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Rambler 1-1

Biting the Bullet

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Hey guys, I haven't been around here much lately, and there's a pretty good reason for that. The long and the short of it is, I have my application in to the Royal Military College of Canada, through the Regular Officer Training Program, to be trained as a Pilot in the Air aspect of the Canadian Armed forces.

 

The paperwork for the original application was ridiculous, and it took a week of work and research to fill out. After I got that in, there were the aptitude tests with their ridiculous time limits which were supposed to judge both our knowledge and how we handled pressure. Then there was the interview. Oh, the interview. An hour-long interrogation of why I am stupid enough to want to be a pilot, interspersed with warnings that I'll never make it.

 

Somehow, I managed to get through all of that, and then moved on to the medical hurdles. Mandatory Category 3 medical, plus examinations by two Canadian Forces physicians, sight, hearing, reaction, range of motion tests, a full eye exam with dilated pupils and everything (turns out I'm 20-15, which apparently is pretty good), then blood tests (bucket O' fun!), cardiograms, orthodontic and orthopedic release forms, and a few tests which just seemed silly.

 

I got all that in, and after a couple weeks, got a call from the Recruiting Center telling me that I had been selected for Aircrew Selection at CFB Trenton from the 28th to the 4th. Basically, I'll be flying flight sims for three days so they can see how ham-fisted I really am with a control stick, then a couple days of physiological tests in Toronto. They say there's a 45% success rate, which leads to a 75% success rate in Pilot training. I guess I really get a chance to see if I have the Right Stuff.

 

Anyways, my transport orders came in yesterday, outlining commercial flights to Toronto from my home town here, and back again a week later. $900 in airfare, government-funded. Yes! Finally on the right side of the Government's spending!

 

Anyways, my semester in school is sinister (Chem 12, Physics 12, Calculus 12, English 12, Religious Studies 12), and I'm also applying for the Glider Pilot Scholarship through the Air Cadets in case the Pilot Training falls through, which means more paperwork, medicals and interviews, but somehow, everything is falling into place. If I can find any free time, I'll post an update or two on how things are going. I really miss just being able to sit down and play some SF2:V, then BS about it here.

 

If all goes well, though, I'll have a lot more then just flight sims to BS about!

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I hope it all works out.

Obviously, you have gotten past a lot already :)

But you still have a long way to go.

 

In retrospect, even if my vision had not disqualified me, I am pretty sure I would not have made it through the Air Force Academy.

On the other hand, when I resigned from the USMA at West Point early in the first fall semester, I had absolutely nothing to motivate me to stay.

Would the promise of a chance of becoming a pilot have kept me there?

 

As it stands, the path I ended up taking was a fairly long hard road, but got me to the point where I am as happy as anyone can be.

My only regrets after all of these years are never having served as an officer and never having gotten a pilots license.

 

I hope you can keep us updated about your progress... all the way to the day you are flying real missions in whatever aircraft you ultimately drive!

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OOOHHHRRRAAAHHH Canuck!

Give it he!!. :good:

Hopefully CF-18's or CF-35's.

Being a 'driver' is worth all the work and the pains in your 'you no what'. :yes:

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Thanks, guys! I've been taking a lot of flak for this lately, so it feels good to have some support!

 

I'm really hoping for fighters, but I know it's an especially long shot. I'm 6'2 and almost 200 pounds, so I might not meet the size restrictions. C-130s, CP-140s or helicopters seem more likely, which I'll be more then happy with. Flying is flying! Heck, even being around planes is good enough, but I'll always want to fly them.

 

The training program looks great; First Grob G-120s, apparently a real sweet plane to fly (they have JOYSTICKS!). The training officer at our Cadet squadron was a member of the trial team. After that, there's PC-9s, which I have always wanted to go up in. They're so graceful! Then there's Hawks, new ones, which I don't even have to explain. They're nothing short of fighter jets.

 

I can't get too worked up though, because i know there are a lot of other people who are probably better qualified then I am. I have to study hard for the selection tests and manage to keep up my grades if I really want anything to become of all this. It sure is great to have something like this to be working towards, though!

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Rambler,

 

I have one piece of advice.

 

Show up every day ready to fly. Unless you are sick, you've had a death in the family, etc...give 100% every day, every sortie. Period.

 

Instructors like students who are motivated, knowledgeable, and humble. I always gave guys the benefit of the doubt if they stayed in there swinging. There will be good instructors, bad instructors, and ugly instructors...but treat each of them with respect, because you will have to deal with all types of people or crew when you fly. That means being proactive, and taking your lumps. During the debrief especially. There are going to be times where you will want to quibble on a result...I wouldn't recommend it. Remember, instructors usually have nothing else to do than watch you, so 98% of the time, they will see stuff LONG before you see it.

 

As an addendum, when you have time off, take some of that time and enjoy it! If it's a weekday program, take one day on the weekend to study, and another day to totally not even look at a book, manual, etc. Otherwise, you will burn out.

 

FC

 

PS

Thanks, guys! I've been taking a lot of flak for this lately, so it feels good to have some support!

 

Tell the folks who are giving you flak to pound sand. If you're lucky, you'll get to be a pilot, perhaps even a fighter pilot. Quite frankly, true pilots really don't care if other people look down on their profession. Real military pilots care most about the opinion of the bros/comrades in arms....how respected they are by their fellow aviators.

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update!

 

Got the letter with all my instructions and everything today. Fly to Toronto, catch a bus to Trenton, take a taxi to the base. Rations and quarters for a week, with "plenty of free time" after the tests, during which I can enjoy the on-base gym, pool, and running tracks. Is this a selection process, or a vacation? It's good news, actually, because I'll probably need that time for school work.

 

If I pass the Pilot tests, I'm gonna need some $800 for hotel room and food in Toronto, which will be paid back eventually. I'm also going to try to contact a friend of my friend who is attending the course at the same time as I am, seeing as we might be spending some time together.

 

I'm supposed to wear "Casual Civilian" clothing, with no denim jeans. This is unfortunate, because I just realized that I have no pants except for jeans. Time for some shopping!

 

I also have Review Boards for Cadets on Friday evening, which should be a load O' fun. I just looooove interviews!

 

Anyways, the excitement continues. My mom is super stressed about all of this, but I'm really looking forward to all the action. I love a challenge!

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Go for it man, it is quite hard to have such a chance. Many of us here couldn´t even dream of it because of any kind of impairment, either eyes or whatever. All of us woul give our nuts to be there, so go ahead and accomplish it. Do it for us man, for those who couldn´t. Become an angel so us, poor mortals, can see that someone can make it thru. It is simply brilliant.

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Review boards are done with! I think it went pretty well, but on the drive there I scuffed one of my boots pretty badly... and I only named 3 of the 4 types of propellers correctly... but I'm still pretty confident.

 

Anyways, my gear is all packed and I'm eagerly awaiting my flight tomorrow morning. Even if I'm part of the 55% who don't pass, this is still gonna be an awesome, government-funded adventure! If only I didn't have chem, physics and calculus to deal with...

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All right, I am now reporting from the 8 Wing Accomidations hall at CFB Trenton, Ontario! I arrived on saturday night and had all sunday to check out the base. Not too cold and a little snow, but i was amazed to see that the bay of Quinty here is totally frozen over... that never happens back home in B.C!

 

Anyways, I walked the couple of miles down to the RCAF museum at the end of the airfield. Beautiful museum, biggest one I`ve ever visited. The last Handley-Page Halifax bomber in existance is here right now, and it`s beautiful. I even got to go inside and take a few pictures, I`ll fill in on that story later.

 

Unfortunately, the outdoor displays were closed, which is a shame, because there were some beautiful planes out there. Oh well. I`ll have to come back in the summer.

 

It`s amazing to be here at a CF base, back home we never get any military aircraft at all, and right now, there are three hercs and a polaris parked on the ramp. It`s awesome!

 

This morning, we had our first session in the CAPSS trainers (Canadian Automated Pilot Selection System), which is basically a Link trainer. Fly the instruments, fly the instruments, then look over your performance graphs. I really enjoyed the first section actually, I just feel really at home in small, dark, cramped cockpits. =P

 

Well, I`m mooching this computer off of one of my classmates (his computer is in french, so right now, spell check en français is sh!tting des bricks), and I`d best get in a good night`s sleep for tomorrow. Two more sessions in the sim, then some chest x-rays to see if I have a heart and stuff.

 

I`ll try to update here as often as possible. Per Ardua Ad Astra!

 

P.S- the food is REALLY good. How do they expect us to be homesick if they feed us this well?

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I Passed! I PASSED! I freakin` passed Aircrew Selection! I`m part of the 45%! YEAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

 

My second and third sessions in the sim were on tuesday, and it sort of burst my bubble. Standard rate turns are a pain when your turn rate indicator and ball have minds of their own... then adding climbing and descending to the mix, and my graphs which were so smooth on the first day turned into undulating masses of shame. It looked like I had Parkinson`s syndrome.

 

I collected myself for the fourth and final session on wednesday, though. We were to first fly two circuits at contant altitude doing standard rate left turns, then we had to do three traffic patterns, taking off, climbing and flying the circuit, descending, and finally landing. We had a display to show where we were in the pattern, but otherwise we were still blind. To make things even more interesting, in order to pass, you had to put the thing down and keep it on the runway which you couldn`t see. And did I mention that the controls are so sensitive, actual movement isn`t necessary? It`s practically pressure-sensitive.

 

Anyways, the takeoff was okay, then things started going to hell at the first climbing turn. Turn rate too low, way outside the path, gotta correct, remember to level off at circuit altitude, don`t forget about the throttle, watch that damned bank, okay, turn back to intercept uh-oh i gotta make another turn right now the damn thing is settling come on you dog keep the nose up.... ...and so it went.

 

Remind me to tell you all about Bob, the CAPSS voice, once I`m on a computer with an english keyboard, that has quotation marks.

 

Anyways, despite my obvious best efforts, I managed to put the sadistic little trainer down on the invisible runway in the same place three times in a row. I don`t know how such a thick-headed, ham-fisted moron such as myself managed to pass, when all my contemporaries seemed to outclass me as far as I could tell, but i guess my graphs held some integrity after all.

 

Last night the eight of us who passed departed CFB Trenton for Toronto. Today we had medical tests here in from 0800 to 1600, and it`s 0045 local as I`m typing this. I have tomorrow (Friday, aka later today) free, and my flight heads back home at 1000 on saturday. If anybody happens to be in the neighborhood, drop me a PM! =P

 

Like i said, I`ll share my best stories once I get some time and track down a comp with a proper keyboard. TTFN!

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Hey guys, quick update here.

 

It's been a week since I last posted, so I should finish things up. I'm now safely and happily back home, typing on a computer that understands English. Oh, the luxury!

 

The medical testing was supposed to be done over two days, but we managed to git 'er dun in one killer, eight-hour day last Thursday, which involved a LOT of waiting. I'm glad I brought a novel along, because I finished it in the waiting room alone. The other guys played cards, built towers out of whatever, read whatever they could find, slept, played on their phones, and we pretty much just sat around a lot. It was a big change of pace from CFB Trenton.

 

We each got a cardiogram, a heart ultrasound, a really strict hearing test, some vision tests, a breathing test, a basic medical examination and history check, and then the crown jewel of the CFACSC Medical Testing, the Anthropological Body Scan. One at a time, we went into the room, stripped down to our skivvies, donned a pair of olive-drab overshorts, paper slippers and a red hairnet, then sat in a blue room where we were scanned to see if we actually fit in the airplanes we want to fly so badly.

 

All of this was much to the amusement of the two junior NCOs who were assisting the doctor there; They never hesitated to remind us how stupid we looked. For example,

 

Me, trying to lighten the mood while I'm sitting there being scanned: "So, what website are you posting these pictures to?"

Staff NCO, dryly: "Facebook. And Twitter."

Me: "Oh really? Any comments yet?"

NCO: "Yeah, Bob from Regina says 'mmmm, I'd like some of that'".

Me: =(

 

So we all went out for dinner after that raja was over, sort of a "so long, good luck" dinner as some of the guys were leaving the next day. My roommate and I had our hotel for two more days, and our flights left on the Saturday, so for the next couple days we just lurked around Toronto, just having a good time. Man, was it ever a good time...

 

Anyways, here I am back home, hoping that in a few weeks I get a letter offering me a spot at RMC, and later Pilot Training. Fingers crossed...

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