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How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Sun Oct 19, 2003 1:57 pm


I am 16 years old and I am looking ahead in what I will be doing in the further. I want to be an airline pilot. I've wanted to be since I was 5 years old. I was thinking of going to a aviation school like Delta Connection Academy and work my way up to the right seat of a RJ. But doing this costs a lot of money but if I become a military pilot my training will be paid for…I think. But with airline hiring still going slow I’m not sure if that would be the best choice for me. So I was thinking that I should become a military pilot, by the time I am old enough to join I guess I would fly the F-22 Raptor. And after a few years in the military I want to join and fly of an airline. But I want to know more information about being a fighter jet pilot. Right now I am training for my Private Pilot license and trying to gain flight hours.

So what kind of school do I need to go to, after high school do I join a military pilot collage, or do I go to a normal collage and then join a fighter jet program? Do I have to pay for my flight training? How do I start to fly do I get hired by the military or am I automatically accepted to become a fighter jet pilot?

Any help would be helpful.

Thanks in advance,

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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Sun Oct 19, 2003 9:35 pm

joining the military just to get free flight time towards getting hired by an airliner is definitely the WRONG reason!

Anyway, if that's why you want into the airforce (as it seems to be) you're better off applying to fly transports and not fighters.

You don't need to have a pilot's license to join the airforce and be trained as a pilot.
You DO need good education. All pilots are officers and officers are expected to have good education. AF ROTC is a good place to start.
In general, you join the air force and then apply for a flying job. Selection if tough, most applicants never make it.
They're trained into other jobs: controllers, maintenance, security, etc, etc.
I think every kid joining the Air Force thinks he'll be up in a jet zooming across the sky a few months later. Reality is that for every pilot there are dozens of others out there, many of whom never come closer to an aircraft than the visitors at an airshow.
Unless you're willing to do non-flying work, you'd better not apply.
If you're not willing to when needed put your life on the line whether you agree with the reasons or not, don't apply.
If you're not willing to spend prolonged periods on assignments away from your family, don't apply.

If you are willing to do all the above, talk to an airforce recruiter and ask him.
He will be able to guide you towards your goals.
He is the man who sees dozens of young men (and these days women) with your ambitions every week, most of whom he knows will never see those dreams come through.

If you hold a PPL before joining the AF, your chances of being selected for pilot training will probably be higher than when you don't, but there is no certainty.
Remember that the AF medical requirements are a lot more strict than those required for your PPL or even for airline pilots.
It is therefore quite possible that you won't be allowed to be an airforce pilot despite holding a PPL or even ATPL.
Requirements for fighterpilots are even higher because the stresses on the human body are more severe in their job.

If the AF is not for you, there's of course also the navy, USMC and USCG, all of which have aviation departments.
I wish I were flying
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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Mon Oct 20, 2003 4:34 am

Here is the answer I gave to another post, and I'll ad some points. Though Jw is right, heavies are more Airline like and might be a better choice for you, though fighters go to the airlines also. He is also correct about the reasons.

To be a pilot, you have to be an Officer, to be an Officer, you have to have a college degree.
For UPT selection, you will get a PCSM score That combines the scores on your AFOQT test, BAT test score, and any civilian flying hours. Expect a ten year commitment after graduating UPT, and after the commitment you can sign up for the flying bonus. Though I hear it might go back to 8 years. Either way the flying line will take you about 10 years in the Active force, guard/reserve is different.

To get a commission as a rated officer, there are 3 main ways. The Air Force academy, OTS, and ROTC. Once you are already in these source programs you put in the Air Force form 214 for Rated Flying. You can apply for all 3- Pilot, Navigator, and Air Battle Manager, or just Pilot.

Now for the Guard and Reserve, you interview with a unit and put in a similar package, but when you get selected you know exactly what type of plane you will fly and where. So you do not compete with your mates in UPT, you just have to pass everything. You can commission through ROTC, or AMS which is an OTS like program for the Guard. It is located in Tennessee. If you go this way then as I said, you know exactly what plane you'll fly ahead of time, and will not have to compete with others at UPT.

UPT is tough. You can go to less glamorous places like Laughlin AFB, in Del Rio, TX. Vance in Enid, OK., Columbus in Eastern Mississippi. Sheppard in Wichita Falls, Texas, and Moody in Valdosta Ga. Those are some of the Main UPT bases. And there are others with air frame specific RTUs.
At the end of UPT you are ranked with the rest of your class. The have so many slots. Like 3 fighters, 2 tankers, 1 C-21, 2 C-17s, 1 helo, 1 E-3 etc. Well you go up to the board and pick your choice in the order you are ranked. Fighters usually go first, so you have to be near the top of your class. Helos and things like the E-3, E-8 etc go last (as a rule of thumb because Helo guys usually go army, and some heavies are considered boring from the front end perspective.).

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Yankee Air Pirate
Io voglio fica ogni giorni da mia bella moglie!
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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:38 pm

One piece of advice. Call your Navy Officer Programs Recruiter.

Let the Journey Begin

Law is a major base of civilized society
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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Wed Oct 22, 2003 7:11 pm

Not trying to deter you from your dream - I'm actually in the process of joining the Australian Air Force.

After speaking to a few pilots in the service at an Airshow, I began to realise that the Air Force isn't just pilots. (I already knew this, I guess I was just so hung-up on becoming a Hornet pilot that I didn't think to consider anything else).

You are lucky in the US in the fact that you have so many different choices when it comes to flying in the military.

Here in Oz, for every 1500 candidates that apply - only 2 will ever see the cockpit of a Hornet.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that flying an F-15 isn't the be-all and end-all of flying. Sure it would be nice - but just ask Lt. AWACS, I can guarantee that he enjoys flying his plane as much as he would any other. Sure, there is a definite stereotype that comes with the Air Force - everyone wants to fly fast jets. But why not consider some of the other options?

Research is probably the best key here. Check out all your options. Be sure to ask as many people as you can. Internet, newspapers, magazines, school library, defence force recruiting... Remember, it is a big commitment. You can't expect to just quit when you get sick of it. And joining the military just to get your hours up so you can get into the airlines is not a good idea. Trust me, the Air Force will see it coming.

Military flying is not for everyone, but like I said - do your best to research as much as you can.

Hope this helps and good luck with it all.

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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Thu Oct 23, 2003 4:33 am

A lot of good answers and hope this helps. How are you in school? If you are getting straight A's or maintain at least a 3.5 cumlative GPA (pardon my spelling) or higher, involve in a lot of activities, sports, and community service then you should apply to one of the service academies such as the Air Force or Naval Academy. The standards are very high.

I'm currently on my first enlisted tour in the Navy and I am looking into the officer's program and there are so many out there for me. For one instance is the STA -21 program which enrolls enlisted sailors, no matter in rank, in all the officer's program which there are like 5 or 6 programs. Couple I know are NROTC program, Navy will pay you to go to any college for 4 years in the Navy ROTC, another is the Naval Academy, and there are more. Or of course, you could go to college, graduate, and then apply for an Officer Candidate Package. That's the first step you'll need to do once you graduate high school to become a military pilot in all branch. Army helo pilots are warrant officers but they're lower then commissioned officers.

Good luck.

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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Fri Oct 24, 2003 7:47 am

If you really want to be a guaranteed fighter pilot, then your best bet would be to move to a state where there is a national guard or reserve unit that flies them and then apply, like the 162nd Fighter Wing in Tucson or the 150th in New Mexico or the 102nd Fighter Wing in Massachussetts. If you can get selected.

But on a more realistic note, as Capt AWACS said go to college and get a high GPA, take chance on the AFOQT, score high on pilot and navigator, take the BAT and hopefully you will have some flying hours, up to 200 count towards your PCSM, ratings don't matter in the score, they may look good to the board however. If you don't have a PPL and you get selected, they will pay for 50 hours, if you do you will go straight to UPT after OTS, ROTC or AMS. It lasts 52 weeks and you go through various courses and then Survival school at Fairchild AFB in Washington. You don't get your choice unless you grad top dog. It could be fighters, bombers, tankers, cargo, or they send you to instruct. After you have your wings, ten years commitment. You get your base pay, and then flight pay. After your commitment is up, there are hefty bonuses available for flight personnel staying on.

They say the least tedious way to the commission and wings is ROTC. The most slots are allocated through it. Make sure you find out about it the summer before college if you want to get in it. They will give you a scholarship.

Also, I heard that National Guard and Reserve pilots tend to get more hours than active duty from rotations and flying civilian support missions. Most units I have seen have a policy of their pilots must fly at least X sorties a month for currency, like ours here they must fly 4 sorties a month, so they are not the "weekend warriors" people pin them to be. Ours get deployed a lot too.

I also heard that all commissions given out these days are reserve commissions anyways.

Good luck keep your head up

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RE: How To Become A Fighter Pilot?

Sat Oct 25, 2003 8:21 am

"I also heard that all commissions given out these days are reserve commissions anyways"

You are correct. Now OTS, ROTC, and AFA all get reserve commisions. You go for the Regular commision board, as a senior Captain. And can swear in as a Captain with a major line #. It used to be that Academy cadets and the DG out of each ROTC det. got a Regular commision but that ended in the late 90's.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Uncle Sam's AWAX, the best shine for your jet
Io voglio fica ogni giorni da mia bella moglie!

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