Tons of Questions! Navy vs. Marines vs Air Force, Heavies vs. Fighters…

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These questions go mainly to any aviators/pilots in any branch, and any ROTC graduates. I have looked deeper into aviation and life in other branches (mainly Air Force and Navy). I have gone over the perks of all of them, and I’m still over thinking it. I want some real feedback just for peace of mind (I don’t want to worry about my career for the next 8 years).

Here are some:

What are the differences in ROTC programs? I know about Navy cruises and Air Force field training, but I would like details about the school year and especially summer experiences.

How many hours do Naval aviators (mainly strike/heavies) get in comparison to Air Force pilots? I’m not going to be in it for hours (duh), but just curious.

I’ve heard that NROTC has more opportunities for pilot slots than AFROTC, but you are likely to get choppers, is this true?

Marines guarantee pilot slots?

I know this makes it sound like I’m looking for the easiest way in, but I am truly not. I understand that once commissioned, one is an officer first, pilot/aviator second. Now for my other questions.

I know that heavy pilots get more hours than fighters (generally), but fighters get more PIC and tactical flying. As a deployed/US-stationed fighter pilot (Navy or Air Force) do you fly a significant amount (not as much as heavies, but at least weekly)?

I am highly attracted to Air Force tech/aircraft/benefits (I’ve heard AF has good quality of life), yet, if I didn’t get a pilot slot, I think the Navy has a more interesting lifestyle to me. I am also stuck between AFROTC or NROTC. Help me? I am also worrying that if I ever get a pilot slot in the Air Force, I will be forever jealous of Navy life on a ship/carrier landings.

Can Naval Aviators transfer to the Air Force for heavies?

Can an Air Force fighter pilot transfer to heavies later in a career (can one fly an F-16 and a C-17 in one career)?

I know this is all way ahead, and highly optimistic (I’m no superhuman, there is no guarantee for an ROTC spot, much less a pilot slot), I am just confused about my choices. Bottomline: I can’t decide between branches (Navy/MC/AF), and don’t know what I want to fly (heavies vs. fighters).

I have researched training, life, and ROTC over and over. I just would like some real advice. Thanks again, sorry if I sounded arrogant.

-Graham

Extra info: I am not worried about airline jobs in the future, I am not deciding heavies for an airline job later.

 

Phoenix

Hello! As you might know, I’m in Phoenix. It is very warm and dry as usual, and the basketball is very fun to watch. The aviation aspect is like a wild goose-chase, my eyes are always scanning the skies for a glimpse of the coveted F-16 Falcon. It is usually very easy to see considering the hundreds of sorties flown each day, but this trip is different, I have barely seen anything. I can almost turn visits to Phoenix into an unconventional poem:

“As we drive through the parched, aged, and urbanized desert, I wonder where they are. I know that in some sector of this out of place city, fighters cruise the blue, contrails tracing designs in the all seeing sky. My own eyes are constantly scanning, hoping for a glimpse.”

-Graham Benedict 

Something like that…

Anyways, as the above entrance says, I have been looking for the jets for a while. I generally will see contrails at 30,000 feet or an occasional group of 4 dots cruising in the distance. Most of our time has been spent miles away from the base or the range, so I haven’t been able to see any low level formations or high speed manuevers.

I’m still hoping, but jets or not, I am enjoying the vacation.

Thanks!

-Graham

Accepting My Fate, Trip To Phoenix, and More Fun Stuff!

Hey everybody! By now you must have realized and come to accept that when I say “I’ll post soon”, it never happens. Well, I am finally accepting my fate, school is really busy and I spend my free time watching Fringe (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED). I am happy to say that the summer will bring new opportunities, and much free time.

Another thing is my new computer. My tech-wiz dad built it for me for my birthday, it will pretty much run flight simulator at top settings with a good frame right. Love it! I haven’t flown for 6 months, so I can barely land a 172. The most frustrating feeling is not being able to do something that you used to do in your sleep (on a simulator of course).

Finally, I will soon be heading to Phoenix, Arizona for March Madness basketball. Please, don’t stalk me, unless you want to bring Vanilla Coke and have a planespotting party at Luke AFB (anyone?). So while I’m there I will probably see A-10′s or F-16′s. Arizona is like aviation central for me. I love it there, the combination between deserts and planes makes me happy.

Remember, I accepted my fate, but I won’t completely abandon this site. Just expect a few less posts than normal.

Y, para todas de las personajes espanolas, voy a escribir en mi otro blog, pero no se cuando.

Merci, grazie, gracias, Thanks!

-Graham

Hawaii

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Hey everybody! Sorry I no longer post regularly. Busy 8th grader I guess. Anyways, nothing much has happened except one major event and one other aviation related thing.

1st: My dad got and built me a very nice computer that will run FSX incredibly well. I’ll update about that soon.
2nd: I’m in Hawaii doing all sorts of paradise-like things that don’t relate to aviation. But… I’m going on a helicopter ride (maybe). It should be crazy, I’ve never been in a helicopter, and never in my dreams in Hawaii! I have my friends parents to thank for so much (they invited me to the island of Kauai).

Anyways, not much aviation going on, I’m slowly forgetting my pilot-like thinking, and find myself reading old posts by me just so that I can try to re-learn some stuff!! I always say this, but I am going to try to post more soon. Thanks!

-Graham

Happy Holidays, I’ll Explain My Absence

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Hey y’all! I’m in Chicago! Sorry I’ve been gone super long. I’m going to explain everything. Super busy at school and I have other distractions including: new interests (read more soon), slightly exhausting ex-girlfriends, school, and very distracting video games.

I haven’t played FSX forever, I’m still in CAP, occasionally I study aviation, I’m way out of practice, such a hassle to use my computer (30 minutes just to set up, a new glitch each time), and I have new hobbies (my spoiled brat Aviation isn’t getting all the attention that he wants, Working Out, Foreign Languages, 8th Grade, and Television were born.

Para mi, esto es muy diferente, I am used to having one devoted section of time to aviation: School, HW, Aviation, Tiempo Libre. Now its like so complex I need a task list on the daily to fit my specific needs for each child (interest).

New Interests: Ok, I have become interested in different hobbies and career paths. I suddenly started having an odd urge to speak more than a little spanish, I started–get this—actually liking that class (it was once hated for fear of the fast-chattering-tri-lingual-classroom-president known as David but pronounced DavEEd, actually a cool dude, I was just afraid of spanish at the time).

Anyways, after I started liking spanish it all went downhill… “Oh, look how interesting French looks, but wow Arabic is amazing, cool Russian symbols, but Chinese is a practical choice…” and it came down to my decisions based on how interesting and useful (and what my deep soul was telling me).

Now I have to study for: school, aviation, CAP, French, Spanish, and Italian. I have to practice: Flying, working out, more languages [including aimless conversations with myself in the shower sometimes involving an imaginary Dominican named Juan (yeah I’m going nuts but at least I have an imaginary Spanish friend!) and attempting to directly translate American pop music to spanish], and finally (if you still follow) morse code.

So as you can see my aviation stuff is no longer my only life, I now need to balance things out a little bit. On top of all this, I’m having a 1/7-of-my-life-crisis involving careers: Pilot, linguist, secret service agent, or US marshal?

I’m not even going to try to explain this, my fingers están muy cansados and my Iphone is going to blow up from my rambling E-rants. I’ll try to update this blog more, but to any aviation enthusiasts reading: this blog may have to integrate (no I’m not talking about ethnicity but all cultures are welcome!). I have a blog especially for languages (si usted habla español, va aquí) but my newly knowledge thirsty brain may need to add some new spice to this blog. Not sure yet what to write about, but It may not be aviation related. Don’t stop reading though. Wow, extreme rant, sorry, hope you aren’t mad about my lack of posts/aviation interest. Happy Holidays! Thanks!

-Graham
Bonjour, Grandpa! Parlez-vous françois? (My mom told me you speak French and German! Cool! This one is for family mostly (or any of you who know me personally and wanted me to post again).

Check my language blog if you speak spanish and correct me! Give me real explanations!! Thanks!

Fighters vs. Heavies

Any fighter pilots want to help me out? Give me 5 great things about flying fighters. Cargo people, give me 5 more things great about flying airlift/tanker. Don’t treat me like a five year old please! Real answers. Thank you airmen (for answers and service)                         🙂

-Graham

Wow, It Has Been A While…

Hey everyone… Sorry, I really haven’t posted for months. I started a language blog… But that doesn’t count as an excuse. You haven’t missed a lot, but I never got around to writing about my C-17 flight before I dropped off the radar. Yep, SURPRISE! I flew on a C-17, I was busy and didn’t have time to write a super long post about it, so I figured I would make it a big surprise! So, I’ll write a post about my flight soon, but I will not be posting as frequently and I’m not going to have many epic aviation adventures, Why? Well, school started. So, read my language blog, I think it’s called “Graham’s Linguistics” except the only language I have is Spanish.

Anyways, I’ll be posting more, I went to the desert (Palm Springs) but there was no aviation, I’m going to Phoenix soon, should see some Vipers. But now I have a dilemma, I used to not be the stereotypical “wannabe fighter pilot”. But I have to admit, it would be pretty sick. So now I’m still debating whether I want to fly Raptors or C-17’s.

Well, I have a long time to think about it. I’ll try to post as much as possible, check out my language blog! Thanks!

-Graham

F-15’s Over Lewis and Clark

Hello all! I am now in Portland taking my brother to college at Lewis and Clark. I think Lewis and Clark is like a school in the forest just outside of Portland. But for some reason, whenever I look up, I see F-15’s in formation! I must have seen seven of these small formations in two days! I looked it up and I guess they are Oregon ANG F-15’s based out of Portland International Airport. If PDX shares their runways with the Air National Guard, they must have some special rules.

If you remember the sonic booms during President Obama’s visit, those were made by ANG F-15’s from Portland. I kinda want to visit the airport now to see them take off, because they seem to fly on a regular basis. I am not flying out of PDX otherwise I would have seen them already, sadly I have to take the three hour drive back to Seattle.

Maybe I will go past McChord on the drive back? Thanks!

-Graham

Garmin G1000 Basics

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Hello! Sorry, its been a while since I have posted, but I have a some questions about the Garmin G1000 GPS system. It seems to have become very popular, and I know that once I’m a pilot glass cockpits will be taking over aviation. So, I want to be able to use the G1000 at least somewhat. I have tried to find a free basic course or book, but can’t. If anybody knows anything about a good basic G1000 course, book, or even a diagram (so I know what all those buttons mean) please tell me! Thanks!

-Graham

Final Days Of Camp + Seafair

Happy Seafair! It is now Friday, and we (the camp) are driving to Fleet Week after sleeping over at the museum. Yesterday was very busy. First we watched the Blue Angels practice, then we headed to Wings Aloft (an FBO at Boeing Field) to fly.

Before the flight I saw a T-38 Talon depart from a good view (the flightline). During the flight we went to Bremerton, then overflew Sea-Tac and went to Renton, then back to BFI. The flight was very cool. I will tell you a few notable things that happened.

Before flight, we delayed a while, during part of that time I was using the bathroom and while I was gone two A-10 Warthogs landed. They parked just out of view and around the corner of the ramp. As we took off we flew past the Blue Angels, Harriers, Warthogs, and a random KC-135.

As we landed, I heard a “flight of two” (formation) on the radio, and also the callsign “Oracle 5” (the Oracle Challenger? I spotted it taking off days earlier). We landed very early and got to sit in pool chairs on the tarmac watching the traffic.

Helicopters took off less than 50 yards away, and anything landing on the short runway (31R-13L) flew directly over us. I saw the Geico Extra 300S landing and the 787.

Also, as we were going to sleep, I heard a noise, looked outside and a P-3 Orion taxied past. Seafair is in full swing! I took lots of pictures and will post soon. Sorry Mom, I couldn’t call, my phone died. Will call soon! This was an Iphone post, sorry for grammar problems! Thanks!

-Graham