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Old 03-31-2006, 02:51 PM
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Location: Shalimar, FL
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Default RE: "Finished" airplane


I went to USAF pilot training in 1959. We were required to solo the T-34 in 6 hours. The min was 5 hours is you had previous time. If you went over 8 hours, they washed you out. I recall we soloed all the training planes, T-34, T-37 & T-33, in 6 hours each. I was going to say I had never flown a plane with a fixed gear, but I remembered I got some Beaver time while I was at a school once. Used to be the L-20, but they changed it to the U-something for Utility).

Later on in 1965 when I was a T-37 instructor, we were required to teach acro and spins before we could solo the student so the norm went up to 14-15 hours. We also snuck in some instruments and nav early since I was at Valdosta, Georgia and we might solo when the visibility was so bad they couldn't see the field from downwind.

Speaking of instruments, I remember a group of my students who had basically finished T-37s-it was Christmas time. They took leave and rented a Cherokee to go from Valdosta up to Virginia or somewhere up there. On the first leg, they ran into IFR conditions so they called in and got an IFR clearance, which they proceeded to fly up there and back on instruments. Not that they weren't capable since they had nearly 120 hours time including 3 instrument checks, basic, simulator and final. This included a holding pattern, jet penetration, precision approach, missed approach and back for a non-precision and landing. But they didn't have a civilian instrument rating, just a private ticket. They didn't think anything about it. They had been trained to fly instruments in the clouds so they did. All us instructors had a laugh about it.