Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Doldrums

The summer heat is finally here and I'm going through my annual slow down as I acclimate to the higher temperatures. Lots of progress to report but the clock keeps ticking and our deployment will be starting before we know it. Currently we're still working on getting all of the qualifications we can taken care of, since the more we do now the less we need to worry about as we mobilize. I've progressed to RL1 day/night meaning I'm a mission qualified crew chief for day and unaided night flights. I'm still working on my night vision goggle progression, I'm flight qualified (RL2) but not yet mission qualified. Since it doesn't get dark till relatively late that limits the number of flights I can do to once a week. I still have to work during the day... I should be RL1 NVG in July if all goes well.

Update: Got surprised with an evaluation flight - Now RL 1 Day/Night/NVG.

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In the civilian world I've now got my flight instructor certificate for Rotorcraft/Helicopter so that's another major milestone out of the way. I was hoping to get my Instrument Instructor Certificate before the deployment as well, but with all the things I have scheduled for the next two months there's no way I could complete it before we left, so that will be my first project when we get back. Until then I'll be getting current for my instrument rating and getting a little more practice in the R44. I may also be able to get some ground instructor certifications knocked out as well.
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This weekend we had our annual aviation safety day, a requirement for all flight personnel. Safety training is important, but all too often it is brutally boring. I'm happy to report that this year the Brigade did a fine job. Our keynote speaker was Astronaut Mike Mullane who provided us an excellent insight on some of the issues NASA faced during the shuttle program, and talked frankly about some of the institutional problems that contributed to the Challenger and Columbia losses. As a space flight geek for as long as I can remember I found his presentation fascinating. His book "Riding Rockets" is pretty damn good, too. The Army Safety Center was out and discussed some recent accidents and the Flight Surgeon an interesting presentation on the Swine Flu. No, really... He was good!