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Old 05-03-2006, 04:56 PM   #1  
MoHoney
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Default 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....
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Old 05-03-2006, 05:55 PM   #2  
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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.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:44 AM   #3  
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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

Last edited by atpwannabe; 05-04-2006 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 05-04-2006, 11:19 AM   #4  
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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

Last edited by rickair7777; 05-04-2006 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:51 PM   #5  
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Default 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....

Last edited by MoHoney; 05-04-2006 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:53 PM   #6  
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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?

Last edited by MoHoney; 05-04-2006 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 12:02 AM   #7  
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Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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Old 05-05-2006, 05:14 AM   #8  
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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.
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Old 05-05-2006, 05:53 AM   #9  
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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

Last edited by atpwannabe; 05-05-2006 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 08:27 AM   #10  
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Quote:
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.
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