How Good Was I?

Flying the T-38 was a ball.  I flew it as an IP for the better part of 13 years.   It was a ‘challenging’ airplane to fly, and it took work to be good at it.  To be ‘excellent,’ or ‘outstanding’ really took work.  And, I was never satisfied with just being ‘good’…

In the Spring of 1980 I received orders to Australia.  My last flight prior to leaving was on 6 Jun 1980.

Upon return I was assigned to the 560th FTS, again as a T-38 IP.  When I showed up, the squadron commander, who I had worked for at ATC Flight Safety before leaving, told me ‘they’ weren’t sure what to do with me as they were ‘overloaded’ in majors.  So they decided to put me through the PIT program again.  I was thrilled.  It gave me an opportunity to get “the lay of the land,” while again becoming current in the jet.

So there I was, in a class of 6 or 7 2nd Lts., 2 Saudis and a Captain or two.  Once the academic training and simulators were completed I found myself back in the jet on 30 August 1982.  The “D” Flight Commander and I flew for 1.2  hrs. and I think I laughed the whole flight!  It was if I had never left the jet.

At the debrief, Fred asked me what I thought about the ride.  I told him I really enjoyed myself, and felt right at home in it.  He then told me he was sending me to my check ride the next day!  Just unheard of!  YGBSM!

One ride for that part of the syllabus was the ‘minimum;’ six was the average.  I felt fairly confident when I walked out of the flight room, then I began to think about it.  One ride after being out of flying for over 2 years, then a check ride.  There was really nothing to gain by taking my check ride that soon – other than ‘EGO’ – and in those days, what the hell?

As it turned out, I didn’t take my check ride until 1 Sept. 1982, and it went fine.  I never gave it much of a second thought – flying the T-38 was just something I was very good at…

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