Becoming a pilot?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by sanandreasfreak, May 17, 2009.

  1. sanandreasfreak

    sanandreasfreak Member

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    hey,

    I am in the process of applying to different academies, and was wondering how good or bad one's eyes must be in order to medically qualify to fly a helicopter or plane.
     
  2. kevster

    kevster Member

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    I believe the minimum is 20/70 for fixed wing and 20/200 for helo's. In both cases it must be correctable to 20/20 in both eyes. If this is a problem keep in mind that USAF now allows for LASIK and PRK. USN allows for PRK but I dont think they allow for LASIK....yet. Make sure that you dont get the surgery prior to ROTC or going to an Academy b/c it will disqualify you. Mr. Mullen told me that the surgery takes place in your soph year. I believe this info is correct but I could be wrong.
    - Kevster
     
  3. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    For the USAF, it is 20/70 (correctable) for a pilot slot. The type of aircraft you fly is determined during UPT.

    They do have waivers, which I am pursuing, for those who fall in the 20/70-20/200 range (not very good for PRK/LASIK).
     
  4. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    raimus, i think i'll need a waiver too; actually have an appt with optometry tomorrow to take more depth perception tests since i failed one last week..

    speakin of that, when do they give us our flight physicals (to determine PQ, NQ, CQ) and start the waiver process?
     
  5. kevster

    kevster Member

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    raimius what do you mean that your vision is not good for LASIK/PRK? I was under the impression that LASIK was a cure all for any type of vision. Im guessing this is wrong?
     
  6. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I am on the limit of what LASIK or PRK can fix (lower end)...I think...

    The people at the clinic recommended against getting PRK, at least for the time being.
     
  7. starvinmarvin_09

    starvinmarvin_09 USAFA Cadet

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    Lasik and PRK is allowed for the AF around the -3.00 to -8.00 range. So your eyes need to be a certain level of "bad" to be qualified for the surgery.
     
  8. HNeedle

    HNeedle Member

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    yep, mine are just out of -1.5 ish.. so doubtful that i'll be getting PRK either.

    and, failed depth perception tests this past week and today too. looks like i'll be applying for a waiver for a pilot slot when the time comes, but all that starts next fall when we (2012) start getting our flight physicals
     
  9. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    LASIK and PRK can only correct (or "cure") nearsightedness.
     
  10. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Hmm this isnt good. Im a -2.00 in both eyes and with contacts/glasses im a 20/20. If I want to pursue a pilot slot what needs to happen??? Would I just apply for a waiver?
     
  11. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    I just wanted to clarify some of the information on this thread. USAFA performs both LASIK and PRK, however, if you want a rated AFSC such as a pilot, you can only get PRK. The acceptable range of correction to be approved for surgery is minus 3.25 to minus 8.0.

    Some cadets are in a what is called the "Cadet Warfighter Program" where they can get evaluated by the surgeons and approved for either LASIK or PRK, at no cost. These cadets are the ones pursuing non-rated AFSCs.

    The process for getting approved for surgery is very long and involved. Our son has been being evaluated and tested pretty much since he got to the Academy. This last year he had to have three different periods of not wearing his contacts for 30 days, and had a regimen of eye drops and artificial tears to follow every day. Last week he finally got his official approval and will have PRK in August, right after the wing returns to the hill. The Academy won't perform the surgery until the cadet has started their 3rd year and have committed.


    Stealth_81
     
  12. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Thanks Stealth 81. Ok so with a -2.00 I cant get approved for PRK does that mean that I can not be a pilot? If I cant get PRK paid for by the USAF could I pay for it myself @ a private practice? Do I have any options or waivers that I could possibly pursue?
    Thanks,
    Kevster
     
  13. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    At -2.0 you would have to apply for a waiver, but you still have the possibility of becoming a pilot. Here is the breakdown from the 2011 PRK briefing :

    0.00 to -1.50: PPQ (potentially pilot qualified)
    -1.75 to -3.00: PPW (potential for waiver)
    -3.25 to -8.00: PPRK (potential for PRK)

    Do not get any eye surgery done outside of the Academy, since it will DQ you from being a pilot.

    Stealth_81
     
  14. kevster

    kevster Member

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    Much thanks stealth 81. One final question about the waiver. Do you know what has to happen to get the waiver? Class rank... ect? Or is it purely evaluated on a medical basis?
    Thanks a lot,
    Kevster
     
  15. btown13

    btown13 Member

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    -3.50 L and -3.75 R
    just inside the PRK limit :)
    honestly it seems to me that the going through the whole process is worth it. It'll be a pain, but it'll feel so good strapped into that cockpit a few years after that
     
  16. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Kevster,

    Sorry, I don't know the details of the waiver process. Hopefully someone else can answer that.

    Stealth_81
     
  17. kevster

    kevster Member

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    No problem and thanks you have been a big help!! ( Im breathing a little easier now that im eligible for a waiver.....for a second I thought all was lost.)
     
  18. PDub

    PDub Prospective

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    What is the reason to get a PRK or LASIK in the Cadet Warfighter Program if the cadet will be in a non-rated AFSC? Are there any other jobs in the USAF that require perfect vision?
     
  19. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    It's actually cheaper for the government to provide laser surgery now than to pay year after year for glasses/contacts and eye appointments.
     

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