Tuesday, December 13, 2011


After all of my initial qualification training was complete I had the opportunity to go to Spain for about two weeks in June of this year. We were supporting the whole Libya situation. I had a blast in Spain. The flying was actually a lot of fun and I learned a lot. The flights probably averaged around 8 hours or so, so the days were very long once you add a few hours on the front and back for briefings and paperwork. Since the whole thing was a NATO operation we had to work very closely with pilots and tactical air traffic controllers from other nations. I have to say that it was very difficult to understand what the French where saying. The neat part was that a lot of our receivers where from other countries as well. We saw a bunch of different types of fighter jets, and heard a lot of different accents. It is cool to see how everyone can come together and get the mission done, even though we come from different countries and different training programs.

As for Spain itself…..it is an awesome country! Luckily they didn’t have any restrictions on where we could go. As long as we were there at step time, and ready to fly no one cared where we went. The second week we were there I rented a car with a couple of other guys and everyday after our flight (we flew through the night and a lot of times would land around 7 or 8 am) we would hop in the car and explore southern Spain. We made it to the rock of Gibraltar, which was amazing. We saw ancient cathedrals, castles, and whole cities painted white. There is so much history in Spain. I loved it. I know a little Spanish, so I ended up being the translator for our group wherever we went and enjoyed brushing up on my Spanish skills.

Just shooting the breeze with some monkeys at the Rock of Gibraltar.
Foreign fighter
If this whole flying thing doesn't work out I think I might have a future in photography.

Ancient Roman bridge in Ronda, Spain.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some pictures

Altus, Oklahoma for KC-135 training.  One of my boys enjoying a ride on my back, but you have to appreciate the card table and lawn chairs for our beautiful dining room arrangement. 

My two boys.  The appartment was so small, but we difinitely made the best of it. 

In front of our appartment

Formation flying in T-1.  We definitely got a lot of practice flying in bad weather in Mississippi!

Finally another post! Graduation, Altus, and SERE

Alright I am going to make an attempt at getting this blog up to date, I know it has been forever since my last post and I know that most of you that used to read it have probably given up by now, but as I said in one of my first posts the main purpose of this blog is almost like a journal.  I want to write down some of the things that I am doing so I can remember them in the future.  I am just going to start writing about things that I remember so sorry if things are out of order or don’t make sense. So I graduated UPT on June 11 of last year (2010). I was at Columbus AFB, MS for Pilot Training. My Parents came out to graduation which was nice to see them since I hadn’t seen them in a while. I really enjoyed Mississippi, but let me tell you it is miserable in the summer. I am from Mesa, AZ, so I definitely know heat, but Mississippi is so humid it is ridiculous. I remember hitting the flight line in T-6’s in June of ’09. Our flight suits are long sleeve and then we had to wear G-suits, and parachute harnesses. We didn’t have A/C on the plane until we got the engines started. Let’s just say it didn’t take long to get very quick at my interior inspection and starting engines checklist. I can remember when my parents came to graduation I was pretty much sweaty the whole time. As a guard guy I had an added stress around graduation. The Guard Bureau for whatever reason said that I had to leave Mississippi the day after graduation and report to Ohio two day later (I was allotted two days drive time). This means I was busy packing up my entire house the last few days prior to graduation and trying to focus on my last check ride and get ready for my folks to come in town. The problem is that I am from Arizona and was hired into the Ohio Air National Guard. I didn’t have any family connections or anything in Ohio. I didn’t have a home or anything to go to in Ohio. Now you’re probably thinking alright dummy well why didn’t you just get an apartment in Ohio before finishing up in Mississippi. Great Idea! The only problem is that I knew I was going to be leaving to Altus, Ok (KC-135 initial qualification coarse) for five months just a few weeks after finishing in Mississippi. Altus is a TDY location meaning the Air Force doesn’t pay to move everything out there. Alright I know this story is getting boring so I’ll make it short. We just ended up renting a POD and having most of our stuff shipped to OHIO where it would sit for over 5 months waiting for us. We bought a little pull behind trailer and packed up the bare minimums and headed off for Oklahoma. Well actually there was about a month in between Mississippi and Oklahoma so we drove to AZ I dropped my wife and two little kids off with family and then I flew to Ohio for a couple of weeks to be with my unit. Then I flew back to Az picked up my little family and made the drive to Oklahoma.

Everyone that I had talked to about Altus always said it was going to be horrible. I actually didn’t mind it that much. I got there in July so at first it was pretty hot. We lived in a tiny little two bedroom apartment off base. We were on the second floor which wasn’t really fun. It was kind of funny though we used a little cot as our couch and literally had the bare minimums. We found a church there in Altus and made some friends. One guy that I had recently met at church was asking about where we were living and if we had furniture. I kind of half making fun of the situation joked about how we had a cot for a couch and within a few days I get a call from him that he was on his way over with a couch for us. He said it was someone’s from work that was going to take it to the dump. Now I have to say I was super thankful for his thoughtfulness, but this couch was the most hideous piece of junk ever. It used to be white leather, but was now a light brown color from probably being left out side and dogs making their way with it. It was gigantic too, so we ended up throwing half away and then cutting some of the cushions in half and throwing a sheet over it. Those were some good times. As far as the actual flying goes it is pretty crazy at Altus. The vast majority is done in the simulator.

Wow. So I wrote that post a couple of weeks ago with all intentions to post it right away. Obviously I didn’t and now it seems like such a long post about pretty much nothing that I can hardly read it myself. I do want to make more frequent blog posts because I have been doing some fun stuff and I want to remember it. So to wrap up what I was trying to say last post…….Altus was a good time. I brought my wife and two little kids. We stayed in a tiny little apartment off base. It was very hot at first and then it became very windy by the time I left. I only flew 5 actual flights in the jet the rest was all done in the simulator. Alright, that pretty much wraps up Altus, or as much as I feel like writing about it now. Maybe in the future I’ll come back and add some more about it.

So, I finished Altus the first part of December 2010. We made the drive from Altus, Oklahoma to Columbus Ohio with my wife and two kids. Lets just say portable DVD players are one of the best inventions ever, Definitely kept the kids busy. We arrived in the middle of the night in our little suburb home and slept on an air mattress in the middle of the floor in our empty new home. Maybe some other time I’ll tell you more about how we got our place in Columbus. It definitely was tricky. It is a HUD home that we got for a great deal, but I had to do everything from Altus. I found the place while visiting Ohio in between UPT and Altus and found a realtor to help me out. The process was full of hurdles from the get go being a HUD home and using a VA loan for our financing. I’ll save that story for later. I have to give my wife some props. She has been such a good sport about everything. I know it is not easy for her to leave family and friends to travel all over the country. It is especially difficult for her now that I am traveling a lot more and she is home alone with the kids a lot. She always keeps a good attitude though and I am so lucky to have her. Alright, back on topic. After spending about a month or so with my unit in Ohio I was off to Fairchild AFB in Spokane Washington to complete survival school, or SERE. Survive Evade Resist and Escape training is designed to train aircrew, and other military members that run a high risk of getting captured by the enemy, on skills needed to do exactly as the name implies, survive evade resist and escape if they find themselves downed in enemy territory. A lot of the training we received is classified, but I can tell you that it was one of the most diffucult/crazy/rewarding things I’ve ever done. Let’s just say 6 days in Northern Washington in the Winter with bare minimum equipment, no sleep, Snow everywhere, heavy packs, rugged terrain, snow shoes, and limited food and water is no joke.

After SERE I was back in Columbus for seasoning days; basically on the job training where I would fly anywhere from 2 to 3 times a week. I had a big long list of things that I had to accomplish before I would become fully mission qualified. On March 23, 2011, just over two years after starting the whole pilot training process, I finished everything I needed to accomplish and I became a fully qualified KC-135 co-pilot. That meant I was finally able to go on the road and do real world missions. My unit didn’t waste any time either. Since finishing Seasoning days I have been to Florida 3 different times, Tucson, AZ, California, Hawaii, Guam, Japan, and I am currently sitting on a jet over the Atlantic on my way home from a two week trip to Spain. I have had a great time, but I think this post is long enough for now. I will share the stories about these trips in the next post.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

T-6 Complete!

I was just reading my last post and I said that I was going to try to post more frequently, well....so much for that plan. A lot has happened since my last post. I am officially done with T-6s and am now in academics for T-1s. After my cross-country that I wrote about in my last post I finished up the nav portion of training, finished instruments, and then had my check ride. I was a little nervous because due to some last minute changes I was scheduled to fly my checkride to an airport that I had never been to. That was enough to make me a little uneasy, but it didn't help that the airport didn't have functioning DME (distance measuring equipment), so I had to change the way that I flew the aproaches. It was a little out of the ordinary, but I did fairly well and passed the checkride which is most important.
After instruments it was all about formation. At first I hated formation. I thought that what they wanted us to do should be illegal. It was so crazy. Flying an airplane at speeds of over 250 mph 10ft off the other guys wingtip is enough to make me feel a little uncomfortable, but once we got the "fingertip" position down we had to maintain finfertip distance in 90 degree bank turns. Then we were introduced to extended trail. Both planes set max power so that neither aircraft has a power advantage. Number 2 aircraft (wing) maneuvers to position himself a few hundred feet behind number 1 (lead), and then the games begin. basically it is a big game of chase. Lead begins to do all kinds of maneuvers like loops, barrel rolls, cloverleafs, lazy 8s, and cuban 8s. Both aircraft are now traveling at speeds ranging from 115 to 300 mph. The exercise is designed to teach the student how to use pure geometry and angles to gain on lead and stay in position without changing power settings. It is so crazy. Every time I would start extended trail I would immediately start sweating and after completing it my jaw would be sore from keeping it clenched the whole time. At first I hated it but toward the end I loved it. I am definately going to miss flying the T-6.
On November 17th we had track select. For all of the active duty guys in my flight this is a huge day. Track select is where you find out what type of aircraft you are going to be flying for the rest of your career. T-38s for those that want to eventually fly fighters, T-1s for heavies, and T-44s for C-130s. Since I am guard I already know that I am going to be flying the KC-135 so I knew that I would be tracking to the T-1s. For the active duty guys it is a big competition since a lot of them want to fly fighters. Out of our class of almost 30 guys 5 guys T-38s, 2 guys got T-44s, one guy was chosen to fly helicopters, and the rest got T-1s.
So, now I am back in the class room learning all about T-1 systems, and doing sims. I will be in academics until right before Christmas break. We are scheduled to fly one real sortie before we break for Christmas and then we'll finish up after the break....then I graduate in June. Time is going by so fast!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

It is time for a new post

It's been a while since I have posted to this blog. It has been so crazy around here. I am going to try to post more frequently now. A lot has happened since my last post. I will try to update you on all of the major things that have happened recently.
This past weekend I flew my cross country to practice approaches at different airfields. It was so fun! We took off on Friday afternoon and flew to Birmingham, Al to shoot a couple of approaches. Then we headed north to Huntsville, AL to fuel up. We waited a little bit for the sun to go down and then we flew a night sortie to Chattanooga, TN to shoot approaches and then off to Knoxville, TN to stop for the night. We met up with 3 other crews and and went out to dinner. Saturday we took off and flew over the Great Smokey Mountains which was really cool. We shot some approaches in Columbia, SC cancelled IFR and flew VFR to Charleston, SC. Basically we didn't use any navigational aids to help us find our way. We pulled out some low level charts and and flew off of land features and rivers and such. We landed in Charleston for fuel and then headed VFR along the coast to Jacksonville, FL for more fuel. Then we took off again and headed further south to West Palm Beach, FL. It was definitely one of the funnest things that I have ever done. On our way to West Palm Beach we flew right by Cape Canaveral and saw where they launch the space shuttle. On Sunday we flew to Tallahassee, FL for fuel and then we were back in the air on our way back to Columbus. There was a big storm in Columbus and we almost had to divert. It was pouring rain and visibility was horrible. I shot the ILS and didn't see the runway until we were on very short final for the runway. It was awesome. Well enough about that. This week we are going in late because we are going to be doing all of our night flying. I am looking forward to that. I like flying at night. A lot has happened lately so I am going to try to make another post again soon. I have to go now though....So long!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Family is back!

I know that it has been a couple of weeks....sorry. Things around here have been crazy. The biggest news is that my wife and two kids are finally back from Az. It is so nice to have them here with me. Besides the three days I saw them when Carter was born it has been three months....way too long! Flying has been going good and has been keeping my busy. It seems like there is never enough time to study for everything I need to know. I soloed on Tuesday of last week. It was so awesome! I spent about a half hour in the traffic pattern just doing touch and go's. After landing the guys from my flight were waiting for me to throw me in a tank full of water (tradition after solo). I thought that I would be sneaky so I didn't get on the normal crew bus and I walked the long way back ducking behind cars and using some good 'ol fashion ninja skills to try to get back to the flight room. The tradition is that if you can get back to the flight room without getting dunked everyone in your flight has to buy you a case of beer. I don't drink, but I still thought it would be fun to put up a fight. Well, I didn't make it back to the flight room, and was thrown into the dunk tank. I also took the weather test last week. People say that it is one of the harder tests just because there is so much information, and we take it during a time in the flightline when so much other stuff is going on that there is not a whole lot of time to study the material. I studied like crazy and was pretty happy with my score....missed three. I am scheduled to have my midphase check ride on Tuesday which I am a little nervous about. I have to go to bed. See ya!