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Joining The US Airforce  
User currently offlineTurpentyine From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 154 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3223 times:

I am thinking about joining the US airforce after I finish college this year. I am 23. is that too old? the only reason I want to join is to fly planes. I don't have 20/20. is it still possible? how do they determine what plane you get to fly? also do they determine if u r elgible to fly after u sign the contract or before? I don't want to join and then end up not flying and being stuck there. I am about get my PPL soon.
thanks for your help.

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 915 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 3217 times:

Quoting Turpentyine (Thread starter):
I am 23. is that too old?

Nope, 23 is fine.

Quoting Turpentyine (Thread starter):
the only reason I want to join is to fly planes. I don't have 20/20. is it still possible?

You can likely still be a navigator, but the exact circumstances of your vision deficiency will determine if you can pilot or not.

Both the USAF and USN aviators can use certain corrective vision procedures, but you will need to speak with a flight surgeon to know for sure.

Quoting Turpentyine (Thread starter):
I am about get my PPL soon.

ASAIK, having a PPL won't change anything.


User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3213 times:

Having a PPL will up your PCSM score which combines your AFOQT pilot score your BAT test score and any private hours you have. So it will up your score a bit when you compete.

IIRC the newest AF standards for vision are 20/50 to catagorise for pilot but 46-123 and a few other regs change often so it is best to check with an officer recruiter. There are various threads here on the process and such if you want to search. Or I can get you the emails of some very new pilots who can explain more the latest and greatest.

What you fly is determined throughout the phases of training starting first with UPT in the T-6 (or maybe still a T-37 depending). Scores are racked and stacked along with the needs of the Air Force.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Hermano bebe, que la vida es breve


User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3183 times:

Quoting Lt-AWACS (Reply 2):
Scores are racked and stacked along with the needs of the Air Force.

Unless you're one of us spoiled Guard types where your a/c selection depends on your squadron- so technically there's no 'drop night' for a Guard pilot.

Having a PPL won't help you as much with the active duty types, but is absolutely essential if you're trying to go Guard or Reserve.The PCSM (Pilot Candidate Selection Method) score LtAWACS is speaking of can either sell you or keep you out.

DeltaGuy


User currently offlineN1641 From United States of America, joined May 2000, 220 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

USAF ATC now allows one of the laser surgerys, only one of them and not sure which one. For some reason I think flying was allowing the same one.

User currently offlineTurpentyine From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3153 times:

whats better guard or airforce?

Quoting Lt-AWACS (Reply 2):
Or I can get you the emails of some very new pilots who can explain more the latest and greatest.

id like that. thnx.


User currently offlineTZ757300 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2866 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3151 times:

Quoting Turpentyine (Reply 5):
whats better guard or airforce?

Its all the Air Force, but I'm thinking your saying what different about active and reserve (including the ANG) components.



LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!
User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3150 times:

I believe they only allow PRK, not Lasik- and if you had it done by a private physician, you'd be disqualled- the AF has to do it.

DeltaGuy


User currently offlineTurpentyine From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3148 times:

Quoting TZ757300 (Reply 6):
Its all the Air Force, but I'm thinking your saying what different about active and reserve (including the ANG) components.

I guess ye thats what I am saying.


User currently offlineCF188A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3034 times:

For the record guys... im sure this applies to the USAF as well. Here in Canada, they say ... sure have a PPL.... however the only advantage you will have ... is the ability to know what altitude, vertical speed, all that good stuff .... however during the 6 day testing period,t hey teach you that main stuff anyway. Its great to know some stuff but not to go in cocky. Also.. do not go in saying you just want to fly planes, and by God dont walk in saying you want to fly a specific plane. The selection processes for both nations is decided through a panel which determines everything from aptitude, attitude, ability to make decisions, teamwork, ability to learn, spacial awareness, and simulation. So its virtually impossible to tell if you have all the things they look for. So go get tested Smile

User currently offlineTurpentyine From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 16 hours ago) and read 2997 times:

Quoting CF188A (Reply 9):
Also.. do not go in saying you just want to fly planes,

I dont see whats wrong with going to a recruiter and saying that. I mean thats what I want to do thats what I am interested in.


User currently offlineScottieprecord From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 1363 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2987 times:

Is it at all possible to get a near-guaranteed acceptance as a pilot before actually committing to the Air Force? (I'm doubting so, but just wondering...)

The one thing that frightens me is not getting to fly, but being forced to stay in for years.

BTW, I'm 12th grade right now... considering ROTC in college, but again I don't want to commit unless there's a great chance I'll get to fly or do ATC. Do you get to choose those sorts of things?? (this has me soo confused)

-Mike


User currently offlineCF188A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 2967 times:

I am in the process of doing EXACTLY what you are doing. But here its called ROTP. You do not want to go in saying you want to fly fly fly and onl fly because then it turns into an "all about me" type scenario... something they hate. My cousin who fly's says.... operate under the radar.. do what you need to do, and you will get it Smile They sign you on as a pilot based off the selection tests, then anything can change based on grades etc...

User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (7 years 5 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 2931 times:

Quoting Turpentyine (Thread starter):
the only reason I want to join is to fly planes.

Wrong reason.
Not only is there no guarantee (in fact for every pilot there are dozens who never even touch an aircraft except as a passenger let alone get to pilot one), but it's the wrong motivation completely for joining the military.



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineCF188A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2907 times:

[quote=Jwenting,reply=13]
Wrong reason.
Not only is there no guarantee (in fact for every pilot there are dozens who never even touch an aircraft except as a passenger let alone get to pilot one), but it's the wrong motivation

see im not the only who thinks so afterall


User currently offlineIcemanT37 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 5 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2758 times:

Competition for pilot slots is fairly tough these days, with most slots going to USAFA and ROTC grads. OTS (commissioning after getting your degree) is not a significant source of pilot candidates, which makes it all the harder to gain entry in the flying business. Pilot selection rates for OTS applicants has historically been around 5-6%.

Candidates needing corrective surgery to meet pilot vision standards (those whose uncorrected vision is worse than 20/50 IIRC) must go through specialized AF clinics, one of which is at Wilford Hall in San Antonio. But then you must obtain a PRK waiver from a medical review board, which can be a lengthy process. I've seen it happen once, and the applicant was an Academy cadet.

My advice: if you still want to fly for the AF, get some more hours, then try the Guard. Might be hard to get a pilot slot right away, but if you can get your foot in the door there, they'd be the ones to make it happen. Good luck.


User currently offlineStoney From Switzerland, joined Jan 2005, 199 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (7 years 5 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2736 times:

Quoting Turpentyine (Reply 10):
Quoting CF188A (Reply 9):
Also.. do not go in saying you just want to fly planes,

I dont see whats wrong with going to a recruiter and saying that. I mean thats what I want to do thats what I am interested in.

But as it's already mentioned:

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 13):
Wrong reason......it's the wrong motivation completely for joining the military.

If you join the military, it has to be because you want to serve your country, because you see what your mission is flying these planes. The Job of a pilot is not flying per se, but fulfilling a mission with the aid of a hightech-machine, possibly using deadly force. Flying's cool, but no air force has planes just for some guys to cruise around in the sky.

Quoting CF188A (Reply 9):
during the 6 day testing period



Quoting IcemanT37 (Reply 15):
Pilot selection rates for OTS applicants has historically been around 5-6%.

Man, you guys are lucky. Just judging by the numbers that sounds like a dream. Here in Switzerland, we only have 8-12 openings for pilots per year, and that's for about 1000 people who try to get these jobs, meaning the selection rate is pretty much around 1%.
The "testing period" consists of an entrance test, 2 weeks selection on GA planes, two seperate psychological selections, one week of sim and a medical selection, spread out over about 2 years. At any one of these stages they can throw you out of the process. Besides that you have to become an officer, and only after that, the last selection takes 6 weeks flying the PC-7.
So it's possible, or better said, it's a fact that many of those who become an officer on the road to become a pilot won't achieve their ultimate goal. But if you don't see a deeper sense behind this whole road, and only do this for the flying, you're the wrong person for the job as pilot anyway.

So to all good luck who are also on the way to fulfill their dream....
It's a long, rocky road, but nothing's impossible, one just has to have a desire great enough....

Stoney



BAZL - Bundesamt gegen Zivilluftfahrt - royally screwing around with swiss aviation
User currently offlineCTR From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 5 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2727 times:

What is your college major?

If you are getting an engineering or computer science degree, getting a flying slot will actually be more difficult. USAF recruiters will find you more valuable on the ground than in the air. They will try everything they can to convince you that you don't want to fly.

In the words the recruiter I spoke to after graduating with a mechanical engineering degree "We can train history majors to fly!"

Have fun,

CTR



Aircraft design is just one big compromise,,,
User currently offlineElmoTheHobo From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1534 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (7 years 5 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2718 times:

Quoting IcemanT37 (Reply 15):
Competition for pilot slots is fairly tough these days, with most slots going to USAFA and ROTC grads

Yup, and its even better for ROTC Cadets now, as only 47% of this year's USAFA class is pilot qualified, far lower than usual.

The downside, however, is that the Air Force is shrinking, and ROTC is really getting a beating - fewer scholarships and Cadre's willingness to kick cadets out for the smallest infractions.

Quoting CTR (Reply 17):
If you are getting an engineering or computer science degree, getting a flying slot will actually be more difficult. USAF recruiters will find you more valuable on the ground than in the air

I'm an International Relations and Languages major and I'm a flight track, though I might not want to fly after all...

Turpentyine - my advice. Go to Grad School and do ROTC. They'll pay for your gradschool. Make sure you get good grades and make sure you can do well on your Physical Fitness Test. If you want some info about ROTC, send me a message or go to AFROTC.com.


User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (7 years 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2678 times:

Quoting DeltaGuy (Reply 7):
I believe they only allow PRK, not Lasik- and if you had it done by a private physician, you'd be disqualled- the AF has to do it.

I think your correct. I had a former co-worker that was trying to get a Flight School slot in the US Army. She was in the Air Guard and Air Crew (just got back from Iraq last year) but wanted to fly. The only eye surgery they would allow was PRK... She had the surgery and last I heard was selected and is on her way to Ft. Rucker.

23 is not too old, BUT you need to give it serious thought now. Your not a wet nosed 17-18 year old and are some what set in your ways. It will be a major life change to go in at that age. I came very close in 1988 to going in at the same age, but career paths were slim picking.



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineTurpentyine From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 5 months 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2671 times:

Quoting CTR (Reply 17):
What is your college major?

I am majoring in business management entrepreneurship.


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