Preparing to Learn to Fly

At the Air Force’s Initial Flight Screening (IFS) Pilot and CSO candidates learn to fly and are given the opportunity to fly the Diamond DA20. Before that happens, though, each young officer must memorize the all important “BOLDFACE” and “Ops Limits.” The fine folks at DOSS, who run the IFS show, provide a fuzzy, pixellated version of the BOLDFACE and ops limits in their welcome package. The characters are still mostly legible, and might be sufficient for committing the 33 DOSS-required figures to memory. But my squadron requires aspiring CSOs, like myself, to memorize an additional 53 figures. That’s a total of 86 operating limits and ranges. Fuzzy characters can become quite an eyesore after a few minutes, and this sort of memorization takes hours.

I couldn’t stand staring at those unnecessarily pixellated characters as my brain slowly absorbed numbers like “Max. permissible bank angle for steep turns (in degrees)” (60) and “Propeller approx. minimum ground clearance (inches)” (10). To ease my suffering, and hopefully help my memorization progress more quickly, I recreated both documents with crisp, clear lettering. My versions match the official documents character for character, but mine are easier to read and customizable.

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Plane Crash!

Tucson is home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, a very large, very old, and still very active air base. Originally called “Tucson Army Air Field, the site was quickly renamed Davis-Monthan Army Air Field, then, when the Air Force was spun off from the Army as an independent military service, the site received the name it carries to this day (source). Davis-Monthan has been, and continues to be a very active air base; as with any highly active military installation, accidents do happen, and airplanes do occasionally fall out of the sky (very occasionally, mind you – the Air Force does not enjoy wasting money or airmen on plane crashes).

One such crash is just a stone’s throw from the Butterfly Trail. Continue reading