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…
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.
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.
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.