Time for another TDY (temporary duty). This time I am headed to Pueblo, Colorado to see if the Air Force thinks I can handle the life of training to be a pilot. So after 4 years of ROTC fighting for a pilot slot and developing an order of merit score it all comes down to a four week school that makes or breaks your career. Just to list a few things that gets you a pilot slot (when combined)….Stellar performance at basic training for officers, great scores on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, flying hours, testing well on the Test of Basic Aviation Skills hand-eye coordination test, hard work through ROTC, and a lot of this combines to give you a PCSM score, or Pilot Candidate Selection Method Score. Oh…and once selected 3 days of physical testing to make sure you are in the best possible shape with no medical conditions.
It is just crazy that after all that there is yet another weed out process, but I am hoping that with good preparation and hard work I will make it through IFS too. I will keep you updated as I go through the course. Here is a breakdown of what the course is going to be like.
Where it All Begins
Initial Flight Screening (IFS) and Navigator Introductory Flight Training (NIFT) are prerequisite programs to introduce Active Duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve Officers and ROTC cadets, who are candidates for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) or Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training (SUNT), the basics of aviation and navigation before attending SUPT or SUNT training. The IFS program was preceeded by the former Enhanced Flight Screening Program (EFSP) which flew the T-3 Firefly aircraft. Following the grounding of the T-3, IFT and subsequently IFS was created.
Daily Schedule at IFS
The first week of Initial Flight Screening (IFS) consists of academics. Day one is about 10 hours of typical AF welcome briefings and a PFT. The rest of the week consists of classroom academics for 11 hours a day and one hour of PT with the trainers in the gym. From the second week on, you will show up each morning in the flight room at a specific hour (this time changes for every flight and rotates weekly) for a formal brief.
Each morning, the Formal Briefing is led by one of your flight mates followed by the Stand Up Emergency Procedure (EP) that is performed by a randomly chosen flight member. The rest of your day is usually spent either flying, in the cockpit trainers they have downstairs, working out in the gym, the cafeteria, or in the flight room. You are required to complete 12 hours of Physical Training (PT) by the time you leave and they take the sign-out sheet away at 1500 so usually people try to get as much done early as possible.