Pilot Rituals

May 19th, 2004  
Mark Conley

Topic: Pilot Rituals

The Air Force is a young service..less that 60 years compared to the Army or Navy. But we are getting some customs worth writing about...slowly.

Take the ritual for pilots that have absolutely finished their last career flight in a Military Aircraft. The Base Fire Department is waiting on the flight ramp with its largest monitor truck, waiting. As soon as the target is away from the aircraft, the monitor or hose crew literally hoses the pilot down from top to bottom. This is to symbolise that the pilot is finally "all washed up" for his flight career.

Another thing done with water was saluting the people who left special duty assignments in far off places. For each freedom flight that left Shemya AFB on shemya island in the alaskan alueitians...the Fire trucks used to form a line down the side of the runway and blast water in the air over the runway and the plane as it took off, as a kind of last day salute to those that were leaving. The had to modify this a little later on, when they accidently shut down one turbojet engine on a four engine plane with water as it was taking off down the runway...
May 19th, 2004  
One thing that happens to pilots when they do their first solo, is after they come down from their flight, all of the other pilots, students and instructors, get buckets of water and just dunk the person.

It happened to me twice. Once on Glider Training. After I did my solo, they took me to a nearby river and threw me (as well as other pilots that soloed that day) in it. The other was on Power Training. When I came down from my solo circuit, they guys had 4 buckets and 2 rubber boots filled with water, and the hose. Needless to say, my flight suit stunk for the rest of the day.
May 31st, 2004  
C/2nd Lt Robot
In the CAP before your first solo flight, the back of your shirt is cut off
May 31st, 2004  
Mark Conley
you see..traditions are everywhere! step up to plate, you pilots! (and GTMs)
October 2nd, 2006  
nothing happened after my first solo
October 4th, 2006  
Originally Posted by C/2nd Lt Robot
In the CAP before your first solo flight, the back of your shirt is cut off
most civilian flight schools (like where I soloed) cut off the back of your shirt after you solo. my shirt was a Wright Brothers anniversary shirt, so the big picture on the back got cut off. it looks pretty cool.
October 5th, 2006  
well when our pilots in our squadron finish there first flight as a HAC, kinda like a first "solo" b/c they are "in charge" it is up to the flight-line/powerplants shop's job to "dunk" them, well this dunk consisted of getting hosed down by a CC kart and about 6 buckets of water followed by a good stacking.
November 8th, 2011  
Civilian pilot trainee's should have their shirttails cut off after their first solo. We would write their name and the date of the first solo on the tail and hang it on the wall until they received their private pilot's license,then we would give it back to them.
Navy/Marine aviator trainee's have their neckties cut. When you go to the "Club" it shows everyone you have had your first solo.
May 21st, 2014  
Some clarification is needed here.
In the USAF the ritual of a "Champagne flight" is given when a pilot flies his last flight either in a squadron or in a particular aircraft. And in combat when a pilot flies his last flight before leaving the battle zone for another flying assignment. During this ritual he is "hosed down" after deplaning and then given a bottle of champagne which he shares with his squadron mates and usually with his crew chief and then mounts a vehicle to parade down the flight line to the Officer's club where a party is held in his honor.

I'm not sure if this is the same for the rest of the services but it was standard in the Air Force.
May 21st, 2014  
Remington 1858

Topic: pilot rituals

In the USAF, when the organization was still all-male, the last thing a pilot did before mounting up was to walk over on to the grass and empty the bladder, a practical and necessary task.
When females began serving on the flight line and as pilots, obviously that had to change.