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Astronaut Candidates 2004: | Home | Journals
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Astronaut Candidates 2004
IMAGE: Astronaut candidate Shannon Walker
Shannon Walker, Mission Specialist, finishes a rapid simulation of ejection from an aircraft during water survival training at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
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Astronaut Candidates 2004 - Training Journals

Journal #3
July 5 - July 9
, 2004

Last week’s bookwork and simulator hours paved the way for this week’s familiarization flights in the T-34’s. Each day we arrived early at the squadron to get the weather reports, and then we reviewed our planned flight and emergency procedures with our instructor pilot. After about an hour of pre-flight reviews and instruction, we picked up our flight vests, which hold a flashlight, food, water, a knife, a life preserver, and other survival tools, and helmets, and headed out to the plane to inspect it and begin our pre-flight checklists. Once we started up the plane, we taxied to the runway, made a final check of the engine to ensure it was operating properly, made radio calls to the control tower for permission to fly, and then finally took-off. We flew a total of four times this week. For each flight our instructor pilot demonstrated various flying skills to us, such as the proper way to do turns or landings or how to handle emergency situations, and then we repeated the procedures to the best of our abilities. Whether it was learning how to fly straight and level, making turns, completing touch-and-go landings, or doing stalls or spins, each day brought new challenges and experiences. In the sky we cannot focus on just the flying skills; we must be scanning our instruments to assess the health of the engine, be thinking about emergency procedures should we have a problem, be aware of other planes to stay out of their way, and keep an eye on the weather to make sure it is still safe for us to fly. There is a lot going on in the cockpit. Once a flight was completed, we debriefed it with our instructor. In the debriefing we reviewed the entire flight and discussed the procedures and maneuvers we had performed. This debriefing gave us the chance to talk about how we had flown, to make sure we knew all the procedures, and to recognize our accomplishments. When the debriefing was done, we headed back to our rooms to study and prepare for the next day’s flight.

Weekly Highlights: FLYING! It is a big thrill the first time you complete a take-off yourself. In addition, during our last flight our instructors demonstrated aerobatic maneuvers to us. These maneuvers included: loops, wingovers, and rolls—barrel and aileron.

- The Astronaut Candidate Class of 2004


Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 03/25/2005
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