Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 12:11 am
What does the regular day look like as a fighter pilot.
Not on deployment or cruise. And also what does the normal day/schedule look like at UPT?
Re: AD schedule
Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 12:50 am
UPT is basically 10-12 hours a day, five days a week until your class gets behind the time line, then all bets are off. We had a guy taking his NAV check on graduation morning. He passed. AD operational schedules vary on service, weapon system, flying hour program, range availability. ORI planning, base exercises.
Re: AD schedule
Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 7:22 am
Just to expand on GalaxyFlyer's post. During UPT, for the USAF only, you have the T-6 and T-38 phases. The training starts off with a heavy emphasis on sim training. So for the first week, you will do nothing but sims. Most likely 2/day. You alternate between early week and late week, while your other section in the class does the same. So on early week, during the beginning of training, you might have a 0400 show for the mass briefing in the Flight Room. There is a great deal of intimidation that goes on during the 30ish minute briefing. People are called on to randomly spew out the correct Boldface procedure required for the situation which is being discussed. I hesitated to use the word, intimidation, but it is critically important to make the Boldface a "no-think" reaction. If someone screws up the Boldface, it's not uncommon for them to be removed from the schedule for the day and be relegated to snack bar duty and study. After a week or so, you have your first flights and the sim schedule might be one/day. But as GF pointed out, plan on 10-12 hour days especially in the beginning of each phase. As you get further along with the training, the pace relaxes somewhat. Sims are generally done by then but you will normally be scheduled to fly 2/day. When you progress to the next phase, it is deja vu all over again. I can't speak of the T-1 but I was a T-38 instructor at Reese and then went to Randolph to train pilots to be instructors but the T-38 phase is a lot of work but extremely rewarding. Again, there are a lot of 12 hour days. If the class is on the timeline on ahead, life is good. If it is behind there are some days where you will fly 3 times, or in UPT talk, "triple bang"!
For active duty, it's not quite the same. For an active duty and reserve/ANG squadron, the most important thing is not to run out of currency. Sounds obvious, but it does happen. For example, you need one night tanker per quarter, during the winter that is easy to get, but during the summer it becomes problematic. If you go noncurrent, you become non-mission ready, which is not a good thing. It is eventually up to you and scheduling will try to watch the requirements but they won't take the fall for you! Normally, if you aren't scheduled to fly, you don't go to work. However, my pet peeve it guys who love to log facetime! If you are flying, the squadron will have showtimes for sorties and it is not uncommon to have a show time 2 hours prior to TOT (take off time). That allows for a flight briefing, time to get your PE taken care of and get your preflight accomplished. If you happen to have a GIB, then you will also have an individual briefing. Then after the flight you have a de-brief which can vary from normally 30-60 minutes. Obviously, if you are deployed, that is a little different, depending on where you are and what the tasking is.
It isn't like a "normal" job in that there are no office hours, generally, no one is looking over your shoulder. If you are a FNG, you will find you are watched a little. My first flight briefing was about 2 minutes long. The flight lead's briefing consisted of all he wanted to hear was "bingo fuel, and lead, I think you are on fire". That is it. Perhaps there was a little more but time has surely erased it. Like any other job, there are days where you will have 14-16 hour days, but those are really rare. To me personally, I loved it and really enjoyed it.