Topic Author
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun May 16, 2004 11:05 am

Air Force Pilot

Thu May 20, 2004 1:42 pm

How does someone become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force? How hard is it to get in? How much training is there? What is the day like for an Air Force pilot. How long must a pilot stay in the Air Force?
Posts: 1438
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

RE: Air Force Pilot

Thu May 20, 2004 2:39 pm

I smell a few potential posts telling you to try the search function about "air force pilot" as this topic has been discussed a few times I think... it's just a bit hard searching on a slow internet connection while I'm floating on a ship in the middle of the Arabian Gulf...

But broad brush, AFROTC, Air Force Academy, OTS, are a few starting points.

Woodreau / KMVL
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 9:30 am

RE: Air Force Pilot

Fri May 21, 2004 4:25 am

You can either go to the Air Force college at the acedemy which is in Colorado. It is extremely difficult, but in four years you become an officer with a degree paid for by the Air Force, but I am not sure whether or not you can go in with a pilot slot reserved, and how hard it is to get a pilot slot.

You can also do an ROTC program from most colleges. There is a lot less drilling, marching, and physical fitness than going through the academy. I think you need at least 2 years worth of that to become an officer and of course a bachelors degree.

The last way I know of is a commisioning through OTS (officer training school). You must be selected by a board and already posses a sh*t hot bachelors degree. It is 10 or 12 weeks of officer basic training which I hear has more classes than physical training.

A pilots commitment is 10 years long. And UPT, undergraduate pilot training is about 14 months. A pilots day depends on so many factors including what a/c you fly, what your squadrons mission is, and the current events around the world.

Bottom line is, get your 4 year degree! And good luck!
Posts: 4952
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:05 pm

RE: Air Force Pilot

Sat May 22, 2004 10:41 am

I am in the US Navy and have been and still am looking at officer programs (not to fly, I wish!). You can goto college, and get your degree, and then goto the recruiter and tell him you want to fly. You dont have to necessarily deal with the ROTC side of it. All they look for is a 4 year degree.
Topic Author
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun May 16, 2004 11:05 am

RE: Air Force Pilot

Sat May 22, 2004 10:51 am

What type of four year degree does the Air Force prefer?
Posts: 2404
Joined: Thu May 25, 2000 10:52 am

RE: Air Force Pilot

Sat May 22, 2004 11:42 am

While we're on the subject of becoming a military pilot (I want to be one too, Ill be doing NROTC though)...I know you need good eyes, but how do computers affect your vision? Ive had to spend a lot of time on the computer for school latley and Im worried its going to affect my vision in a negative way.
Life is better when you surf.
Posts: 989
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2001 12:05 pm

RE: Air Force Pilot

Sat May 22, 2004 12:34 pm

Depending on when you come in, your best shot at getting a pilot slot will probably be via the Air Force Academy. For example, everyone but like 2 or 3 people from this year's graduating class got UPT slots (pilot slots). Granted, many might have to wait a year before UPT (Pilot Training), but they still got their slots. My class has been told that we're getting something close to 600 slots, yet we have less or just around that many people PQ (Pilot Qualified) than that, meaning almost everyone will get a slot if they want it.

I don't know how AFROTC works, but from what I've heard they get about the same number of slots as the Academy does, but have to spread them out over a hell of a lot more people. I think Capt. AWACS went the AFROTC route, but I'm not sure if he's rated or a flight crew member.

As has been said here many times before, make sure you don't do OTS, come to USAFA or go AFROTC just to become an Air Force Pilot. I've seen it many, many times, where people come in here perfectly fine looking just to become a pilot, and then come junior or senior year lose their PQ because of some "freak" thing (i.e. accidents, medical conditions etc..), and are stuck as non-rated officers in jobs they hate (after your sophomore year you must commit to 5 year for non-rated (i.e. non-pilot) or 10 years after completion of UPT).
Your primary focus should be on becoming an officer, and then a pilot. I've always wanted to be a pilot and came here for that reason, but I've come to accept and like the fact that becoming an officer is far more important that a pilot. Should I lose my PQ, I'd be perfectly happy serving as a non-rated officer.

Again, I can't talk much about AFROTC or OTS, but I can go more into detail about the Academy. Don't come here expecting it to be a normal college. Everything, I mean everything that you need is given to you at no charge and you'll get paychecks that will increase as you move up.
There's been a lot of changes here in the last year which has made it a lot more tolerable as a freshman (i.e. after Thanksgiving they could go out every weekend and on weekdays, no more large scale beatings (physical training by upperclassmen) not as much hazing etc..). Much of this has been a long time coming, and was just implemented this year, partly because of all that's been happening out here. A lot of it is for the better, but certain traditions are being phased out.
There still are a lot of rules to follow, and coming from a civilian lifestyle, they will seem stupid. You'll get leave 4 times a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break and Summer. Summer leave is only 3 weeks, but you do get to come back here and do cool things like jump (parachuting), soaring (gliders), GE (Global Engagement), CST (Combat Survival Training) (well maybe not so cool) etc.. We've got one of the most demanding curriculums. You won't take a major's class until the end of your Sophomore year, and even then you'll probably only be taking one or two. Everything before then are core courses and required. As a freshman you'll be taking something like 18-21 credit hours per semester, with classes such as Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Math, Engineering etc... (i.e. no basket weaving). It can get pretty tough to manage school with military duties and athletics, all the while trying not to get too burned out. If you make it through, you'll graduate usually the first week in June and will pin on 2nd Lt. and officially be an officer. You'll get 60 days 2nd lt. paid leave after graduation, and then will report to your first duty station.

More about admissions:
I think the admission rate for 2008 was someting around 8 or 9%, which means if you want to come, you really need to excel in all aspects of your life (i.e. team captain, club president, NHS etc...). You'll need a nomination from a Senator or Congressman/woman to even get looked at. It's not too hard, you just go for an interview, but depending on where you come from and who's attending, it can get really competitive. Just try to do your best in everything.

The Academy will be a huge culture shock at least for the first semester, but the Academy's "Long Blue Line" is something you won't find anywhere else. I've been able to do a lot of things, go TDY to a few places since I've been here, and almost all Academy grads I've encountered have said there's a certain bond between all grads...
If you have any more questions about the Academy, feel free to hit me up on e-mail or IM...
Posts: 989
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2001 12:05 pm

RE: Air Force Pilot

Sat May 22, 2004 1:47 pm

You may also want to check out
The dodo was a magazine started by cadets way back in the day poking fun at the rules and the stuff cadets poke fun of. Now it's moved online. It may seem kind of weird not being a cadet, almost like insulting, but it's widely accepted by almost all cadets...
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 4:11 am

RE: Air Force Pilot

Mon May 31, 2004 10:02 am


I know this wont help you much, though out of interest I know a lot about the RAF.

You can either go DE (Direct Entrant) after leaving school or University and go directly through IOT (Initial Officer Training), or you can begin flying with a UAS (University Air Aquadron).
Compared with the USAF, the RAF require a stringent medical, including having perfect eyesight (without glasses), a pretty much flawless medical record and high standard of fitness. Fitness and academic tests for OASC and IOT are also very hard to pass, though I dont know how this compares to the USAF, etc.

One must remain a pilot for at least 12 years (short service commision), though one receives a full pension after 16 years of service and can serve even longer depending on rank.

This was just for interest's sake! Good luck with your career and fight for every chance you get mate!!!



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Hub39, tjh8402 and 7 guests

Popular Searches On

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos