Grading Practices

At various points in UPT we had to take Check Rides for progress checks.  Quality control, if you will.  Check pilots were selected based on their skill sets, maturity and experience.  On occasion a ‘moron’ would slip through the system and wind up in Check Section.  Not often, but it did happen.  Kind of like this moron we now have as president…. Ahhhh.

Anyway, one day at Vance I happened to be in the my Section Commander’s office when a Flight Commander came in carrying a student grade sheet.  One of his students had just failed his Nav/Inst (navigation/instrument) check and the Flight Commander was on fire!  The only item Unsat on the grade sheet was ”Map Preparation.’  The student had neglected to circle his designated emergency fields in red, as directed by regulation.  Holy shit!

The protocol for a failed check ride called for two review rides, followed by an “Initial Progress Check (IPC).”  Therefore, “by the book” here, this student was looking at, at least two more “out and backs,” for a total of 4 sorties.   (An “out and back” is a sortie to an “out base,” then back home.  Two sorties.)

As the discussion continued, one of the Section Commanders suggested we give the student fly two out and backs, then have him turn in a new map for his Progress Check!  Funny as Hell!

I have no idea how it all sorted out, but the “grading practice” was not lost on me, and I called upon this incident many times in my subsequent years as an IP, Check Pilot and Flight Examiner.  While the standards and grading practices were very well defined, there is always room for “common sense” – for judgement.  “The ‘spirit and intent’ concept of the standard/regulation again.

The check pilot in this case was a young “careerist.”  A graduate of VMI, and very “rigid” in his mindset.  I don’t think he lasted very long after this incident…


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