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mistaplane
02-08-2018, 08:37 AM
Hi all,

Newb poster here, long time lurker. Just wanted to get your guys' opinions on my options and chances for flying for a military branch like the USAF Reserves or ANG, which would be an honor and would also help me achieve some of my flying goals since it's so expensive to do on your own dime. My flights goals are to pilot C-130s or other transports and then eventually transition to corporate flying.

Currently, I'm a 30 year old working professional with a BS degree in mech engineering and with a freshly minted PPL (super low time ~100hrs). My biggest setback though, aside from my age and low time, is that my vision is crap without my contacts! I've talked to a few recruiters so far and they've said that I could get waivers for both age and Lasik or PRK, as long as a unit is willing to sponsor me.

I plan on taking the AFOQT / ASVAB / TBAS soon to get those out of the way, however, I don't know if I should jump on the eye surgery right away. I've been told I will need to wait one year after the surgery to be considered for a pilot slot when it's time to do the physical test, also putting me at 31 years of age.

So what do you guys think? Which branch would I have a better shot a flying with? Is there still a good chance that I get to fly assuming I meet all the other prereq's in a year or so or kiss these military flying dreams goodbye?

Also, should I consider PRK or Lasik, and now or later? I've been told either is okay per military standards and I don't mind doing it sooner than later to keep me competitive. The worst I see happening is I don't get a pilot slot for whatever reason down the road, but come out w/ good vision (assuming no surgery complications!)

I know I should have been working on this years ago to give me better chances but life and flying expenses go by quick!

Anyway, love to get your feedback. Thanks.


bennet00
02-08-2018, 09:33 AM
https://www.thebalance.com/age-requirements-to-become-a-military-pilot-4054190

You're going to need an age waiver. Probably best to speak with a recruiter and see what they say. Just like with a Doctor, get a second opinion with recruiters. Don't take the first no, if that is the answer you are given.

PRS Guitars
02-08-2018, 09:44 AM
You donít have to be 20/20 without glasses, just correctable to that with some other top number (maybe 20/200, just a guess), so you likely donít need surgery.

The real problem is you need an age waiver, because you are too old now for UPT. Itís possible to get one but not probable. They have plenty of applicants who donít need one. Iíd say your best bet is finding a unit that flies undesirable aircraft and is in an undesirable location. There will be less competition there. Not saying give up entirely on other units, but trying to give you a realistic outlook.


BeatNavy
02-08-2018, 10:16 AM
One reserve fighter squadron has 3 guys with age waivers in the pipeline or waiting to get in the pipeline who are all older than you. One of the 3 is not prior service. Not saying getting a waiver is easy, as units donít like to do it, but NGB/AFRC are approving them pretty easily right now. Unit levels vary but most donít do it often, and usually they go to dudes who are enlisted in the unit. Check bogidope.com, baseops.net, and the pilot network on FB for upcoming board info. Reach out to units. Go visit. Maybe apply to the AFRC unsponsored board...that way youíre at least able to get thru MEPS/FC1 and can potentially secure a UPT slot without a specific unit hiring you. Good luck.

kbay hombre
02-09-2018, 09:41 PM
Mistaplane, have you considered the Army/National Guard? I know you mention the Air Force but you also mention just flying in the military and Army aviation counts as the latter. FYI, the Army NG has aviation units in quite a few states so your chances of staying local are even better if you aren't near a major air guard base, and the Army has had a higher max age limit for flight school than the other services for a while now. I think it used to be 34-35 and right now it's 33 before you need an age waiver, so at your current age, you wouldn't need an age waiver with the Army. Also, if you go the warrant officer pilot route, you'll fly a lot more than as a commissioned officer and not have to deal with as much of the officer politics BS. If you only want to go fixed wing then go Air Force and try to get an age waiver but if it doesn't matter to you then go Army NG right now while you still can without a waiver and be a warrant officer.

Tannhauser621
02-10-2018, 08:07 AM
Hi all,

Newb poster here, long time lurker. Just wanted to get your guys' opinions on my options and chances for flying for a military branch like the USAF Reserves or ANG, which would be an honor and would also help me achieve some of my flying goals since it's so expensive to do on your own dime. My flights goals are to pilot C-130s or other transports and then eventually transition to corporate flying.

Currently, I'm a 30 year old working professional with a BS degree in mech engineering and with a freshly minted PPL (super low time ~100hrs). My biggest setback though, aside from my age and low time, is that my vision is crap without my contacts! I've talked to a few recruiters so far and they've said that I could get waivers for both age and Lasik or PRK, as long as a unit is willing to sponsor me.

I plan on taking the AFOQT / ASVAB / TBAS soon to get those out of the way, however, I don't know if I should jump on the eye surgery right away. I've been told I will need to wait one year after the surgery to be considered for a pilot slot when it's time to do the physical test, also putting me at 31 years of age.

So what do you guys think? Which branch would I have a better shot a flying with? Is there still a good chance that I get to fly assuming I meet all the other prereq's in a year or so or kiss these military flying dreams goodbye?

Also, should I consider PRK or Lasik, and now or later? I've been told either is okay per military standards and I don't mind doing it sooner than later to keep me competitive. The worst I see happening is I don't get a pilot slot for whatever reason down the road, but come out w/ good vision (assuming no surgery complications!)

I know I should have been working on this years ago to give me better chances but life and flying expenses go by quick!

Anyway, love to get your feedback. Thanks.

Dude, look at the Coast Guard. They take people over 30 and flying fixed wing is not too difficult to swing. A lot dudes joined for the SAR mission. Know a girl personally who was an engineer, 31, and is on her way to Corpus for multi engine advanced.

mistaplane
02-11-2018, 01:55 PM
https://www.thebalance.com/age-requirements-to-become-a-military-pilot-4054190

You're going to need an age waiver. Probably best to speak with a recruiter and see what they say. Just like with a Doctor, get a second opinion with recruiters. Don't take the first no, if that is the answer you are given.

I have come across this website before and have gathered a ton of info from it so far. Thanks! It's interesting though because this site seems more up to date than the existing AF or ANG sites.

mistaplane
02-11-2018, 02:13 PM
You don’t have to be 20/20 without glasses, just correctable to that with some other top number (maybe 20/200, just a guess), so you likely don’t need surgery.

The real problem is you need an age waiver, because you are too old now for UPT. It’s possible to get one but not probable. They have plenty of applicants who don’t need one. I’d say your best bet is finding a unit that flies undesirable aircraft and is in an undesirable location. There will be less competition there. Not saying give up entirely on other units, but trying to give you a realistic outlook.

I'm getting mixed info about this currently. The way I understand it is you can have vision no worse than 20/70 (mine is about 20/300), correctable to 20/20 if you're just joining but if you are aiming for a pilot slot, you need near perfect vision or have surgery done.

One reserve fighter squadron has 3 guys with age waivers in the pipeline or waiting to get in the pipeline who are all older than you. One of the 3 is not prior service. Not saying getting a waiver is easy, as units don’t like to do it, but NGB/AFRC are approving them pretty easily right now. Unit levels vary but most don’t do it often, and usually they go to dudes who are enlisted in the unit. Check bogidope.com, baseops.net, and the pilot network on FB for upcoming board info. Reach out to units. Go visit. Maybe apply to the AFRC unsponsored board...that way you’re at least able to get thru MEPS/FC1 and can potentially secure a UPT slot without a specific unit hiring you. Good luck.

Haven't been on those sites yet. Will do right away! and good tips to visit units. After reading some other threads, I think reaching out to units is crucial now instead of dealing w/ these recruiters. Thanks you for the insight.

Mistaplane, have you considered the Army/National Guard? I know you mention the Air Force but you also mention just flying in the military and Army aviation counts as the latter. FYI, the Army NG has aviation units in quite a few states so your chances of staying local are even better if you aren't near a major air guard base, and the Army has had a higher max age limit for flight school than the other services for a while now. I think it used to be 34-35 and right now it's 33 before you need an age waiver, so at your current age, you wouldn't need an age waiver with the Army. Also, if you go the warrant officer pilot route, you'll fly a lot more than as a commissioned officer and not have to deal with as much of the officer politics BS. If you only want to go fixed wing then go Air Force and try to get an age waiver but if it doesn't matter to you then go Army NG right now while you still can without a waiver and be a warrant officer.

Yes I am definitely open to joining other branches if my chances of flying are better elsewhere. I didn't know about the warrant officer route and that the ANG age limit is higher than other services right now which is good news. Currently still researching all the options and pulling info from a ton of sources so this great. Thank you!


Dude, look at the Coast Guard. They take people over 30 and flying fixed wing is not too difficult to swing. A lot dudes joined for the SAR mission. Know a girl personally who was an engineer, 31, and is on her way to Corpus for multi engine advanced.
Hadn't looked into the Coast Guard at all. Very good tip. Gonna look into this.

Thanks guys!

kbay hombre
02-13-2018, 09:07 PM
Dude, look at the Coast Guard. They take people over 30 and flying fixed wing is not too difficult to swing. A lot dudes joined for the SAR mission. Know a girl personally who was an engineer, 31, and is on her way to Corpus for multi engine advanced.

The Coast Guard is great, and I say that having worked with them numerous times over my career. With that said, they do NOT have reserve aviators; they are the only branch of the military that only has active duty pilots and no reservists. So, mistaplane, keep this in mind. You sound like you might want to either go straight into the reserves or go reserves eventually. Every other branch has part time (reserves/national guard) flying available, but this is not an option in the USCG. And I don't say this to belittle or demean the Coasties; they are some of the best pilots out there, and get a lot more IMC than helo pilots in any other branch, but if you go CG you will be required to fly on active duty for 6-8 years after you finish flight school.

rickair7777
02-14-2018, 06:11 AM
The Coast Guard is great, and I say that having worked with them numerous times over my career. With that said, they do NOT have reserve aviators; they are the only branch of the military that only has active duty pilots and no reservists. So, mistaplane, keep this in mind. You sound like you might want to either go straight into the reserves or go reserves eventually. Every other branch has part time (reserves/national guard) flying available, but this is not an option in the USCG. And I don't say this to belittle or demean the Coasties; they are some of the best pilots out there, and get a lot more IMC than helo pilots in any other branch, but if you go CG you will be required to fly on active duty for 6-8 years after you finish flight school.

For clarity, you could do an active duty USCG aviation tour, resign from AD and join the USCGR to finish 20. But you would be flying a desk in reserves.

kbay hombre
02-14-2018, 03:51 PM
For clarity, you could do an active duty USCG aviation tour, resign from AD and join the USCGR to finish 20. But you would be flying a desk in reserves.

What he said. About 8 years ago I ran into a guy in Florida who was a CG reserve LCDR (O4) and he was a public affairs officer but had wings. Asked him his story. He was a falcon (HU-25) pilot on active duty and then went reserves to go work for Delta. When I met him, he was a reserve LCDR and was an A320 FO with Delta out of NY. Seemed to enjoy staying in the USCG. Point is, you can stay in the Coast Guard as a reservist but you will not be flying once you go active to reserve if you go that route.

TIGER573
02-14-2018, 07:36 PM
[QUOTE=mistaplane;2525746]I'm getting mixed info about this currently. The way I understand it is you can have vision no worse than 20/70 (mine is about 20/300), correctable to 20/20 if you're just joining but if you are aiming for a pilot slot, you need near perfect vision or have surgery done.

Last I saw is 20/200 distant and 20/40 near both correctable to 20/20. Best thing to do is try and find an AF flight l doc to ask the question and go get a full eye work up. Prior to applying or taking a USAF flight physical.