Air Force vs. Naval Aviation: My Thoughts

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by endoftheline, Feb 1, 2011.

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  1. endoftheline

    endoftheline Member

    Jan 20, 2011
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    Hello everyone, I have been researching the differences between Air Force and Naval aviation the past few months and wanted to share what I have come to think about various aspects of each service. I am writing this for 2 purposes: first, being from a large Navy town, I was victim to many presupposed assumptions about the Navy vs the Air Force. After talking to many AF pilots I have come to slightly different conclusions. Second, and more importantly, I want an extensive network of AF pilots and Naval aviators to review what I say and comment on it so that my thinking can accurately reflect reality.
    DISCLAIMER: these opinions may seem biased, but that’s exactly why I’m posting it, so that I may decide whether or not they true based on a wider network of input.
    1.) A.What I thought: the Navy has more pilots and more planes, so there is a better chance of becoming a pilot.
    B. What I think: The Air Force and Navy have the same number of planes, but the AF has a lot more fighters. Also around half of the Navy’s fleet is helicopters.
    C. Conclusion: if you want to fly fighters, AF actually has better odds.
    2.) A. What I thought: Even if the Navy doesn’t have more planes, Naval aviators get most of the war-fighting action.
    B. What I think: The Air Force does most of the heavy-lifting when compared to the Navy. AF dropped overwhelmingly most of the ordinance in Vietnam, Korea, Desert Shield/Storm, and today in Iraq and Afghanistan. However; Navy pilots are often the first to strike as they are closer to the overseas targets.
    C. Conclusion: Nevertheless, if you want to see the most action, fly Air Force.
    3.) A. What I thought: Okay, so although Air Force carries out most of the air war, Navy pilots are still better in combat, more skilled, etc.
    B. What I think: Although Naval Aviators can land on carriers, this is not necessarily indicative of their overall airmanship skills. Air Force, fighters AND heavies, typically have more time in their air frames than navy pilots. Also, even though both services have side jobs, flying is more of a primary mission in the AF. Moroever; there have been several air battle simulations of AF aircraft vs Navy aircraft and AF historically wins. However; this may be due to mere luck or technological advances.
    C. Conclusion: either way, AF pilots have more experience, which speaks for itself. But they are definitely not always “better” per se.
    4.) A. What I thought: no matter what, the Air Force is still the chair force. If you don’t fly a plane you fly a desk.
    B. What I think: Although it may have in the past seemed as if the Air Force never deployed, or non flyers flew a desk, the recent conflicts have called for a much increased level of deployment cycles for both pilots and non-pilots.
    C. Conclusion: Air Force deployment cycles can be comparably rigorous and not only pilots serve time in the desert.
  2. sbbond93

    sbbond93 Member

    Jan 5, 2010
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    As an additional point, I would say that it is very important to look at the branch as a whole and find which is better suited for you. There are pure prefrences you will have too look at like where do you want to live? Well navy is always "close" to the water and airforce is not "always." What kind of bases are there? What kind of people will i be working with? And others like what are the oppurtunities for advancement? What if i dont like my job and want to do something else? Do i like to be in the mountains (USAFA) or in annapolis (USNA).

    Just food for thought :rolleyes:
  3. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Since the post on AFA subforum has one or two more posts I'll leave that one.

    Please make sure to read the forum rules and try not to post the same threads in multiple forums :thumb:
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