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Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:16 pm

I’m a senior in high school and my dream is to become a pilot. I’m planning on getting my private pilots license by next year, then after college go to the military. I was wondering what branch to join I was thinking either Air Force or Coast Guard. I’ll fly any aircraft, preferably fixed winged. I want to know what the best branch would be for me to get a pilot slot and overall better. Thank you.
Last edited by atcsundevil on Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited title for clarity
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:15 pm

If the college you're going to has an AFROTC program then get in it. Around your junior year you should have a pretty good idea if the USAF is accepting pilot slots and an idea if you can meet physical requirements/test. If you don't do it that way, then you would apply through your local recruiter after graduation and, if accepted, attend a 90 day Officer Training School to obtain your commission. However, there is no guarantee that slots will be available using that track. Navy ROTC works the same way and so does their Officer Training School, but the AF has a lot more slots for pilots. Coast Guard have very limited slots, but you'll need to talk to a CG recruiter.

That's short and sweet and a bit dated, but others (mmo) might be able to provide more specifics. PS, the best option would be to go to the AF academy if you could as most of those cadets who meet the qualifications and want to fly will most likely get a pilot training slot.
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:58 pm

To echo what RetiredWeasel wrote, if you can select a college which has AFROTC. In addition, there are 4,3 and 2 year scholarships which are available. It might be too late to apply for the 4 year one but it's worth a shot. I had a 4 year scholarship and it covered everything. I don't know if it still does, but even covering full tuition would be a big help. When you apply for the scholarship, you are selected for Pilot, Nav or Non-rated, so you know what your career options are.

Depending on what you goals are, the USAFA is an option, but again, I think the window is closed for July entries.

The final option would be OTS/OCS after you get your degree. But, there is no guarantee pilot slots will be plentiful then and it is extremely competitive.

PM me if you have any further questions. I would say for anyone who is thinking of a good aviation career it's worth a shot. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!!
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:25 pm

I would wager that Navy would offer you the best chance at obtaining a pilot slot.

There are no UAVs in the Navy.

Service selection through Navy ROTC / Naval Academy is limited to unrestricted line officer communities - so your choices are limited to : Surface / Submarines / Aviation / SEAL / EOD and Marine Corps.
You cannot go into JAG Corps / Supply / Medical / Dental / Nurse Corps or any staff corps or restricted line communities - no finance officer, no postal officer, no missile silo officer, etc.

Since the Submarine / SEAL and EOD communities are small, most commissions go into Surface and Naval Aviation, with number of Naval Aviation graduates larger than the number of Surface graduates. I would guess about 50% of each years commissioning officers from the Naval Academy and NROTC that choose Navy (instead of Marine Corps) track into Naval Aviation.

Since you are a senior, you are actually too late to apply for a 4-year scholarship for Naval ROTC or application into the Naval Academy for next year.
The process begins the spring semester of the junior year in high school, and scholarships are awarded the fall semester of your senior year, ending around the winter break.

You need to start working the nomination process with your congressmen if you want to attend a service academy (Air Force/ Navy / Coast Guard or otherwise) or service academy prep school.
If you decide to go the ROTC route, you can walk on as a civilian and attempt to compete for the 3-year or 2-year scholarship. There is no guarantee of which community you will track into and you don't get to choose until your senior year, so Naval Aviation is not guaranteed, but it's 50% of the commissioning class.

With Naval ROTC, you incur an 8-year service obligation as soon as you start your sophomore year with a scholarship, or junior year as a non-scholarship student. If you don't complete college and commission as an officer, your 8-year obligation is served as an enlisted sailor.

Otherwise if you still want to become a military pilot, there's always the Air National Guard. - you still need to get your college degree and you have to hunt for a Guard unit that will sponsor you for flight training.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:51 pm

Take a look at pilot opportunities in both the ANG and USAF Reserve, Watch out for drones in both of these pathways. IfI were in your shoes today I would look hard at the USMC as well.

I did the ANG thing, after I was already hired by a major airline in 1964.
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:07 am

For a ROTC scholarship, your undergrad major has to be "on the list", and the lists of "funded" majors is different for each branch, but all of them include STEM majors.
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:19 pm

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the vision requirements. I knew a few who qualified physically, and academically, went through boot camp only to fail the vision test when they arrived to flight school. Academics are easy, it's the physical that counts. They can disqualify you for almost anything.
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Re: Looking for Military Aviation Career Advice

Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:28 pm

Whatever route you go, make sure you are medically/physically qualified. I had my hopes crushed after doing really well on the ASTB for the Navy, only to be anthropometrically disqualified for SNA and NFO.

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