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MoHoney 05-03-2006 04:56 PM

college transfer to ERAU or enlist military
 
My son who is just completing his freshman yr in college majoring in Comp Sci wants to transfer to Embry Riddle to pursue an aviation degree. He thinks that by going to ERAU that he will have a better chance of becoming a military pilot.
I've been reading various postings on similar subjects. He recently talked to a Naval recruiter who promised alot and is pressuring him to sign up quickly. I told him that before he does this we need to look at all the options. My son looked into ERAU and thinks that he should transfer there and join ROTC. He thinks that the flight background that he would get from ERAU would give him better standing in the Navy or Air Force when it comes to getting a pilot slot since those positions are highly competitive. I have no problem with the ROTC idea but I am concerned about the huge cost of ERAU tuition. I read that in a college handbook that the average debt of their graduating students is $65,000 - 70.000. He thinks he could get an ROTC scholarship to pay for it but from what I read those are competitive and it would be unlikely for his first year. His ACT score was 28 and college GPA 2.9. I am also concerned that he wants to change his major to Aviation/Aeronautical Science. Again he thinks that this major would help guarantee him a pilot slot in the military. I think that he should stick with computer science and minor in aviation so he has something to fall back. There must be other schools out there that aren't as costly as ERAU. Does anyone have any recommendations? Also does the military look more favorably on certain college majors when it determines pilot candidacy? Will an AS degree give him an advantage or will computer science be equally considered? Or are other majors better like aeronautical/mechanical engineering- another area of interest. (While he likes Comp SCI, he's afraid that the military would recommend him for IT positions only). The Navy recruiter is telling him that enlisting would get him into the pilot seat faster. Is this true? Does this hold true for the Air Force? I think he should look at ROTC but maybe at a different school. His current college does not have NROTC or AFROTC nor does it offer any kind of aviation or aeronautics minor. His recruiter also told him that even if he enlists that he could still apply for the Naval Academy. Is this true? Also is it possible to transfer to one of the military schoools after freshmen or sophomore year in college? I also saw on a posting that someone recommended the Air National Guard for aspiring pilots. Bottom line I want him to be happy in his career choice but I need some guidance to help with this decision. His grandfather was in the Navy but he passed away 10 years ago so we have no one else in the family knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the military. Please help me....

TankerDriver 05-03-2006 05:55 PM

First off, he does not need an aviation degree to become a pilot in the military. I know military pilots with English, economics, and biology degrees. An aviation degree wouldn't hurt him, unless he needed something to fall back on, but it is definitely not necessary.

ERAU has a good ROTC program. I believe it's the largest detachment in the country and they get a lot of pilot slots. However, there is a lot more competition for pilot slots, so it may be all relative.

The fastest way to be a pilot in the military is NOT to enlist. It is to become an officer, whether it be through the Academy, ROTC, OTS or AMS and to proceed to Undergraduate Pilot Training. That is the fastest way to the cockpit of a military aircraft. Take what a recruiter tells you with a grain of salt. They have one job and that's to meet quotas. Most of them know NOTHING about being a pilot in the military. If your son wants to know what being a pilot in the AF or Navy is like, he needs to ask a pilot in the AF or Navy.

The good thing about the Air National Guard and Reserves is that your son can get a job as a computer programmer (big bucks) and still be able to fly military aircraft part time. On the other hand, the option to retire after 20 years of service in your early 40's with 50% of your base pay and full medical benefits is not there in the Guard or Reserves. Retirement in the guard and reserves is based off of points and you have to wait until you're 59 1/2 to collect your pension.

Make sure your son chooses wisely. Pilot slots are competitive and there are no garauntees he will get one. It's a lengthy process that starts with the commisioning source. With ROTC, when and if he does get a slot, he has to pass a flight physical. If he doesn't pass and can't get a waiver for what DQ'd him, he owes the AF 4 years of his life doing.... who knows?? Needs of the Air Force. If they think his qualifications fit their needs in Space and Missiles, he will be going to Space and Missiles. Oddly enough, Space and Missiles personnel wear flight suits, but they're 200 feet below the surface of the earth. If he passes everything with flying colors and makes it to pilot training, he's got at least a year of training before he makes it to the cockpit of a weapons system. For example, to fly KC-135's, it's going to take roughly a year to complete Phase I, II and III of pilot training, 3 weeks of Combat Survival School, a week of Water Survival School and then 3 1/2 months of KC-135 training. For me, this took about almost 20 months before I was out of training and into an operational unit.

I recommend he stay in his degree program and either apply to OTS (active duty AF), OCS (active duty Navy) or go for the ANG, AF Reserves, or Navy reserves after he gets his degree.

atpwannabe 05-04-2006 08:44 AM

I am not going to be presumptuous of what you are capable of doing financially in terms of putting your son through college. I will say this, try to persuade your son to attend a state university @ a much cheaper cost and receive the same quality education he would have @ ERAU. Use the money saved to learn to fly at a local flight school located at your local airport. He can get all of his licenses and ratings there. Or he could do the State Univ. thing and go through the AFROTC. That way, he not only has a four year degree, but also a shot at getting his flight training free in the AF. In the end, all we really are are just HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATORS.;)

As an ERAU grad, there is no way in hell I would pay the kind of money they are asking for now. I attended ERAU during the early '80's and it cost me $2,284.00 per tri-mester (semester) for 8 tri-mesters.

As far as your son wanting to be a pilot, continue to encourage him as such. But whatever road he chooses, make sure all the research is done.

Best wishes & blue skies

atp

rickair7777 05-04-2006 11:19 AM

I agree with what tanker and wannabe said (I'm a Navy guy).

What is a little vague is whether your son has his heart set on airlines, military, or just being a pilot? This is important...

If he wants to be an airline guy, active-duty military is risky becuase you have a fair to very high chance (depending on service) of being assigned helicopters...then you are committed for ten years and may have difficulty getting the fixed-wing time necessary for an airline job. If he reall wants to do airline, I would suggest state school, civilian flight training, then apply for the Air National Guard...the beauty of this is two-fold: 1) you pick the unit(s) you apply to, so you know what type of aircraft you will fly and 2) you can fly at a regional AND in the ANG at the same time and you will soon be very competetive for a major airline job. Helo breakdown by service:

USAF: Some Helos
USN: Plenty 'o Helos
USMC: Even more Helos
USCG: Gobs of Helos
USA: Infinite supply of Helos


If he wants to be a military officer, than pretty much take the first ROTC (or even academy) scholarship that comes along, keeping in mind that he might not get a flying slot immediately or at all. He will need good vision and health to fly military in any event. Military helo jobs can be a lot of fun, if you don't need to get fixed-wing time for the airlines. Another advantage here is that if can get a ROTC scholarship, the government will pay for ANY college (with a ROTC program) that he get's accepted to, even ivy-league!


If he just wants to be a pilot and doesn't care where, do college and flight training, then apply for a fixed-wing ANG slot (also good for airline career). If he doesn't get the guard, apply for OCS (any/all services) on a flight training contract...no guarantee of fixed-wing, but at least he is guaranteed a pilot slot. If he can't get any military flying, then go the civilian route.

Good Luck

MoHoney 05-04-2006 08:51 PM

are some degrees better for military pilots/Navy bachelor degree completion program
 
Thanks to everyone for the advice...After talking further to my son, he definitely wants a long term career as a military pilot and sees attending ERAU for an aeronautic science degree has a means to achieve this goal. He plans to apply for an ROTC scholarship. He still seems convinced that doing this degree program will help give him greater consideration for a pilot slot in the Navy or Air Force than if he stays at his state school and applies for ROTC. He says that at ERAU he can obtain the aeronautic science degree with a military emphasis and this is what he believes will give him better standing against other pilot candidates. From what I've read, it seems like the Navy or Air Force prefer prospective pilots to have engineering or technical degrees. Apart from the physical and health considerations, how does the Navy or Air Force decide on who can become a pilot? Do certain college degrees have more weight? Also does anyone have info on a Navy Bachelor Degree Completion Program with a guaranteed pilot contract. According to info from ERAU this is open to their students. If selected, the Navy pays $1,900/mo. for the last 3 yrs of school if pursuing a technical degree or 2 yrs. for non-technical degree. ERAU says the program will pay up to $68,000 and it is not ROTC. You just have to keep a 3.0 GPA. Then when you graduate you go to aviation officer training school in Pensacola. Is this a new program or is this a program specific to ERAU students? Or is this what some of you have been talking about? I'm not real familiar with some of the abbreviations like AMS sorry...but thanks again for your help....

MoHoney 05-04-2006 08:53 PM

Since I'm new to this site is it appropriate to ask whether any present/ former Navy or Air Force pilots could talk to or email him? Also with Air National Guard does it matter what state you join in? Is every state program the same? Also one last question...I promise...I read that ERAU has nearly 1,800 Aero Science majors in Daytona. Does anyone know whether this is a problem when trying to get flying opportunities at the school. Also do Aero Science classes fill up quickly and do students have to wait a semester to get in a class they need?

Uncle Bose 05-05-2006 12:02 AM


Originally Posted by MoHoney
He says that at ERAU he can obtain the aeronautic science degree with a military emphasis and this is what he believes will give him better standing against other pilot candidates.

That's just ERAU propaganda. Getting an engineering degree and ROTC will place him in far better standing than any aeronautical "science" graduate.


From what I've read, it seems like the Navy or Air Force prefer prospective pilots to have engineering or technical degrees.
That is correct. However, the ERAU aeronautical science degree is a far cry from an engineering degree. Not even in the same ballpark, and the military knows this.


I read that ERAU has nearly 1,800 Aero Science majors in Daytona. Does anyone know whether this is a problem when trying to get flying opportunities at the school. Also do Aero Science classes fill up quickly and do students have to wait a semester to get in a class they need?
Neither were ever a problem for me. I only had to "add" a class once, and did so with no difficulties.

F15AvionicsTech 05-05-2006 05:14 AM

MoHoney - DON'T LISTEN TO RECRUITERS. Have your son tell them what HE wants and get it in writing.

Also - have him look into joining a ANG unit with the type of plane he wants to fly. He can then put in for a full time slot once he's done training.

atpwannabe 05-05-2006 05:53 AM

MoHoney:

Have your son read these post. As rickair7777 mentioned, doing the State Univ, local flight training & ANG is great idea. Also, the technical degree that UncleBose mentioned is good as well. F15AVTech ,though hit the nail right on the head.

All the advice that these guys are giving you is like money in the bank. ;)

atp

Uncle Bose 05-05-2006 08:27 AM


Originally Posted by F15AvionicsTech
MoHoney - DON'T LISTEN TO RECRUITERS.

That also includes college recruiters, and more specifically, ERAU recruiters. Don't listen to one word of their hiring and salary statistics, thoughts on how much the aviation industry loves them, etc, etc. Remember: they're still a business and are selling a product. An overpriced product.

atpwannabe 05-05-2006 08:47 AM

Not trying to bash Riddle, b/c they are my alma mater, however, I compare what potential students think ERAU will provide for their aviation careers to SJS--"Shiny Jet Syndrome". JMO.

atp

rickair7777 05-05-2006 10:04 AM


Originally Posted by MoHoney
he definitely wants a long term career as a military pilot and sees attending ERAU for an aeronautic science degree has a means to achieve this goal. He plans to apply for an ROTC scholarship. He still seems convinced that doing this degree program will help give him greater consideration for a pilot slot in the Navy or Air Force than if he stays at his state school and applies for ROTC.

Military flying slots are very competetive. They want to see high GPA and good performance in military and extra-curricular activities. A brand-name school (ie Ivy League or Service Academy) helps, but ERAU doesn't really qualify there. If he can get a ROTC scholarship he can use it at ANY school.




Originally Posted by MoHoney
He says that at ERAU he can obtain the aeronautic science degree with a military emphasis and this is what he believes will give him better standing against other pilot candidates. From what I've read, it seems like the Navy or Air Force prefer prospective pilots to have engineering or technical degrees.

No, "aviation science" degrees are useless in the real world...they are a fun and entertaining way for airline-bound rich kids to punch out the degree requirement. They will not help you in get a military flying slot. The military can afford to be picky...an engineering or real technical degree (ie computer science, chemistry, physics, etc) will make him more competetive.


Originally Posted by MoHoney
Apart from the physical and health considerations, how does the Navy or Air Force decide on who can become a pilot? Do certain college degrees have more weight?

The harder the degree, the better off you are. The military is looking for aggressive winners, not slackers who took the easy road at every turn. There are some written aptitude tests specific to military aviation which all aplicants will be required to take. Also 20/20 vision is critical for USN/USMC/USCG. I think the AF is a little more lenient there.



Originally Posted by MoHoney
Also does anyone have info on a Navy Bachelor Degree Completion Program with a guaranteed pilot contract. According to info from ERAU this is open to their students. If selected, the Navy pays $1,900/mo. for the last 3 yrs of school if pursuing a technical degree or 2 yrs. for non-technical degree. ERAU says the program will pay up to $68,000 and it is not ROTC. You just have to keep a 3.0 GPA. Then when you graduate you go to aviation officer training school in Pensacola. Is this a new program or is this a program specific to ERAU students? Or is this what some of you have been talking about? I'm not real familiar with some of the abbreviations like AMS sorry...but thanks again for your help....

I'm not familiar with this specific program, but this sort of thing comes and goes and is a common means of recruiting people into certain career fields. It might have the advantage that you won't get stuck in a non-flying job, which could happen with ROTC. Read the fine print...if you wash out of flight training, you might end up carrying a rifle in Afghanistan. Note: The sort of "targeting" program you describe is often used as a vehicle to implement affirmative action quotas, so do not assume you will be accepted unless your son is a minority or a woman (joke).

F15AvionicsTech 05-05-2006 11:51 AM

Just to expand on Rickair7777s post regarding military flying requirements (Specifically for the AF...) -

Vision can be waivered if it is correctable to 20/20 with PRK Surgery as long as he retains his night vision and has no side-effects.

Also - I'm not sure if it's in-shop, but the 159th FW (Flying F-15's) require you to start Undergraduate Pilot Training by your 27th Birthday. However, again - it's waiverable to 30th Birthday.

The big difference between Guard flying and AD flying is your son's chances of getting to fly what he wants. Only around the top 2% of applicants accepted to Active Duty AF Undergraduate Pilot Training will end up flying the F-15, however Guard units handle all recruitment in-house.

I highly recommend the ANG. - Especially fulltime (If there's a slot open)

MoHoney 05-05-2006 07:43 PM

[QUOTE=rickair7777]Military flying slots are very competetive. They want to see high GPA and good performance in military and extra-curricular activities. A brand-name school (ie Ivy League or Service Academy) helps, but ERAU doesn't really qualify there. If he can get a ROTC scholarship he can use it at ANY school.

My question:
I thought that ROTC scholarships that can be used anywhere were for high school students about to enter college. As a 2nd semester college freshman, wouldn't he have to apply for a scholarship through a specific college's ROTC unit because he would only have 2-3 years left. If the ROTC unit is very large on a particular campus wouldn't that make it really difficult for him to get a scholarship as a transfer student especially if he goes to a school like ERAU which is simply too expensive for our family. His current school, doesn't have any ROTC program but there is an AFROTC unit at another campus about 1/2 hour away. I'm still trying to convince him to stay where he's at and try to get his ppl at the local airport school as many have suggested.

We're also looking into ANG. (he found out that one of his friend's dad is a pilot in ANG, also an ERAU alum and active in the EAA so he hopes to talk to him when he is back home)

As an alternative to ERAU, I talked to him about transferring to a school where he could still major in Comp. Sci but minor in some type of aeronautical science/aviation. Our state has an instate tuition agreement with Minnesota. Does anyone know of any Minn. colleges with programs like this? Someone mentioned St. Cloud State on a posting - not sure about brand name though. Otherwise, other colleges (out of state tuition, though) he could think about as an alternative: Purdue, Ohio State, UND, Utah State (I think) and Auburn. These might work only if he can get some type of scholarship (ROTC or otherwise). Any thoughts? Thanks again for your advice

rickair7777 05-05-2006 08:36 PM


Originally Posted by MoHoney
My question:
I thought that ROTC scholarships that can be used anywhere were for high school students about to enter college. As a 2nd semester college freshman, wouldn't he have to apply for a scholarship through a specific college's ROTC unit because he would only have 2-3 years left. If the ROTC unit is very large on a particular campus wouldn't that make it really difficult for him to get a scholarship as a transfer student especially if he goes to a school like ERAU which is simply too expensive for our family. His current school, doesn't have any ROTC program but there is an AFROTC unit at another campus about 1/2 hour away. I'm still trying to convince him to stay where he's at and try to get his ppl at the local airport school as many have suggested.

I'm a little vague on ROTC scholarships for transfer students...I was awarded a 3-year ROTC scholarship at the end of my freshman year. I had not really partcipated in ROTC other than to take the 101 military science class, but I'm not sure if the scholarship would have required me to stay at that school or if I could have transferred. (I ended up not doing ROTC though).

He should talk to the officer-in-charge of his nearest Navy and Air Force ROTC units to get the straight scoop on scholarships and transfers...that's the only guy who will know for sure, since the rules often change year-to-year.


Originally Posted by MoHoney
We're also looking into ANG. (he found out that one of his friend's dad is a pilot in ANG, also an ERAU alum and active in the EAA so he hopes to talk to him when he is back home)

Golden! That's the kind of connection that pilot careers are made of.

N6724G 05-06-2006 08:00 AM


Originally Posted by MoHoney
. From what I've read, it seems like the Navy or Air Force prefer prospective pilots to have engineering or technical degrees. Apart from the physical and health considerations, how does the Navy or Air Force decide on who can become a pilot? Do certain college degrees have more weight?

What colleg eyou attend has no bearing on you getting accepted into the military pilot program. Goto www.af.mil and look up some General Oficers biographies. Look at wher ethey went to college and you see they went to schools ranging from the Air Force Academy to John Smith college in smalltown USA. What matters is your grades and class standing in college and in the ROTC program. Top of the class gets what he wants.

The Navy and Marine Corps is the same way. Also, talk to ROTC instructors at Colleges, they can definantly guide you the best direction. email them, go to the campus and visit them. They will be more than happy to assist you. I always say if you want the best information, go to the source. Hope this helps.

FLightle 05-07-2006 11:45 PM

MOHONEY:

-edited out-

I finished up my four year degree at ERAU (Daytona) last year, on a full Army scholarship, majored in Aeronautical Science with Military focus (allows you to get full credit for ROTC classes. Really no different from other focuses..) I have a pretty good knowledge of the "system" of scholarships, and the ways that the various organizations work. I also have contacts within each of the ROTC programs that I could ask to provide more info.

Lastly, encourage your son to take ownership of his future, disregard some of the bright shiny brochures and talk to people that have experienced the ups and downs of the industry/military lifestyle. I am just one of those people....(in a somewhat limited scope) Stay away from the recruiter!

Once you email me, I'll help to the fullest extent possible.

Thanks,

Forest Lightle

crj500 05-08-2006 07:12 AM

your son should not enlist that is the last thing he should do. If he really wants to fly he should join the Army they have more flight slots then the air force or Navy they fly many helos but they also have fixed wing planes. If he really wants to fly fixed wing then he should sign up for navy rotc and keep up all of his grades and he should be able to get a flight slot. Another thing he could do is try to get a warrent officer slot in the army, warrent officers fly alot more then the regular officer there job is to fly and thats it, so if he does not get join rotc he could apply for that after graduation.

rickair7777 05-08-2006 09:21 PM


Originally Posted by crj500
your son should not enlist that is the last thing he should do. If he really wants to fly he should join the Army they have more flight slots then the air force or Navy they fly many helos but they also have fixed wing planes. If he really wants to fly fixed wing then he should sign up for navy rotc and keep up all of his grades and he should be able to get a flight slot. Another thing he could do is try to get a warrent officer slot in the army, warrent officers fly alot more then the regular officer there job is to fly and thats it, so if he does not get join rotc he could apply for that after graduation.

Army probably has offers more opportunities to get a helo flying slot, but the fixed wing flying is limited compared to the other services and generally you have to have been in for a while to get that. This is only significant if you want want to keep the airline option open. If he just wants to fly period, then the army is good.

crewdawg52 05-09-2006 04:50 AM

So far, what everyone has advised it true. DON"T ENLIST first of all! DON'T PAY THAT $ TO ERAU! AND DON'T LISTEN TO RECRUITERS!

Go to a state university that has a navy/airforce rotc program. During this summer, have him get his private pilot's rating as a minimum. When I went through, the USAF rotc detactment awarded pilot slots during the spring of my soph year. Having a privates license, or higher rating, will give him a huge boost above those who don't.

If the university does'nt have a rotc program, look for air force or navy/marine recruiters who recruit OFFICERS ONLY! Like I stated earlier, Texas Tech (were I went) had a rotc program, but across the street, was a navy and a marine recruiter looking for OFFICER CANDIDATES. I applied to all three with the intention whoever gave we a pilot slot first, I would go to. Air Force won out. Ended up flying B-52's and E-3 AWAC's.

Best of luck to your son!


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