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Old 07-04-2009, 09:56 AM   #1  
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Default Questions about the Air Force

I just got out of high school and will be going to college this fall for a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering. My ultimate goal in life is to be a pilot. I have been doing tons of research into it and I plan on being the best I can be and getting good grades all though college. I am determined to be a pilot in the air force one day. My question is should I talk to a recruiter today or wait until i'm done with college? And would I go straight to the OTS if accepted? Also, my eyesight is 20/25 both near and far. I wear glasses to help with this but also have contacts. Will this be okay?

As far as ROTC is I have to go to a certain college for this year because I'm getting the last few credits I need for a high school diploma while taking college classes. Would I be allowed to transfer into an ROTC school after freshman year? Thanks
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Old 07-04-2009, 10:31 AM   #2  
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Just be aware that flying in the active duty Air Force has taken a back seat to "officership". In other words you will probably spend most of your time doing desk work. It is a cool job, (cooler than most), but if you have visions of "Top Gun" walk away. There are exceptions to this, but they are very highly sought after and hard to get. The pay is steady, and the benifits are good, but the flying is slim.

If you want to be a pilot for the flying then get yourself some hours and start interviewing at guard and reserve units. You can do nothing but fly and they are ok with that, for the most part. Not only that, but you can live where you want, and be guaranteed an airframe before UPT. The pay is less steady though, and you might need to get another job to make the ends meet.

The units also tend to recruit pilots from within, so you could consider enlisting in the guard, and working it that way if you can't affoard to get hours. Just make sure they know your long range goal is to fly, and do your best for the unit and it should eventually happen for you. You will still need your bachelors degree. Just know this, recruiters will try to get you to enlist in the active duty by telling you it is a path to the cockpit. NOT TRUE. You need a degree and a commission to fly. Your comments about ROTC say that you know this, but I just wanted to make it clear.

Also, get your medical early. It would be a shame to do a bunch of work only to find out you aren't medically qualified to fly in the military.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #3  
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Just be aware that flying in the active duty Air Force has taken a back seat to "officership". In other words you will probably spend most of your time doing desk work. It is a cool job, (cooler than most), but if you have visions of "Top Gun" walk away. There are exceptions to this, but they are very highly sought after and hard to get. The pay is steady, and the benifits are good, but the flying is slim.

If you want to be a pilot for the flying then get yourself some hours and start interviewing at guard and reserve units. You can do nothing but fly and they are ok with that, for the most part. Not only that, but you can live where you want, and be guaranteed an airframe before UPT. The pay is less steady though, and you might need to get another job to make the ends meet.

The units also tend to recruit pilots from within, so you could consider enlisting in the guard, and working it that way if you can't affoard to get hours. Just make sure they know your long range goal is to fly, and do your best for the unit and it should eventually happen for you. You will still need your bachelors degree. Just know this, recruiters will try to get you to enlist in the active duty by telling you it is a path to the cockpit. NOT TRUE. You need a degree and a commission to fly. Your comments about ROTC say that you know this, but I just wanted to make it clear.

Also, get your medical early. It would be a shame to do a bunch of work only to find out you aren't medically qualified to fly in the military.
I was actually considering the guard and there is a base very close to where I live that flys C-5's. I have heard from many people though that there is a better chance of getting a pilot spot from active duty rather than guard or reserves though. I am looking into transfering into an ROTC school after freshman year. I should also mention that I will be starting work on my Private Pilot's License at the end of next month. As to the medical, where can I schedule this to be done? Thanks
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:54 PM   #4  
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Well, I went ROTC and the medical can be gotten pretty much when you sign up for the program. As for AD being easier, this is somewhat true however be advised that if you go ROTC you could end up being something other than a pilot. In fact, odds are that is exactly what will happen. They only except the top guys and your whole college career is spent essentially interviewing for the part. Of my class, 15 wanted pilot slots and 2 got them. The rest got 4 years of some job they really didn't want. My GPA really suffered due to all the time I had to spend in the detachment trying to impress the cadre, and if you don't get the spot you basically waisted your time. Also, the guard or reserve unit you are looking at makes a huge difference. For example, you will probably have an easier time getting hired in Fairbanks, Alaska than in Honolulu, Hawaii. (No offense to any AK guys on here.) Just know that the more "desireable" the airframe and location the harder it will be to get a job. Of course the reverse is also true.

OTS is the other option (if you aren't going to the Acadamy). There you have to wait until you have your degree, the slots are harder to come by, but if you are picked up, you will be guaranteed a pilot slot and won't risk ending up a security forces officer or some other job. You will also get to enjoy college and not spend all your time trying to impress your ROTC instructors.

If you went guard, I believe they send you for a medical as soon as you are hired. If you were to enlist as a flier (load master or boom) you would receive a medical, but not as in depth as the pilots. Be aware though that the Guard and Reserve tend to fight for their people a lot more than the AD does and if they hire you from within the odds of getting a waiver for some small ailment goes way up.

In all of these programs having flying hours is huge! Get as much time as you can. If you can rack up 500 hours or more you should have no problem getting in through OTS or finding SOME guard or reserve unit to hire you. It will even help in ROTC, though not as much due to the fact that your commanders ranking is the lions share of whether you get a spot or not.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:11 PM   #5  
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Your odds of making it to UPT may be higher going active duty but so are the odds of being awarded a UAV...I wouldn't advise anyone that actually wants to fly to go AD AF these days. Go guard/reserve all the way.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:17 PM   #6  
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Well, I went ROTC and the medical can be gotten pretty much when you sign up for the program. As for AD being easier, this is somewhat true however be advised that if you go ROTC you could end up being something other than a pilot. In fact, odds are that is exactly what will happen. They only except the top guys and your whole college career is spent essentially interviewing for the part. Of my class, 15 wanted pilot slots and 2 got them. The rest got 4 years of some job they really didn't want. My GPA really suffered due to all the time I had to spend in the detachment trying to impress the cadre, and if you don't get the spot you basically waisted your time. Also, the guard or reserve unit you are looking at makes a huge difference. For example, you will probably have an easier time getting hired in Fairbanks, Alaska than in Honolulu, Hawaii. (No offense to any AK guys on here.) Just know that the more "desireable" the airframe and location the harder it will be to get a job. Of course the reverse is also true.

OTS is the other option (if you aren't going to the Acadamy). There you have to wait until you have your degree, the slots are harder to come by, but if you are picked up, you will be guaranteed a pilot slot and won't risk ending up a security forces officer or some other job. You will also get to enjoy college and not spend all your time trying to impress your ROTC instructors.

If you went guard, I believe they send you for a medical as soon as you are hired. If you were to enlist as a flier (load master or boom) you would receive a medical, but not as in depth as the pilots. Be aware though that the Guard and Reserve tend to fight for their people a lot more than the AD does and if they hire you from within the odds of getting a waiver for some small ailment goes way up.

In all of these programs having flying hours is huge! Get as much time as you can. If you can rack up 500 hours or more you should have no problem getting in through OTS or finding SOME guard or reserve unit to hire you. It will even help in ROTC, though not as much due to the fact that your commanders ranking is the lions share of whether you get a spot or not.
I think then I will just focus on getting the best grades I can during college and applying for OTS after. I will try to do as MUCH flying as I can during college also. Also, I will want to join some clubs while at college and try to be a leader as much as possible. Will they look at that when applying for OTS?
Math and Science come very naturally for me as well and I usual excel in these areas. The motivation to become a pilot will also keep me in check.
Also, I am not yet a United States Citizen. I was born in England and hold a permenant resident card that expires in 2012. Would I be better off applying for citizenship now or waiting?
I want to give something back to this country and would love to be part of the US Military and have no problem doing whatever it takes.
Thanks for your responses so far, they have been helpful.
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:10 PM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majortom546 View Post
I just got out of high school and will be going to college this fall for a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering. My ultimate goal in life is to be a pilot. I have been doing tons of research into it and I plan on being the best I can be and getting good grades all though college. I am determined to be a pilot in the air force one day. My question is should I talk to a recruiter today or wait until i'm done with college? And would I go straight to the OTS if accepted? Also, my eyesight is 20/25 both near and far. I wear glasses to help with this but also have contacts. Will this be okay?

As far as ROTC is I have to go to a certain college for this year because I'm getting the last few credits I need for a high school diploma while taking college classes. Would I be allowed to transfer into an ROTC school after freshman year? Thanks
Yes, you can. In fact, I transfered to an ROTC college after my sophomore year. I would not recommend this. The earlier you start the program, the better.

The key is, no matter what you are considering: ROTC, OTS, reserves, guard; DO NOT WAIT!!! Go speak to an officer recruiter and DO NOT ENLIST !!!
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Old 07-04-2009, 04:47 PM   #8  
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I wouldn't advise anyone that actually wants to fly to go AD AF these days. Go guard/reserve all the way.
No offense to Slice, but I disagree wholeheartedly. Our young copilots in my C-17 Sq were getting a HUGE amount of hours and were extremely satisfied with their job.

Granted, out of UPT there is a genuine chance of getting a UAV but those chances are very small.

Also I went to ROTC and of the 12 who applied for a rated slot 9 were accepted: 7 of us went to UPT and 2 went to UNT...not bad!
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:02 PM   #9  
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Originally Posted by c17heavy View Post
No offense to Slice, but I disagree wholeheartedly. Our young copilots in my C-17 Sq were getting a HUGE amount of hours and were extremely satisfied with their job.

Granted, out of UPT there is a genuine chance of getting a UAV but those chances are very small.

Also I went to ROTC and of the 12 who applied for a rated slot 9 were accepted: 7 of us went to UPT and 2 went to UNT...not bad!
None taken, but you're speaking of what was, not was is. What the future holds given the current direction of things is not good for future UPT grads.
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:08 PM   #10  
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Not sure how current this is but this is some good info for your decision making process.

How to Get an AFROTC Pilot Slot
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