A little over 9 years ago, my now-husband had just started pilot training. We had just met, I was in college, he was going through the toughest year of his life. The truth is, though, as hard as it was, it was also the most fun year of our lives. We got to spend more time together than we have the entire rest of our relationship, which is something we definitely took for granted. Through it all, we made lifelong friends, inside jokes that we still laugh at, and some incredible memories. It would have been unbelievably useful for me to have read something with some Air Force Pilot Training advice for wives (or significant others in general).
A few years later, we were sent to Columbus so that Ryan could be an instructor pilot– and then a flight commander– at a pilot training base we’d never been to. It was scary (particularly since we moved 9 days after my c-section), but one of our best friends in the Air Force was there a few months ahead of us. In fact, Ryan and Lisa were stationed at the same bases every single time, from pilot training until they got out, after going through the Academy together a year apart. Spending that 18 months at Columbus taught us a lot and gave me a unique perspective when it comes to pilot training, as I got to see how the instructors think, what they expect out of their students, and how we care for the families of those students.
So, now I’m passing on that hard-won knowledge to you, via this Air Force Pilot Training advice for wives post, so that hopefully you can spend this year of your lives growing your relationship and appreciating it more than we did. If your spouse is looking for some advice, check out my post with advice for the students, too.
Air Force Pilot Training Advice for Wives (and Other Significant Others)
- He’s going to be gone for 12+ hours, and then study for several more. It’s going to suck, but helping him study was how Ryan and I made time together during the week. Learn the plane along with him, quiz him like crazy, and help him get it down! (The sooner he does, the more you get him back)
- Be the house the students want to hang out at. Making brownies, cooking dinner, etc. will mean the WORLD to the single guys, and it means they’ll study and hang out at your house (which means more time with/near your sweetheart).
- On that note, make friends with the students in his class and hang out with their significant others. You’ll be amazed at the friendships you’ll have when you’re all going through “the suck.” I’m still friends with several of the wives from Ryan’s class!
- Find little things to do for each other to remind yourselves that you love each other. Notes in his lunch (until he’s allowed to leave for lunch… then meet up for lunch once in a while), flowers from him just because, buying your favorite wine/beer for each other, a few hours at the lake with your pup, whatever would mean something to the two of you! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the craziness and busyness of Air Force Pilot Training (UPT) and forget to do things for one another.
- Enjoy it! You’re going to be together every night for a year, and even though it’s busy, it’s the last time you can say that for a while, more than likely. It’s an incredible experience with some amazing people, and you will truly miss it when you leave (I promise)!