Aviation

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by batorthopa, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

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    So my DS got his appointment and sent in his acceptance. His goal is to be an aviator. I have heard differing opinions about having prior flight experience. Truth is he really hasn't had the time with sports, extracurricular and school to spend 6 hours a week towards a private pilot license. We are going on an introductory flight lesson this weekend. Should I push for him to get as many flight hours between now and I day? Not that he has anymore time now than he did before, but should we push it? In the end he won't be able to log enough hours to get PPL anyway so are we wasting time and money? Thanks.
     
  2. TJWJAG50

    TJWJAG50 Member

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    I would not really sweat it. I did not attend the Academy and my son did not get in, but I do know your son would not see any flight time for a substantial period of time. Remember, your son is going to be busy learning port from starboard, how to march and the Navy culture. While getting flight hours would undoubtedly give him a head start on his peers, it does not guarantee him anything. If he is ultimately successful in his goal of becoming a naval aviator, it will be through naval training. My recommendation would be to concentrate on his studies and enjoy life a little.
     
  3. pknguyen44

    pknguyen44 USNA '13, NAPS '09

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    There is now a powered flight program at the academy which gives an insight on what it's like to be in flight school (briefs, flight, and debrief). I wouldn't worry about it too much, if he selects aviation they'll put him through another program called IFS which again gives some flight time and an insight on flight school. Focus on staying in top shape for PS and memorizing those rates they want memorized for I-day. Any other questions about the aviation community, feel free to ask, in the Maritime community myself but have friends who are tailhookers and helo bros I can ask specifically.
     
  4. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

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    Thank you.
     
  5. HappyKat

    HappyKat Member

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    Congratulations to your son. My son went in wanting to be a pilot as well. He attended ground school at the Academy, and began private pilot training (on his own) during Plebe year. Because of all of the other Academy time committments, as mentioned above, it took a lot longer than normal to complete and he did not finish until 3/c year. This made it more expensive than normal as well. Because he has his license, he has been on the Academy flight team for two years. The contacts he has made through being able to do that were valuable. Just another point of view.
     
  6. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    When it comes service assignment time, and if one is marginal for an assignment to aviation because, maybe, their class standing is relatively low or their ASTB (Aviation Selection Test Battery) scores were not that impressive; having a "resume" that indicates interest in aviation and aptitude may be a difference maker.

    Quite frankly, getting a pilot slot is not nearly as competitive and difficult-to-get as it used to be. The long commitment causes some to shy away from it. Also, the many recent "horror stories" about how the Navy is raising the bar extremely high in the flight program, specifically to thin the ranks, is discouraging to some. Most of those who quit or wash out of flight school (oftentimes, before they have even touched the controls of an aircraft) are discharged from the Navy. The Navy waves their commissioning obligation and gives them an "honorable discharge". In other words, you become unemployed.

    As far as having prior flying experience helping in the flight training program - it helps a bit - but not nearly as much as you might think. And, even with that, it only helps at the very beginning. After a couple weeks the advantage of having a private pilots license completely vanishes and natural aptitudes rule the day. An individual with no prior flying experience, but who has natural aptitudes, is going to do better than somebody with prior flying experience who does not possess those aptitudes.

    As an appointee to the Naval Academy, I would concern myself much more with what you can do to be well prepared for Plebe Summer and the academic rigors of the Naval Academy - and not so much about what one's post graduation service may or may not be. There is way too much between now and then to have such concerns.

    The bottom line: Getting prior flying experience can't hurt. It may even help a little. Is it going to be a difference maker? Probably not.
     
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  7. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

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    Thanks to all for the info and opinions. That is a little scary that if flight school doesn't work out they discharge you and don't reassign to something else.
     
  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    It may or may not be the case that someone leaving the flight school path is separated. Sometimes that is true, when there are more than enough bodies in a particular year group, and no other community needs an extra body. I would say most of the time, since the Navy has invested dollars in USNA, ROTC or OCS, that there is a good try to switch the officer into another community. It all depends on manning levels, over which you have no control.

    Two cases from our sponsor mid/alumni history.
    Case 1, a drop on request (DOR) from flight school. Willing to serve out obligation in any community. No room elsewhere in any other warfare or staff community, so complete discharge and waiver of obligation. Used USNA Alumni Association Service Academy Career resources and a placement firm specializing in shopping junior military officers to Fortune 500 companies. Got a job as flight line ops manager with major airline. Returned to home state, used his home state vet benefit to get MBA (USNA Q Econ major). Was re-hired by the major airline and is rising successfully in Comptroller career path.
    Case 2, med DQ from all aviation while in the middle of Hornet training prior to going to Fleet squadron. Was offered a number of communities, shopped around and visited, and was welcomed with open arms into the Meteorology and Oceanography (METOC) community. Doing very well, still wearing wings of gold, which adds another layer of understanding to the new career path.

    Just part of how the cookies crumble in any given year.
     
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  9. TheSavage44

    TheSavage44 Member

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    Memphis9849 is spot on. I had no prior flight experience upon showing up to I-Day back in 2009. The only flight experience I received during my four years at USNA was the T-34 ride during the aviation week at PROTRAMID. Getting flight time is expensive and the higher ups who make the decisions for service selection understand that. I received a 4-5-5 on my ASTB, which is the lowest score that qualifies you for both Pilot and NFO. Even though I had qualifying scores from the ASTB, zero demerits and zero days of restriction, I was denied my first choice (Pilot). Upon further inquiry, the reason was that I didn't seem to show much "aviation related interest, " such as joining VT-NA, USNA's ground school club (similar to IFS in the naval aviation pipeline) since I was focusing on keeping my grades up. In short, if your son wants to be an aviator, he needs to keep on top of his schoolwork and grades so that he can build up as much of an aviation related resume as possible while at USNA. He may definitely want to consider joining VT-NA and applying for an aviation cruise for his 1/C Summer Training in a couple of years. Regardless, aviation isn't too incredibly difficult to get as long as your eyesight and flight physical checks out with the flight docs, your grades are fine, and you stay out of trouble. I was assigned my second choice for service assignment and will be receiving my wings of gold as an NFO on May 29 and couldn't be happier. If he wants it bad enough, he'll get it (provided everything checks out on the medical side of the house).
     

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