IFS CompleteAs of my last post, I was midway through IFS ground phase. I passed the exams I had upcoming at the time and proceeded to the flight phase.
Unfortunately, after my third flight, funding became unavailable for the IFS program as federal spending was restricted.1 I was put into an "on hold" status indefinitely, not knowing whether funding would allow me to resume flights or if IFS was going to be cancelled altogether. Each morning, I only had to sign my name on a roster to show I was still alive, so I started attending MCMAP classes to work on my gray belt. I also spent a lot more time at the gym… and the beach.
After about three weeks in purgatory2, I got a call from the IFS office letting me know I was back on the flight schedule, starting the following day. I completed my remaining flights, culminating in my first solo flight on 06 March 2013. That was a ton of fun! I posted the story of my first solo over on Reddit.
Click to read the story of my first solo.
As it turned out, once I was back on the flight schedule, I couldn't make it to the MCMAP classes, so I was unable to earn the gray belt. Once I finished IFS, I attended the next gray belt course, belted up, and was finally ready to start API.
A Short LeaveI mentioned in an earlier post that I was hoping to take PTAD in order to be closer to Robin while I was waiting for API, which was expected to be a several month wait. But as it often goes in the military, things changed3, and I was given an API start date immediately after belting up.
I requested an extra week to take leave one last time before getting pulled into the part of the pipeline where leave is unlikely to be approved due to the fast-paced nature of the training. I was very pleased to be able to visit Robin for a week. We got to spend time with her family at their beach house, and we even got to visit my brother and his wife in Pennsylvania.
We were very glad to get an extra week together.
Click each image to enlarge.
More posts are on the way today; I just broke them up in order to avoid having one gigantic post.
1. See Sequester (2013). ↩
2. For reference, my 3-week wait was very short compared to my roommate's, who was in the IFS class behind me: his class had received the physical materials but was put on hold prior to actually starting the ground school, and they remained on hold for nearly two months. They finally got the green light, and he completed IFS just two days ago. ↩
3. This, too, was related to the Sequester. Since IFS was on hold, I was one of very few people who was IFS-complete and could even go to API at all. In fact, many Navy and Marine Corps flight students were sent to API without IFS; they are being sent back to IFS after they complete API. ↩