Today I'm going to lay out the basic structure of the training program here in Moose Jaw. A somewhat dry topic I know, but a good understanding of the overall structure will provide valuable context for when I talk about more specific things. So, let's dive in!
Big picture first. The PH II flying program is based at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Moose Jaw, which is a member of, and the headquarters of, 15 Wing. Specifically, the flying program is run by 2 Squadron, Canadian Forces Flying Training School (2 CFFTS). I know a lot of military acronyms are pretty superfluous and unnecessary, but that one's pretty key. Anyway, at 2 CFFTS there are generally 8-10 courses in progress at any given time, with approximately 15 students per course. As a complete aside, CFB Moose Jaw is technically located at Bushell Park, a mere 5 miles south of Moose Jaw. But close enough, right?
Next, in 2 CFFTS there are a total of 3 flights that the students are subdivided into (technically 4, but only 3 make up the PH II students, the 4th is for students on the Hawk). These flights are named Apache, Bandit, and Cobra respectively. They used to simply be called A, B, and C flight, but this sounded cooler. Students get sorted into one of these three flights for the flying phase of course, and although every student will swear their flight is the best (Apache flight IS the best flight), they are all effectively the same. Literally the only differences between them are small points of order on discipline, tradition, and standard operating procedures (SOP's). There is no difference in terms of performance on course, priority for flights etc.
Following so far? Quick recap: 3 flights that belong to 2 CFFTS, which is located at CFB Moose Jaw (which isn't actually in Moose Jaw), which belongs to 15 Wing. Great, now let's talk about how the actual course is structured.
Courses are assigned a serial number based on the year and month that the course began. For example, my course serial is 1507, with the 15 representing 2015, and the 07 representing July. Students on a course will create a course patch that represents their serial that they wear on their flight suit for the rest of course. The entire course is approximately 6-8 months long. There can be large variations due to weather, backlog of pilots, etc. The first 3 months of course are spent in ground school learning the academic side of flying. Students will typically spend 8 hours a day being taught and tested on material relating to subjects such as Aerodynamics, Visual Flying Procedures, Instrument Flying Procedures, Navigation, Meteorology and more. Throughout these 3 months there are a few administrative things done as well such as fittings for flight gear, and ejection seat training.
Following the 3 months of ground school, students will have approximately 2 weeks of simulator training. The first few missions are purely Cockpit Procedure Training missions (CPT's) where students will simply learn to run the many checklists required to safely start the aircraft. The remaining missions provide an introduction to both clearhood (visual) flying, and instrument flying. After two weeks of simulators, the students are sorted into one of the 3 previously mentioned flights and start the flying portion of the course. In the past students went through ground school grouped with their course serial, but were then split into the three flights after ground school. It has recently changed so that an entire course will be sent into the same flight after ground school. You'll notice that students will have already been on course for 3 months before being slotted into a flight, so students don't truly feel welcomed until they are in a flight and on the flight line. To celebrate students being officially welcomed into a flight, they are "patched in", and given a flight patch. That's a whole other thing though, so we'll come back to that another time.
Once on the flight line, there a 4 main phases of training that students need to complete. These are Clearhood, Instrument Flying, Navigation, and Formation flying. These are shortened to CH, IF, Nav, and Form respectively. All four have a final test flight, but IF has a second test earlier on in the phase due to it being a substantially long phase. CH also has a "test" before students go solo, but this isn't actually considered a test, it's more of a safety check. Students will also have another sections of simulator missions midway through the IF phase, as well as 4 Emergency Flight Training Device missions (EFTD's). An EFTD is simply a simulator mission where the student is bombarded with many different emergency scenarios that they need to work through. In total, students will complete 86 missions. Missions are typically 1.4 hours long (or 1 hour and 24 minutes), although a handful of missions are only 1.2 hours.
One last piece of structure that many people ask me about is where people live while on course. A majority of students choose to live in Single Quarters (basically dormitories) which are on base and cost about 350$ a month. Students can also sign up to rent a Private Married Quarter (PMQ). These are called Private Married Quarters, but that's a remnant from past years where being married was a requirement to be eligible for these houses since they are subsidized. For the past several years everyone is eligible to rent, however married couple's are given priority for renting. These vary in cost from 600-850$ per month. I currently live in a "3 bedroom" townhouse for 640/month. I put 3 bedroom in quotations as it is really a 2 bedroom with one of the two bedrooms cut in half. Regardless, it's an excellent deal. Finally, students can also elect to rent or buy a place in the city of Moose Jaw if they so choose. Effectively there are no restrictions on living arrangements, but a majority elect to live on base for the low cost and convenience.
Alright, that about takes care of the boring stuff. If the weather cooperates I'll be going for my first solo in the Harvard 2 soon, so I'll discuss all the excitement (and traditions) that surround that next time! If you find this interesting and want to be notified when I put up new content, subscribe and share below! Got questions or specific topics you want addressed, shoot me an email at the address located in the footer!