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So recently I have been really considering joining the Air Force. I love aviation, and I really would love to fly. Right now I am loosing a lot of weight (both for this and personal reasons) so this wont be a "making my decision next week" type of situation. 

 

Really the purpose of this thread is to ask our members who are in/were in the air force: what do/did you think. What are some things the the recruiter will "leave out". What should I expect as far as basic training, and other training. 

 

I really would just like some personal input, and information from you guys, not just from the USAF website.

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I am not and was not in the Air Force or any branch of military but it is worth noting that if you plan to become a pilot you will need a college degree (commission as an officer). The only flying position I can think of that you can achieve through enlisting would be the Warrant Officer in the US Army which would involve flying rotary wing. As far as the rest of your question regarding basic training, I have zero experience and therefore cannot provide any accurate information. I suppose you could also do OTS after being enlisted but again at this point I am speaking beyond my realm of knowledge.

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Pilots account for 20% of the US Air Force, becoming a pilot is very competitive. Seats in planes are becoming a thing of the past and almost all of the Air Forces pilots for the past few years have come out of the academy. There are many non-pilot aviation jobs in the Air Force you could also consider. This page shows many of the careers available. You should know that if you join the Air Force you will still have to attend 8 week basic training and then attend your tech school. Most air man don't know what they will be doing during there basic training.    

Personally I've been talking to my local Air Force recruiter for the past few weeks and I was most interested in the special operations careers. Becoming a Air Force combat controller looks like what ill be planning to do if i join.  

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Pilots account for 20% of the US Air Force, becoming a pilot is very competitive. Seats in planes are becoming a thing of the past and almost all of the Air Forces pilots for the past few years have come out of the academy. There are many non-pilot aviation jobs in the Air Force you could also consider. This page shows many of the careers available. You should know that if you join the Air Force you will still have to attend 8 week basic training and then attend your tech school. Most air man don't know what they will be doing during there basic training.

Personally I've been talking to my local Air Force recruiter for the past few weeks and I was most interested in the special operations careers. Becoming a Air Force combat controller looks like what ill be planning to do if i join.

Heh I thought it was more like 4% of the air force.. 20 percent of officers I believe it was (or at least through ROTC. It is still quite feasible, CSO's, Combat Systems Officers, also fly transport and AWACS) Edited by Gabee

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I am not and was not in the Air Force or any branch of military but it is worth noting that if you plan to become a pilot you will need a college degree (commission as an officer). The only flying position I can think of that you can achieve through enlisting would be the Warrant Officer in the US Army which would involve flying rotary wing. As far as the rest of your question regarding basic training, I have zero experience and therefore cannot provide any accurate information. I suppose you could also do OTS after being enlisted but again at this point I am speaking beyond my realm of knowledge.

I would love to fly roarty, infact this is more of what I am looking for. My biggest dreams in the Air Force would either be an A-10 Pilot (least likely), or a UH-60 pilot for the PJ's (Air Force's combat rescue team) 

Edited by TripShot

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Talk to Fluffer. He is/was in USAF. Either way, expect a lot of disapoinments as your dream positions are probably highest most competitive ones around, but still achievable.

 

Good luck!

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I would love to fly roarty, infact this is more of what I am looking for. My biggest dreams in the Air Force would either be an A-10 Pilot (least likely), or a UH-60 pilot for the PJ's (Air Force's combat rescue team) 

 

Yeah becoming an A-10 pilot would require OTS/Air Force Academy/ROTC and being the best at it (best grades, best physical state out of all other candidates who also want it). You would then need to hope you get the pilot position and go to flight school for a year. If you finish that you would then go to a specific school for whatever you will be flying (IF YOU ARE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET THE A-10). Becoming a UH-60 pilot is US Army (I am 99% sure Air Force pilots would not fly this). I would definitely get in contact with SCFan because as far as I know he is a helicopter pilot in the US Army and would have the best advice. 

 

Personally - I am not putting all my hopes on becoming a pilot as I don't want to be hyped about it and then let down. However, I will certainly try my best as I intend on attending college next year and doing AFROTC. My highest hope is to simply get a flight position (meaning an officer position that goes through flight school - CSO, Pilot etc.).

 

Hope this helps!

Edited by Gabee

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If you want to fly rotary join the Army, there will be far more opportunity's.  

Edited by Seabass

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Being British the difference may make this advice pretty useless but I'll give it anyway.

I myself have just been attached to the AAC for at least the next year and I can tell you the competition for that alone was immense. There are not an unlimited number of machines to operate, therefor jobs to fill, in the flying cores and you are competing against some extremely smart and motivated people.  You need look excellent on paper to even begin to be considered, an "average" or "above average" CV will not do. In addition to that your phys needs to be at it's peak and your core skills (mental maths, memory, ect) need to be good. To top it all off you need additions to make you stand out from the applicants, "played football for school team" or "goes walking in the woods often" will not cut it, you need to show you have been able to motivate yourself enough to make an active effort to be involved in relevant activities. Finally, being fluent or at least conversational in a second language (and in few cases, but not all, having the qualification to back it up) is very desirable as well.

 

That's about as far as it goes with generic advice, you'd have to speak to someone in the US for more details about your system.

 

As for actually being in: from what i've seen so far it's lots of powerpoints, lots of maps, lots of orders, lots and lots and lots of paperwork.

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The Air Force flies HH-60 as CSAR.  They also fly the UH-1s for whatever else they need heli's for.

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The Air Force flies HH-60 as CSAR.  They also fly the UH-1s for whatever else they need heli's for.

Exactly. I have always wanted to fly for the PJ's. If anyone has a netflix, they just added the "Inside Combat Rescue" that actually follows the PJ's around. Army is definitely not out of the question though.  

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I would definitely get in contact with SCFan because as far as I know he is a helicopter pilot in the US Army and would have the best advice.

National Guard mechanic, not pilot.

 

The Air Force flies HH-60 as CSAR.  They also fly the UH-1s for whatever else they need heli's for.

HH-60Gs and whatever designation they're going with for new production "CRH-60M" (I do hope they don't stick with HH-60M), to be specific. Not to be confused with Coast Guard HH-60Js or US Army HH-60A/L/M. Then the small fleet of UH-1H/Ns are for missile base support and visitor transport.

 

Exactly. I have always wanted to fly for the PJ's. If anyone has a netflix, they just added the "Inside Combat Rescue" that actually follows the PJ's around. Army is definitely not out of the question though.

Thing is, there's less than 150 Pavehawks with the USAF (98 HH-60Gs, couldn't find numbers on the new "CRH-60Ms"). So, I imagine there's plenty of competition for any of those spots as well. The Army, on the other hand, has thousands of helicopters [citation needed], so getting to be a pilot is much easier. Can also try and request yourself into a medevac unit, and fly around with a flight medic and rescue hoist in the back. And you only need to be a Warrant to fly. Don't know how selection works in active duty, but in my state it's being selected from the enlisted ranks. Gotta be able to pass those PT tests!

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I think you may need to set more attainable, realistic goals to start off with. Of course an over-all goal is encouraged and can be the centre of motivation, but setting smaller goals as stepping stones to keep up motivation is key in a situation you find yourself in. I always find in the military forums I am involved in, centred around the Defence Forces that is, that you find these people posting saying "I want to be a sniper" or "I want to join the army and be a ranger" (Ranger = Irish SF) and you instantly know that they have very little knowledge of the military from that alone. As with these highly specialised military positions there is a long and arduous process to get in due to the limited slots, the time it takes to reach that position and the advanced skillset required.
 
Personally, I think it would be better to aim for a general position first and then use that as the stepping stone for PJ Blackhawk Pilot, because the role is just so specific it sounds so much like the guys on the military forums I am in who are basically saying "I want to be in the military, but only do cool stuff" because there is a lot of shit, in fact, it's 99% of shit and I think with the notion of, I want to be a sniper or I want to be SF or I want to fly those badass PJs around you are leaving out such a massive amount of morale destroying shit, that could really fuck up your day and career progression.
 
So I mean you know progression here, you have to first decide if you want to be a enlisted or an officer. Seeing as I have seen no mention of officer, I will assume it's enlisted. Also I am not sure if you can join straight as a Warrant Officer, so I will type this out with the idea that you can't.
 
1. Join Army (Presumably score higher than average on all tests)

2. Complete Basic
3. Apply and complete Warrant Officer Candidate School 

4. Apply and complete Warrant Officer Flight Training

5. Apply and receive posting to a combat flight unit

6. Experience

7. Complete some sort of Special Operations Helo Course?

8. Apply and receive posting to a CSAR unit

9. Fly around badass PJs, get documentary made about you.

 

Now there is a shit load of ifs and buts in there. As I said, I am assuming they don't let direct entry into WOCS and surely you must have some sort of time in service/experience to actually be considered for that school unless exceptionalyl high scores allow some sort of direct entry from basic. Then you have to successfully apply to WO flight school another bump where surely there has to be a rake of experience needed or at least giving preferential treatment. Then of course you need hands on experience, a deployment maybe. And I assume there is a special operations course to fly around a special operations unit so you have to pass selection for that, not an easy task if it is like most SO stuff and finally you have to then get posted to that actual unit. Now that does't include getting fucked about by the army such as getting placed off your desired career path or whatever. And of course we have to take into account the dwindling numbers of space on each course as the specialisation becomes more niche.

 

Now please do correct me if I am wrong, I basically applied my knowledge of Irish Army course progression, selection and whatever else to the US army assuming it works roughly the same. But as I said at the start, I think you need more attainable goals to start out with. Be in, scoring high on ASVAB or getting army aviation enlisted initial posting, getting into each individual school etc.

 

Just my 2 cents anyway.

Edited by Thawk

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There is a whole lot of misinformation in this thread and people talking out their ass about things they know nothing about and have no experience with. Tripshot, if you are insistent on not going to a recruiter yet (why? you have literally nothing to lose) then go somewhere where there are more active duty air force guys who can tell you want you want to know. UO has maybe 4 people that I can think of in the Air Force, none of them jet or helicopter pilots. There are better places with more people who can answer your questions. For example reddit has r/military, r/airforce and r/army, there is a weekly thread on each for FNG questions. Off the top of my head I know there are at least two blackhawk pilots who frequent r/army.

 

Any way you slice it though it's going to be very competitive, but don't let that discourage you, let it motivate you.

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~23.6% of active duty personnel are pilots according to this site: http://www.afpc.af.mil/library/airforcepersonneldemographics.asp as of March 31st 2014.

 

So, whoever said 20% is not that far off.

"326,259 Active Duty" and "13,805 pilots" puts it at about 4% of the AD Air Force are pilots and about 20% of officers are pilots.

 

It also says there are "326,259 Active Duty" yet "435,282 active-duty members support family members" so it's stats seem a bit iffy.

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You're correct: Out of the officers. As far as legitimacy, it's an official government website though.

Edited by Rein

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Tripshot, As Macaco stated "There is a whole lot of misinformation in this thread and people talking out their ass about things they know nothing about and have no experience with" Your first step should be to speak to s recruiter, as well as do some research on your own. Myself and Fluffer are both Active Duty Air Force, If you have any questions feel free to ask me anytime, and I am assuming Fluffer wouldn't mind either. If your questions are just for information, or you feel you are being misinformed by a recruiter, because unfortunately that does happen.

 

I am not a pilot myself, but am good friends with a handful, some of which went OTS, some ROTC, and some took the Air Force Academy route. I can easily put you in touch with them if you have questions.

 

-Devil

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One of the reasons I left USMA is because warrants fly more than officers. That said, the air force loves academy boys so I'd be happy to help you apply.

 

Or you can go the route I took and pursue naval aviation via the Navy or Marines. The Marines will give you a flight contract which is a sweet deal. The Navy is more open to non academy guys as pilots than the Air Force, and I have a thread in the UOAF subforum describing the screener.

 

Either way, be book smart, be fit, be medically qualified and be lucky. The needs of the military will always come above your wishes, so keep that in mind when having a specific platform or unit in mind. The last A-10 pilot has already been selected, despite the efforts of some people, and the Army has more -60s than the other services ever will. Keep this in mind, you need to play the numbers game.

Edited by HellHound

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Your biggest shot is either the academy or doing ROTC. It is highly competitive. If you're not the best, you're last. Pretty sure LivingHornet is in the Air Force ROTC program. I tried it out for a year and dropped it. My main reason for dropping it was that I was "average" and saw no benefits coming my way versus graduating as a civilian. I decided not to continue with it.

 

TL;DR - Becoming an Air Force pilot is extremely competitive and you need to be an officer.

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Join the Navy.

 

Sweet uniforms and we get sweet barracks that move around and shit. 

 

Never know where you might wake up. Its like going on a bender with a mexican whore! 

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The advice for the advice thread. Take the advice of those with actual experience as either an applicant or professional in the Air Force. Fuck the rest.

Edited by J.B.

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