Hi, my name is Capt Cami “LIT” Richan and I am a B-52 Pilot in the US Air Force. I was raised in Highland, Utah where the concept of military was very foreign. I started the process of my military career because I was recruited to play volleyball at the Air Force Academy. Because of the nature of the school, they do a great job making you want to fly since most of the graduates become pilots. As soon as I signed the document to play Division I Volleyball at the Air Force Academy, I knew I wanted to fly because the opportunity to have a cool and fun job was at my fingertips.
I graduated the Air Force Academy in 2014 where I immediately went to Laughlin Air Force base to attend pilot training. The Air Force pilot training process is a year-long program that takes new lieutenants off the street with no flying experience and turns them into combat aviators in 52 weeks. It is safe to say that it was like drinking from a fire hose. I was so stressed that I quite honestly did not even enjoy flying until after I graduated and started instructing at pilot training. The Air Force has a very limited number of fighter/bomber pilot slots to train on the T-38, so I put an absurd amount of pressure on myself to perform well so that I could train on the T-38 (I did it ☺). If I had to give myself any advice to a student in pilot training it would be to relax and focus on each individual thing right in front of me instead of worrying about the future results. By worrying about the next flight or next phase of flight in that day it would have cost less anxiousness overall during that year long period.
After graduating pilot training, I was selected to stay at Laughlin AFB to stay and instruct, which is pretty abnormal. In pilot training classes of 25 students, about 1-2 get picked to stay there and be an instructor pilot right away, which is what happened to me. This is called being a First Assignment Instructor Pilot (aka FAIP). After instructing for almost 4 years, I got my assignment in the combat air force to fly the B-52. I started B-52 training end of 2019 in Louisiana, and graduated that training in July of 2020, where I then moved to North Dakota where I have been ever since.