Actual USAFA Pilot Slots

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Jayceguy, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I dream of being a fighter pilot, as we all do, and I applied to USMA, USNA, USAFA. Everyone (navy & army officers, MOC staff, etc) that USAFA is cutting way back and that 80% of the last graduating class that wanted to be pilots were actually assigned to drones. Is there any merit to this claim that Navy has more opportunity to be a fighter pilot. NO BRANCH RELATED BIASES PLEASE, ONLY FACTS!

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  2. AVT

    AVT USAFA 2015

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    5
    That information is so untrue about drones that I would question the intelligence of whoever said it.
    Drones (RPAs) have not been assigned out of UPT for quite some time. Actual pilots not students still get voluntold to fly them, but I am not wellversed on specifics.

    There is also a dedicated training program for people to go into RPAs straight from the Academy.
    I believe that less than 10 people were going straight into RPAs from last class.

    A lot of people are not credible, so don't believe everything you hear. I never really researched which service had a better chance for fighters because that was never a factor when I applied to colleges. I spoke to a Navy exchange cadet (Midshipmen) yesterday, and he told me that a very small percent of Naval aviators get fighters. I do not know if this is higher or lower than the chance for a fighter in the Air Force.
     
  3. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    618
    Likes Received:
    48
    There is a reason it is called the Air Force. When my son and I went to visit during the briefing, we were told anyone that is not a discipline problem or has a medical issue will get a pilot slot.
     
  4. AC11

    AC11 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Somewhat speaking of medical concerns, has anyone heard of height waivers (More specifically sitting height) for pilot and navigator/CSO slots? I was told that they exist, but was not sure if they were next to impossible to earn.

    As always, thanks for the help!
     
  5. momxthree

    momxthree New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    Do you think this is still true for the class of 2014? I'm not doubting what you were told. I just wonder if it is still accurate information.
     
  6. buffalo

    buffalo USAFA 2013

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    780
    Likes Received:
    60
    Yes. Graduate in the top 97% (making that number up. Point being don't be rock bottom and expect any guarantees) of the class, be medically qualified to fly, request a pilot slot and you'll get a chance to fly.
     
  7. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Messages:
    2,239
    Likes Received:
    272
    Unless the Navy has a about 3 times as many pilots per aircraft, no.
    The USAF as significantly more (on the order of 1,000 or so) more fighter aircraft than the USN.
     
  8. DevilDog

    DevilDog Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Messages:
    618
    Likes Received:
    48
    At first they were asking others to reconsider because they had extra slots. Then they cut it back, but my son and his friends seem to think that anyone that put in for pilot will most likely get it unless they are not qualified for same reason. But, they still have their trepidations since they cut back and the AFQC has been delayed. The current rumor is they will find out sometime between 12/3 and 12/15.
     
  9. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good, it was tough to believe people when they said it was tough to fly in the air force.

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  10. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,664
    Likes Received:
    516
    One thing to remember is that the timeline from applying to the Academy to actually becoming a fighter pilot is very long and what is available today will not be the same when you get there. My son went to Summer Seminar in 2006. His I-day was in June 2007. Graduated USAFA in 2011. UPT started in January 2012. Graduated UPT in February 2013. He is now at his FTU and will graduate in March 2014. The landscape for pilots was very different in 2006 than it is now and it will probably change again in 8 years.

    If you want to be a fighter pilot, I say go for it and don't worry about how things are today. Just work the absolute hardest and try to be the best you can in whatever phase you are in. If you're number one in line you will always get first pick of what you want to fly and it won't matter if there are 2 slots or 250.

    Stealth_81
     
  11. Bullet

    Bullet Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    994
    Likes Received:
    99
    OK, there are a lot of "nuansces" in the question of "what are my chances of becoming a fighter pilot out of the Academies?", so let me provide some perspective. Hopefully, this isn't too confusing.

    First off, the folks NOT IN THE AF that have been telling you that 80% of the pilot slots in the AF are now goig to drones are giving you bad information. Your response to this the next time you hear it from non-AF folks should simply be to smile and say "thanks for the information". No need to get into a debate with them on this, as it will only tick them off.

    Now, let's talk some "statistics". As others here have said, there are enough pilot slots that come out of the USAFA (about 500 / class, or 50% of the entire class is offered a pilot slot) that if you QUALIFY and want one, you're almost guaranteed to get one. But don't forget, this is the AIR FORCE, and we fly a LOT of more things than just fighters. We have to fill all those bomber, tanker, airlift, spec ops, and a host of other cockpits each year.

    But as others have said,the AF has nearly double the amount of fighters as the Navy and Marine Corps COMBINED. Sounds like yor chances are better out of the gate, right? But hold on there, let's not forget that about 40% of the AF's fighters are in the Guard and Reserve, and you will NOT be going Guard or Reserve directly out of the AFA. (The Guard and Reserve have their own "hiring" process, and will send their own folks to UPT with a garaunteed fighter follow-on. Chances of getting those Guard / Reserve UPT slots are VERY slim and extremely competitive, with a lot of it based on who you know and having tons more qualifications than your competition.) So, only about 60% of the fighter slots the AF plans for each year goes to the Active force.

    This brings me to my next point. For each AF UPT class of typically 28-30 Active force students (with a few Guard / Reserve folks mixed in), only about 6 of those Active folks (and usually 1 or 2 Guard/ Reserve folks) will get T-38s out of T-6 training (for fighters, bombers, and a few other special aircraft), with the rest getting T-1s (for heavies). That's about 15-20% per a typical class.

    So, some conclusions:

    - Your chances of getting a Pilot slot out of one of the Academies is greater at the AFA (for obvious reasons). It is MUCH more difficult to get an aviation slot out of the Naval Academy (for either Navy or Marines) as there aren't as many for each class.

    - The majority of the Navy planes are fighters, with some helos and other platforms for other missions like sub-hunting, airlift, and a few other things. So, IF you decide to go the Navy route, and are high enough in your Academy graduating class to get a aviation slot, you will have a better chance of getting a fighter than out of the AF's UPT pipeline. Marines? Well they have a LOT more non-fighter assets than the Navy, such as helos and CV-22s, so you still have to do pretty well in your pilot training class to get one (but the odds are still better than in the AF's UPT pipeline).

    Bottom Line: Actually in the end, statistically the chances of becoming a fighter pilot out of either the AFA or the Naval Academy are pretty close. The issue YOU should consider is "well, if I can't fly fighters, would I accept flying something else over a non-flying job (such as surface fleet or grunt)?" Ifthe answer is "Yes", then go AF. If the answer is "I don't really know", then do a little research on those "other" jobs, and see if you would be OK with them (becuase your odds of getting those other jobs are much more higher comnig out of the Naval Academy).

    Clear as mud? :thumb:

    Bullet
     
  12. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    320
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very good advice. I will definitely put in my full effort to achieve a slot. But I'm getting ahead of myself, as I have not even been accepted yet.
     
  13. dusty

    dusty New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just think. Who has more fighter jets in service?
     
  14. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bullet has some great points. Keep in mind that the needs of the service outweigh your needs. I know plenty of people who were in the top of their class at USNA and were drafted for a community they didn't want (mainly subs or nuke swo).

    When you are in the navy aviation pipeline, it is also not uncommon for entire aviation classes to get "drafted" helos, jets, P3s etc. If you are the No. 1 person in your class, you generally get what you want though.

    As a general rule, you will want to be in the top 3rd of your class to select aviation out of USNA, but it is definitely not a requirement. About 300 students were selected for aviation out of my class, and at least 100 of them were below the 700 mark in their class ranking.
     
  15. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,019
    Likes Received:
    2
    Is the USAF/USN/USMC like the USCG in which you can still apply for flight school after your first tour?

    Only 10% of our graduating classes can go straight to flight school. The majority of CG aviators have spent a tour on a cutter then go off to flight school...
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Messages:
    12,809
    Likes Received:
    956
    For the AF I would think it is the opposite. Only 10% do a desk tour before going to UPT.

    The old rule of thumb for the AFA was you want UPT, just graduate AFA. Our DS as an AFROTC cadet was told pull a 3.2 cgpa and you will get a pilot slot.
    ~ He commissioned in 12, and is at UPT. 50% of his det went rated.
     
  17. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    121
    It's possible in the USN/USMC, but pretty rare. More common on the Navy side. There was a guy in API around the same time as me who was a full LT with SWO pin. The trick is both being accepted to the new community and being released by the old one, and generally the only community that's common with is SWO.

    I'll also add that getting jets (or "strike," as they say for some reason on the Marine side) from the Navy/USMC can be a little tricky. There's a lot of ebb and flow to what platforms need people. As Seavoyager said, it's not unheard of for there to be drafts, and what community needs bodies changes from year to year, or even month to month.
    On the Navy side something like 80-90% of people get their first choice...but this doesn't take into consideration that you need a minimum NSS (your grades averaged against the last ~200 completers from your squadron) for jets and some people who would have put them first didn't because they weren't eligible.

    On the Marine side, it's a crapshoot (the commodore actually laughed when someone asked how many Marine guys get their first choice). Jet spots are pretty few and far between. Historically it seems like it's an at most one spot per week kind of thing...they try to get the top guy what he wants, but there are no guarantees. Rumor mill was that the last couple months of the fiscal year almost everyone got Ospreys.
     
  18. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Messages:
    4,275
    Likes Received:
    607
    The Osprey would sorta suck but almost everything else the USMC has would be good.
     

Share This Page