Air Force Academy Pilots

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Lewis95, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Lewis95

    Lewis95 Member

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    I have searched for this sort of information all over the web, and find uncertain answers...

    Of those graduating from USAFA, do most want to fly? Of those, how many are able to become pilots? Is this a highly selective process?
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    The short answer: about half of graduates become pilots and almost everyone who wants to be a pilot AND is medically qualified will get a pilot slot.

    For better information, go to the top of this page, click on Search, type in "pilot slot" in the search bar, and you will find dozens of threads and posts on the topic.
     
  3. tennisfan88

    tennisfan88 USAFA 2014

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    My class has about 520 slots sets aside from them, which basically means anyone who wants one will get one. You'll be surprised as to the number of cadets who actually DO NOT want to fly and want to do something else.
     
  4. JJBsDad

    JJBsDad Member

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    Air Force Pilots

    TennisFan88

    You state in your post that most cadets that request a pilot slot receive one--at least in your graduating class. I understand that all cadets that are selected for pilot slots must be medically qualified as well. In your experience, do most cadets that need the academy-provided eye surgery, in order to be medically qualified, received that surgery if requested? Thanks in advance for your response.
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    2 things to know about the PRK eye surgery you're speaking of:

    1. Not everyone's eyes are "Candidates" for PRK surgery. And if you can't get the surgery to correct your vision, you can still put in for a waiver. There are plenty of pilots who get Contact Lens waivers and such because they didn't qualify for the surgery.

    2. It's not only pilots who can get the surgery. ANYONE can request the surgery. If their eyes qualify and you are in your commitment year (C3C - Junior) at the academy, you can be accepted for the surgery. You don't have to be a pilot or want to be a pilot. So basically; IF YOUR EYES QUALIFY, you can have the surgery. It doesn't matter if you want to be a pilot or not.
     
  6. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Some clarification on the eye surgery (unless the program's changed). There are two tiers. There is the war fighter program that anyone can get. If you do this, you won't (or probably won't) be allowed to be pilot qualified. It has less rigorous follow-up procedures and post-healing requirements.

    There is a separate tier of PRK for pilot candidates.

    I personally have a waiver for an astigmatism - mine is outside the pilot limits. Also happens to be pretty much the easiest eye waiver to get. My other vision specs are well within range.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Thanks for clarifying hornet. And yes, you are correct about the tiers. I was simply mentioning that those interested in being pilots aren't the only ones allowed to get corrective surgery.
     
  8. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Vision waivers are decently common out of USAFA.
    The challenge, IMO, is not so much in getting a pilot slot, but doing well in UPT.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Very well said and quite correct. It's sort of like the many posts on the forum of people getting their Nomination. They almost think that now that they received their nomination, an appointment is automatic. Obviously, we know otherwise. Many think that the path to being a pilot is also somewhat automatic. Go to the academy and you get a pilot slot.

    Many don't realize that not all cadets are pilot qualified. Many don't realize that while the overwhelming majority of appointees walking into the academy want to be pilots; by the time commitment comes and they realize what the academy and real air force is; that approximately half of the class no longer wants to be pilot. They no longer want to commit to 10 years. Then, the half that are pilot qualified, and still do want to be pilots, and do get their pilot slots, that NOT EVERYONE PASSES UPT and finishes up pilot training. Granted, the attrition rate of UPT and pilot training is only about 5% +/-; but there is that to consider.
     
  10. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Actually around 20% attrition average overall. 8-10% in IFS and another 12-16% in UPT. Several of son's friends are now doing other AFSCs or out of the AF all together because they didn't make it at UPT. It is a reality that you have to be prepared for if you choose this route.

    In Son's group of cadets who were prepping for the PRK eye surgery during their 3 degree year there was about the same attrition rate. His group had about 35 in it when they started the process and about 26 had the surgery and got pilot slots (if my memory is correct). The prepping and testing all occurs during your 3 degree year and you have the surgery right at the beginning of 2 degree year (right after commitment) so that you can make the 12 month waiting period after surgery to get your waiver in time for AFSC selection.

    Stealth_81
     
  11. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    A good percentage of UPT students wind up staring down on an 89 ride. (Fail that, and you are pretty much done.)
     
  12. Alpineskier

    Alpineskier Member

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    Do you get to choose what air craft you want to fly? Because the larger aircraft like the c-5, c-17, and KC-135 interest me alot more than for example an F-15. Would you build up to the larger aircraft? I have no idea how that would work. Thanks
     
  13. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Does that mean that an "89 ride" is the designation of a check flight that determines whether or not a UPT student continues in the flight program?
     
  14. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Lots of info in general on UPT here that will give you the step by step.
    http://www.baseops.net/militarypilot/

    Short answers: if you don't want fighters then you won't get them-they are highly desired and competition is tight.

    KC 135 is not a highly requested one but the other two are.
     
  15. Alpineskier

    Alpineskier Member

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    Haha thanks and I guess im just special :rolleyes: the big planes have always fascinated me and someones got to do it!!
     
  16. kalusafa

    kalusafa Member

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    Hi Ramius, I hope you are doing well. You wouldn't remember me but my son and I met you at an Orientation dinner in 2009. I sat next to you and you did a really great job speaking with parents and appointees and I gained great respect from you. Over the years I've also seen the great information you and a few others put on this. I will look what an 89 ride is on Google.

    My son graduates this year and we are all looking forward to it. What an incredible experience these past four years have been for him and all of us. As you know, the opportunities and experiences during this years are extraordinary. He will be going to ENJJPT and was absolutely thrilled when he learned that. It was incredible as parents hearing his voice, description of how they learned their base, and his emotion all spilling out.

    Future cadets and parents get ready for an incredible journey and the information and advice that Ramius and others put on this forum is invaluable.

    Best of luck, Ramius and thank you for your service.

    Bill
     
  17. kalusafa

    kalusafa Member

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    Oops. Ramius, I meant to say " I gained great respect FOR you"
     
  18. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Getting the pilot slot for a relatively decent student who is medically qualified doesn't seem like too big a deal, in hind sight. BUT (and we all know that what's before the BUT doesn't matter), my 2 LT said that the happiest day of his life since going to USAFA wasn't graduation or Ring Dance... it was looking at IFS (Initial Flight Screening) in Pueblo in his rear-view mirror!!! Now that says something.
     
  19. Alpineskier

    Alpineskier Member

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    I have been doing some homework and I was reading that after UPT you are assigned your first Air Base and what air craft you will fly and the plane you are assigned is the type of plane you will fly for the rest of your career. Correct?
     
  20. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    For the most part, yes you will stay in one airframe. However there can be exceptions to this. One example is that there are a some Active Duty C-130 units being deactivated and some of those pilots are being moved to the MC-12 or other AFSOC airframes. Also with the F-35 coming online in the next few years there will be some F-16 units converting over to the new plane so their pilots will have to switch.

    The best advice is to do your absolute best in UPT in order to get one of your top choices, but you also have to accept the fact that at the end of UPT it comes down to what is available. My son wanted an F-22 as his top choice and worked his butt off to become number 1 in his class, but when it came down to his drop there wasn't one available so he got his second choice (which he is very happy with). Looking at the drops right before and after his, there was an F-22 available in both of them. Timing is everything. :biggrin:

    Stealth_81
     

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