Academy Advice

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Future_pilot, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    Hello, I do not have any questions about sports I am simply replying to this because it is the most recent. I am 14, and slightly ignorant on the topic of the USAFA but I have done research and I aspire to be a fighter pilot. I am confused as I have read things about the "pipeline closing" which I assumes means less pilots needed. I have read up on what it will take to enter the USAFA and I realize it will be hard but I feel I have the knowledge to make it. I have read from these forums that you don't have to major in much to become a fighter pilot, however I would still like to graduate obviously. I am wondering just what I do on my path to become a fighter pilot in the airforce. Some of these questions include when does training begin, what do you learn as a cadet on his way to the AF in the AFA, and also what determines my success in the AF and AFA, I really just need to know about my path as an aspiring fighter pilot, that will possibly go through the USAFA. It is quite hard to understand some of the research I have done as I am not immersed in the environment of the USAFA and I am just entering high school, so I just need a basic explanation of my path ahead.
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Just a dad

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    You would likely be better off starting your own thread, instead of tagging onto an old one. You will get more people to view a fresh thread.

    Also, please outline what research have you already conducted, so others can better answer your post. For example, what other websites on USAFA have you already visited and read? Who have you spoken to? What books have you read on the subject?

    Good luck.
     
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  3. EOD/SEALmom

    EOD/SEALmom Member

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    Gokings gives good advice, you should start by reading the website. Click every link, read every page. That is your best source for info!

    During high school, make excellent grades, taking the most challenging classes your school offers.

    Take either the SAT or the ACT early - and take either or both often. As many times as finances allow. Every time you take a test, your scores will likely rise.

    Find a sport (or several sports) that you enjoy. If you enjoy the sport, you are more likely to succeed in it. If you just pick a sport to put on your resume you will not be happy and you would not be very successful in that sport. Most important is to have fun playing a sport!

    Actively look for ways to gain leadership during high school. Think about student government or joining a club that fascinates you and working your way up to a leadership spot. Again, if you enjoy it you have a better chance at success!

    You are young enough that you have time to gain rank if you were to join either Civil Air Patrol (CAP), or the US Naval Sea Cadet (USNSCC). They are programs for kids through high school. Google them, see if there is a battalion or unit in your area of the country. I am more familiar with Sea Cadets (3 of my kids participate), and it's an amazing program that gives you opportunities to advance in rank and after boot camp you may go on summer trainings. Gives a great taste of military life.

    Always keep your eyes forward, with your goal in sight. Don't get distracted by what your peers may be doing. You know what you want at a young age. You can have fun in high school while keeping your eye on that goal.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Read through and watch the videos at academyadmissions.com They will give you some idea of what things are like (big picture) and probably help you refine some more specific questions.

    I also have a link to some old posts I wrote about USAFA and pilot training in my signature line.
     
  5. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    Alright thanks so much guys! If anybody has anything else just add it along with links or anything, thanks!
     
  6. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    Hey gokings98 I am pretty early into my research but I have been studying aviation such as books about the history of flight different model of planes and the principle of lift thrust, etc. I have surfed the USAFA website a lot but couldn't find much about becoming a fighter pilot, so any links you have would be great. Also I don't really know what sports I enjoy I really only enjoy working out which I do a lot :). Also I read stuff about the pipeline closing does this mean there will be no jobs for fighter pilots cause I don't want to do anything else. Also I've read some about it, but what is involved in the process to enter the USAFA.
     
  7. Hodge

    Hodge Member

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    I'm glad you are interested in USAFA, but as an applicant you need to rethink your attitude to big Air Force. Well I'm only a cadet I have already seen people be disappointed about their job assignment upon graduation at USAFA and my former ROTC det. If your only goal is to be a fighter pilot you are sure in a good place at USAFA, but realize it is very possible that your dream may not happen. Maybe you don't get a pilot slot or a fighter/bomber track then you're kinda out of luck. There are plenty of other great opportunities in the Air Force or even one of the sister services if this ends up happening though. As for the USAFA application process the best place to start http://www.academyadmissions.com/ and of course ask on this forum if you have more specific questions. Good luck!
     
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  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    When posters talk about the pipeline they are usually talking about the number of students flowing into UPT. Right now you are talking about predicting almost a decade away from entering UPT. ...figure you won't graduate until you are 22, and may wait 6 - 9 months before you start UPT, thus probably will be 23 when you start.

    What is occurring right now regarding the pipeline is they are operating at 110% capacity. They can't get them through fast enough to fill the amount of pilots leaving to go to the airlines.

    There is a converse relationship between retention and the economy. For years the airlines did not hire, thus pilots did not leave at the rate they are now because the airlines are now hiring at a frenzy. Eventually though airlines will slow down and pilots will likely remain at a higher rate than they are currently. Thus, in 2025 when you are going to enter UPT the pipeline might need as many pilots as they need now.

    As far as becoming a fighter pilot that is also going to depend on a lot of things. Statistically the odds when you add in start to finish are not high to become a fighter pilot. Commissioning in the AF is step 1. Being medically qualified is step 2. Pilots must pass the FAA FC1 physical. Step 3 is being in the top 25% of your UPT class. Now start putting the numbers together. 25% of AFA cadets will not commission. 25% of UPT students will wash out in the 1st phase of UPT. 25% more will wash out in the T-1/T-38 phase. Than out of those remaining 25% will get fighters. Basically 10% that start down the path will get a pointy nose airframe.

    Although it is great to want to fly the fighters you also need to want to be an officer 1st. You will not fly everyday of the week, more likely @2x a week. You will be an officer though every day of the week. The days you are not flying in an airplane, you will be flying a desk in an office.

    Additionally, being a pilot in the AF is a long term commitment. You will owe back 9 years after you wing. UPT is 1 yr. If you have to wait to start UPT for 6 -9 months after commissioning, than in total the 1st time you can walk will be when you are around 33 yrs old or in others words 2 decades from now.

    Finally, as others have stated get good grades so you can clear the 1st hurdle. Move on from there, and always keep your options open as you clear each hurdle. You are not even at the letter A yet, and getting fighters is letter Z. You will not be at A for about 2 more years. Letter A would be applying for SLS at USAFA as a junior. How do you become competitive to attend? Good grades, lots of ECs, and a strong PSAT/SAT/ACT score. That is where your mind should be impo because those things are within your immediate control. Getting a fighter in the year 2025 is not in your control.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Although I don't disagree with that premise, I also don't agree with it either. For my DS's UPT class he had students that commissioned from all 3 sources (AFA, AFROTC and OCS). The guy that was number 1 in the class was prior enlisted and commissioned OCS. He got a 22. The number 2 was an AFROTC grad. She got a F15E. Fencers DS (USAFA grad) was in my DSs class. He got a C130J just like my DS (AFROTC). In the T-1 track the number 1 grad was prior enlisted.

    Fencers other DS was stationed at another UPT base, he is a C 5 pilot.

    Just saying that what is becoming very common for ROTC and OCS officers is that the way the system works they get points for having flight hours when they go up for the rated board. Thus, most will have many flight hours under their belt before getting to UPT. That gives them an edge when they start training at UPT.
     
  10. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I've noticed a fair amount of the USAFA EX- Wings of Blue members fly fighters. Additionally, 2 years ago, some of the Thunderbirds we ex- WOB members (they wanted to hang out with the current members when they visited the Academy). I have a winter home in AZ near Luke and have several pilot/student neighbors. I[ve met several ROTC grads and a lot of USAFA grads too (or DS was a WOB but going to be a Doctor). I don't know how the rating board points are dealt out. But it would be interesting to understand why the WOB's get plenty of those slots.

    Of course many pilots learn they are not really interested in fighters. I've met a few trainers or ex-F16 pilots who have serious back and neck issues. That health related aspect would shape what plane I would be interested in flying. A ride now and then (Flight Surgeon on top of another speciality) might quench our son's thirst for speed. To your point of 10% get a fighters (from start to finish). I'd assume that that percentage might double because plenty of future pilots really don't want a fighter. It would be interesting to know what percentage of pilots REALLY want to be fighters. If you happen to know that ballpark percentage, please share :)
     
  11. Hodge

    Hodge Member

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    I totally agree with this. Maybe USAFA isn't the best way to get a fighter, but it sure is one of the ways. No matter what you need to commission to even get to UPT and each source has its pros/cons so that should be the biggest consideration at this point.
     
  12. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    Haha that's funny I would die in something that's not a fighter.
     
  13. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    Alright so here's the deal I have no idea what UPT is a lot of these acronyms I don't know sorry, and also about the tests I will definitely take those I haven't been given the opportunity yet because it's summer and I'm rising 9th grader. And I don't know what EC's are, so sorry I know I am ignorant but I just need a more basic explanation or at least show what the acronyms mean.
     
  14. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    I also I'm totally fine with the time sacrifice there is no better way I would want to spend my time, protecting the our ideals, flying, and becoming a leader.
     
  15. Future_pilot

    Future_pilot New Member

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    About the washing out, I've heard it's hard but I get my work done and make all A's what usually causes people to wash out??
     
  16. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/The-Acronym-List.11568/

    Recommend reading the stickies at the top of all forums. This is at the top of Community Information. If it's not there, Google will usually bring up most service/military acronyms. "Air Force UPT" brought up several references.
     
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  17. Badge250

    Badge250 Member

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    MN-Dad, I believe (but could be wrong) that WOB members and Acro team members usually get a slot at ENJPT, which almost ensures a fighter/combat pilot job.
     
  18. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    Thank you for clarifying. Our son never talked about pilot topics much (he is off to medical school August) so I never paid attention to program differences. But you are right. I've heard several WOB members going off to ENJPT but I never looked into what that was. A quick google and I learned that ENJPT is (Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training) which is a multinational program that has pilots and instructors from all over including the US, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Greece, Canada and Turkey, etc etc etc. UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) is different. UPT is basically for USA pending pilots where their are a total of 4 air frames to pick from. Badge250, as you already knew, ENJPT training is for fighters (I'm writing this for the 14 year old poster).

    So evidently WOB's and Acro members must have done well in the past ENJPT training. So to Future_Pilot, apply and interview for the WOB or Acro team if you are selected to attend USAFA. I do not know about Acro. But WOB (actually Wings of Green which later graduate to a WOB) are peer selected and can have up to 400 students tryout for the 25 slots (about 75 total members). We hosted about 15 events over the years in our AZ winter homes for the WOB's with upwards of 40 members hanging out in between training. I met a lot of spectacular people. Normally they are incredibly smart students (as in class rank) along with great communication skills. Future_Pilot. My son mixed this video about becoming a Wings of Green Member (later Wings of Blue) . Possibly becoming a WOB was what drove him to apply at USAFA and he loved every minute of it. :)
     
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  19. Rocko

    Rocko Member

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    If this is true it is the first I've heard about WOB getting ENJPT. I thought only Engineering (Fuzzy?) majors were allowed to go ENJPT. I know my DS wants to apply for ENJPT but wasn't selected for WOB. I certainly hope this isn't the case as WOB tryouts seemed more of a popularity contest than any kind of tryout....
     
  20. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    A few corrections here.

    First, ENJJPT does not guarantee a fighter. Recent drops have been hit or miss with that. There have been KC-135s, E-8s, and C-17s in recent drops. Other drops have been amazing with 6 F-16s and everyone got fighters. It all comes down to what the AF needs that particular week of the drop.

    The ENJJPT selections from the Academy are based on the cadet's class ranking along with the recommendation of the airfield commander at USAFA. The airfield commander has final approval of the list. So, cadets who are involved in airfield operations in some way, whether it is WOB, flying team, glider IP, etc. and have more face time with the commander will probably get a boost in their chances. There is no formal criteria for someone on one of the rated teams to have a boost in points for ENJJPT. The cadet's major is not a factor in selection for ENJJPT that I have ever heard.

    To the OP: Please read what everyone has said and do a lot more research. There is a lot of information on UPT for the Air Force if you look for it. Also, don't be discouraged by the low chances and the hurdles ahead. My son wanted to fly fighters, and he worked very hard, did what he needed to do and he is flying the F-16 today. It can happen!

    Stealth_81
     
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