Thanks for the nice words. This course is not easy, at least for me(!), but it is good to be flying and studying this subject matter, again.
The biggest transition for me is looking at this helicopter as a weapons system instead of a lift/utility platform as is the Blackhawk. Tandem seating is also a new one for me. I always took for granted seeing and knowing what the other pilot was doing in the Blackhawk. The Apache is totally different since we can't see eachother; yeah, I can see the CPG's head but that's about it. Good crew coordination is essential; I'm a fricking chatter box when we're flying. It's important to know what the heck the other person is doing and intends on doing.
I think the Blackhawk is just a bit smoother at higher airspeeds probably since there isn't near the parasitic drag of the Apache. The visibility in the Apache is fantastic but, according to a former Cobra pilot in my class, isn't as good as the Cobra. It is cool having a cockpit of your own.
Also, the Apache was just approved for 60 degrees up and down of pitch attitude and 120 degrees of roll attituce. That's inverted fella's. Our Instructor Pilots (IPs) have yet to demonstrate but I am looking forward to it!
It'll be about two months before we get to fire the gun and not until after Christmas until we can fire rockets. I don't believe we'll get to fire an actual Hellfire while we're here. That will be simulated. From what I hear, the 30mm is the most fun to shoot, though.
P.S. I ran into an article about the F430....What's the story on it?