Any military aviators on here?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by calberto, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. calberto

    calberto Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Currently looking at the military right now. Finishing up my senior year of college with a degree in finance and another in aviation.

    Are there any military, past or current, on here? If so, what is your advice for starting out? I'd love to hear from you.

    Currently in contact with the Marines, and am actively pursuing all the branches' recruiters.
     
  2. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Retired Army. You'd have to like helicopters, living in a tent and eating MREs. Any particular questions I can answer but general advice is go Black Hawks and don't do the commisioned route. Good luck in any branch you choose though.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
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  3. calberto

    calberto Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I've never been in a helicopter, so I should pry try that out first before I do that.

    And you're suggesting the warrant officer program right? Is that so you don't have to get stuck being in an office filling out paperwork as a commissioned officer later in my career?
     
  4. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    With a degree, that's about the worst advice you could have given. Seriously.
     
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  5. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    True.
     
  6. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you want to fly Fighters, join the Navy. If you want to fly transport, join the Air Force. If you want to drop bombs and be connected to the troops you support, join the Marines. The Army is a completely different path, and may make it more difficult later if you want to transition to a fix winged civilian career. With the Marines, you'll spend a year living like a grunt before you get to go to pilot training.
     
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  7. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Army aviation is a weird bird for sure. A part of me wishes I went for Warrrant Officer flight school when I was in but my eyesight at the time disqualified me from that. That said, I've ridden in the back of countless Hawks and Hueys, and wish I could have been in the driver's seat.
     
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  8. falconkidding

    falconkidding Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My infos only from my experience in the application process with the USAF. Active duty off the street pilot is very slim pickings granted you might luck out on a board that drops 50 pilot slots but my 2 years in the application cycle there was a board with no pilot slots and one with almost none. I wasn't picked up for any rated position 1st go 2nd I got RPA.( 3.41gpa in Econ, near 200 flight hours, 90 PCSM and pilot nav scores 88 and 90) talking to some of the cadets at maxwell I fell into "meh" scores for rated officer selects if i'm honest.

    If I had a do over and wasn't faintly green color blind I'd 100% go reserves and not even think of AD. While I was waiting on a waiver request for vision I talked to some reserve units that said I fall right in line with what they hire. These were tanker guys and most said they were flying a ton, more than active duty in most cases.

    Either way good luck. I'm glad I went through that struggle to find a pilot slot even though I didn't get it. The whole process sort of made me realize I wont be happy doing anything but flying. Long story but walking away from an intelligence officer position they offered me instead was both a sad and great feeling. Sad because being called Lieutenant Kidding and getting saluted by airmen at Goodfellow right now would be a lot better than stockboy at a sporting goods store getting yelled at by christmas shoppers but great because I didn't settle and am working towards what I want to do. (impatiently waiting for arrow to be fixed for commercial/cfi rides)
     
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  9. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Go AF Guard or Reserve from the get-go. Best vocational decision of my life.

    Disclaimer: getting a pilot position via this route is actually more competitive than Active duty.
     
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  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Yep, and I'm not referring to just later in your career either. If you're into the flying aspect instead of being a supervisor / manager, then WO is the way to go.

    Here's the basic route if you go ARMY commissioned vs warrant. Obviously you'll go to a commissioning program which is a couple of months. After that, you'll attend flight school for about 1.5 years flying the UH-72, then either the UH-60, CH-47, AH-64 and IF selected FW (C182, Grob, BE58, C-12). You'll attend various courses (dunker, alt chamber, survival course) as well. You graduate, get your wings pinned and hopefully get to choose your first duty station.

    After flight school the roles of warrant and RLO differ greatly. A warrant shows up to a line unit and assigned as a pilot. You eat, breathe, sleep being a pilot. That's why they're referred as "technical and tactical experts." It's their main focus. As a commisioned dude (RLO), you sign into your unit and can get assigned to any number of positions. You'll find yourself as a young LT sitting behind a desk in supply (S4), operations (S3), maintenance (D Co), Administration (S1), or any number of staff jobs. Yes, if you get lucky, you may get assigned a line unit as a platoon leader. Don't get your hopes up in flying a lot in that position though. More on that next.

    Now, you might be wondering why the RLOs aren't getting the hours and missions like a warrant. Well, you have to look at the make up of a particular flight company; they refer it as an MTOE or modified tables of organization and equipment. A company is kinda like a squadron in another service only slightly smaller. Say you have 13 aviators assigned to that company. Out of that 13, you'll have a CO (CPT), 2 plt ldrs (LT) and 10 warrants (WO1-CW3). As a warrant, you are assigned as a line pilot. That means your job is to fly. You have various BS additional duties, but you primarily fly. As a CO or Plt Ldr, your primary job is to lead and manage. That means you'll spend your days doing Power Point, inventories, soldier evaluations, etc, etc. A never ending pile of paperwork.

    It doesn't end there either. If you were lucky enough to get a flight company out of flight school as a RLO, you won't be there long. After 1.5 - 2 years in that position, you'll get sent to one of the other staff jobs. Those jobs have a reduced flight hour requirement with them and I can tell you, most barely stay current. Currency for a Black Hawk is 60 hrs per year. I can tell you first hand, I've taken staff guys out for a lap around the range just to maintain their one flight every 60 days currency!

    I don't want to come off like the RLO route is all doom and gloom. You do make more pay and have a slightly higher status than warrants. Some of the finest officers I've ever met were RLOs. What's sad is, most of those get out after their 6 year obligation for the reasons above. Most of my RLO friends don't even fly civilian because they never got the hours / experience to get a job.

    If you do go RLO, I would highly suggest on applying for 160th, test pilot or try and snag one of the few IP slots like Soldier64 has.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
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  11. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

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    Go take the tests, and see if they will accept you. A lot of the navy flyers I know had engineering degrees.
     
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  12. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    IMG_2394.JPG Warrant officer life in a nutshell. :D
     
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  13. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    17 years (and counting) flying F-15C's.

    Definitely more fighter pilots in the USAF than the Navy. "Needs of the USAF" mean that some years are better than others for fighters (if that's what you want).

    I transitioned from AD to the ANG 5 years ago. Getting hired direct to an ANG unit is a great way to get a good chance at the aircraft you think you want to fly.
     
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  14. falconkidding

    falconkidding Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just out of curiosity do guard units hire off the street candidates frequently or is it more the exception. Few years ago I called 2 instate ones up and they just said we hire from within, we'll take your application but unless your going commissioned as a doc/lawyer you won't get hired. This was for a tanker and a C130 unit.
     
  15. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    It depends unit-to-unit. My unit didn't hire off the street for many years then changed their policy about 4 years ago. I know most of the fighter units hire from off the street to get the best candidates. Not sure about the heavy dudes.
     
  16. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The best route to take for going to a Guard Unit is to join any way you can. In my experience, almost all the hiring comes from previously qualified outside (like AD) or from the enlisted ranks internally. I've not seen someone off the street picked up, but not saying it doesn't happen some places. I just wouldn't expect to get hired that way. Some Guard units are sought after and some have a harder time keeping their ranks filled. The problem is that the units more willing to hire off the street are usually that way for a reason. For a reserve unit, you eventually need a plan for the civilian side as well.
     
  17. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    Find a National Guard unit flying the airplane you want to fly. Join that unit as an enlisted person. Be a good troop - show up on time and when and where your supposed to. Reveal that you have a degree and pilot aspirations to your superiors. Put together a packet for the flight school board.

    The thing about this path that's different than the active duty is you KNOW what it is you're gonna fly going in. If your unit flys A-10s your gonna fly A-10s, etc, etc.
     
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  18. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Or RPAs...:( ;)
     
  19. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    As a current ANG guy, I don't recommend this route. All the fighter units are hiring off the street, I know many of the heavy units are as well because we've had a few people that were trying to get on with us eventually get hired by a heavy unit somewhere. If you are competitive with your scores someone WILL pick you up.

    The hire off the street because there's something wrong with the unit is just simply false. It's an old way of thinking and we've moved on.

    Same as for Cooter's post. Enlisting can work, but if you are already a college grad you'd be doing yourself a huge disservice to not ask up front instead of enlisting and using more of your limited time to go to basic, tech school, getting to know guys, etc. You have to start UPT before your 30th birthday.

    You are not absolutely guaranteed to fly what your unit flies. Some units change mission while you are in training (bad luck/timing). For fighter units you still have to graduate in the top 50% of your UPT class or we will waive you to find a heavy unit that needs pilots. As an ANG guy, you still need to not suck.
     
  20. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Any military aviators on here? Paging Pete Mitchell, paging Pete Mitchell...
     
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  21. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    You're dangerous!
     
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  22. GlennAB1

    GlennAB1 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    EvilEagle, can you hold your own? LOL
     
  23. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    All I know is that there are 2 'O's in Goose boys...

    (I've been known to hold my own occasionally)
     
  24. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    @EvilEagle's gouge is valid; it certainly was the way I went about it when I was rushing units in the early 00s as a graduate student in college. I recognized the difficulty in completing college while deploying with a guard unit as an enlisted, when the end goal is to get the degree as quickly as possible in order to maximize the amount of looks you get before you age out.

    The ironic thing was that in 3 separate instances I was informed the units went with the enlisted internal candidate. So it was not an overinflated rumor back then, it was very much a legitimate and relatively common path to a upt pilot slot.

    In my case, I ran out of money and couldn't wait around anymore or risk aging out, so I gave up on the fighter dream and took a bomber slot under the guise of sending me to 38s to keep that door open, and the rest is history. In hindsight (yes, this chapter of my life is the source of my username), I wouldn't have done it any differently as a college graduate, but I would have waited on the dream gig a little longer if I had had the money to survive. All water under the bridge now. If the PRANG hadn't lost the vipers in 98 my life would have turned out different.

    The one advice anyone should heed if looking at the guard reserve, is to start the rushing and application process as early as possible. It takes years as an outsider when the target units are only sending one dude per fiscal year to upt. It's a ****ing beauty pageant statistically speaking. The more looks you get before aging out the better the chances. Good luck op whatever you decide.
     
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  25. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Pattern Altitude

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    [QUOTE="EvilEagle, post: 2193191, member: 6343] For fighter units you still have to graduate in the top 50% of your UPT class or we will waive you to find a heavy unit that needs pilots. As an ANG guy, you still need to not suck.[/QUOTE]

    Upper 50 % ! That's a pretty big field ! We're not exactly talking Neal Armstrong material.
     
  26. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Coast Guard has been looking for pilots as well. Not a bad gig as long as you don't mind moving every 2-3 years.
     
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  27. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Couldn't agree more! That's a pretty wide goalpost to get through. Wish we'd make it more stringent, but as they say 'them's the rules'. Some people still find a way to not make the minimums.
     
  28. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you haven't found it yet go to http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums/ and start reading. Do use the search function and bring your thick skin before you start asking questions there. Tons of good info though!
     
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  29. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Hindsight is right - that was the procedure back then. Right now most units are looking for 2-3 people per year to go to UPT. We have a board in January and will likely hire 2 if we have 2 solid candidates of the 7 interview applications we sent out.
     
  30. Cooter

    Cooter Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I guess I'm showing my age, things have changed significantly. Back when I was trying to get in the door, it was one slot per year. When I interviewed, there were 25 candidates staking there hopes on that one slot. An off the street guy had no chance in that environment. After selecting, somehow the only slot got pushed back to the next year. It was slim pickings back then.
     
  31. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    We've got one Lt that just finished MQT, we've got three in the b-course that should graduate the first week of January and one just about to start IFF. They are all off-the-street hires.
     
  32. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Former Air Force (Vietnam era), then, 40 years later, Army. Get a commission. If you want to be a pilot, pray for a war. Otherwise, find the most technical\academic job you can find.
    As Little Orphan Annie says: "It's a had knock life" for pilots in all the branches these days.
    I'm working with a couple of the hottest stick and rudder guys I've dealt with in years and the military is going to drop them because there is no room in the promotion ladder for them, again.
     
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  33. 35 AoA

    35 AoA Cleared for Takeoff

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    Active Navy Hornet/Super Hornet/Viper pilot (background is F/A-18C previously). Let me know if you have questions about my branch, happy to answer.
     
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  34. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Viper you say? (Sweet ride) :p
    Viper.jpg
     
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  35. nauga

    nauga Pattern Altitude

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    Tanker posit? :D

    Nauga,
    with 5 wet.
     
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  36. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    IMG_2396.JPG If you're confused about which branch to go with, this might help with the decision.
     
  37. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    20yrs AF Retired in 2003, Heavy Bomber route, then Flight Test. Best of all worlds after I got into flight test. New weapons, new tactics, software updates and testing. And contract hire after retirement, doing all the ground work, just not the flying part.

    Get a commission! Not a Warrant Officer.

    A lot of pilots, even fighter jocks and transport are pulling UAS time. The new wave of the future, get the jellyware out of the cockpit.
     
  38. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Enlisted Naval Aviator is the path to go...just ask Tom. ;)
     
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  39. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    I think DJT is going to correct that.
     
  40. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I hope so. I sincerely hope so.
     
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