DeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 5284 posts, RR: 48 Posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4828 times:
For anyone who has done it, you know it's hard work. I've looked into the Navy's BDCP program, and I want to talk to ANG and AFR units soon to see if they have any openings, but I don't want to let any plan pass me by. I'm starting my 3rd year of college and have a very good GPA. Any ideas? Thanks.
UH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4805 times:
Well ROTC would have been a more favorable route, but at this junction, it is not a viable answer.
Start looking into each branch's requirements for OCS/OTS. Prior flight experience can definitely help, so if you don't already have it, consider start picking up some civilian licenses. Obviously continue to maintain/better your GPA. Take the military flight aptitude test (or whatever damn name they're calling it these days). Go online and find out the branch's PT test requirements, and start going to gym and train to at least the 80+ percentile. And try and make professional contacts within your prospective branch, so they can write you a LoR.
AirRyan From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2529 posts, RR: 6 Reply 2, posted (2 years 11 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4693 times:
USAFR is the way to go - you apply like you would any other job, with the specific squadron for their sponsorship. Don't bother wasting your time sending out emails or even snail mail, go down to the unit itself, and knock on their door and introduce yourself. There are tons of slots available every year all over the US, you just have to be willing to go out there.
If you'd like to fly helos, you can apply for Army Warrant Officer Flight School with what you already have, and while prior enlisted with an aviation MOS will always have a heads up on someone in college, it still happens.
And also, the Marines (who the majority of their pilots fly rotary-winged aircraft mind you,) have what is called Platoon Leaders Class. After your sophomore year they will basically allow you to go to PLC during your summer between semesters, and compete for a commission. Basically, this is officer boot camp with no commitment unless you pass, so don't even think about going that route unless you are physically ready to endure such an endeavor, because they will send you butt home if you get there and cannot already run three miles. But if you pass, you'll be guaranteed in writing a commission and a flight slot should you want one, upon graduation. For active duty flight slots, it's the best and only way I know of that will guarantee you a flight slot before you make a commitment yourself.
DeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 5284 posts, RR: 48 Reply 3, posted (2 years 11 months 13 hours ago) and read 4578 times:
Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 1): Well ROTC would have been a more favorable route, but at this junction, it is not a viable answer.
Well I am a strange case (the story is long and confusing, I'll save telling the whole thing, but I will say I have no regrets ) but I am in Army ROTC right now (not contracted), and in the GA ARNG with 3 years in, 3 left. I don't mind helicopters, they are pretty cool, but my main goal is airlines, and I know it is very, VERY hard to get fixed wing in the Army. But you may know the answer to this question: If you go through Army flight school and fly helicopters, can you say, join the AF (or any other branch) and switch to fixed winged? There is an age cut off at about 28-30, but since you already did Army flight school, isn't learning to fly KC-135s kind of like changing aircraft rather than going through flight school in its entirety? In other words, if I do Army ROTC and fly helicopters and I get out at 33 or something, am I SOL to fly fixed wing in another branch?
I've been looking at AFR and ANG units actually, a lot of it is who you know too. I'm kind of at a disadvantage since I haven't completed college yet, a requirement for UPT, but I'm trying to get in touch with the units around me. Most are having annual training in July which is unfortunate since they are busy.
I have looked into that too, it is very tough but I'd do it if I really needed to. The Navy's BDCP program (which I'm leaning towards) is like PLC, but it isn't as hard. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind hard, I would just rather get through flight school and all that than the summer sessions and Officer Infantry school which they do.
Thanks for your help. I have this dream to fly, I'll get there one way or another I assure you. Just depends on how hard it will really get.
res From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 417 posts, RR: 1 Reply 4, posted (2 years 11 months 11 hours ago) and read 4557 times:
I was lined up to go the airline route, until the airlines started furloughing. I always wanted to fly for the military, especially double-dip with the airlines and ANG. However, over the years, there has been a BRAC epidemic - if you don't know what BRAC is, I encourage you to educate yourself. Units across the country closing shop on their fighter tradition, and exchanging their jets for UAVs, or nothing at all...hokus pokus. It took me over a year to finally realize how risky the ANG could end up being. But, it is true, a lot of members from units that get BRAC'd get absorbed by other units.
So I flight instructed for a little under a year, and toward the end of 2008 I applied for a pilot slot in the Navy because it has ALWAYS been the pinnacle aviator job in my mind, but for the longest time I imagined it was impossible for a guy like me to get picked up for it...."Why me?" We're all humans though, right?. Had the grades, experience, great letters of recommendation, etc. Got the slot, went through OCS and the rest is history.
I suggest you really determine what you want to do. Obviously you want to be a pilot, but does one branch of service have a mission that appeals to you more than the other? Don't forget about the Coast Guard. Air Force is pretty fat on tankers, cargo, and they are getting an incredible amount of UAVs. Active duty AF fighter squadrons are getting the axe just like guard units, too.
moose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2009 posts, RR: 12 Reply 5, posted (2 years 11 months 1 hour ago) and read 4510 times:
Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 3): If you go through Army flight school and fly helicopters, can you say, join the AF (or any other branch) and switch to fixed winged? There is an age cut off at about 28-30, but since you already did Army flight school, isn't learning to fly KC-135s kind of like changing aircraft rather than going through flight school in its entirety?
I don't know how it is today, but 25 years ago when I went through USAF UPT, that wasn't the case. We had one guy in my pilot training class who had been a USAF helicopter pilot - after his commissioning, he was sent to Ft. Rucker to complete Army helo training. After about 5 years, he was selected for UPT, and needed to complete the full program to be awarded his wings to fly fixed wing aircraft. He went on to fly B-52s.
UH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4455 times:
Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 3): But you may know the answer to this question: If you go through Army flight school and fly helicopters, can you say, join the AF (or any other branch) and switch to fixed winged? There is an age cut off at about 28-30, but since you already did Army flight school, isn't learning to fly KC-135s kind of like changing aircraft rather than going through flight school in its entirety? In other words, if I do Army ROTC and fly helicopters and I get out at 33 or something, am I SOL to fly fixed wing in another branch?
Yeah I figured as much, and that's why I didn't even bother suggesting the warrant officer program. Yes you can switch over to the Air Force, oddly enough I was approached to do exactly that but I turned it down. But if I had chosen to leave the Army I would have still been flying helicopters, just HH-60Gs instead. So it's not like switching over means you can go fly the big heavies. You would still have to go to fixed wing flight school.
Getting Army fixed wing is not easy, but no impossible. I know quite a few who have done it. All it takes is putting in a packet, at any point of your flying career. Lately they have been looking for younger guys, to try and get more years out of them.
But I don't think the Army is what you're looking for, especially if you want to go fly a cattle car. Listen to the guys above, they seem to have better advice.
DeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 5284 posts, RR: 48 Reply 8, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4438 times:
Quoting res (Reply 4): Had the grades, experience, great letters of recommendation, etc. Got the slot
If you don't mind posting, what were your qualifications? I have 65 credit hours with a 3.869 GPA, getting Criminal Justice major, 3 years GA ARNG experience (I don't think that would help out too much,) made c/2LT in CAP (aviation related, but not sure it would help out too much either,) in Army ROTC. Obviously I have the military mentality down, and my GPA is good (makes up for my degree not being mathy,) but what else do they really look at? I'm pretty good at PT, but I hear the only thing that really boosts you is pilot hours. Don't have too many of those. My Navy officer recruiter says he can gauge me when I take the ASTB.
Quoting res (Reply 4): Obviously you want to be a pilot, but does one branch of service have a mission that appeals to you more than the other?
Well, as much as the fighters are cool and fun, I'd be satisfied with the big, slow airplanes. Maybe a KC-135 like my dad flew. But the real determining factor is a guarantee. I'm not doing AFROTC because you commit before you get accessed. The Navy's BDCP, Marines PLC, and AFR/ANG give me the precious slot then I commit. The CG has programs like it, but they are more aimed at minorities. I know when I get to flight school I could be stuck on a UAV or helicopter, but if I do, I didn't try enough. I'll do what it takes when I'm going through.
I'll look into branch transfers like you are mentioning. I know the game has changed a lot since then too. My dad (a bit more than 25 years ago but around the same time) went right up to an AF recruiter and got signed up for a pilot slot right away! If only I could do that now... although I am thankful their eyesight standards are not 20/20 anymore since I am around 20/40 (good enough for any branch, and some lasik is now accepted)
I may have to pursue this option actually. This whole thread depends on me getting a conditional release from my unit. I think I'll be able to get it since GA is over their 11B quota (and overall troops in general I believe) and last deployment, ROTC wouldn't even let me go with them so I'm no use to them.
Thanks for all the info guys! I know it takes a few minutes to read my posts but just know I appreciate all the help I am recieving.
res From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 417 posts, RR: 1 Reply 9, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4426 times:
Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 8):
If you don't mind posting, what were your qualifications?
I was an aviation major, 3.65 GPA, Commercial-Multi CFI/CFII. Had about 375 hours when I applied. Flight time definitely helps, but a LOT (probably more than 80%) of aviators showing up to Primary/UPT have either never flown, or have only flown a couple times. Maybe they're part of that small group that has at least a private certificate. Point I'm trying to make is that you could never have seen a plane before in your life, and get hired.
DeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 5284 posts, RR: 48 Reply 10, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4412 times:
res, since the Navy's BDCP is probably what I will end up doing, can you tell me how competetive it is IN flight school? I don't want to sound arrogant, but I do not consider myself in the middle of the pack, but towards the front (but not the very front.) If I don't goof off and do what I'm supposed to, are the chances of me getting fixed wing pretty good (assuming I make it to flight school.) Also, this probably varies greatly between classes, but relatively speaking, is it hard to get the E-6 or that 737 conversion (can't remember the name)? It's my understanding that most people want the F-18s but I'll be content with a big airplane
res From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 417 posts, RR: 1 Reply 11, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4377 times:
Surprisingly, a lot of people want helos or P-3. About 15 pilots per year track for the E-6 because it is such a small community. # 1 determining factor is "the needs of the Navy" (or whatever other branch we're talking about).
I know people that finish Primary on a week where every student got helos even if helos were their last choice. I know people that finish primary and everyone gets their first choice. And believe it or not, the C-2 is a highly coveted position because of the quality of life associated with it.
Its really a crap shoot, boiling down to grades, and luck. Though nothing is guaranteed, If you are a P-3 pilot, you will pretty much transition to the P-8 (737) for sure. Things have to line up right (i.e. sea/shore tour time line, promotion, etc).
Think back to the air force argument where guys flying F-15s are assigned to go fly UAVs.
Regarding your competition question, that depends on a hundred things. But in certain cases, the smartest guys might not always be the best pilots, and the shoe is on the other foot, where the clowns are great aviators. We all know someone that we can't understand how they even got into aviation in the first place. But somehow it all works out in the end, right?...
DeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 5284 posts, RR: 48 Reply 12, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4343 times:
Quoting res (Reply 11): But somehow it all works out in the end, right?...
I sure hope so. I hear that the AF might be trying to get UAVs in a separate category. I believe that in the Army it's a separate, enlisted job to fly them. But as you said
Quoting res (Reply 11): "the needs of the Navy" (or whatever other branch we're talking about).
Now the unfortunate souls that want to fly fixed wing but are stuck on helicopters, do they have to finish their commitment before switching or can they bug their commanders to change to fixed wing every chance they get?
res From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 417 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (2 years 10 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 4303 times:
AF just established a UAV pipeline very recently. I wouldn't be surprised if non UAV pilots are grabbed for a UAV tour though, as it has been for years.
It does happen where a pilot of one community transitions to another - called a "re-tread." Helo guys go to hornets, P-3 to hornets, all kinds of combos. Even NFO's can re-tread to be pilots. No, your commitment doesn't have to be up yet.