Flight School Update 2.0 Intermediate/Advanced Jet Training

WOW!  It's hard to believe that the last flight school update was over a year ago and how much has happened since then.  If you missed the first half of flight school: IFS, API, and Primary, you can catch up HERE.
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As usual, hindsight in 20:20.  Everyone told me when we moved to Meridian that we would be in and out in 12 months.  But here we are pushing the 16 month mark and still going strong.  While some people would complain about this, I love it.  Rob is safe stateside, not deployed, and for the most part home more than he is at work.  We are still safe in this little school bubble so I am savoring every second of it.

We moved to Meridian at the very beginning of September and Rob headed straight to San Antonio for the CFET.  This is where he goes in the "spin" machine to simulate g forces and is sort of like a right of passage into the jet world.  Rob had a little bit of down time and then started ground school for Intermediate with VT-7 at the beginning of October.  He was in ground school for about four weeks which meant classes in the morning and usually home by mid-afternoon.  After that, he started sims which meant that went back to life revolving around 5pm when the schedule came out.  (He would get scheduled for sims anywhere between 5am and 8pm!)  His first flight of intermediate came in January after holiday leave.  From there, he would alternate between ground school, sims, and flights for each block.  Overall, intermediate was pretty low key.  Most weeks, he would be scheduled for a sim or a flight which would take ~3 hours and then he would be home the rest of the day.  There were also a lot of days that he was not scheduled for anything at all.  Just like in primary, we knew these days were not going to last so we tried to take complete advantage.   Rob had two cross countries (one to San Diego, one to DC), flew solo in the T-45 15+ times, and finished intermediate in August (so almost a full year after we moved to Meridian).
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Advanced was a complete 180!  Rob went from maybe one event a day in intermediate to having two flights most days and tons of studying!  The pace seemed to move much quicker and was much more rigorous but also a lot more fun for him as he learned specific "jet stuff" like flying in formation and dropping bombs.  He went on a cross country to Asheville, a cross country to Charleston, a weapons detachment (usually three weeks long in California), and of course, the boat detachment.  After successfully qualifying on the carrier and returning from the det, Rob has less than 10 flights left in flight school!  If all goes well, he should finish flight school and receive his wings of gold next month!
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The Infamous Boat-stache

I am officially saying "bye-bye" to the boat-stache and I have to admit, I was a little sad about it!  After 36 days of seeing it, I surprised myself and kind of grew fond of it.  Alright, alright I secretly LOVED it!  (Although I think I might be the only one because everyone else in our extended family is glad to see it go!)
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So what is a "boat-stache"?  In advanced jet training (the phase of flight school Rob is in), one of the culminating events is landing the jet on a moving boat in the ocean.  The tradition is when the class in front of you successfully lands on the boat and you are now the senior class preparing for the boat, you begin growing your mustache.  You don't shave your mustache until you successfully land on the boat, and the cycle continues with the next class.
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As you can imagine, mustaches are very common in Meridian.  It's a tell tale sign here that not only are you in the military but that you are almost finished with flight school.  When we moved here last fall, we would see guys walking around with mustaches and, even though we knew it would eventually, it felt like Rob would never be at that stage!  The mustache was like a status symbol and we thought those guys were so cool.  It's been crazy for the last month to see Rob as the one walking around with the mustache!  A daily reminder that even though it still feels like we just got here, our time in Meridian is coming to a close.
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So goodbye "boat-stache", hello boat!  Send good landing vibes Rob's way :)

Knoxville Wedding: Jocelyn + Matt

This weekend, we headed back to Knoxville for Rob's cousin Jocelyn's wedding.  It was a beautiful fall weekend and so nice to spend some time with Rob's family.  Rob had to fly on Friday so we left Meridian around 5.  This meant we didn't get into Knoxville until past midnight and we missed the rehearsal dinner completely.  We said a couple hellos then headed straight to bed.
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Saturday was wedding day so we woke up early, ran a few errands, and then headed to the church to watch Jocelyn and Matt get married!  Jocelyn's mom actually made Jocelyn's wedding dress and all of the bridesmaids dresses.  They were incredible and I was extremely in awe of her talent and creativity!  After the wedding, we headed next door to the church hall for the reception and had a blast.  But the night didn't end there.
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Since their wedding was actually held on Halloween, we headed back to the hotel to change into costumes before heading to the after party at Wild Wings Cafe.  Unfortunately, we didn't realize that everyone was bringing costumes so ours were thrown together last minute.  Fortunately, it was the most comfortable costume I have ever worn!  Large sweatshirt, leggings, and nikes...always a winning combination!
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We had brunch on Sunday morning at Lakeside Tavern before making the trek back to Meridian.  It was a quick but wonderful weekend.

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