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View Full Version : Afrotc vs. Ang


robspenc
04-15-2018, 07:22 PM
I'm currently a junior in high school and would like some advice on becoming an AF pilot. I have researched all the different options and I am most interested in AFROTC or the ANG. I am not interested in the academy because I would like a traditional college experience.

So here is the dilemma. I have heard the odds of getting a pilot slot through AFROTC are much better than the ANG. Though, I have heard active duty is terrible.

Which way do you guys recommend? What are the pros/cons of these options?


AirBear
04-16-2018, 07:38 AM
I was enlisted in an Air Guard unit and tried to get a pilot slot after completing 2 years of junior collage. But there was too much competition from other enlisted with 4 yr degrees. My info is pretty old (older than you are even!) but the Guard usually requires you know someone to get something as highly coveted as a pilot slot. And if it's a fighter unit you have to worry about getting qualified for fighters in Pilot Training. If you're not judged to be fighter pilot material and only qualify for multi-crew aircraft then you're got to scramble to find a unit with heavies that will take you. Otherwise you could get the boot out of training. Again, my info is over 30 years old so things could have changed but I suspect they haven't.

After getting turned down for a Guard Pilot slot I applied to AFROTC and managed to get a pilot slot that way. Also got a 2 year ROTC scholarship which was nice. It actually worked out better for me this way since I wanted to fly heavies and my Guard unit flew fighters. I wound up in C-130's for 8 years and enjoyed the versatile flying we did.

I'll let others with more recent active duty time comment on pros and cons, but I suspect it's not that bad at the lower ranks. You might spend a lot of time away from home depending on what plane you fly. With a 10 year active duty commitment you'll progressively get more and more non-flying duties the longer you're in.

https://www.afrotc.com/about/service

https://study.com/articles/Become_an_Air_Force_Pilot_Step-by-Step_Career_Guide.html

I'm currently a junior in high school and would like some advice on becoming an AF pilot. I have researched all the different options and I am most interested in AFROTC or the ANG. I am not interested in the academy because I would like a traditional college experience.

So here is the dilemma. I have heard the odds of getting a pilot slot through AFROTC are much better than the ANG. Though, I have heard active duty is terrible.

Which way do you guys recommend? What are the pros/cons of these options?

Adlerdriver
04-16-2018, 10:15 AM
I'm currently a junior in high school and would like some advice on becoming an AF pilot. I have researched all the different options and I am most interested in AFROTC or the ANG. I am not interested in the academy because I would like a traditional college experience.

So here is the dilemma. I have heard the odds of getting a pilot slot through AFROTC are much better than the ANG. Though, I have heard active duty is terrible.

Which way do you guys recommend? What are the pros/cons of these options?
My daughter is where you are and is considering AFROTC. My wife and I both got our commissions via AFROTC.

A big question is are you looking for a way to pay for college. If that’s the case, AFROTC is a great option if you can earn a scholarship. It also gives you a way to immediately begin working towards a commission in the USAF. Yes, you will be going on active duty. As much as you hear complaining, much of that is being done by older pilots who are deciding to leave or stay on active duty after more than 10 years of service. Your first 10 years or so in the USAF, flying as a pilot are a pretty good way to spend your twenties. With the ROTC path, there’s also no guarantee you’ll be able to get a pilot slot. There’s more of them available then there will be at one specific ANG unit, so your chances are probably going to be increased. But, you do run the risk of graduating college, being commissioned in the active duty AF and not on your way to pilot training. I flew with guys who did their first 3-year assignment on active duty as a non-pilot and then managed to get selected for pilot training at that point. So, there are some chances even if things don’t work the way you want while you’re in ROTC. There just aren’t a lot of guarantees when it comes to starting down the road to earning a set pf pilot wings. If you really want a shot at them badly enough, you’ll cast the widest net possible, which may mean taking a chance via ROTC.

There is no AFROTC equivalent program for the ANG. You can’t join a unit as a 19-year old high school graduate and start attending college working toward a 4-year degree on their dime while also working toward receiving a commission as an officer. Someone wanting to join the unit as an officer and go to pilot training is typically going to show up after college with their degree already. The benefit there is, they either get selected for exactly what they want (officer training followed by pilot training) or they don’t. There’s no risk of getting stuck on a path you don’t want.

Another ANG option is you can enlist in the unit straight out of high school, go to basic training and tech school for your specialty and receive education benefits, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll become an officer or a pilot. At some point, with your foot in the door at that guard unit, you would need to make your desires known and hope to be selected 1) to go to officer training and 2) to get a pilot slot. It may come down to bad timing or perhaps someone above you decides you’re aren’t what they want or you simply get beat out for the few slots available by someone more qualified. The bottom line is, it’s possible you could end up as a ~22-23-year-old enlisted troop in your guard unit and not a newly commissioned officer on their way to pilot training. Not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not where you really want to be.

An important factor in this discussion is the timeline for going AFROTC and going ANG don’t really overlap. If you decide you want to get your degree as a civilian and only focus on the ANG, you are pretty much ruling out any chance at ROTC or active duty flying. That’s because your application window to begin applying for a ROTC scholarship opens this June 1st. If you want to give ROTC a shot, that’s going to happen long before you ever get the chance to show up at an ANG unit (or units) with your degree in hand and begin competing for one of their officer/pilot training slots. ANG can also be an option far into the future if you decide to leave active duty. Many of us here took that route.

My suggestion is you focus your energy on the ROTC path for now. Doing that will not deny you the option to choose ANG later (assuming to you don't go ROTC) after you’ve graduated from college if you really decide that’s only path you want to consider. When it’s spring of your senior year of high school, you may be looking at the option to accept either a full ROTC scholarship or some other college path that doesn’t involve the military at that point. Remember that accepting a ROTC scholarship after you graduate high school doesn’t commit you at that point. You can still opt out after your freshman year of collage if you decide that’s not the way you want to go. Give yourself as many options as you can and don’t burn any bridges until it’s absolutely necessary.


rickair7777
04-16-2018, 12:08 PM
What are your priorities?

Hell-Bent on Fighters: Take an AFROTC scholarship and work your butt off. If you don't get fighters, or a UPT slot at all, the you'll be stuck on AD for 5-ish years. Higher risk, but that's probably the best odds of UPT other than the academy. Once at UPT, you'll have to compete for fighters. This approach also works best if you really want a military career regardless of duty. Better resume, more connections, more military background in your education.

Military Pilot: Get a degree than apply to guard/USAFR units, and USAF AD. If qualified, this casts the widest net, and has the advantage that if you can't get a UPT slot, you're not committed.

Pilot: Get a degree than apply to guard units. Work on civilian ratings if you don't get a guard/reserve immediately, or knock those out while in college. Get a job at a regional as soon as you qualify. Your military and civilian careers progress in parallel... this is the best of both worlds, since nobody can spend their entire working life in a military cockpit (you'll be lucky to make it beyond 40 in the military).

If qualified, that casts the widest net, and has the advantage that if you can't get a UPT slot, you're not commuted.

Tweetdrvr
04-16-2018, 01:37 PM
There is no AFROTC equivalent program for the ANG. You canít join a unit as a 19-year old high school graduate and start attending college working toward a 4-year degree on their dime while also working toward receiving a commission as an officer.


This is not completely true. Almost every state offers free tuition and books to its enlisted members at in state schools. This is on top of the post 911 GI Bill benefits and is ANG/NG only and not a reserve program A motivated individual can get a college degree in 4 years after basic.

If you do not get a ROTC scholarship out of high school, you can enroll in AFROTC and be in the ANG. It used to be that you couldn't be a contracted cadet (POC, which is post field training, or scholarship) and be in the ANG.

If that is still the case, and without a scholarship, I'd enlist in the ANG and try to get as close to the airplanes as possible (Maintenance, load master, or life support) because you'd be working with and for the people who award pilot slots. I'd also enroll in AFROTC. After you attended field training at the end of your sophomore year, then make your decision. By then you should have a good idea about culture of the Active Duty compared to the ANG, and an idea about which road offers the greatest chance for a pilot slot. Lots of variables there to consider. How big is the ROTC det? How many slots do they typically get per year?

This path was doable a few years ago, things may have changed. But getting a ROTC scholarship, signing a POC contract, or even getting an appointment to a service academy were seen as trading one commitment you may have had for enlisting in the ANG for another commitment.

Don't burn bridges, knock on as many doors as you can, and good luck. With the pilot shortage affecting both active and reserve components and getting worse in the next few years, there should be ample opportunities for a slot somewhere for someone who meets the qualifications, works hard, and stays focused on the goal.

robspenc
04-16-2018, 02:44 PM
Getting college paid for will not be much of a concern. The colleges in my state all offer full tuition scholarships for the grades I have and my parents are very supportive. Therefore, I don't really see enlisting in the guard as being that beneficial. Also, I don't see the point of applying for an ROTC scholarship either.

As for air-frame, I would prefer fighters just like most people. But, after talking to other AF pilots, heavies seem pretty appealing as well.

Based on the information you guys have given me, ROTC seems to be my best bet. After all, if I don't get a pilot slot, I can always serve my commitment then train to be an airline pilot afterwards.

BeatNavy
04-16-2018, 04:09 PM
Getting college paid for will not be much of a concern. The colleges in my state all offer full tuition scholarships for the grades I have and my parents are very supportive. Therefore, I don't really see enlisting in the guard as being that beneficial. Also, I don't see the point of applying for an ROTC scholarship either.

As for air-frame, I would prefer fighters just like most people. But, after talking to other AF pilots, heavies seem pretty appealing as well.

Based on the information you guys have given me, ROTC seems to be my best bet. After all, if I don't get a pilot slot, I can always serve my commitment then train to be an airline pilot afterwards.

I may be the minority, but rushing ANG/AFRC fighter units is your best bet imo. Get a degree and your ratings, start an airline career as you rush various units in your early 20s, and keep working towards both careers. You can be a fighter guy and a major airline guy in your 20s. Wish Iíd known about the guard/reserve gigs before ďcollege.Ē

bizzlepilot
04-16-2018, 05:15 PM
I may be the minority, but rushing ANG/AFRC fighter units is your best bet imo. Get a degree and your ratings, start an airline career as you rush various units in your early 20s, and keep working towards both careers. You can be a fighter guy and a major airline guy in your 20s. Wish Iíd known about the guard/reserve gigs before ďcollege.Ē

Agreed. I commissioned out of AFROTC but if I had to do it again I would have gone straight to the guard/reserves and saved myself 11 years of active duty shenanigans.

Adlerdriver
04-16-2018, 06:05 PM
Get a degree and your ratings, start an airline career as you rush various units in your early 20s, and keep working towards both careers. You can be a fighter guy and a major airline guy in your 20s. It sounds like he might good to go making the “get your degree" part happen. But, "get your ratings" might be a whole other thing. Unless he's independently wealthy or doesn't mind racking up 6-figure debt, how exactly is he going to make that happen. And, why would he want to do that? One of the great things about becoming a military pilot is the fact that you don't have to pay for flight training. Why would you advise someone to pay for ratings when their goal is to get selected for UPT and fly in the USAF or ANG?

Being a competent fighter pilot usually means devoting a great deal of one’s early years doing that job to that one and only job. Talking about someone being able to be an airline pilot and a fighter pilot in their 20’s might be possible but it’s not common. New ANG fighter pilots spend several years getting experience and often take full time positions in the unit in order to accomplish that. If someone is truly set on using the ANG to make their way to the airlines, I think a heavy unit is probably a better option, IMO.

Back to the OP –
If you are going to pursue ROTC anyway, why wouldn’t you apply for a scholarship? The program is no different if the USAF is paying your bills or someone else is. Maybe the other scholarships you’re expecting could be used for room and board or other expenses.

However, if you really don’t need the scholarship and the ANG sounds like a better choice for you, then getting your degree without a military commitment may be the way you want to go. There are a lot of ANG unit out there and if you’re willing to cast a wide net and pursue lots of options, it may work out for you. The USAF does take college graduates right off the street, send them to officer training school and on to UPT (pretty much what you would be doing if you joined an ANG unit) – the only difference is you’ll be going on active duty. So, both those options would be worth considering after you get your degree just to keep as many options open as possible.

Just keep in mind – when you look at the hundreds of pilots trained each year by the USAF, a relatively small number of them come from ANG fighter units – or the ANG in general. Go after what you want, but the more specific you are in what you’re willing to accept, the smaller your chances are you’ll achieve it. The good new is, that the USAF needs pilots badly and probably will for the foreseeable future. It's a good time to try to become a military pilot.

RckyMtHigh
04-16-2018, 07:01 PM
AD has itís challenges, but I wouldnít call it terrible. A lot of us look at how itís changed and donít particularly like a lot of the changes, but weíre grumpy old guys. Every career military guy has probably felt the same since the Roman legions.

AirBear
04-16-2018, 08:54 PM
Used to be with ROTC when you commit prior to your junior year you knew what type of "slot" you had. There was non-tech major pilot slots, and tech major pilot slots. I don't remember (we're talking 1978 here) if Navigator and Missile slots were assigned of if you just took your chances.

Is it not that way anymore? It would suck to be committed to X number of years active duty without knowing if you're going to be flying or not.

Han Solo
04-17-2018, 02:38 AM
AD has itís challenges, but I wouldnít call it terrible. A lot of us look at how itís changed and donít particularly like a lot of the changes, but weíre grumpy old guys. Every career military guy has probably felt the same since the Roman legions.

It's terrible more often than the ANG. If you can foot the bill for school, go guard!

Merle Dixon
04-17-2018, 10:19 AM
Hello,

I am a T-38 instructor pilot. We have tons of students, right now, in AF pilot training that are off the street hires. What I mean by that is, 2/3rds of our Guard/Reserve student pilots have no prior military experience. There are Guard units all over the nation that hire college grads that have some flying experience, send them to Officer Training School and AF pilot training.

My advice is hell no to AFROTC. Active-duty pilot retention is terrible and the AF is dying for pilots. Many ANG units need young pilots also. Avoid active-duty like the plague.

Get your degree and earn at least your private pilot certificate. While in college, contact every single Guard fighter unit in the country. Score well on the AFOQT and earn good grades, some Guard unit WILL hire you.

Merle Dixon
04-17-2018, 10:22 AM
My daughter is where you are and is considering AFROTC. My wife and I both got our commissions via AFROTC.

A big question is are you looking for a way to pay for college. If thatís the case, AFROTC is a great option if you can earn a scholarship. It also gives you a way to immediately begin working towards a commission in the USAF. Yes, you will be going on active duty. As much as you hear complaining, much of that is being done by older pilots who are deciding to leave or stay on active duty after more than 10 years of service. Your first 10 years or so in the USAF, flying as a pilot are a pretty good way to spend your twenties. With the ROTC path, thereís also no guarantee youíll be able to get a pilot slot. Thereís more of them available then there will be at one specific ANG unit, so your chances are probably going to be increased. But, you do run the risk of graduating college, being commissioned in the active duty AF and not on your way to pilot training. I flew with guys who did their first 3-year assignment on active duty as a non-pilot and then managed to get selected for pilot training at that point. So, there are some chances even if things donít work the way you want while youíre in ROTC. There just arenít a lot of guarantees when it comes to starting down the road to earning a set pf pilot wings. If you really want a shot at them badly enough, youíll cast the widest net possible, which may mean taking a chance via ROTC.

There is no AFROTC equivalent program for the ANG. You canít join a unit as a 19-year old high school graduate and start attending college working toward a 4-year degree on their dime while also working toward receiving a commission as an officer. Someone wanting to join the unit as an officer and go to pilot training is typically going to show up after college with their degree already. The benefit there is, they either get selected for exactly what they want (officer training followed by pilot training) or they donít. Thereís no risk of getting stuck on a path you donít want.

Another ANG option is you can enlist in the unit straight out of high school, go to basic training and tech school for your specialty and receive education benefits, but that doesnít guarantee youíll become an officer or a pilot. At some point, with your foot in the door at that guard unit, you would need to make your desires known and hope to be selected 1) to go to officer training and 2) to get a pilot slot. It may come down to bad timing or perhaps someone above you decides youíre arenít what they want or you simply get beat out for the few slots available by someone more qualified. The bottom line is, itís possible you could end up as a ~22-23-year-old enlisted troop in your guard unit and not a newly commissioned officer on their way to pilot training. Not necessarily a bad thing, but maybe not where you really want to be.

An important factor in this discussion is the timeline for going AFROTC and going ANG donít really overlap. If you decide you want to get your degree as a civilian and only focus on the ANG, you are pretty much ruling out any chance at ROTC or active duty flying. Thatís because your application window to begin applying for a ROTC scholarship opens this June 1st. If you want to give ROTC a shot, thatís going to happen long before you ever get the chance to show up at an ANG unit (or units) with your degree in hand and begin competing for one of their officer/pilot training slots. ANG can also be an option far into the future if you decide to leave active duty. Many of us here took that route.

My suggestion is you focus your energy on the ROTC path for now. Doing that will not deny you the option to choose ANG later (assuming to you don't go ROTC) after youíve graduated from college if you really decide thatís only path you want to consider. When itís spring of your senior year of high school, you may be looking at the option to accept either a full ROTC scholarship or some other college path that doesnít involve the military at that point. Remember that accepting a ROTC scholarship after you graduate high school doesnít commit you at that point. You can still opt out after your freshman year of collage if you decide thatís not the way you want to go. Give yourself as many options as you can and donít burn any bridges until itís absolutely necessary.

Adledriver,

See my post about the current Gaurd SUPT environment. Like I typed, we have tons of ANG students in SUPT right now with zero prior military service. Help your daughter bro, avoid active-duty, go Guard.

Adlerdriver
04-17-2018, 10:44 AM
Adledriver,

See my post about the current Gaurd SUPT environment. Like I typed, we have tons of ANG students in SUPT right now with zero prior military service. Help your daughter bro, avoid active-duty, go Guard.
Thanks - she's not interested in flying. Just looking for a way to pay for college without enlisting.

kbay hombre
04-17-2018, 01:34 PM
I was commissioned through Navy ROTC (NROTC) at a state university, not Air Force ROTC, but I can echo a few things:

- If you enlist in the NG (army or AF) in many states and you are attending a public university, you can often times get free tuition. My state (Maine) offers tuition waivers for enlisted guard. Also, I'm not sure if the guard offers this, but the reserves offer Tuition Assistance (TA) that can also pay for school.

- Biggest question is, do you want to fly part time or make the military a full time career? A lot of guard squadrons prefer to pick up their own enlisted guys who are a "known quantity" for UPT/flight school, so enlisting and then applying for pilot jobs in local guard squadrons after you finish college is a great way to get into a guard unit and do this part time. Conversely, if you want to go full time, ROTC is a better deal than OTS/OCS (post-graduation) in my opinion because ROTC pays for college. With that said, ROTC doesn't guarantee you a spot in flight school, so you could always get screwed and be stuck on active duty for 6 years as a desk jockey.

- If all you want to do is fly, and you don't care what, consider the Army/Army NG. You can fly helos without a college degree as a 20 year old warrant officer and do it part time or full time. I know two different active duty Coast Guard officers. Both are prior warrant officers who went straight to WOCS/flight school after high school. Both did their time in the Army NG and also got bachelors degrees, then applied and transferred to the USCG as commissioned officers full time. One does SAR/MLE as a helo (Dolphin) pilot and the other is a C130 AC at Barbers Point. My only point is, you can fly AND go to school at the same time in the Army and if you want to fly fixed wing later on you can transfer to one of the other services. Army pilots do it all the time.

robspenc
04-17-2018, 03:05 PM
I was commissioned through Navy ROTC (NROTC) at a state university, not Air Force ROTC, but I can echo a few things:

- If you enlist in the NG (army or AF) in many states and you are attending a public university, you can often times get free tuition. My state (Maine) offers tuition waivers for enlisted guard. Also, I'm not sure if the guard offers this, but the reserves offer Tuition Assistance (TA) that can also pay for school.

- Biggest question is, do you want to fly part time or make the military a full time career? A lot of guard squadrons prefer to pick up their own enlisted guys who are a "known quantity" for UPT/flight school, so enlisting and then applying for pilot jobs in local guard squadrons after you finish college is a great way to get into a guard unit and do this part time. Conversely, if you want to go full time, ROTC is a better deal than OTS/OCS (post-graduation) in my opinion because ROTC pays for college. With that said, ROTC doesn't guarantee you a spot in flight school, so you could always get screwed and be stuck on active duty for 6 years as a desk jockey.

- If all you want to do is fly, and you don't care what, consider the Army/Army NG. You can fly helos without a college degree as a 20 year old warrant officer and do it part time or full time. I know two different active duty Coast Guard officers. Both are prior warrant officers who went straight to WOCS/flight school after high school. Both did their time in the Army NG and also got bachelors degrees, then applied and transferred to the USCG as commissioned officers full time. One does SAR/MLE as a helo (Dolphin) pilot and the other is a C130 AC at Barbers Point. My only point is, you can fly AND go to school at the same time in the Army and if you want to fly fixed wing later on you can transfer to one of the other services. Army pilots do it all the time.

I have not really considered the Army NG. Though, I am interested in flying helos. Is the hiring process similar to the ANG? Do they hire guys off the street like the ANG? How competitive is it to get a flight slot compared to the ANG? Though a degree is not necessarily required, is some college needed? I would want to get a bachelor's degree eventually. If I went the Army route I would probably only be interested in the guard rather than active duty.

robspenc
04-17-2018, 03:12 PM
Hello,

I am a T-38 instructor pilot. We have tons of students, right now, in AF pilot training that are off the street hires. What I mean by that is, 2/3rds of our Guard/Reserve student pilots have no prior military experience. There are Guard units all over the nation that hire college grads that have some flying experience, send them to Officer Training School and AF pilot training.

My advice is hell no to AFROTC. Active-duty pilot retention is terrible and the AF is dying for pilots. Many ANG units need young pilots also. Avoid active-duty like the plague.

Get your degree and earn at least your private pilot certificate. While in college, contact every single Guard fighter unit in the country. Score well on the AFOQT and earn good grades, some Guard unit WILL hire you.

I know it's hard to judge, but do you think that ANG units will be hiring that much in the next few years when I am ready to apply?

Also, I am planning on getting my private pilot's license soon. Is it necessary/beneficial to do any more ratings such as an instrument rating?

Adlerdriver
04-17-2018, 04:09 PM
I know it's hard to judge, but do you think that ANG units will be hiring that much in the next few years when I am ready to apply? Impossible to say for sure. Things can change rapidly. However, airlines are planning to hire consistently over the next decade based on planned retirements. So, I think it's likely hiring into both AD and ANG pilot slots will continue steadily.

Also, I am planning on getting my private pilot's license soon. Is it necessary/beneficial to do any more ratings such as an instrument rating? PPL is probably good. Many ANG units like to see that and that basic experience will probably help you a little as you start your military flight training. Anything more than PPL is probably unnecessary and may actually create issue with some trainees who can't adjust to the military training environment or are unable to re-learn certain skills the way the USAF wants them to. Get comfortable flying - solo - get your PPL, maybe learn a little acro and that should be good.

kbay hombre
04-17-2018, 06:39 PM
I have not really considered the Army NG. Though, I am interested in flying helos. Is the hiring process similar to the ANG? Do they hire guys off the street like the ANG? How competitive is it to get a flight slot compared to the ANG? Though a degree is not necessarily required, is some college needed? I would want to get a bachelor's degree eventually. If I went the Army route I would probably only be interested in the guard rather than active duty.

I HIGHLY recommend you consider it, then. Especially if you are interested in helos, since the Army NG has more helos and employs more helo pilots than any other branch/service. To answer your questions, the Army NG regularly hires civilians off the street to fly. In fact, it's the only service that hires high school graduates to go to flight school without a degree. Absolutely no college is required, no matter what the recruiter tells you. The Army hires literally hundreds of people per year for pilot billets who have no college education. If you are enough of a rock star, you can go from high school graduation through boot camp (BCT), Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) and flight school at Rucker and be a rated helo pilot by the time you're 20 years old. Even if you go Army NG, you'll spend 12ish months on active duty just getting through BCT, WOCS and flight school. By the time you're done you'll have enough active duty time to qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which you can then use as a reservist/guardsman to pay for college while flying on the weekends. That's in addition to Tuition Assistance (TA) and any tuition waivers your specific state offers for state universities.

In terms of hiring, yes, it's usually similar. I have a cousin who did it recently. You first get in touch with a local Army NG helo unit and speak to one of their pilot recruiters, who is usually another warrant officer or NCO. After that, you'll probably meet up with both the recruiter and a senior warrant officer (probably a CW4) who is a pilot at the unit you want to join. Assuming he likes you and signs off, you'll submit your resume and any FAA licenses you have like your PPL. Then you'll take the ASVAB and do the dance at MEPS, which is pretty much a universal requirement. You'll also take a test specific for Army pilots called the SIFT; each service has its own aviation-specific test you take and all make you go through MEPS.

Anyway, assuming you do well on the ASVAB/SIFT tests and are medically qualified via MEPS, your recruiter will also make you take the army physical fitness test (APFT) which is required for your WOCS/WOFT package. The Army is very strict about this for warrant officers. I don't know what the current scores are but my cousin needed at least a 200 (out of 300) to be competitive. Once you've done all of this, your recruiter submits your package. Assuming you get picked up, you have 3 phases. First is boot camp (BCT) which is 8-10 weeks. Second is Warrant OCS (WOCS) which is 6 weeks. Third is flight school, which is 10-11 months last I checked. So, a little over a year total, and you finish with about 200 hours of rotary time and then you go back to your unit and fly on drill weekends. In other words, it's significantly more abbreviated than the other services and you can become a rated, operational pilot a lot younger/faster in the Army. As far as I know, it is less competitive to get into an Army NG pilot slot than any other branch/service, as long as you pass all those tests (ASVAB, SIFT), are medically qualified and get a decent score on the APFT.

robspenc
04-17-2018, 07:41 PM
I HIGHLY recommend you consider it, then. Especially if you are interested in helos, since the Army NG has more helos and employs more helo pilots than any other branch/service. To answer your questions, the Army NG regularly hires civilians off the street to fly. In fact, it's the only service that hires high school graduates to go to flight school without a degree. Absolutely no college is required, no matter what the recruiter tells you. The Army hires literally hundreds of people per year for pilot billets who have no college education. If you are enough of a rock star, you can go from high school graduation through boot camp (BCT), Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) and flight school at Rucker and be a rated helo pilot by the time you're 20 years old. Even if you go Army NG, you'll spend 12ish months on active duty just getting through BCT, WOCS and flight school. By the time you're done you'll have enough active duty time to qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which you can then use as a reservist/guardsman to pay for college while flying on the weekends. That's in addition to Tuition Assistance (TA) and any tuition waivers your specific state offers for state universities.

In terms of hiring, yes, it's usually similar. I have a cousin who did it recently. You first get in touch with a local Army NG helo unit and speak to one of their pilot recruiters, who is usually another warrant officer or NCO. After that, you'll probably meet up with both the recruiter and a senior warrant officer (probably a CW4) who is a pilot at the unit you want to join. Assuming he likes you and signs off, you'll submit your resume and any FAA licenses you have like your PPL. Then you'll take the ASVAB and do the dance at MEPS, which is pretty much a universal requirement. You'll also take a test specific for Army pilots called the SIFT; each service has its own aviation-specific test you take and all make you go through MEPS.

Anyway, assuming you do well on the ASVAB/SIFT tests and are medically qualified via MEPS, your recruiter will also make you take the army physical fitness test (APFT) which is required for your WOCS/WOFT package. The Army is very strict about this for warrant officers. I don't know what the current scores are but my cousin needed at least a 200 (out of 300) to be competitive. Once you've done all of this, your recruiter submits your package. Assuming you get picked up, you have 3 phases. First is boot camp (BCT) which is 8-10 weeks. Second is Warrant OCS (WOCS) which is 6 weeks. Third is flight school, which is 10-11 months last I checked. So, a little over a year total, and you finish with about 200 hours of rotary time and then you go back to your unit and fly on drill weekends. In other words, it's significantly more abbreviated than the other services and you can become a rated, operational pilot a lot younger/faster in the Army. As far as I know, it is less competitive to get into an Army NG pilot slot than any other branch/service, as long as you pass all those tests (ASVAB, SIFT), are medically qualified and get a decent score on the APFT.

Thanks for your help! It's definitely something to look into. I'll graduate high school just turning 17, so I will probably get some college done before I apply to units. Do you know if I am limited to local units or can I apply across the country like the ANG? Also, would you recommend the Army NG over the reserves?

kbay hombre
04-17-2018, 09:18 PM
Thanks for your help! It's definitely something to look into. I'll graduate high school just turning 17, so I will probably get some college done before I apply to units. Do you know if I am limited to local units or can I apply across the country like the ANG? Also, would you recommend the Army NG over the reserves?

You can join the Army at 17 with your parents' consent, just FYI. You are not limited to local units but it might be difficult to get in touch/interview with units out of state. The NG has more aircraft, reserves is federal and usually better funded for active duty (ADOS/EAD) opportunities. In your case, you can try for both and see who hires you.

Merle Dixon
04-18-2018, 05:49 AM
I know it's hard to judge, but do you think that ANG units will be hiring that much in the next few years when I am ready to apply?

Also, I am planning on getting my private pilot's license soon. Is it necessary/beneficial to do any more ratings such as an instrument rating?

Yes, I think the ANG will be hiring even more in the next 6 to 9 years. The AF Reserve and ANG are experiencing their own pilot shortage. The Reserve and Guard have a large amount of old pilots that are retirement eligible and many of them are retiring soon. Also, many Guard and Reserve units are having a terrible time keeping full-time pilots (every Guard and Reserve unit has several full-timers to do all the admin work), because everyone is jumping ship for the airlines.

Also, many Guard/Reserve units are seeing their pilots leave for 2-day a month, non-flying jobs (most Guard/Reserve units require their pilots to work 4 to 6 days a month). With the airline jobs paying so well these days, many pilots are tired of working 4 to 6 days a month for Uncle Sam and very sick of deploying. In the past year, I know of 6 AF reserve pilots that are also airline pilots, who have left part-time flying jobs for non-flying 2-day a month jobs.

With the airline retirement boom just getting started, the Guard/Reserve will continue to lose most of their full-time personnel, and a lot of their part-time pilots.

So, I think your chances of finding an ANG job are great.

Yes, earning your PPL and Instrument Rating is a great idea.

Another guy posted about Army aviation. If I were in your shoes, I would go no where near the Army. ANG or AF Reserve fixed-wing aviation is way better for future civilian employment prospects. Way better.

Good luck!

joepilot
04-18-2018, 11:24 AM
One caution about AFROTC/Active Duty: In the recent past many newly rated USAF pilots were assigned to drones rather than actual airplanes. I'm not sure if this is still going on. Neither the FAA nor the airlines count drone operator time as flight time.

A good reason to go Guard or Reserves, if still true.

Joe

kbay hombre
04-18-2018, 11:30 AM
Another guy posted about Army aviation. If I were in your shoes, I would go no where near the Army. ANG or AF Reserve fixed-wing aviation is way better for future civilian employment prospects. Way better.



Ok. I'm recently retired Navy (VP), so I have no bias towards either the Army or AF. I'm just stating fact.

The fact is, he's expressed an interest in flying helos and going the reserve/part-time route. He's said this explicitly, so this is what I'm trying to help him with. It's also a fact that he can fly helos years earlier and fly them a lot more often as a warrant officer in an Army guard unit than he ever could as a reservist in any other service.

Do you understand the difference between most commissioned pilots and Army aviation CWO's? Army aviation CWO's aren't expected to be generalists who also do admin tours, get graduate degrees, etc like most of us commissioned O's after our first few tours. No staff/air/war college, no major squadron/wing/regiment responsibilities as they advance. No "up or out" after O-3 like us. Army aviation CWO's are specialists who spend their entire careers just flying. I get that you're trying to set him up for the airlines. If you read what I and many others said earlier, no one (including me) is recommending the Army guard for an airline career.

If his priority is to fly part-time and he likes helos, going Army guard as a warrant is the way to go. If he wants to go airlines and that's his priority over all else, a guaranteed UPT slot with an air guard heavy unit is obviously the way to go. No need to tell people to "go no where near" the Army.

BeatNavy
04-18-2018, 01:08 PM
As a former army pilot, I wouldnít advise many people to go fly in the army. Lots of army guys try to go to the AF (AD/ANG/AFR), donít know of anyone in the other services trying to go into the army.

Warrants do staff jobs too. No CW4 billets at the company level. All are in the battalion/brigade level. They are more flying related than commissioned staff jobs, though. They also hold ridiculous additional duties while WO1-CW2 (environmental compliance, key control, property book, urine test officer, etc.), and better additional duties as CW3s (safety, stan eval, tactics, maintenance). They do stay flying most of their career though, and their additional duties are far less time consuming than the jobs of commissioned guys. And I donít know how life in ARNG units compares to AD...maybe itís better.

Iíve said it in other threads...army aviation is the armpit of all military aviation. Smallest pay (fewest flying bonuses and the whole warrant structure), the least focused on flying, prioritizing stuff like organized unit PT every morning, a big focus on being like everyone else in the army, and then you get to fly a few times a month. We went to the field (sleeping in tents) when not deployed, deployed for training deployments that were worse than real combat deployments, and other fun stuff. And we deploy 9-15 months at a time...closer to 9 now. And we (even warrants) didnít fly a whole lot when not deployed. Flying attack in the army is fun. Shooting stuff from that close in is fun. Iím sure the UH/CH guys liked what they did too. But thereís a reason so many guys in the army try to go ANG/AFRES. If itís what you want to do, it can be a great job for an 18 year old, and thereís always time to make the switch to the ANG/AFRES later if you decide the grass is greener in the AF.

Best way to put it is the Army is a ground force that happens to have helicopters to help support the ground mission...they are just another tool, the same as artillery or tanks. Itís more army-ish. The Air Force is a flying force that has other assets to support the flying. They are focused accordingly.

smellslikejeta
04-18-2018, 02:10 PM
Hi Robspenc,
I did the ANG after traditional college, and good call on going to college first! College was a great experience, and if you don't have to, don't miss out on that.

What is your overall goal? Do you really want to fly for the military, or is your eventual goal to be an airline pilot? If airlines are your goal, keep in mind that times have changed, and if you go the civilian route, you can be flying for an airline not long after college; the airlines are hurting for people.

If you are thinking you really want to fly military, I would recommend ANG over AFRC, and I wouldn't recommend active duty at all, unless you really like being in a crappy place for 200 days a year.

Since you are a junior in HS, you have a lot of time to think about this, which is good, because it is a huge decision. Keep in mind that we have been in multiple wars for over 16 years, and it will probably be going on for many years. Even in the ANG, you can expect multiple deployments (we go every year... and it really is like Groundhog Day.) We also participate in wars no one talks about, like in Yemen (it's no small moral matter to help the Saudis, when they have killed thousands of civilians in that country.) If you are okay with all of this, then the military can be a good move for you. Just have an idea what you are actually signing up for.

No matter what, focus primarily on school right now. Go to college, major in something that you can do well in. It matters far more to get good grades than WHAT you are studying. (i.e. Don't study Engineering and get Cs, when you could enjoy and score better grades in a Liberal Art.) I know flying is expensive, but try to get your Private at least. Working at an FBO could be good (I did that, too...) because it exposes you to aviation, and may even get you a discount on flight time. Basically, make yourself the best possible candidate you can, so when it comes time to apply to units (or airlines!) you can show that you are a hard worker, and have really wanted to do this. And stay out of trouble; a DUI can easily end a career before it starts, military or civilian.

As for your question about where to apply... you can apply wherever you want. Some units like to hire local people, since they assume they are already invested in the local area, and are more likely to stay for their whole career, but I have seen people hired from all over. I would not recommend enlisting first, unless you REALLY want to. (I have seen more than a few people enlist first, then get selected for a pilot slot, only to be disqualified on their flight physical. It is heartbreaking.)

The military worked for me, because the airline industry was in the toilet when I was applying (I already had my ratings...) but honestly, I would do things differently if I were starting out now.

Everyone is different... just have a realistic idea and expectation of what it means to fly for the military (or the airlines, for that matter.) Try to talk to as many people, both military and civilian, about their experiences. Take your time, enjoy college, be safe. Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

robspenc
04-18-2018, 02:50 PM
Hi Robspenc,
I did the ANG after traditional college, and good call on going to college first! College was a great experience, and if you don't have to, don't miss out on that.

What is your overall goal? Do you really want to fly for the military, or is your eventual goal to be an airline pilot? If airlines are your goal, keep in mind that times have changed, and if you go the civilian route, you can be flying for an airline not long after college; the airlines are hurting for people.

If you are thinking you really want to fly military, I would recommend ANG over AFRC, and I wouldn't recommend active duty at all, unless you really like being in a crappy place for 200 days a year.

Since you are a junior in HS, you have a lot of time to think about this, which is good, because it is a huge decision. Keep in mind that we have been in multiple wars for over 16 years, and it will probably be going on for many years. Even in the ANG, you can expect multiple deployments (we go every year... and it really is like Groundhog Day.) We also participate in wars no one talks about, like in Yemen (it's no small moral matter to help the Saudis, when they have killed thousands of civilians in that country.) If you are okay with all of this, then the military can be a good move for you. Just have an idea what you are actually signing up for.

No matter what, focus primarily on school right now. Go to college, major in something that you can do well in. It matters far more to get good grades than WHAT you are studying. (i.e. Don't study Engineering and get Cs, when you could enjoy and score better grades in a Liberal Art.) I know flying is expensive, but try to get your Private at least. Working at an FBO could be good (I did that, too...) because it exposes you to aviation, and may even get you a discount on flight time. Basically, make yourself the best possible candidate you can, so when it comes time to apply to units (or airlines!) you can show that you are a hard worker, and have really wanted to do this. And stay out of trouble; a DUI can easily end a career before it starts, military or civilian.

As for your question about where to apply... you can apply wherever you want. Some units like to hire local people, since they assume they are already invested in the local area, and are more likely to stay for their whole career, but I have seen people hired from all over. I would not recommend enlisting first, unless you REALLY want to. (I have seen more than a few people enlist first, then get selected for a pilot slot, only to be disqualified on their flight physical. It is heartbreaking.)

The military worked for me, because the airline industry was in the toilet when I was applying (I already had my ratings...) but honestly, I would do things differently if I were starting out now.

Everyone is different... just have a realistic idea and expectation of what it means to fly for the military (or the airlines, for that matter.) Try to talk to as many people, both military and civilian, about their experiences. Take your time, enjoy college, be safe. Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions!

Thanks for your response! My eventual goal is to work for the airlines. I realize it is getting much better to go the civilian route nowadays. However, I would like to serve my country and be able to experience different types of flying.

Han Solo
04-19-2018, 02:55 AM
My eventual goal is to work for the airlines.

Then let's just end this nonsense about the Army and choppers right now. Yes it can be done but it's far from the path of least resistance. Throw in the fact that you have to suffer in the Army and it's a no brainer (much like the Army at large).

I know it's hard to judge, but do you think that ANG units will be hiring that much in the next few years when I am ready to apply?

The only thing that will make applying to the ANG difficult in the next 10 years is a catastrophic event on the same or greater scale than 911. No sense worrying over it since it's not something you can predict, control, or plan for.

Sliceback
04-19-2018, 08:23 AM
Helos are not the path to the airlines. Period. The biggest airlines give you almost zero credit for help experience. Instead of off AD and getting a major airline job youíd most likely have to spend several more years at a regional airline before getting a major airline job. That will cost you a $1 milllion + over your career.

PRS Guitars
04-19-2018, 01:08 PM
One caution about AFROTC/Active Duty: In the recent past many newly rated USAF pilots were assigned to drones rather than actual airplanes. I'm not sure if this is still going on. Neither the FAA nor the airlines count drone operator time as flight time.

A good reason to go Guard or Reserves, if still true.

Joe

This is not the case anymore, and when it did happen to new graduates (only for a few years by the way) it was 1 to 3 kids per class of 30. So less than 10%. The saying I used was if youíre chased by a polar bear, you donít have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun the slowest guy.

Iíve seen this myth proliferated in flying publications (usually by schools with flying programs). Itís never been a huge threat for newly graduated UPT students. There was a dark time in the viper community called Tammy 21, around 2007 where they sent many a Viper pilot to RPAís never to return. The Air Force now has a separate pipeline for RPA pilots that is not UPT.

With that said I still recommend the reserves or guard if you want to go to the airlines quickly. And as Sliceback said, Helicopters is not a good path to airlines. Theyíd be fun as it gets to fly, and a great career in and of itself though.

Hobbit64
04-19-2018, 07:58 PM
As a former army pilot, I wouldnít advise many people to go fly in the army. Lots of army guys try to go to the AF (AD/ANG/AFR), donít know of anyone in the other services trying to go into the army.

Warrants do staff jobs too. No CW4 billets at the company level. All are in the battalion/brigade level. They are more flying related than commissioned staff jobs, though. They also hold ridiculous additional duties while WO1-CW2 (environmental compliance, key control, property book, urine test officer, etc.), and better additional duties as CW3s (safety, stan eval, tactics, maintenance). They do stay flying most of their career though, and their additional duties are far less time consuming than the jobs of commissioned guys. And I donít know how life in ARNG units compares to AD...maybe itís better.

Iíve said it in other threads...army aviation is the armpit of all military aviation. Smallest pay (fewest flying bonuses and the whole warrant structure), the least focused on flying, prioritizing stuff like organized unit PT every morning, a big focus on being like everyone else in the army, and then you get to fly a few times a month. We went to the field (sleeping in tents) when not deployed, deployed for training deployments that were worse than real combat deployments, and other fun stuff. And we deploy 9-15 months at a time...closer to 9 now. And we (even warrants) didnít fly a whole lot when not deployed. Flying attack in the army is fun. Shooting stuff from that close in is fun. Iím sure the UH/CH guys liked what they did too. But thereís a reason so many guys in the army try to go ANG/AFRES. If itís what you want to do, it can be a great job for an 18 year old, and thereís always time to make the switch to the ANG/AFRES later if you decide the grass is greener in the AF.

Best way to put it is the Army is a ground force that happens to have helicopters to help support the ground mission...they are just another tool, the same as artillery or tanks. Itís more army-ish. The Air Force is a flying force that has other assets to support the flying. They are focused accordingly.

I continue to bristle at the 'Armpit' comments.... but, for a ring knocker this guy seems like he was raised well by some good Warrants.

And yes, the BigRig (AH-64) was a blast to fly. Should you delay Airline employment in order to close with your nations enemy and scatter them about the battle field in little pieces?.... well that's debatable.

Listen to this guy. While I Love flying as a Warrant Officer, you'll be years ahead by focusing on getting FW time in another service.

Hobbit64
04-19-2018, 08:03 PM
I continue to bristle at the 'Armpit' comments.... but, for a ring knocker this guy seems like he was raised well by some good Warrants.

And yes, the BigRig (AH-64) was a blast to fly. Should you delay Airline employment in order to close with your nations enemy and scatter them about the battle field in little pieces?.... well that's debatable.

Listen to this guy. While I Love flying as a Warrant Officer, you'll be years ahead by focusing on getting FW time in another service.

Re-posted for Emphasis.

Fixed Wing Time.... For Fixed Wing JOBS.

robspenc
04-20-2018, 07:07 AM
Thank you everybody for your responses! After hearing all your opinions I have concluded that the ANG is the best path for me.

ArmyFW
04-20-2018, 06:09 PM
Do you think an ANG fighter unit would pick up a 29 year old army fixed wing warrant officer with 11 years active federal service and college complete?

BeatNavy
04-20-2018, 06:13 PM
Do you think an ANG fighter unit would pick up a 29 year old army fixed wing warrant officer with 11 years active federal service and college complete?

If you fit in well with the units you rush, itís possible. Hang out on baseops forums and bogidope.com.

ArmyFW
04-20-2018, 06:15 PM
Ok Iíll hop on, I still owe the army 5 years, I like my job actually lol. I just also want to fly fighters, Iím currently just keeping my ear to the ground because I know literally everything can change in 5 years.

AirBear
04-20-2018, 08:03 PM
Might want to check on what the age limit now is for Air Force UPT.

Back in 1980 it was 27. In my AFROTC unit we had a former Army WO who flew Cobras in Vietnam, had 500 hours of combat time and was shot down 3 times. He was a couple of months over the age limit and the Air Force wouldn't waive it.

BeatNavy
04-20-2018, 09:46 PM
Might want to check on what the age limit now is for Air Force UPT.

Back in 1980 it was 27. In my AFROTC unit we had a former Army WO who flew Cobras in Vietnam, had 500 hours of combat time and was shot down 3 times. He was a couple of months over the age limit and the Air Force wouldn't waive it.

Canít have turned 30 by the time you start, but waivers at the ANG/AFRC level seem fairly easy right now. I know a 37 year old, 35 year old, and a couple 32 year olds in the queue. Not all units are willing to pursue waivers, but ANG/AFRC currently seem to be approving them.

Tweetdrvr
04-21-2018, 04:39 AM
Do you think an ANG fighter unit would pick up a 29 year old army fixed wing warrant officer with 11 years active federal service and college complete?


See this thread from four years ago. I'm sure much has changed, but a lot has not. With the shortage affecting all components and getting worse, it seems as if your timing could be good, if you can find the right unit.

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/military/76920-army-pilot-air-force-pilot-transfer.html

kbay hombre
04-21-2018, 10:39 AM
Canít have turned 30 by the time you start, but waivers at the ANG/AFRC level seem fairly easy right now. I know a 37 year old, 35 year old, and a couple 32 year olds in the queue. Not all units are willing to pursue waivers, but ANG/AFRC currently seem to be approving them.

Whoa. 37? He'll be hitting middle age around the time he finishes everything and starts his first tour. Don't get me wrong, that's awesome. It's just hard to reconcile with ten years ago when the only guys over 30 who could get into a military flight training program were Army guard guys, and even then, I remember when the max age for even the Army was 34. Remember when we were balls deep in the recession and officers/pilots were staying in? Retention went up for a while, promotion zones shrank, and I know the Navy wasn't doing a lot of age waivers for flight school.

It isn't just the majors who are going through shortages and a hiring boom; I guess now is definitely a good time to join any branch if you're 30+ and want to fly.



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