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Mike's Adventures in Field Training

Part 7 - Columbus

We had a unique experience at the beginning of week 4, when they flew everyone to Columbus, Mississippi.  The reason was to give flight candidates (those with pilot and navigator slots) some incentive rides in training aircraft.  The rest of us were taken on tours of some of the base facilities and some T-38 simulator rides.

The T-38 Simulator: The only cool part of our trip to Columbus, Mississippi.

So, looking at the schedule, the flight candidates had flights scheduled all day, while us non-flyers had facility tours through the morning, but then in the afternoon the schedule was all PT.

When we got off the plane at around 6 AM, it was hot and stuffy.  It felt like it was about 92 degrees and around 99 percent humidity.  As the day went on, it got hotter and more humid.

So, we are doing all the tours, and they are all pretty boring (except for the 5 minute T-38 sim ride - that was cool, but too short).  The final tour was at 1130, and it was at the RAPCON - the radar approach controller (air traffic controller).  Since there is lots of computer equipment, they had a massive air conditioner, and so it felt really nice inside there.  We were really bored at this point.  The tour was scheduled for a half hour, but we were pretty much done in 5 minutes.  One of the FTOs announced that if we didn't have any more questions, we would be going outside to do PT for the 25 minutes until the bus came back to pick us up.  So what did I do?  I went into "geek mode" and asked lots of stupid questions.  So, we sat there for the whole half hour - in fact, I kept asking questions, but the FTOs made us leave.  (I was trying to avoid all PT for the afternoon; if they hadn't stopped me, I would probably still be there right now asking questions.)

After lunch we had to do some PT, but ultimately the FTOs were somewhat sympathetic to us, allowing us to go swimming for the rest of the afternoon for our PT.

When we left around 6 PM that night, I swear it was about 104 degrees with 100 percent humidity.  You couldn't see very far because of all the haze.  It was my first and last time to visit Mississippi.

Next: Part 8 - Final evaluation