Friday, April 5, 2013

In Control...

Well, I finished Helicopter Control Officer (HCO) school on the base in Norfolk this morning--aced the simulator runs and the written test, and so am all set to begin running things in the control tower.  Bring it!


Of course, not.  This was only the initial step in the qualification procedure; no Skipper in his right mind would allow a newbie like me to run his/her helicopter operations based on a five-day course and a few launch-and-recovery runs in the sim.  As they say, the past week's study has given me just enough knowledge to be dangerous.  Very dangerous.
The course was fascinating--unlike the vast majority of training curricula I've endured over the past three decades--and I can honestly say that I learned a great deal about helicopters; their flight characteristics and performance "envelopes", avionics and safety/survival equipment, what makes them fly, and what doesn't.  I do confess to have put our poor instructors through the wringer--I was the annoying fella who kept asking questions and slowing down the proceedings.  I was also the oldest member of the class by about fifteen years, and the only one to show up in t-shirt and jeans rather than a uniform.

I have at least one more shoreside course to complete before I return to sea, and then I'll begin "under instruction (UI) training in the tower of whatever ship I am assigned to.  This "OJT" under the tutelage of an experienced HCO will give me a greater understanding of my duties regarding flight operations and safety, so that when I do finally "solo" I'll be far more ready to assume my duties.

I have a lot to learn and un-learn, and perhaps a few ghosts to put behind me, before I can assume the Air Boss chair.  But I'll get there.

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