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View Full Version : Advice for potential Navy


Flyguy4723
07-31-2017, 07:20 AM
So I've recently been thinking of applying for a seat at OCS and in turn for a pilot slot for the USN. I've done a lot of research on sites like baseops and air warriors but I wanted to see what the guys over here had to say about it. I'm a junior at a collegiate aviation program and have about 200 hours with my CFI.


mainlineAF
07-31-2017, 09:12 AM
If you want to fly off boats then go for it. If you just want to fly for the military I'd absolutely go the guard/reserve route before any active duty.

OrionDriver
07-31-2017, 01:04 PM
If you want to fly off boats then go for it. If you just want to fly for the military I'd absolutely go the guard/reserve route before any active duty.

This.

Former Navy pilot here, now flying 121 and a Air Guard pilot. I liked a lot about my Navy career, most especially the flying. However, flying isn't your primary duty as a Navy officer and you really won't fly that much unless you're pretty lucky. There are a lot of non-flying jobs you're supposed to do in order to keep moving up the food chain.

That being said, by the time you're done with you're initial commitment (8yrs in Navy, vs I think 10yrs in the AF), you'll be very employable at a major airline - of you're able to get back to back flying tours, which is not even remotely guaranteed.

As much as I liked aspects of the Navy (our uniforms are far cooler than the air force!), if I could go back in time and do it all over again I'd go Air Guard and try to get a few years of active duty flying, then guard bum for a while until I needed the money from a full time job (married, kids, etc), then get hired on at an airline.

One nice thing about being a guard baby is you KNOW what you'll fly following UPT. Going AD Navy, AF, or Marines could result in flying helos (which are AWESOME, but hard to get on with a major at the end). Some AF guys get tagged to fly drones, but I don't know how many.

Just depends on what your end goals are. I can't speak highly enough of military aviation training and I did get to do a lot of very cool things that I'll never get to do at my 121 gig (at least not and keep my job).

PM if you have Navy specific aviation questions.


Packrat
07-31-2017, 01:42 PM
Orion driver said it all. Find a Guard Unit that flies the plane you want. If your goal is the airlines, try to get in some kind of transport category plane. Tankers would be my first choice followed by a passenger (737?) unit. After that cargo i.e. C-17/C-130.

Any of those would be a good choice. I was Navy myself, but Orion said it all about the active duty side of the military.

Peacock
07-31-2017, 01:52 PM
What do you want to fly? What attracts you to the military and to naval aviation? The answers to those questions are pretty important. A lot of people here will give you answers based on quality of life and getting to the airlines. I joined the Marines because I wanted to fly jets and blow stuff up. I did that, and now I'm starting at a major airline and flying something with a high QOL in the reserves, and I'm pretty happy with how things have worked out so far.

Flyguy4723
07-31-2017, 03:00 PM
This.

Former Navy pilot here, now flying 121 and a Air Guard pilot. I liked a lot about my Navy career, most especially the flying. However, flying isn't your primary duty as a Navy officer and you really won't fly that much unless you're pretty lucky. There are a lot of non-flying jobs you're supposed to do in order to keep moving up the food chain.


Could you expand on this a little? How much do you guys actually fly?

Flyguy4723
07-31-2017, 03:03 PM
What do you want to fly? What attracts you to the military and to naval aviation? The answers to those questions are pretty important. A lot of people here will give you answers based on quality of life and getting to the airlines. I joined the Marines because I wanted to fly jets and blow stuff up. I did that, and now I'm starting at a major airline and flying something with a high QOL in the reserves, and I'm pretty happy with how things have worked out so far.

I am fine with flying anything other than a drone. I'd probably prefer fixed-wing but helo's sound awesome too. I think I'd like to get on with an airline after my time but it's not a must. I've always liked the navy and I think I'd fit in best there.

FlyBoyd
07-31-2017, 03:47 PM
I am fine with flying anything other than a drone. I'd probably prefer fixed-wing but helo's sound awesome too. I think I'd like to get on with an airline after my time but it's not a must. I've always liked the navy and I think I'd fit in best there.

Don't forget about Coast Guard aviation. There's some interesting flying....especially on the helo side.

Second to the Guard comments above, the Coast Guard was next in line for what I wished I had looked into.

Flyguy4723
07-31-2017, 06:39 PM
This.

Former Navy pilot here, now flying 121 and a Air Guard pilot. I liked a lot about my Navy career, most especially the flying. However, flying isn't your primary duty as a Navy officer and you really won't fly that much unless you're pretty lucky. There are a lot of non-flying jobs you're supposed to do in order to keep moving up the food chain.

That being said, by the time you're done with you're initial commitment (8yrs in Navy, vs I think 10yrs in the AF), you'll be very employable at a major airline - of you're able to get back to back flying tours, which is not even remotely guaranteed.

As much as I liked aspects of the Navy (our uniforms are far cooler than the air force!), if I could go back in time and do it all over again I'd go Air Guard and try to get a few years of active duty flying, then guard bum for a while until I needed the money from a full time job (married, kids, etc), then get hired on at an airline.

One nice thing about being a guard baby is you KNOW what you'll fly following UPT. Going AD Navy, AF, or Marines could result in flying helos (which are AWESOME, but hard to get on with a major at the end). Some AF guys get tagged to fly drones, but I don't know how many.

Just depends on what your end goals are. I can't speak highly enough of military aviation training and I did get to do a lot of very cool things that I'll never get to do at my 121 gig (at least not and keep my job).

PM if you have Navy specific aviation questions.

I've heard from a lot of navy guys that the navy is a better way to get into military flying because air guard is extremely competitive and they like to hire from within the unit. Also, most of these navy guys recommend guard after their navy career as they can get on easier with some AD experience.

e6bpilot
07-31-2017, 06:47 PM
Most of the airlines don't count helo time and if you go gold wings, you have about a 50 percent chance of going that route.
The comments above are spot on. I was Navy and wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but the Guard is hands down the best way to go if you can pull it off.

Flyguy4723
07-31-2017, 06:54 PM
Most of the airlines don't count helo time and if you go gold wings, you have about a 50 percent chance of going that route.
The comments above are spot on. I was Navy and wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but the Guard is hands down the best way to go if you can pull it off.

I'd love helos

e6bpilot
07-31-2017, 06:57 PM
I'd love helos



Nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of my friends who fly them and they all get to do some cool stuff and go interesting places. Helos just put you at a distinct disadvantage if you want to be an airline pilot when you get out.
If what you want to do is fly, join a flying branch (AF or Guard). The Navy is very "officer first" and there are a lot of non flying or barely flying bumps in the road during a typical Navy Officer career.

Packrat
08-01-2017, 08:20 AM
Most of the airlines don't count helo time and if you go gold wings, you have about a 50 percent chance of going that route.

I don't think that's true anymore. It was in 1990 when I got out, but today a couple regionals offer rotor to fixed wing transition.

My route through the Navy was kind of non-traditional but got me a major airline job: Helo squadron, station pilot where I flew both the helo and the C-12, TAR at a VR (VC-131H) squadron and finally to a C-9 VR squadron.

Obviously if you go Navy with the goal of going to the airlines you want to go VP and fly the P-8.

The Navy was good for me and I enjoyed every minute of it. You'll roll the dice a bit with pipeline assignment, but if you work hard and get good grades you should be able to pull it off.

Best of luck in whatever you decide.

OrionDriver
08-01-2017, 08:33 AM
Could you expand on this a little? How much do you guys actually fly?

It was far less than my 121 gig - but like others have said, in the Navy you're an officer first, pilot second. This is good news/bad news. There are a lot of aspects to being an officer that are very appealing - and the pay is very good. I probably averaged 50+ on deployment in the mighty Warpig, around 20ish a month when not deployed. as an IP I was often north of 80. Compare that to what I do in my 121 gig and it isn't very much.

If you're kinda on the fence, and you want some adventure in your life, then AD is by all means a GREAT route to go. You don't seem like airlines is your end all and be all goal - and that's fine. I DID NOT want to be an airline pilot when I started my Navy adventure. But later I decided I liked time off.

You can't beat the adventure of AD military. The suggestion of Coast Guard is SPOT ON. The coasties are a great organization with a very well defined mission and high espirt de corps. Definitely a great way to go.

DFNJ
08-01-2017, 10:22 AM
Could you expand on this a little? How much do you guys actually fly?

Realize it can also vary significantly between squadrons within the same community or even the same air wing. For reference, we are in maintenance phase & in the past 90 days I have 70+ hours while some guys within our air wing have less than half that.

manchild
08-01-2017, 12:55 PM
Some more food for thought as an almost retired Navy guy...

If you want to fly off a boat, do it. Whether it's 60's or 18's, everyone loves flying at sea, but hates living on the ship. All platforms have their advantage/disadvantage in the afterlife. P8 folks don't have as much PIC time until they're more senior, H60 isn't fixed wing, and a F18 natops qual isn't considered a true "multi-engine" aircraft (the hours count), but you get a lot of PIC time. Average three year fleet tour nets close to 1,000 hours in your platform, but that may vary with deployments and stuff. Don't forget small platforms like E-6B's and the CV-22 taking over the C-2 mission (best lifestyle going - day traps and per diem).

Your JO tour is the best time of your life, especially if you do a combat cruise. Then go teach at the training command and do lots of cross countries. Consider FTS if you wanna stay in the cockpit and fly something like VR.

Word of caution, and maybe it's changed with IFS and all that now, but those with prior ratings sometimes struggled in Primary. Don't hide it, but don't let it interfere with doing what they tell you to do and how they want you to do it. Just do your best and everyone ends up with what they deserve (mostly).

Flyguy4723
08-01-2017, 02:40 PM
Word of caution, and maybe it's changed with IFS and all that now, but those with prior ratings sometimes struggled in Primary. Don't hide it, but don't let it interfere with doing what they tell you to do and how they want you to do it. Just do your best and everyone ends up with what they deserve (mostly).
Really? I feel like if anything you'd be at an advantage. But I can see how bad habits and all that civialian training could hurt you.

Packrat
08-01-2017, 03:18 PM
We had a guy in my class wash out of primary because he couldn't (wouldn't) fly a rounded approach path. Always had to square downwind to base to final.

That aside, most of the guys with prior flight time did well in primary to the point that virtually all of them had "jet grades" at selection time. However, remember it is all governed by what's available the week you graduate from primary. One week it may be all jets and the very next week its all helos. That's the gamble you take with Naval Aviation.

Flyguy4723
08-01-2017, 03:33 PM
We had a guy in my class wash out of primary because he couldn't (wouldn't) fly a rounded approach path. Always had to square downwind to base to final.

That aside, most of the guys with prior flight time did well in primary to the point that virtually all of them had "jet grades" at selection time. However, remember it is all governed by what's available the week you graduate from primary. One week it may be all jets and the very next week its all helos. That's the gamble you take with Naval Aviation.

I like to gamble.

Grumble
08-01-2017, 03:34 PM
Don't forget about Coast Guard aviation. There's some interesting flying....especially on the helo side.

Second to the Guard comments above, the Coast Guard was next in line for what I wished I had looked into.

+1 billion.

I got to fly point nose jets off boats, and I miss it every day. With the current state of things today however, I would seriously think about the Coast Guard.

No bad duty stations and all your flying is real world.

Word of caution, and maybe it's changed with IFS and all that now, but those with prior ratings sometimes struggled in Primary. Don't hide it, but don't let it interfere with doing what they tell you to do and how they want you to do it. Just do your best and everyone ends up with what they deserve (mostly).

This is not an absolute but there is some truth to it. Some guys with prior flight time sail through Primary, guy in my class broke the NSS scoring system his grades were so high. Others completely struggle, some fail out. It's 100% attitude of the individual.

Flyguy4723
08-01-2017, 03:44 PM
+1 billion.

I got to fly point nose jets off boats, and I miss it every day. With the current state of things today however, I would seriously think about the Coast Guard.

No bad duty stations and all your flying is real world.



This is not an absolute but there is some truth to it. Some guys with prior flight time sail through Primary, guy in my class broke the NSS scoring system his grades were so high. Others completely struggle, some fail out. It's 100% attitude of the individual.

Somebody with coast guard experience, would you mind expanding on how that all works or a PM would work too. Thanks! Appreciate the info.

Flyguy4723
08-01-2017, 03:51 PM
+1 billion.

With the current state of things today however,



What do you mean by this?

ImTumbleweed
08-01-2017, 07:23 PM
What do you want to fly? What attracts you to the military and to naval aviation? The answers to those questions are pretty important. A lot of people here will give you answers based on quality of life and getting to the airlines. I joined the Marines because I wanted to fly jets and blow stuff up. I did that, and now I'm starting at a major airline and flying something with a high QOL in the reserves, and I'm pretty happy with how things have worked out so far.

Shack!

Ask yourself what you want to do.

Then make that your singular focused goal. Chase that goal with every bit of energy you have.

You sound like you are young and looking for adventure.

I was similar to you. My goal was to fly off carriers and blow **** up. I did that in spades.

Chase your dreams my friend. You are only young once, grab life by the balls and chase your dreams...anything less is rubbish and a life of regrets.

"Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal".

OrionDriver
08-01-2017, 08:36 PM
It's 100% attitude of the individual.

This! I saw a lot of prior experienced guys struggle, some with more flight time than me as an IP! It was all attitude.

Readysetroll13
08-01-2017, 08:52 PM
Current Navy guy flying P8's after transitioning from P3's..very much echo everything OrionDriver said, especially the whole officer first pilot second..gotta run, have to go write NATOPS quarterlies

Grumble
08-01-2017, 10:28 PM
What do you mean by this?

NAE is in a perilous state right now. Airplanes that were supposed to last 20+ years at a Cold War OPTEMPO are being worn out in half that. Squadrons that have a ramp full of broken/canabalized airplanes just to put a handful in the air. Squadrons that exist on paper only because a true decommissioning requires an act of Congress. Boats in the yards for 2-3 times what was forecast. On and on and on.

15 years of war has completely worn out the fleet with no real affordable future for replacement. Blocks of F-35 orders have been shifted to superhornets because they're cheaper. Marine Corp TACAIR is in even worse shape. The sunset of the legacy Hornet fleet has been moved forward because they're just worn out.

Can't speak to the rotary or maritime piece, but the other shoe has dropped on the Hornet community and its ugly. It's going to take a lot of years and a lot of money to repair/replace.

Plus, who wouldn't want to live in San Diego/San Fran/Tampa/Hawaii/Alaska etc and fly helos in real world ops? Those guys don't have to do a year of work ups and then another year of deployment... over and over and over again.

Don't get me wrong, I would go back and do it all again... but if I knew then what I know now, it would be a REALLY hard choice.

Put it this way, unless you know, gouge/rumor be damned that your place is in a grey jet/helo flying off ships at sea, if you need to be convinced, then it's probably not for you and you have your answer. If you're not willing to pay any price, suffer any pain, do any job required of you, endure any injucstice to one day take that cat shot on a glorious day at sea.... it's probably not the place for you.

FlewNavy
08-02-2017, 02:25 AM
First 10 years of being a Naval Aviator are fun. Being a Junior Officer in a wardroom is fun. You will get leadership challenges that you did not expect as being a Naval Officer is your primary function and pilot is your warfare specialty. Same thing for ship/sub drivers.

Jet guys can have good/bad years but 300 hours per year/900hrs per sea tour seems to be the max. You can probably expect to leave the service after about 10 years with 1000-1500 hours depending on your type/model series and what you do during your shore tours.

With the delay in the T-45 training pipeline - I would not expect to see that many new jet guys selected for the next year. The backlog should be over by next summer.

If you can embrace the fact that you will not "change the system" as a Junior Officer and that most of the stuff that really ****es folks off are either mandated by law or some other directive than the first 10 years can be fun. It goes rapidly down hill after that unless you like "organizational leadership" office type work. With the new retirement system in place it will be hard to keep any pilot in the service after their initial obligation.

FlewNavy
08-02-2017, 02:30 AM
Put it this way, unless you know, gouge/rumor be damned that your place is in a grey jet/helo flying off ships at sea, if you need to be convinced, then it's probably not for you and you have your answer. If you're not willing to pay any price, suffer any pain, do any job required of you, endure any injucstice to one day take that cat shot on a glorious day at sea.... it's probably not the place for you.

Good one here! I knew I wanted to land airplanes on pitching decks at night in the worst possible conditions imaginable with no divert options and then chase girls at the Cubi Point Officers club.

I got to do the first one but they closed Cubi Point while I as in school and we invaded Iraq/Afghanistan so I got warm diet cokes and pizza with sandbox liberty in Dubai instead!

Merle Dixon
08-02-2017, 04:47 AM
I've heard from a lot of navy guys that the navy is a better way to get into military flying because air guard is extremely competitive and they like to hire from within the unit. Also, most of these navy guys recommend guard after their navy career as they can get on easier with some AD experience.

This is incorrect. I am an Air Force reservist T-38 instructor. I also work for one of the big 3 airlines. In every single AF pilot training class we have reserve and or guard students. The guard and reserve have a pilot shortage. They hire off the street college grads, just like you, all the time. Once hired by a unit you will go to Officer Training School, then 54 weeks of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, then follow-on training in whatever fighter or heavy your guard/reserve unit flies (follow-on training is 6 to 9 months long). Upon completion of follow-on training you will return to your guard/reserve squadron for 2 to 3 years of full-time orders. If you want full-time orders for longer, no problem - pilot shortage.

So, find guard/reserve units that fly aircraft you want to fly and call them to inquire about their application process.

If the airlines are your goal, stay away from helicopters.

Active-duty SUCKS. As others have typed, go find a Guard or Reserve job.

pony172
08-02-2017, 08:34 AM
As a former Naval Aviator (Jarhead flying with the Air Wing), the easiest way to get into the Guard was to be a Rated Pilot and get hired as a Traditional. Something to think about long term.

Sliceback
08-02-2017, 09:54 AM
UPT used to be approx. 30% washout rate. Recent SUPT sqdr CC said it's about 3% now. SIE's increase the drop out rate.

Some ANG units require that candidates be in the unit. Some don't. Supply will impact the units that require candidates enlist in the unit first.

In some ANG units to be a competitive candidate you need flying experience. 500+ hrs, or more, is common amongst the candidates selected. Comm/inst helps achieve success in SUPT but it's no guarantee.

Flyguy4723
08-02-2017, 09:59 AM
UPT used to be approx. 30% washout rate. Recent SUPT sqdr CC said it's about 3% now. SIE's increase the drop out rate.

Some ANG units require that candidates be in the unit. Some don't. Supply will impact the units that require candidates enlist in the unit first.

In some ANG units to be a competitive candidate you need flying experience. 500+ hrs, or more, is common amongst the candidates selected. Comm/inst helps achieve success in SUPT but it's no guarantee.

500 hours of civ time or military time?

Sliceback
08-02-2017, 11:19 AM
Civilian. Any time counts, but in my unit the guys that got selected frequently had 500+ and were CFI's, or flying light twins, or regional FO's.

In the old system you had to get 'FAR'd' (fighter, attack, reconnaissance) qualified in T-38's. About 30% were. Those were the top guys in the class. Getting FAR'd meant you could get a FAR assignment. Now it's a dual track. After T-6's they split you into the heavy (T-1) or fighter (T-38) track. If you under-perform in T-38's they have the option of putting you in the T-1 program.

Right now the large major airlines give you no credit for helicopter time (RW). A couple of the smaller majors give you some, or complete, credit for your RW hours. In general you need a competitive fixed wing (FW) resume to be competitive, especially at the larger majors. Helicopters are a hoot but they're a tough career choice.

tomgoodman
08-02-2017, 01:16 PM
UPT used to be approx. 30% washout rate.

One reason was that everybody had to fly the T-38 and pass or wash out. During Vietnam, the AF wanted the option of assigning any pilot to any airplane at any time, and they had ten UPT bases to make that possible.

DFNJ
08-02-2017, 03:29 PM
unless you know, gouge/rumor be damned that your place is in a grey jet/helo flying off ships at sea, if you need to be convinced, then it's probably not for you and you have your answer.

This pretty much sums up my view on the subject. I wanted to fly combat aircraft off an aircraft carrier & I was willing to be assigned to a platform I desired less in order to have that opportunity. If I did not 100% want to do so I would have attempted to rush the ANG.

I have had the scariest, most fun, exciting, memorable, insert adjective, flying off the boat on cruise & I would absolutely make the same choice again. From an outsider's perspective there is a lot of unknown bs (GMT/NKO, lack of funding, etc) that we put up with which is leading to our current retention issues.

propfails2FX
08-06-2017, 10:11 PM
Recommend the following order of precedence when making a military pilot career decision:
1. ANG or USAFR UPT slot.
2. USCG
3. Active duty DoD

I flew for both the USN and USCG. I enjoyed the CG far better than the Navy for several reasons:

1. 33% of flight time was training, the rest operational missions.
2. Securing my Homeland, vice defending a U. S. foreign interest. The region I lived in was my AOR, protecting my community the mission.
3. It fit my personality better. I'm more rescue dog than attack dog. More firefighter than police officer.
4. CG is a smaller, more nimble force. More delegation of authority. More autonomy.
5. CG "Deployments" are typically two weeks long. I "Deployed" to GITMO and Borinquen, Puerto Rico.
6. Less threats of budget cuts and more flight time. DHS budget wasn't as threatened with the two previous administrations. Can't say about this one.
7. Great duty stations in mostly non-military towns.

USN pilot career path (min obligation 8 years after winging):

-Flight school
-Sea Tour
-Shore Tour
-Disassociated Sea Tour.

In 10 years of service, you'll fly your fleet aircraft as a qualified aviator on type for 3 years (unless you become a Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor).

Typical USCG pilot career paths (min obligation 8 years after winging plus 3 years for OCS or 5 years for USCGA *not served concurrently*)

-Flight School (if you get flight school straight out of OCS, it might take a couple of years in another officer career path to get a pilot slot).
-3 x four year operational assignments (you can leave early during your last tour).

Or

2 x four year operational tours, and one training command tour.

With the increase in obligation from 7 to 8 years after winging, the USN has forced most aviators into a disassociated sea tour. That's usually a non-flying assignment, typically on a ship. There are some awesome exceptions to this. A delay in FRS training after winging might prevent a pilot from doing a disassociated tour, but typically the last year and half or so in the Navy is non-flying.

It might be smart to pick a service or community (fighter, transport, maritime patrol etc) because you want to do the mission, not because of airline hiring requirements. Airline hiring requirements change, as do perceptions of military service. A lot of senior officers went in with intentions to complete the min service obligation and move on.

CG is hurting for fixed wing aviators right now. That'll probably continue as long as airlines are hiring at their current rates.

I really like the previous posts about success in flight school with prior time being attributed to attitude. I had 700 hours when I started primary flight training and followed advice to:
-Keep my ears open and mouth shut.
-Fly the Navy way.
-Never discuss my prior time unless asked by an instructor. Never hide my prior experience if asked by an instructor.

Luck, mentorship, and hard work placed my grades the highest during my selection week and I got my first choice. I feel my prior flight time was invaluable.

I knew about USAFR/ANG UPT slots, but was on a NROTC scholarship in college. I asked to perform my mandatory military service in a USAFR squadron, and was rightfully told no. The concept of citizen/airman after completing three years or so of active duty service is awesome.

SaltyDog
08-07-2017, 04:37 AM
Grumble says it well, I'll simply say FLY NAVY

Merle Dixon
08-09-2017, 10:29 AM
500 hours of civ time or military time?

I typed this in the Active Duty vs ANG thread too, please realize some of the folks posting on here are sharing very dated information...

We have numerous Guard/Reserve students in UPT right now. I've flown with Guard/Reserve students that are regional airline pilots, students that got hired by the Guard/Reserve with a CFI, others had a PPL with Inst rating, some with just a PPL. Almost every Guard/Reserve student I fly with applied at several different Guard or Reserve squadrons.

In your Sophomore or Junior year of college you need to contact any and all Guard or Reserve units that you are interested in flying for. Do some googling and call whatever units you are interested in and ask to speak with the DO (Director of Operations). Tell him/her that you are enrolled in University X, describe your flying experience and ask what their pilot application process is.

In this day and age with a our YUGE pilot shortage, you will find a unit to hire you.

And, one more pile on, the Guard/Reserve life is immensely better than active-duty, avoid active-duty like the plague.

Good luck.



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