ML1316
Topic Author
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:00 pm

Military Aviation Career Advice?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:36 am

Hi, my name is Michael. I am currently serving as an Army officer, and I am looking at possibly transferring to the Air Force to be a pilot once my commitment is over. I currently have a PPL, and I will be 29 when my contract is over. I attended West Point and graduated with a 3.0 in defense and strategic studies. I am currently serving as an Infantry officer but have always had an interest in flying. It was during my flight training to obtain my PPL that I realized that flying is what I want to do for a living, whether it is in the military or not. I would like to serve a career in the military but will most likely get out if I cannot fly for the military in any capacity. I would like to do a service transfer mid contract if possible but it doesn't seem likely. Either way, can anyone offer any advice? Would getting more flight training or more education make me more competitive? What could I be doing now to make this happen if its even possible?
Last edited by atcsundevil on Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited title for clarity
 
mmo
Posts: 1483
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:55 am

To be honest, you are too old. You have to meet the selection board before you are 28 1/2 and you have to enter SUPT before you are 30. However waivers are available up until you are 35. IIRC, the sticking point is the selection board as you have to meet that prior to being 28 1/2. But it really doesn't hurt to try. I was active duty for 11 years and then Guard/Reserves for 11 more in the AF.

I don't know where you are stationed, but it might be worth a trip to Joint Base Randolph, in San Antonio as the Personnel Center is located there and you could probably go talk to the rated selection folks. You might have to do some hunting to get their office symbol and phone number but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

I would also look into doing an inter-service transfer ASAP as you are above the age limits and the paperwork takes a while for that. PM me is you need any further info.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:59 pm

Perhaps a silly question, but why not apply for a flying position within the army? That might be the easiest way fo you to get into the pilot seat. Or do you want to fly jets or big a/c?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
Andre3K
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:02 am

To be honest, you would have been better off if you had went to the USAF in the first place. It's going to be difficult to transfer at this point.
 
flanker
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:39 am

Dutchy wrote:
Perhaps a silly question, but why not apply for a flying position within the army?


Because flying in the Army sucks. The Army kills everything fun.
 
flanker
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:45 am

ML1316 wrote:
What could I be doing now to make this happen if its even possible?


If the AF doesn't work out you could go Army aviation or come to the warrant side and fly, but just remember this is the Army so even Aviation sucks.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:14 am

flanker wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
Perhaps a silly question, but why not apply for a flying position within the army?


Because flying in the Army sucks. The Army kills everything fun.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObntvRcKMrE

:lol:
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
angad84
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:38 pm

flanker wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
Perhaps a silly question, but why not apply for a flying position within the army?


Because flying in the Army sucks. The Army kills everything fun.

Reminds me of something I saw on reddit recently: "You and your best mates get to drive the coolest vehicles, go shooting, and blow stuff up – yet somehow the army makes you hate it." (paraphrased)
 
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Slug71
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:19 pm

ML1316 wrote:
Hi, my name is Michael. I am currently serving as an Army officer, and I am looking at possibly transferring to the Air Force to be a pilot once my commitment is over. I currently have a PPL, and I will be 29 when my contract is over. I attended West Point and graduated with a 3.0 in defense and strategic studies. I am currently serving as an Infantry officer but have always had an interest in flying. It was during my flight training to obtain my PPL that I realized that flying is what I want to do for a living, whether it is in the military or not. I would like to serve a career in the military but will most likely get out if I cannot fly for the military in any capacity. I would like to do a service transfer mid contract if possible but it doesn't seem likely. Either way, can anyone offer any advice? Would getting more flight training or more education make me more competitive? What could I be doing now to make this happen if its even possible?


Go talk to a recruiter. Pretty sure you will be fine, especially with the shortage of pilots.
 
ML1316
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:43 pm

I am looking at the possibility of doing a service transfer, I just don't know if they will release me before my service commitment is up, even if it is to join another branch of service. I also don't know if I can apply to be a pilot while still in the Army, and then when I get out just transition to the Air Force if they granted me a pilot slot or something. I am also considering maybe just trying for the reserves after my commitment is up if any units would be willing to give me a pilot slot or if they would grant me an age waiver. So far, I haven't found too much information regarding an AD officer switching from one branch to AD in another branch for something as competitive as being a pilot.
 
flanker
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:23 am

ML1316 wrote:
I am looking at the possibility of doing a service transfer, I just don't know if they will release me before my service commitment is up, even if it is to join another branch of service. I also don't know if I can apply to be a pilot while still in the Army, and then when I get out just transition to the Air Force if they granted me a pilot slot or something. I am also considering maybe just trying for the reserves after my commitment is up if any units would be willing to give me a pilot slot or if they would grant me an age waiver. So far, I haven't found too much information regarding an AD officer switching from one branch to AD in another branch for something as competitive as being a pilot.


There was a CPT that went through the UH60M course with me. Don't remember what his previous MOS was. One of the CW2s currently in my company used to be a CPT as well.

You could probably find some information on the Vertical Reference forums. http://helicopterforum.verticalreferenc ... scussions/

I strongly advise not to go the Army aviation route if you don't have to.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:02 am

You are a commissioned officer, you just don't "get out" of the Army. If you are 29, then you are mostly likely a company grade officer / company commander.

You should probably start somewhere in your battalion or brigade S1 / personnel shop for the process for inter-service transfers. There should be an organization in the Army that handles officer assignments / careers.

I guess there is - Army Human Resources Command. On their website, they have the process to request an interservice transfer.

https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Inters ... 0Questions

Usually the problem with the age is not your ability to be a pilot - at least in the Navy - the issue is career progression, if you are already an O-3 then by switching into the aviation community, you're already too senior as an O-3/department head trying to fill a O-1/O-2 division officer flying billet. and you will be "behind" in terms of career progression for selection to O-4 and command. Since even as a pilot, your job as a line officer is to command.

I imagine the issues in the Air Force is the same. -

in any case, your chain of command is the place to start for guidance, like everything else in the military.

This is the military, and there is always some order/instruction/procedure in place to cover all sorts of situations. Since you are trying to become a pilot in the Air Force at the very minimum, the Army has to agree to release you, and the Air Force as to agree to accept you for pilot training. So the Army Human Resources Command and the Air Force Personnel Command are going to both be involved in the process. You should research the appropriate instructions at both places.

Not to be discouraging, but only you have a dog in this fight, so you'll have to do the leg work to figure out all the hoops and blocks to check for the process.

HR is always holding selection boards for all sorts of things, like promotions, intra-army career transfers, interservice transfers. you need to find out when the deadline to apply for consideration by the interservice transfer selection board and what the process is to apply for interservice transfer.

It's not impossible though, stranger things have happened.
I was in Korea when I encountered an Army Ranger with Naval Aviator wings. I was interesting hearing his story, and I thought it was awesome. So maybe who knows, you'll get your transfer, and you're going to be a pilot in the Air Force.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:39 am

Doing some google research to get you started:

You'll need to get with your S1 shop to make sure these are current:

Army Regulation AR 614-120 deals with Interservice transfer of Army Commissioned Officer on the Active Duty List
Air Force Instruction AFI 36-2004 deals with Interservice transfer of officers to the US Air Force and US Air Force Reserve

so you can start there.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GlobalMoose
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:10 pm

Sooo if you want to make flying your career, when you get to be an O-3, approaching O-4 in the AD AF, your flying drops off significantly and you move into staff billets (part of the reason why the AF is hemorrhaging pilots at the moment). Your best bet would be to find a guard or reserve unit you want to fly for and have them hire you - many are hurting for air reserve technicians (basically working a GS job in uniform full time and then switching to an O-3 position on your fly days, a bit odd, I know). If you come hat in hand, straight forward with what you are willing to give them (say, three years as an ART to build up hours to eventually become a TR, traditional reservist, and then cross over to a civilian career) they would be willing to take you.
PM me and we can chat.
USAFA 2009 (Sink Navy, always)
When it absolutely positively has to be there ... at some point.
 
ML1316
Topic Author
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:00 pm

Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:29 am

Thank you for all the advice so far. I have been looking into DoD directives regarding service transfers, as well as the Army and Air Force regulations. Just to clarify, I am trying to figure out what is possible and what is not. I am also currently 26 with 3 years left on my commitment. I am not sure the Army would let me go since I went to a service academy, but I have entertained the idea of a service transfer. Since I am not an O-3 yet, it wouldn't be as detrimental to my career progression if I started a transfer now. I am passionate about flying and I want to make a career of it. The problem is I can't really do that while I am in the Infantry. I just don't know if there is anything I could do right now to make myself more competitive or to make it more likely that the Air Force would want to take me despite the age that I would be when my service obligation is over.
 
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Slug71
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:26 am

How long was your commitment? You could try for a early release. I'm guessing the more you have in, the better your chances. Reserve or Guard might be a better option too.
What are you wanting to fly?
 
ML1316
Topic Author
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:45 pm

My commitment is 5 years. One of the reasons I want to try and switch is because I want to fly fixed wing. I would like to fly anything. I know some people only want to fly fighters or one type of aircraft, but I would be happy with the opportunity to fly a bomber, cargo plane, fueler, anything that will let me be a fixed wing pilot.
 
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Slug71
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Re: Military Aviation Career Advice?

Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:33 pm

Yeh I think it'll be hard getting a early release not being even half way through you commitment. I would definitely begin the leg work though.
If there are any particular States you don't want to live in or you don't want to be stationed overseas, I'd probably lean more toward the Guard. If you don't care, probably just figure out what branch works best for you and go from there. Since you're an officer, I assume you have a degree? If you do (or don't), I'd look what subjects you have done that could apply to a degree in Aviation. If none, I'd probably work toward that. I'd think it would help your chances a lot.
Hopefully you've been keeping up with the hours with your PPL too.

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