A Pilot's day in the Air Force

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Tinito_16

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Unread post10 Oct 2010, 20:04

I've been wondering now, for some time, how is the typical work day for a pilot? Do you go in from 9-5 on the days you don't fly and the other days you come in depending on whether it's a day or night flight? How's it like to be an Air Force pilot, in the day-to-day kind of sense?
"Like the coldest winter chill, heaven beside you...hell within" Alice In Chains
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deadseal

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Unread post10 Oct 2010, 23:16

you work 12 hours a day....everyday. Sometimes more during exercises. but holy crap, when you strap on a viper it makes it all worth it.
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Tinito_16

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Unread post11 Oct 2010, 00:13

Hmm ok. But I take it you don't fly everyday, so what do you do on the days you don't fly? Learning tactics, that kind of thing?
"Like the coldest winter chill, heaven beside you...hell within" Alice In Chains
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SnakeHandler

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Unread post11 Oct 2010, 22:28

We call it queep. Queep is everything that is not driectly associated with flying fighters. If it isn't reading or discussing tactics or mission planning for the next ride, it's queep. CBTs, paperwork, tasking from higher up, things that leadership has deemed more important than what is supposed to be our "primary" job, and last minute "gotta get this done now" type stuff. It's all the stuff that used to be done by the enlisted OPS folks before someone decided that we should do more with less and cut the manning down. Vary rarely do we actually get enough time to study and get smarter like we should.
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JoeSambor

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Unread post12 Oct 2010, 11:17

Tinito_16 wrote: Do you go in from 9-5 on the days you don't fly and the other days you come in depending on whether it's a day or night flight?


If you ever in your life have anything to do with fighter aircraft, you don't work 9 to 5. Doesn't matter if you're military or civilian.

I still dream of a job where I can go in at 9 and leave at 5.

Best Regards,
Joe Sambor
LM Aero Field Service Engineer
Woensdrecht Logistics Center, The Netherlands
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fiskerwad

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Unread post12 Oct 2010, 17:28

SnakeHandler wrote:We call it queep. Queep is everything that is not driectly associated with flying fighters. If it isn't reading or discussing tactics or mission planning for the next ride, it's queep. CBTs, paperwork, tasking from higher up, things that leadership has deemed more important than what is supposed to be our "primary" job, and last minute "gotta get this done now" type stuff. It's all the stuff that used to be done by the enlisted OPS folks before someone decided that we should do more with less and cut the manning down. Vary rarely do we actually get enough time to study and get smarter like we should.


Jeez, Snake, I almost dropped my laptop when you said queep! Haven't heard that term since working with our pilot expert in training. LOL! Thanks for the memory flash.
Someone should really write all these down, queep, doofers, etc. :-)
fisk
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SnakeHandler

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Unread post13 Oct 2010, 02:14

All the queep is written down in the doofers.
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uncleslashy

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Unread post13 Oct 2010, 10:22

Tinito,

Not all Air Force pilots pull 12 hour days... but virtually all US fighter pilots do. It's demanding; you skip meals, shift your schedule several hours right or left from week to week, even spend "time off" thinking and planning for the next day(s). To answer your question in more detail, a flying day might look like this:
Show up to work: Anywhere between 0500L and 1100L (depending on Day/Night week)
Mission prep and brief: 2 hours
Step, start, taxi, takeoff, mission, land, taxi back, shutdown, fill out maintenance forms: 2.5 - 3.5 hours
Mission review and debrief: 1.5 - 3.5 hours (unless it's a FLUG-1, then it could reach 5+ hours :)
Queep: however many hours are left until you reach 12 hours from your show time the next day: 0 to 5 hours

A non-flying day might look like this:
Show up to work: Anywhere between 0500 and 1100
Perform Supervisor of Flying duties, vault duties, or other ground related activity: several hours
Stick a pencil in your eye: 1 minute
Wish you were flying: all day
Daydream about what it must be like for ANG Viper Pilots: 10 minutes
Queep: All the minutes you have available until you reach 12 hours from your show time the next day.
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Elliboom

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Unread post13 Oct 2010, 15:35

Just for laughs let me throw out a typical day in the life of a Tanker Toad. You have to remember that only the top UPT graduates go to the pointy nosed jets, so there is a small chance you will end up in a 4 engined airplane.

Flying Day

Show 0700-0800 depending on if it's a morning go or an afternoon go.
Mission Plan 20 minutes (really it's all canned in the computer machine thingy)
Brief to fly 20 minutes (really nothing ever changes)
Fly 2.5-4 hours
debrief 10 minutes (the boom does the paperwork, so what else is left)
Lunch 1.5 - 2.0 hours (We flew, that gives us the right to a long, off base lunch)
Bitching However much time is left until 1630


Night flying day

Show 1600-1615 depending on sortie takeoff time, but early enough to let the boss see you
email 1.0 hours
mission plan 5 minutes (the day schedulers did it all for you)
Brief to fly 10 minutes (nights are ruled by part-timers)
Supper run to Subway .5 hours
Fly 2.5 - 4.01 hours (over 4 hours = 2 days of pay)
debrief 5 minutes (again, boom does all the paperwork)
Head to bar However long is left until you told your wife you would be home

Non-flying day

Show 0800
Gym 1.5 hours
Shower .5 hours
break .5 hours
email 1.0 hours
vault study .5 hours
lunch 1.5 hours (hey we have to fly tomorrow, so we might miss lunch)
email 1.0 hours
break .5 hours
CBPO run 1.0 hours (that's commissary, BX and Post office run for those who don't know)
Sit at desk however long is left until 1630

As you can see it's a little less intense that the ACC world. Of course there is about 1% of the complexity to our mission as compared to the fighters, but somehow we still screw it up.
Last edited by Elliboom on 14 Oct 2010, 12:07, edited 1 time in total.
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deadseal

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Unread post14 Oct 2010, 00:50

omg...choke yourself.
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outlaw162

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Unread post16 Oct 2010, 23:19

From E’boom’s description of a typical Guard flying day I can see they’ve really clamped down since the old “flying club” days.

choke...

OL

(We always used more of a “window” for come home time, not necessarily on the same calendar day.)
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SnakeHandler

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Unread post17 Oct 2010, 01:37

My wife has learned that I'm going to get home as soon as I can. She's gotten used to the fact that I'm home when I'm home and not to expect me at a certian time.
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silversmok3

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Unread post23 Dec 2010, 16:16

^^^^ Dovetailing on Snakehandler's post, how do Viper/ACC tactical airframe pilots manage their home and family lives on that kind of schedule? Spending 12 hours on base either flying or on paperwork jobs then coming back home to take care of the family needs must be another level of demanding, so how do pilots manage that workload and a family at the same time?
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SnakeHandler

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Unread post24 Dec 2010, 20:06

Efficient time management. Do what absolutely has to be done today, try to get to the stuff that needs to be done tomorrow and chaff off anything beyond that. Our schedules are fluid more than 24 hours out anyway so don't bother to plan for anything. Especially time off. One week you could be getting ready for a UCI, the next you could be scrambling to get to Korea. Then the following week, back to getting ready for the UCI. So I've heard. When you get home, leave work behind and focus on the family. That way the few hours you spend with them each week are quality hours.

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