Hello everyone, sorry for the long delay between posts, it's been a very busy few weeks since I've started Phase III. In the three weeks I've been flying I am already over 30% finished course, and that's including being grounded for a few days with a cold and a long weekend. Since starting Phase III I have learned numerous advanced aerobatic maneuvers including Immelman's, Split S's, Vertical Rolls, and Vertical Eight's. The largest difference between these aerobatics and those I did on Phase II is that these aerobatics require the max performance of the aircraft meaning that very often we are flying right at the edge of a stall. This idea of maximum performance and intentionally flying through stick shaker (a warning system that shakes the stick to warn pilots they are close to the stall) is a new concept to me, and has really opened my eyes to the capability of the Harvard II aircraft. I've also been learning more advanced formation maneuvers including flat turns (a turn where the formation is all in the same horizontal plane, and the wingman is tucked in underneath the lead aircraft rather than on the wing), double attack formation, and fluid maneuvering. I also got to complete a solo formation flight in which I flew solo in formation with an instructor in the lead aircraft. This is a large confidence building flight as the difference between the military trusting you with an aircraft, and another pilot trusting you to fly in formation with them safely is not lost on students. I have another formation solo to complete which I am looking forward to, and then I get to complete two flights involving four-ship formation flying. This particularly is very exciting, and I expect will be quite challenging.
On top of those two phases of flight, I have also been continuing low level navigation training. The training for low level navigation in Phase III is not very different from Phase II, except that we are permitted the use of the GPS for navigation. This makes remaining on track much easier (provided you programmed the GPS correctly), but also enables pilots to intentionally deviate from course easily either to avoid threats or make time corrections. Since the new material to learn is relatively small, this phase is only 5 flights long with one solo and a test included. I completed my solo nav flight last friday at the end of the day which is a terrific way to end a busy week leading into a beautiful weather weekend.
Looking forward into my course, we are beginning to think about destinations for our cross country flights. There are two cross country trips, one in Canada, and one in the U.S. Each trip is four days long with 7 flights each. Although we don't have any specifics hammered out, the intention is to make the Canadian trip out west to B.C. and the second trip to the west coast of the U.S. These trips are likely going to occur later in September or October, and my estimated graduation date is November 18th. It's hard to believe that I arrived in Moose Jaw nearly a year ago and already I am racing through Phase III and my Wings, It's been a very busy year, and I have learned a tremendous amount in this time, and am already looking forward to all the adventures and experiences that await me.