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Old 05-16-2008, 09:51 PM   #1
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First flight!

I know I haven't been around here much lately. I've been swamped with lots of training at work. I haven't even been able to work on my bus for two months now. But I'm almost done and then I should have more time! WOO HOO! Anyways, I've been in the Air Force for over 10 years now. Been a heavy aircraft mechanic the whole time. A little over a year ago, I retrained to flight engineer. I was away from home for about 4 months for training. Couldn't work on the bus then either. The past few months have been pretty intense. Hence my absence here. Anyways, I had several months of training in the simulator for my plane (the E-3 AWACS). They finally turned me loose today for my first flight! WOO HOO! Man I'm stoked. I love having a job that I look forward to going to! As a flight engineer, I sit right behind the pilots and I have a panel where I operate and monitor things like the hydraulics, fuel burn, weight and balance, pressurization, electrics, air conditioning, etc. I also plan the flight data, start and manage the 4 jet engines, coordinate, and manage the fuel onload when we do midair refueling, and handle any in flight emergency that might arise. I push the throttles up on takeoff as well. It's too much fun! So, I've worked pretty hard to make it to where I'm at and I'm just on cloud 9 today! I hope you guys understand!
Here's some pics of my day at work today. We flew over Michigan, but I couldn't see Jason's bus. Too cloudy.



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Old 05-16-2008, 10:40 PM   #2
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Re: First flight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldSkool
Thumbs up man!!

I still remember my first solo (private pilot) like it was yesterday. never flown a heavy, or even sat in the cockpit of one, (other than some older planes on the flightline at EAA in Oshkosh), but I have Flight Simulator X. I fly all the little planes like a nut, but I love to fly the heavy's on a mission, and try and do everything as it should be done. Its a trip.. good for you!
Nice! I got my private pilots license back in 1996. I remember that first solo too. I was pretty nervous. A lot more nervous than I was today. Both of my parents are private pilots as well, but don't fly any more. My dad and I both fly powered paragliders, but we don't log the hours. I did heavy aircraft maintenance for 9 years. 6 of those years were spent doing maintenance on the jet I'm flying on now. Since I'm the systems expert on the plane, all of my avaition experience really came together for this job. I never get tired of flying. My job now is going to get me in the door to be an airline pilot when I retire from the Air Force. Then I will have several buses. The Air Force has been really good to me.
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Old 05-17-2008, 02:36 PM   #3
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Re: First flight!

"What does this button do?"



congrats man!
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:20 AM   #4
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Re: First flight!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
"What does this button do?"

congrats man!
Not QUITE as complicated as it looks. Everything on that panel is organized in a somewhat logical manner. I did maintenance on this jet for 6 years, so that really helps. However, I have to know what each button, switch, and knob in the entire flight deck does. When I press a button of flip a switch, I have to know what it does, where it is, what to expect, how it affects its system and other systems, and what to do if it doesn't work. I had lots and lots of hours in the sim before they turned me loose with the actual plane. An AWACS is worth about $1 Billion in today's dollars. I hope I don't break anything. At the time they were built (late 70's and early to mid 80's), they cost around $350 million to build. They have had a lot of upgrades since then. Most of the upgrades have been done to the back of the plane where the mission crew sits. There's 19 people in the back that control fighter jets and bombers in battle. I don't do any of that stuff. Flight engineer is a dying career field. There are still civilian flight engineers on big jets like the 747, DC-10 and the 707, but the jets they are building these days, don't have FE's. It's all done by computers. Planes without FE's have a 60% higher crash rate. But my FE career in the Air Force is safe for a long time to come. The Air Force has lots and lots of planes that need FE's. I just don't plan on being one when I retire. I should have my commercial pilots license knocked out by then and will fly for Fed Ex or something like that. Then I'll drive my neighbors nuts with my collection of school buses!
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