I was doing some research on the Whiting squadrons when I came across this: I wanna be a Navy pilot... It's a blog by a fellow who's in training at none other than NAS Whiting, driving those T-34Cs that comprise the majority of the traffic I work. I've been going through it and I've got to say, it's terrific to see what's happening on their end. It's given me a fresh perspective on what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. His photos and commentary have given me an improved understanding of their training procedures.
It's funny how differently pilots and controllers view things. In researching Whiting, I also came across some documents covering the infamous course rules. As I've explained in a few previous posts, course rules are essentially preset routes that Navy pilots fly to depart from and recover to the Navy airfields around here. They feature specific headings and altitudes dependent on VFR fixes around the area.
However, the course rule fixes appear very differently depending on if you're a Navy pilot or a controller. To us, the map looks like this, minus the name tags. We only show the fix symbols and just have the names memorized.
But for the Navy pilots, the fixes - or checkpoints - look like this:
Every day we have aircraft calling in over "Point Charlie". I've never seen Point Charlie in real life and up until I read this I had no idea what it actually was. To me, it's always been a little square a few miles northwest of Whiting NAS on our radar maps. But to a Navy pilot. it's that road intersection in the lower right corner of the left hand page. The same applies to Point Initial, which is a key fix which three out of four T-34 recovery routes must pass depending on what runway configuration they're on.
Regarding those documents I mentioned, here they are:
- Course Rules test - A review and test for the Navy pilots on the Course Rules routes.
- Whiting Course Rules Gouge (PDF) - It's from 1999, but most of it still applies, and it's got those cool diagrams I screen-shotted above. The only difference I've seen in my brief review is that "Site 8" has been replaced with the Chicken Ranch, which is slightly further to the northwest.
BTW, if you guys at the Shooter, Red Night, or Spiral squadrons could ever swing a familiarization flight in a T-34C, that would asbolutely rock. I can tell you of at least two other trainees here - one of them an instrument-rated pilot - who would jump at the chance to see what you guys do firsthand. Just give me a waiver to sign and I'm there! :)