Today we woke up at 8am and an announcement was made at 9am to say that we were having Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast! It was delicious! After breakfast our new friend Brianna came over to say goodbye to us all. We played air hockey and ‘ninja’ with chief Chrissy all morning until we were told we had to leave to go to the airport.
We said goodbye to all of our new friends outside of the airport. Our flight to Atlanta took off at 14:30. We had a two hour layover there where we ate our lunch and our next flight to Dublin left at 18:00.
It was sad to say goodbye to all of our friends who have been so kind and helpful to us this past week. I hope that I can stay in touch with them and that I can meet them again some time.
I think I can safely say that our trip was a huge success. I enjoyed every minute of our journey and I really hope that I can go back to Pensacola some day.
What a night! We had a draw and Eoin was chosen to throw the first pitch at the Blue Wahoo game versus the Chattanooga Lookouts. He was representing the National Flight Academy.
Today on our last day in the National Flight Academy was a day that all of us AXPs will never forget. To start the day we had our graduation ceremony in the Aviation Museum. Each squadron was called out one at a time by our chiefs. We all received a certificate, a squadron photo, a badge and a brooch. At the end of the ceremony all the Irish AXPs had a picture taken with the Vice Admiral, who gave each of us a medal which was a great honour.
After saying an emotional goodbye to our new friends, we headed to the mall for some last minute shopping! To finish off an amazing day we went to a local baseball game, the Pensacola Wahoos versus The Lookouts. It was a new and exciting experience and even though the Wahoos didn’t win, we had a great time living the real American life. We are very grateful to everyone at the National Flight Academy and to Kate, Paddy and Maeve also. We have had a brilliant time here and have learnt many new things and made numerous amounts of friends.
Vice Admiral Hoewing (Retired), Vice Admiral Architzel, Captain Kevin Miller, Chip Yarborough, Maeve Clancy, Kate Murray, Paddy Clancy and the Aviators of the Future from Galway Education Centre, Ireland.
Kate Murray will speak about the Aviator of the Future Programme and the National Flight Academy on FYI Galway with Antoinette Giblin between 5pm and 6pm today, Friday. (Pensacola time : 11am-12noon)
You can listen live here: http://www.galwaynews.ie/galwaybayfm
Relive the adventure! All hands!
Today at 10:30 AM, the cruise liner Tropicale crashed into an oil tanker called Gulf Sunset on the gulf of Mexico. This triggered an alarm in Ambition in which all AXP’s ran to their battle stations to try and respond to this terrible disaster.
Although, it was a simulation it felt so real being involved in this disaster. The situation escalated when we found out that OPSO O’Rear’s parents were in the cruise ship when it was hit so emotions were running high.
We continually attempted to put out the fires that had risen from the debris that was left. We used WASPs (Water Activated Support package) which are really just baking powder. We also had to try to retrieve people from the choppy waters below as a low pressure anti-cyclone moved in from the west. It was very exciting but also very nerve-racking as we tried to save 2317 passengers from the two ships.
Eventually after 10 hours of hard work, we managed to recover all passengers. Only a few were seriously injured after some dodgy piloting by our Irish AXP’s (you know who you are). As we watched the final evening entertainment provided by the AXP’s who had lost their bags and had to dance to get them back (Irish included), we reminisced about the amazing week we have had here.
All the staff here have been so good to us, and so patient with our “translations” all week. All of our chiefs from the two squadrons, Chief Kerrigan (of Irish descent), Chief Thompson and Chief King have been wonderful and have kept spirits high the whole week. OPSO O’Rear and IO Laton have been fantastic giving us the skills needed to prepare for and complete our missions. We have successfully rocked the JOC every day and have flown brilliantly with the help of everyone here.
This was an experience none of us will ever forget and the friendships we have made here will last a lifetime. In my opinion, the friendships we have formed are the thing I will take away from this trip the most. And I think every other Irish AXP will say the same.
Today we had an opportunity to visit the Pensacola Lighthouse Museum. You can read about it here: http://www.pensacolalighthouse.org/
We took some great photos both on the way up the 177 steps and of the beautiful view from the top.
Check out the Rescue Swimmer School here; http://www.netc.navy.mil/nascweb/aeats/arss/arss.htm
Shore Excursion: Land Survival School with Master Chief Mark Curley
Warning, men and women of a nervous disposition, with a heart and or soul defect should not look directly into the eyes of Rick Astley, as these images are not suitable for television broadcast in 191 countries, or indeed gazing upon in general! This blog contains uncensored exposure to the one hit wonder, which may cause irreparable harm to the innocence of young children.
Yesterday in Pensacola a young group of AXPs ageing from 12 to 14 to the barbaric and macabre act of “rick rolling”. At approximately 21:17 yesterday evening, a shroud of terror fell upon Pensacola’s white sands. A rendition of Rick Astley’s “Never gonna give you up” could be heard o’er the comms; the very same felicitly genial bars that have plunged millions of innocent YouTubers into delirium. For the fortunate few of you who are not familiar with “Rick Rolling”, it is a form of cheap humour for a sadistic few over YouTube. It entails oneself being subjected to the horror that is Mr Astley at climatical moments during their favourite YouTube videos. The control group aboard Ambition, successfully preformed a ‘Rickroll’ on those in the cockpits under the guidance of OPSO O’ Rear.
Over the last two days, this was just one of the many incidents which successfully shattered the monochrome monotony of foreign acronyms and a tight schedule. But life aboard the ambition, especially these last two days, have been far from that! This is because it has been these last two days that have allowed our group to fully acclimatise to everything American; from the N.F.A. experience, to their world renowned southern hospitality. Acronyms such as J.I.C and J.O.C., which were once so alien to us, have become second nature recently. We hope that these feelings of familiarity are mutual among our American piers.
These last two days have been exciting and eventful to say the least! Apart from rockin’ the J.O.C., the last two days have included watching the world famous “Blue Angels” in the N.F.A.’s air field, and even attempting some (we’ll admit rather sketchy) formation flying of our own in the simulators. As we have been settling in, it has been becoming possible to attempt more and more elaborate forms of flight. The air rally we took part in over Tampa Bay was the most intricate to date. This air race stands as a testament to the opportunity the N.F.A. has given us to accelerate our learning curves; especially concerning the S.T.E.M. program. Though tomorrow will be our last full day aboard Ambition, we are sure that all that we have and will learn in the N.F.A. will have lasting effects on everyone attending it…
Enjoy our photos from the Blue Angels Practice at NAS Pensacola.
Visit http://www.historicpensacola.org/ to learn more about historic Pensacola. What a fantastic way to spend an afternoon!
St. Michael’s Church. Learn more about their cemetery restoration project here; http://www.stmichaelscemetery.org
Check out the National Flight Academy on Facebook here; http://www.facebook.com/NationalFlightAcademy
Like the page and you can see daily photos from Ambition. Here are some photos of the Aviator of the Future Ambassadors from Day 2. Enjoy!
Today on Ambition we awoke at 6:30 am. We ate breakfast at 7:30 am and then received a tour of Hangar Bay 1 and the Museum. We went to see ‘The Magic Of Flight’ in the IMAX theatre and we enjoyed all forty five minutes of it! We learnt about the ‘Blue Angels’ who will be giving an air display on Wednesday! We had some lasagne and salad and then went to ready room 1 for briefing on flight. We finished the briefing and continued to JOC (Joint Operations Centre) and JIC (Joint Intelligence Centre). After dinner we went to JIC again and then commanded a flight before bed. All in all it was a rather exciting day! (Pictures to follow tomorrow). Kate Grealish.
What a day!!! It’s the day that we set sail on Ambition! Breakfast was at 9:30am and after that it was all go, go, go.
We got to try out the X-12 Triad simulators, an experimental aircraft that’s being tested and used on Ambition. We flew around Pensacola practicing formation flying, takeoff and landing on an aircraft carrier. Meanwhile four of us Irish AXPs got chosen to get interviewed by a big local television company to talk about our experience of America and the National Flight Academy so far. It was aired on prime time news and a link will be put up soon!
AXPs from all over America boarded all morning. There are an impressive 108 AXPs in total on board Ambition which is the most that the National Flight Academy has had this summer.
At 14:00 after a huge lunch, we set sail. One of the first things we did was break up into our different squadrons (a group of twelve AXPs) and meet our chiefs. After meeting everybody and introducing ourselves we sat down in the ready room where we were taught about the theory of flight by Operations Officer O’Rear who is of Irish descent. We each paired off with a flying partner and then it was time to go back to the hanger and fly some more! We had a few small exercises to fly that helped us get used to the controls and also we learnt about the different roles of the pilot and co-pilot. We had great fun and I don’t think we had any major crashes! But before we knew it, it was time to land our aircraft, shut down the engines and head up to the Joint Intelligence Center. The JIC is where all our missions are planned and prepared before we fly. Today we were taught how to create a flight plan and how to make the necessary calculations. Then we were taken to the Joint Operations Center (JOC) the room where all the communications and air traffic control operates from. We learnt how to use the radar and what to say on the radio to make sure that there are no collisions in the air.
After a quick dinner we were back in the aircraft or in the JOC for even more practice to fine tune our aviation skills and to experiment with the capabilities of the aircraft. At 21:00 we finished up and we spent time with our squadron making up our callsigns which is what we will be called for the rest of the week. We had a good laugh trying to get the right names for everyone. Even the chiefs had to get one.
It has been a exciting and eventful day aboard Ambition and with all our flying for the first time, using the radios, meeting new people and making new friends we are all truly wrecked so it’s time to get some rest and refresh ourselves for the early 06:30 start tomorrow!
So it’s goodnight from Ambition!
Ambassadors Eoin, Ruaidrí, Evan and Mia were all interviewed today by Wear TV3. The interviews will air during the news at 1700hrs and 1800hrs Pensacola Time. ( This is 11pm and midnight GMT.)
The web address to pick up the interview is http://www.weartv.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wear_vid_24158.shtml?wap=0