesus says he is not seeking his own glory, but glory for his father. Man, if Jesus didn't seek glory for himself, how much more should I not seek it for myself! It was a good and much needed reminder for me to not seek my own glory in pilot training, but to somehow glorify God through what I do and say. It's tough when it seems like the Air Force is all about boasting about how well you fly or how bad you fly. Hopefully this blog will continue to show not how well I am doing or just how bad I'm doing, but how much God is blessing me this year. There will be some great flights, but it's not because of my own power that I flew well. It's only because God has given me the grace to overcome some of the obstacles. There will also be some bad flights that I fail or "hook"...that doesn't mean God has forsaken me. It only means he's trying to teach me something I need to learn, and haven't learned yet. Going into training brought me a lot of anxiety about trying to endure some of the hardships it brings about. But Romans 8:35-39 reminds us that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. When I am in Him, there's nothing left for me to fear, even in pilot training. I'm not there yet, but God hasn't given up on me yet :-).
Thursday I was at least 2 or 3 flights ahead of everyone else because I kept getting scheduled when the weather was good to fly. They took me off the schedule for that day and gave me an Emergency Procedures simulator where we practice what to do if our engine fails, get a fire indication in flight, uncommanded power changes, etc. The sim went well overall; I was a lot calmer about entering the emergency than the last EP sim I had. Scott, I took your advice about "winding the clock"....that helped a lot...thanks buddy!!
Friday I flew a similar profile to what I had earlier in the week, and just had a blast. The weather was almost perfect, with the exception of high altitude clouds. I still have a ton to learn and be able to do, but I'm very happy with where we are at. I have a great flight of IPs, and awesome students in the flight with me. Hopefully we'll all be able to get through this together. Thanks for the prayers everyone...we'll see ya next week!