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