Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Flight school is moving along slowly. I have gotten to fly a few times, but my flights have been very spread out due to scheduling issues, weather, and other things. I don't feel like I am doing great, I actually feel a little overwelmed. Supposedly this is normal until you reach your solo. I miss my wife everyday, and only get to see her on the weekends. I love to see her, but sometimes feel like I am cheating. On my flight school girlfriend that is. 5 hours to drive to Jacksonville to see her. But it is worth it. Hopefully all of this stuff will pay divideds in the end, if we can make it there. Here are a few pics I haven't posted yet.

JR... out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I was so psyched to do this evolution in training. Growing up on the ocean, SCUBA diving my whole life, snorkling, spearfishing, jumping off of ridiculously high land objects into water- I thought this was going to be a breeze. Let me tell you: There is nothing natural about being strapped into a chair, turned upside down, underwater, and then climbing out a predesignated opening while getting kicked in the face by other classmates. Just my opinion. I had trouble getting the belt off the first time, and from that point on had a hard time relaxing. The video that is on this post I am in. The last person to surface (left side) was me. I got stuck behind a classmate and had to wait for him to find the exit and swim through before me. It was all good, I’m just glad I don’t have to requal for a few years…

JR… out.

New Threads

One of the perks of passing all of the academics of API is that you are authorized to start wearing your flight suit. The amount of Top Gun quotes and antics escalates to a whole new level of corny after you are issued and start wearing you flight suit, bomber jacket, and aviators. Here are some pics at gear issue of me and the guys getting our new threads.

JR… out.

One of the more fun aspects of API was the opportunity to swim almost every day. There was certain objectives that had to be met everyday, but the pool instructors did a great job of making it fun. The build up swims were designed to get you ready to swim a mile in a flight suit. You have plenty of time to do it, and everyone in our class passed the first time. We got to play water polo a few times, and that was a good time as well. The pool is probably one of the more fun parts of API.


School, School, and more School

I wish I could say that the information you learn in API was interesting. Hell… I’d even settle for useful or career enhancing. But (at least for me), it was none of these. API was a screening process. It was a test of wills. Some people may be used to studying every day, for a set amount of time. Not me. It was a struggle everyday to find the motivation to open the books you just put down a couple hours before. The classes were long, the material dry, and if it wasn’t for a few choice instructors and several class clowns, I think API would have been beyond miserable. The syllabus was basically 2 different classes during the week for a total of 6 academic hurdles (over a 4 week period). Aero 1, Weather, Aero 2, Engines, Navigation, and FR & R. Aero 1 and Aero 2 were hard science classes about “Aerodynamics.” You were instructed on power, thrust, fuel, control surfaces, and pretty much everything that could give you a base knowledge about how airplanes operate. The information learned in this part of the syllabus is a good building block, but the tests felt like they were designed to trick you… not test your comprehension or application of the information taught. Weather was straight forward… you learned about weather and how it applies to aviation and the dangers associated with different types of weather. Learning about the different types of engines used in aircraft was interesting, and out of all the classes I probably enjoyed that one the most. Navigation and Flight Rules and Regulations were the last 2 graded tests of API. Navigation had a reputation for being difficult, but I found that it was a more time consuming and nit-picky test than complicated. FR & R was basically the “Rules of the Road”, for the air. Hmm. It wasn’t that bad except it was shoved down our face in like 2 days- and then regurgitated on a 50 question test. I am glad the classwork of API is over, and glad to have moved on to Primary flight training. I feel like the things I have been learning lately are more real-life, critical to learning to fly items. More on Primary later.

JR… out.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Aviation Preflight Indoctrination. I started this beast a week or so ago, and it is consuming pretty much all of my time. My class has a good mix of Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy and Marines. We even have a group of Flight Docs going through with us as well. 36 or 37 strong, we are probably one of the larger classes. In class, we have been learning alot of physics and airplane characteristics over the past week. Most of the people who are rockstars in the class have degrees in physics or aerospace, or some other hard science degree. I have a BS in Workforce Education, and it isn't really pulling its weight here. All that really means is that I have to study more. I came to a realization the other day... I have always though of myself as an above-average student. Not the smartest guy in the class, and definately not the guy struggling to get by. I'd say most of the time I was just above average without putting in any extra study time or effort. What I realized here is this: everyone here (at least) is that same above average guy. There isn't many below average students here in flight school. Maybe here I am the below average student... I find myself studying harder and longer than any exam, midterm, or test that I have ever taken. The past week or so hasn't been very fun, and if you ask any of the instructors around here I'm pretty sure they would say it isn't meant to be. Thankfully, the swimming part of API is coming pretty easy to me, and the mile swim shouldn't be a problem at all. I will post more pics soon once we get into the "fun" stuff. See you guys soon.

JR... out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Had to do it...

Marc, the "Ramp Dancer", was my flight instructor for the past month or so. He made the mistake of showing me this video, knowing damn well I would probably post it. Should have kept this one in the closet buddy. ;)

JR... out.

IFS Complete

Well guys, I just cleared the first hurdle. "Initial Flight Screening" was a pain in the ass for the first week or so, and then you start having fun. My last flight was a Cross Country solo (no, I didn't actually fly across the country), and it went great. Marc... thanks for all of your help, you are a great instructor and you gave me the confidence I needed to finish up the way I did. You were the best instructor to go up with, and I was lucky to have you. I am looking forward to having a week or so off so that I can relax before I start the next phase (API). All of my buddies in API right now say they study a minimum of 3 hours a night and 8-10 hours over the weekend. Not too excited about that... ;) I've got some pictures and a You Tube video here to check out. Hopefully you will get a laugh out of the video, I had a laugh making it.

JR... out.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Solo baby!

It has been some time since my last post, and because I have some downtime today I thought it would be nice if I posted a little something. My flights were cancelled today due to weather so I get a day of rest and studying. I am almost finished with IFS! There is only a few more flights to go and then I will be on the waiting list for the next phase of flight school. I heard the wait isn't too long right now, but you kinda "hear" alot of garbage around here. IFS has been great. My primary instructor Marc Pompei is really cool, and a good teacher. I finally got my landings down about 1 flight before my stage check and solo. For a while I was so frustrated with my landings. I was told they weren't that bad, but I am really critical of myself... I guess I thought I would hop right in the cockpit and be Iceman. Anyhow... things are going great out here so far. Here are a couple vids and pictures of IFS. The videos will get better, I am about to invest in a miniature HD camera and will be taking many more videos/pictures.

JR... out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Initial Flight Screening

IFS. Initial Flight Screening. I was lucky enough to get selected for Bay Minette, Alabama for my training. Bay Minnete is a small town about an hour and a half drive one way from my apartment. If it wasn't for the long haul, it would be a cool place to train... but the drive makes it almost unbearable (we fly or ground school 6 days a week). The IFS program is supposed to screen pilots and navigators for the military so that if they find out you are not cut out for an aviation career, then Navy doesn't waste a bunch of money on you. Basically it is a week of 7 hour a day classes and on that weekend you start flying the Cessna 172 (like in the pics above). You are required to take the FAA exam sometime early the next week, and must pass with an 80% or better. Most people who don't have flight experience at all (like myself) study between 2-5 hours a day. I take my FAA exam tomorrow- I am a little nervous, but overall just want to get it over with so I can concentrate on learning how to land the damn airplane. I have flight 5 (actually my 4th flight, flights 1/2 are combined) tomorrow as well and I am hoping to get that landing thing down a little better. Might be a good idea. I should solo early next week, and be done with IFS sometime early the week after that. I will take some more pics ofthe 172's and of me flying once I get a little more comfortable. Well, enough playing on the internet... back to studying.

JR... out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flight school is go!

It is time. I officially start the first phase of flight school next week. We received our books and indoc briefs over the past few days and actually start ground school on Monday. I am pretty excited. The Navy is doing a "multi-tasking" survey/test that is supposedly going to become a part of the screening process for pilots and navigators. The pics in this post are of my class playing these "tests" (more like a bad Atari game with a joystick and throttle) while listening to a lady recite random numbers and letters in your ears. The object is to play the game (test) and push a trigger on one hand or the other depending on what the lady recites. Kinda frustrating, but it was fun. Check often... more to come soon!

JR... out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

St. Augustine Day-Trip

St. Augustine is becoming one of my favorite places to go on the weekend. Jimmel and I have frequented St. Augustine a few times in the past month, and keep having a great time. Cruising the shops on George Street, stopping by a pub to listen to live music (played by a woman with sideburns that would make Elvis jealous), and ending up at the beach with a few drinks on ice and a sun that is on its way out just makes for a good day. We even stopped by the Conch house one trip and saw the charters come in and show off their catches for the day. The icing on the cake was a small band that asked for suggestions as to how to sing Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville", and ended up playing my request for a reggae version. It was hilarious.

JR... out.

Renting Lake Woodbourne

After a few long conversations and considerations, Jimmel and I have decided to rent our home in Jacksonville. Jimmel is so close to completing her degree in broadcast journalism that the better move is for her to get an apartment in Jacksonville and finish her degree as quick as possible. As for me... I have gotten about as many freebies as the Navy is gonna give me (all of the TAD and Leave they have granted me), and it is time for me to start flight school. I class up for the first installment on June 10th. I have my apartment in P-Cola and Jimmel and I are planning on alternating taking the drive to visit one another. After making that drive like 6-7 times already... I am starting to get used to it. I am really excited to get started in flight school, but even more excited about the recent renewed commitment between my wife and I. Here are some pictures of us working in the yard...

JR... out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day from Mr. T

This is a ridiculously funny video that I saw a couple years ago. Great post for Mothers Day. Happy Mother's Day Mom, Erin, Ann, Evvie, and all friends. Enjoy!

Make sure you shut off ODEO music player (top right)!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Arts and crafts

Been wanting to mark up the walls in the apartment, and because I was so bored today I worked on this all morning. I am glad with how it came out, not sure what the next one will be.

JR... out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Accurate at 50 Yards

This morning I dragged myself out of bed to meet with Father David out in the woods at the Pensacola Rifle and Pistol Club. When I showed up he had a pistol loaded up for me and a target ready. He really went out of his way to hook me up, David is a real cool guy. Anyhow, I got to shoot a .22 revolver pistol in a practice NRA conventional pistol competition. It consisted of firing slow, timed, and rapid fire at 50 and 25 yards. Alot of fun, and yes... I am deadly. Lol, not really- but I did do pretty well for my first time (I was told)... it must be those sick Duck Hunt skills. It was nice to get out and do something different... and it was a great stress reliever. Thanks alot David, I had a great time.

JR... out.