20 July 2011

half way....i think

Well, we have made it almost three months out here in the desert. Things are somewhat interesting when you are flying, but other than that there really isn't much else going on out here. I am getting plenty of working out done but even that is starting to get monotonous. On the off days we pretty much have to entertain ourselves. I should really be getting my SOS done, but I keep finding things that get in the way. On a positive (I think) note, I was accepted into grad school at Mississippi State. This is going to be an interesting couple of years as I try to balance out work with school and other commitments. I am extremely interested in most of the subjects that I am going to be studying. I am not looking forward to a few of them, but I am sure that i will learn some interesting things. I feel like this post is starting to ramble, but I guess this is how i fill my off time.

11 June 2011

Good Times

The last couple of weeks have been pretty interesting. We are flying all over the place and carrying all kinds of people to different places. I am finally getting settled after we switched from nights to days. It was a pretty rough transition after spending so long on nights. I am really enjoying getting to fly as much as we are over here. It also feels good to finally be doing what I have been training to do instead of practicing at home. It really sucks being away from Rachael and all of my family back home but it really isn't that long of a time to be gone. This last week we flew the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders 3 times around the country. We got to know them pretty well. They were a nice change to be around and they were a lot of fun to hang out with on the airplane. We also got to fly several congressman back from their meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq. They were alright but they really only like to talk about politics. We also lgot to fly the guys from Bikes Over Baghdad. They are a group of BMXer's that come out and put on shows for the troops at different bases. I regret that we did not get to see their show, but we did get to have them up on the flight deck and spend some time talking to a few of them. Over all it has been an interesting few weeks and I hope it stays that way.

18 May 2011

one week down

Well, to those of you that actually follow this thing, I have finished my first week on my first deployment. My crew and I have been flying about every other day, except when we have to go to stupid meetings about how to have a good deployment. We are doing lots of interesting stuff and some really boring things. All in all, it has been a pretty productive week. I am getting lots of working out in as we have a full 24 hours between flights most days. Hopefully Rachael is keeping up with me like she promised, but we will see. We spend a lot of time just sitting around reading when we aren't at the gym or flying. The food here is pretty much some of the worst food that I have come across. It is good enough to keep you alive but they can really butcher some of the simpler food (salad, burgers, french fries). Other than that, not much is going on. I will update again when I actually have something to say. Later folks!

12 May 2011

In country

Well, i am finally out here in country and getting ready to fly my first mission. Things are going pretty well. Other than breaking my wedding ring on the first night here everything seems pretty normal. It is really hot here (as expected) but it still kind of hits you in the face every time that you walk out the door. We are laying around our room right now just resting up so that we can go out and start flying tonight. It should be a pretty plain Jane mission with not much going on. This will be good for me so that I can get used to the weird accents that all of the controllers have out here. I was pretty bad on the way in, but it worked out anyways.

I am living with my aircraft commander and our navigator in a room that is about the size of our second bedroom in little rock. It is pretty tight living but we have set things up the best we can. We have had some air conditioning issues since we got here but those may have finally been worked out by our mid night maintenance call.

That is really all that I can put on here for now.

01 May 2011

Stuck in Canada

So I have officially left on my first deployment in the military. It was definitely one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. Things started out pretty well when we were able to get out of little rock on the first try. The seven hour flight to St John's Canada was pretty easy since it was all high level cruise. The IP on the plane was busy at the galley cooking up some brisket that he had been smoking for the trip. We had a gourmet meal at 21000 ft of brisket, corn, and rolls. It was a goof way to start a deployment. Once we got to St John's the FBO team had some cold beer waiting for us at the parking ramp. We got checked in to the hotel and then we went out and celebrated all that newfoundland had to offer. We were supposed to leave St john's late on saturday night but our managing agency at Scott gave us a 24 hour hold because the weather was so bad for departure. We should get to england on monday morning just in time to catch the royal hangover from "the wedding". After that we will see how the plane holds up and that will determine whether we press on or vacation at another locale before getting into the sandbox.

I hope that you all are doing very well.

09 February 2011

Really Rangers? Really?

I don't really like to vent on this blog, but this is one thing that I am having a hard time understanding. The Texas Rangers are making what has to be one of the most pigheaded moves in the history of sports. I understand that the upper leadership of this team is probably just trying to make what they believe is the best team that money can buy, but that is not who the Rangers are or ever have been. You are not the NY Yankees, with their billions of dollars of salary and the financial situation to handle it. You reached the world series with one of the smallest payrolls in baseball (not counting Rodriguez) and now you think that you can pick up a bunch of high priced free agents that probably won't live up to their contracts. Michael Young is THE leader of your team. He has been pushed around, and under appreciated since he started playing here ten years ago. It is understandable that you want to go back to the World Series and win, but you don't start that campaign by disrespecting the most tenured player in your clubhouse. Sure, Beltre will probably do fine on the field, but Young contributed much more than just his time on the field. It was gracious of Young to accept the "super-utility" role with at bats at the DH position just because he wanted to stay with the franchise, but why sign Napoli who is probably (unless Moreland totally collapses in spring training) going to see most of the at bats in the DH position. This is very typical of the Rangers if you look at their history. You can almost count on them to take the most recognizable, respected, hard working player on the team (a la Sundberg and Pudge) and cut them loose because they think they can gain something by dropping their contract or picking up some other position players in the deal. If you look at the Rangers' history it is riddled with pitfalls after they make this kind of move. They gut the team from the inside out, and this time the fall will be monstrous because they actually have something to lose.

I will always be a Rangers fan, but it is times like these that make you want to stop liking the team. To me, this is very similar to J Jones taking over the cowboys and firing Tom Landry. Not quite the same, but it feels the same to the fans. I hope that they find a way to reconcile this feud that ends amicably for Young and the Rangers. Maybe they can get some much needed starting pitching out of the coming trade, or maybe he'll get to spring training and show them the mistake they were about to make. Either way something needs to happen fast, and personally I think it needs to involve a lot of apologies on the part of the Rangers' ownership/management team no matter what the outcome.

07 February 2011

Off to North Carolina

Well, this is the beginning of what should be a good but stressful time for the next week or so. I am heading off tomorrow, Tuesday, to Pope AFB in North Carolina to work in the mission planning cell for a large exercise for mobility aircraft. It will be interesting because I have never done this kind of thing before but it will be very stressful with 12 hour days and no flying. I am debating on whether or not to take my bike. I don't think that I will, but it would be really nice to have it out there to get some rides in while the weather is nice. I am going to try to at least get some nice runs in while I am there and maybe even a couple of swims.

29 January 2011

what she's doing now

I think that rachael might have entirely too much time on her hands these days. our new house is almost spotless and then she will go and completely destroy all of what she has cleaned, just so she can go and clean it again. it's madness, i swear. now she is posting entire rundowns of our family dinner menu just for the people on the internet to read.....way too much time. i think that she needs a hobby or a new job or something.

As for me, I am getting ready to deploy in may. I am actually ready to go just so that I can actually fly instead of sitting around begging to fly. Rachael is ready for me to go because I look like a little hurt puppy because I don't get to fly as much as I want to. The squadron is actually starting to get to be a little more fun now that the copilots have decided we want it to be that way.
I am also getting out on the bike a bit this january. I had one really cold ride, but I am looking forward to the nice 70 degree temps today. should be a good ride.

02 August 2010

Training for a 5K

Today began the training program for Rachael and her first 5k. We started with a good first day. She ran her first 1.2 miles of the year and it is the first of many to come. Tomorrow is day 2 and we will see how it goes. It is kind of tough on me, since I am training for triathlons at the same time. Today, I ran with her and then went for my usual run with Seth at around noon. It was pretty sweltering hot and my legs definitely felt the runs from yesterday and this morning. I am pretty proud of Rach, and I hope that she keeps it up until (and passed) our November 25th Race.

19 April 2010

Winning your age Group

So, probably one of the weirdest things happened to me this weekend. I decided on Friday night that I was going to participate in one of the 17 5ks in the Little Rock area. That in itself is not unusual for me, I like to think of myself as someone who appreciates fitness and I enjoy the sense of competition. I entered the Beyond Boundaries Bash and Dash 5K that our friend from church was putting on as part of a charity that her work does for kids with disabilities. The day started out lovely, as any Saturday would when you wake up at 6 am to go pay to run 3.1 miles. Rachael was so excited she groggily asked what day it was when I tried to wake her up to see if she would like to go with me to watch the race and see the kids ride in their Hipotherapy display. I decided, for the sake of our relationship, that it was probably best for her to stay in bed and catch up on some sleep that she lost because I was flying nights this past week. When I arrived at the race start, I was greeted by the friendly people at the registration table. That is always a plus because that is usually one of the more frustrating parts of being a procrastinating race registerer(real word...i think not?). With the registering over, I managed to run into a few acquaintances from the running world here in AR. We chatted idly, mainly discussing their techniques for running with their 3 year old and their 18 month old in jogging strollers while they are clipping off 6:30 pace, for the remaining 20 minutes before the starting gun.

When the gun sounded I decided I would do what I could to just try and hang on to the couple pushing strollers. That was easier than it should have been for the first part of the race, but that was mainly just because the 3 year old thought that it was funny to watch her father have to slam the stroller to a stop, pick up the blanket, shove said blanket behind child, and then sprint feverishly to try and latch back on to the lead pack. I think the humor of the situation managed to take my mind off the fact that I hadn't prepared for this race in the slightest. As we pushed out into the first mile, I was feeling pretty good. I picked out my new "rabbit" (aka the person who I use to push myself ) because the stroller couple had already moved about a minute in front of me. We crossed the first mile at 7:50, which is not all that extraordinary for my history of running but I am willing to accept it with recent training in mind. At this point I had to move on to a new rabbit, because my previous rabbit had decided to stop and talk to the person calling out times at the mile point about their upcoming test in biology. With my new rabbit found, I began to chase him down. This chase took much longer and was aided by the rabbit taking the chance to walk the last hundred meters of the second mile. I caught this rabbit right as we crossed the second mile at 15:43. As I began the last mile I already knew that there was going to be pain.

As we made the turn to the final straightaway (there was still .8 miles to go) I caught a glimpse of the one thing you never want to see in a race, someone gaining on you. In typical fashion, I straightened my stride, slowed my breathing, and took the nasty pain grimace off of my face. All this in the effort to make this person think that I still had a full tank of gas, and that he was better off not even trying to pass me. If only he had known the truth. I managed to pick up my pace just enough to keep him at the distance I spotted him at. The increase in speed (relative term) seemed to work for the next half mile or so. By this point I could see the finish line. Because I trained so vigorously for this event, I knew I had the finishing kick that would put Olympians to shame......NOT! With .2 miles to go I began looking over my shoulder about every 50 meters. My legs were spent and I knew that I was going to get passed in the final sprint (once again relative) by this mysterious person who I could feel gaining on me with every step. At about 150 meters to go I could see the spectators at the finish line. I could see their faces lit up with the kind of excitement that you only see when you are watching the discovery channel cheetah chase down the injured water buffalo. With about 50 meters to go I decided that it was all or nothing at this point. If he was going to beat me, he was going to have to try and pass me at full speed. I gave the separation one last check, and then I embraced the tunnel vision that comes with running for the first time in over a month while then sprinting with everything you have to the finish line. I crossed the finish line with a lead of what I thought was inches. I turned my head to congratulate this person for a great effort only to turn a full circle and see absolutely no one. As I stood about 10 feet past the finish line, hands on me knees, gasping for air like I just summited Mt Everest, I look back up the course to see the person I thought was right on my heels still about 300 meters from finishing. About this time one of the stroller pushers comes up beside me and comments on the absolute look of desperation on my face as I crossed the finish line. I decided it was probably best not to tell anyone that I had almost lost to a figment of my imagination. I did make the obligatory comment about "finishing strong" and that other crap that racers like to hear. As I managed to gather myself enough to actually move through the finishing corral, the timers took my race number, and gave me a card to fill out with my name and age on it. At the top of the card was a number 10. I asked the lady that gave me the card what that meant, and she told me that I had finished in 10th place. WHAT!?!!? I think I she thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion, but in reality it was going to be from the shock of my finish more than what had gotten me there. I gathered myself and walked to the table where they write the information on your card (I guess you get the star treatment when you finish top 10) and then I walked out to the public seating to find a nice sunny spot where I could bask in the glory of my first top 10 since I won the Pie Eating Contest 4 years running in High School.

When it was time for the awards ceremony I decided to go over and watch them hand out the age group awards and over-all winners. Not that I had a chance, they stopped giving out 10th place trophies/ribbons/medals after the kindergarten track meet. I listened as they called out the winners for the men and women from the 50+ all the 30's in five year increments. When they got to 25-29 year old male, I had the idiotic thought that I would be in that group next year (stupid because I turned 25 in January). The announcer picked up the prize for the male winner and called out "RICK WINGFIELD". As I clapped stupidly and looked around for the person that had a name strangely close to mine one of the stroller runners came over to me and said "If you don't want to go get your medal and prize I can say that you already left." That was when it hit me......I had actually won MY age group. First thought: "Take that Mom. Who is slow?" Second thought: "Stop standing here like an idiot." When I got to the front they gave me my gold medal, my 10lb. box of rice, and I got my picture taken with MISS JUNIOR RODEO ARKANSAS. After a few more photos with some of the more awestruck fans I managed to pry myself loose from the throngs of people and make my way to the car for my first time ever to drive home as CHAMPION 25-29 MALE BOOT SCOOTIN' BASH AND DASH 5K.

Take that world.....

12 January 2010

First Checkride

Today I had my first checkride in the C-130. It was over the emergency procedures that we use when things dont go like they should in the aircraft. It is really not all that bad of a ride, but the general knowledge questions can be a little tricky. Our ride was pretty short. We were expecting at least a two hour sortie but the check pilot managed to keep to just under one hour. That was a pretty good thing because that is much less time that he could ask us questions. My crew did a pretty good job and we all got a Q-1 (qualified without exception). That is pretty good for your first checkride, but now we only have 5 rides until we have our next checkride in the full motion simulator.
Rachael and I after I received my wings in Corpus Christi.

04 January 2010

Probably Just for Me

Happy New Year!

It has been just a few days since I have decided to update this thing. So, I decided that I would catch up on some of the things that have been going on. I got my wings back in October and things have been a whirlwind since then. Rachael and I are now stationed in Little Rock and I am in the school house learning to fly C-130Es and I will be moving into H3s in the 50th AS after I get out of the school. We have basically been traveling all over Arkansas and Texas since we moved seeing family and going through all of the holiday mumbo jumbo.

We had our first white Christmas in my life time and that was a pretty cool event, but it made the traveling a little crazy sometimes. I think that I have seen more snow this year than in a lot of other years combined. It is even snowing at our house as I am writing this down.

I have decided to set some stringent goals for myself as this new year begins. I am planning on doing a half marathon in march as a start to this year, and in hopes of eventually qualifying for the boston marathon. I am going to try and run in the Air Force marathon in October to be my qualifying race. I am also going to try and get back into shape to do some shorter races on the road and on my bike. Whatever happens this should be an interesting year to say the least.

One of the tougher things about this year is going to be starting my masters degree. I am having some trouble deciding what I want to pursue for my degree program. I have been thinking about getting a M. Ed, but I am not sure that it will interest me as much as other fields will. I started looking at some science fields because biology is actually my favorite subject but those programs are really hard to find that will let you do them with mainly online work. I even started looking at areas like Outdoor rec, outdoor ed, resource management, and environmental resources. I am still pretty confused about the degree I am going to get but I think that it will be somewhat related to the ideas above.

Well, that is really all that I can/want to write about for the time being. I am going to go and be a good student and study for my checkride next week.
Me on a Thanksgiving backpacking trip on the OT

02 July 2009

Long time Coming

So once again I have gone over a month without updating my blog. But I have very good reason for it this time. I have been flying pretty much every single day and when I am not flying I have to study my ass off for the next flight or sim that is coming up. When you start flying in the Navy, you fly your first seven flights with one IP, this phase is called your "on wing". This phase is really important because it lays the foundation for the rest of your time. The flights in your on wing time are also really long. We are up there for around four hours every time. The C-12 is pretty easy plane to fly. My favorite part so far has been the VFR pattern. For some reason I really enjoy landing. Another cool part about the navy training is that you get to do actual emergency procedures in the plane. We even shut down an engine in flight, twice! In the pattern they are constantly giving you problems like propeller failures, flap failures, engine failures, engine fires, and a whole bunch of other stuff that makes you have to be really efficient at handling emergencies in the aircraft.

This is me sitting in the observer seat while Doug and Capt Shearin are flying.

This is a picture of the engine shut down in flight. It really feels weird...

I actually had my last day contact ride yesterday and I passed my checkride. Now I am in the Instrument phase of UPT. Instruments and emergencies are pretty much the focus of this navy training. They want to produce pilots that can handle themselves in any situation in any kind of weather imaginable. The instrument phase takes up about 70% of the flights that we have in this program.

On the other side of things, Rachael and I celebrated our one year anniversary on the 28th. We went to San Antonio (really just to get out of corpus) and had a nice little leisure weekend. We hung out by the pool at the hotel, got Rachael a new bathing suit, ate a really nice dinner, and went and saw a chick flick after we ate. It was really nice just to be able to get away and relax. Our friends watched the dogs for us and that was nice as well. Rachael has been really busy making lots of new friends. She mainly hangs out with two or three of the local wives, but she is being mrs. sociable with about every wife on the base. She is constantly setting up outings and gym trips for all of the wives to go on so they aren't too bored while we are studying or flying. It is really nice that she is making our friends for us.

Well that is about it for now, until next time!

31 May 2009

Good Times

So, I get on to everyone for not checking on this thing and then I go two weeks without updating it....some blogger that I am. Here is what has been going on lately......

Since the last post I have been pretty busy. Actually having stuff to do everyday has been a big adjustment from the life of just laying around the house and thinking about what I could be doing. Academics is officially over now, and I went the entire period and only missed one question on the five tests that we took. I was pretty upset about that question, because if I had actually read the question I wouldn't have missed it. We start simming on Monday (the 1st) and right off the bat my sim partner Doug and I are scheduled to double turn (two events on the same day). That is going to be fun seeing as we don't really know what is going on in either sim or what we need to do to prepare. We have been just getting prepped for general stuff and learning our checklists. I think that we have those down pretty good, and I think that the sim should go pretty well. We have a little time in the middle to get ready for the second but hopefully their expectations aren't too high.

As for outside of pilot training, not much is really going on. Rach and I have just been hanging out a lot and getting stuff done around the house (except mowing the back yard). Seth got his wings last Friday and I went to go watch/party with him. It was a good ceremony but I spent most of the time being jealous because he is off to fly in the BIG AF. He is going to be stationed at Little Rock and fly C-130J's. That is the plane that I want to fly, but we want to go to Germany to do it. He is already out of Corpus at SERE training in Washington and will be back some time in mid-late June.
I was really trying to ramp up my training, with plans of a couple of triathlons and maybe a half marathon later this summer/fall. That was, until last Monday when I went to do my interval workout and I tweaked something in my right knee. It wasn't really bad at the time, but it never really got any better until Saturday. I have been trying to take it easy by not biking to work or getting any running in, but I don't think that I will have to be off of it for much longer. I think that I am going to move over to strictly biking this week just to try and work some of the stiffness out and keep up my cardio work. If this week goes well then we will start putting on the running mileage at the beginning of next week.

Well, that is really all for now. I swear that I will put pictures up sometime in the near future.
Thanks for reading!!!

15 May 2009

New Week

So, this has been a wonderful week in all ways but one. I am finally back in the swing of pilot training, I am in the middle of training for a couple of triathlons this summer, I am firing on all cylinders in all departments. The only thing wrong with this week was that Rachael has been gone for a whole ten days. This has officially been the longest time we have been apart since we got married. I know that is not very long, but it is another milestone in our first year. I have officially gotten back in the swing of "bachelor" status. I have cleaned the house, done the laundry, and cooked for myself for the entire time. I am super excited that she is coming back tomorrow night so that we can go back to sharing the load.
As for training, we have been getting back into the academics that go with flying. We absolutely flew through the advanced weather course in two days. We took the test and I kept my streak of UPT 100s at 1 in a row. Pretty sweet huh? We went right into Advanced Instrument Ground Training and that was pretty much another joke. The test was open book (anything you could carry in) and each question had the location in the material where it came from. That upped my streak to 2 in a row. Next week we move into a little more difficult material when we cover the systems and the Flight Rules and Regulations. The only reason FRR is going to be tough is because the Navy and AF fly on different sets of rules. We should hit the flight line about three weeks from next Monday.
I have also decided that I am going to compete in a few triathlons this summer. I am aiming for some that are in August and most of them are in the San Antonio-Austin area. My training is going fairly well. I have been kind of in re-spin up mode after my down time in Columbus. I am trying to convince Rachael to do some of them with me, but all I have been able to get her to do is go and swim with me some of the time. I am going to be trying for the Olympic distance which is a little longer than the one I did last summer.

Well that is it for now. I promise that I will be posting pictures over the weekend so check back on Sunday for some pictorial updates.