AIR FORCE T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES
"The aggressive spirit, the offensive, is the chief thing everywhere in war, and in the air is
Baron Manfred Von Richthofen
"Whenever you're over the lines you have to keep twisting your neck in all directions every
minute, or you're sure to be surprised."
Captain Edward "Eddie" Rickenbacker, USAF
TRANSITION FROM NAVY TO AIR FORCE FLIGHT TRAINING
The purpose of our Air Force T-38 Intermediate program is to introduce you to the Air Force
training environment as soon as possible. Make no mistake about it, your task is very
challenging, your T-37 brethren have been brought up under this system for six months and they
are experts at it. Our goal is to make you as close to on par with them as we possibly can. The
transition to the Air Force training environment is one of the greatest challenges for T-34
students going to T-38s. Not only are you going from the Navy to the Air Force way of life, but
also you are trying to tame the "White Rocket" (T-38), flying at much faster airspeeds than you
are used to.
Now that you have been selected for the specialized fighter track, you will only fly with fighter
pilots, bomber pilots or T-38-trained First-Assignment Instructor Pilots (FAIPs) after you arrive
at Vance. The T-38 instructors are going to be tough on you, they will expect you to be totally
committed to making it through the program. If you give anything less than that, you will be
identified and eliminated. The IPs at Vance, like Whiting, are not expecting you to be "Chuck
Yeager," but they are expecting hard work and effort. Attitude is everything in the fighter world
and if you have a reputation as a hard charger, then everyone will break their backs trying to help
you; likewise, if you have a reputation as less than a hard charger, no one will want to waste their
time with you. Now, let us identify some aspects of this new world you are about to enter.
a. Your Flight
Unlike students at Whiting, you will go through the syllabus together as a class. Your class
will be about 6-9 students. The Air Force pilot training system is very fast paced and they are
very exact about when you will start training and when you will graduate. In Air Force pilot
training, the timeline is everything. You can expect to hit the ground running once the formal
syllabus starts. The good news is that you are not going through all this by yourself, you are
going through with your flightmates/classmates. The whole class will be on the same schedule
for the majority of your time there. You will all show up at the same time for the formal brief
(more on this later) and you will all leave at the same time (when you are on "formal release").
You can expect to spend all day at the squadron, about 10-12 hours per day, but do not worry,
you will be busy all day. As soon as you start flying, you will be "opted" (optioned for, meaning
you can be scheduled for one or the other of at least two types of events, i.e., flight and EP or
instrument sim) for at least two events a day (flight/sim, sim/sim, flight/flight). Your flightmates
are crucial; you will all have to work together to get through this challenging syllabus.
Teamwork applies; group studying, "pattern parties," etc. are not just good ideas, but essential to
making it through the program. Your class goal is to get everyone through to graduation.
1-4 INTRODUCTION TO USAF T-38 TRACK INTERMEDIATES