Fighter Slot?

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by nick0094, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. nick0094

    nick0094 Member

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    I just finished my first year of high school and I've wanted to be a fighter pilot since the first grade. While I was researching that years ago, I stumbled upon USAFA, and I've wanted to go ever since. I was recently speaking with an academy cadet, and he told me that even if you get into USAFA, and graduate, and get into flight school, theres still no guarantee that you'll get a fighter slot. I was wondering if this was true, and what I can do to increase my chances of getting one.
     
  2. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    Yes, this is correct. The type of aircraft you will fly is determined towards the end of your primary flight training (I believe called UPT in the Air Force).

    The best way to increase your odds would be this:
    1)Concentrate on your current studies and get admitted to USAFA
    2)Once at USAFA study hard and do well and be selected to a pilot slot
    3)Be the best student pilot in your training class
    4)Pray that there are fighter slots available when you select your airframe

    Most of the time there will be at least one fighter slot available for each class; however, this is not always true. It is part luck of the draw and part skill/smarts.

    Note the above steps are seperate from each other, once you get to step 3 your prior success only matters in the fact it got you there. The aircraft selection will have pretty much nothing to do with how you did prior to pilot training, but you have to get there first.
     
  3. nick0094

    nick0094 Member

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    So, even if i get in USAFA, how do I get selected for a pilot slot? and even if i do, after all that, there could be no fighter slot to choose from, and if there's not, or if i dont get it, does that mean theres no chance of me becoming a fighter pilot?
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    First you need to be medically qualified (typically eye sight is the issue), second, graduate from the AFA high enough to get a pilot slot (most AFA cadets will tell you it is pretty much guaranteed anyone who wants it gets it. third, MOST IMPORTANT if you want fighters, graduate at the top of your class at UPT. The higher you graduate the more options available, i.e. bottom of the list you get whats left over.

    The important thing to realize is that if the military contracts and shuts the UPT pipeline down like it did in 92,93 than you might only get a heavy. Typically only the top 10-15% of any UPT class will get fighters...very competitive.

    CAVEAT: graduate high enough out of the AFA and you can get ENJJPT, every UPT student that graduates gets fighters!

    Never join the AF because you only ever wanted to fly fighters, join because no matter what job you get you only ever wanted to serve in the AF.

    I have said this time and again, the road will twist and turn, there is no guarantee that you will get to fly a fighter after graduation, however, there is a guarantee that you will serve in the AF, make sure you are willing to never fly before signing on the dottad line.

    Good luck!
     
  5. nick0094

    nick0094 Member

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    Thanks. I'll think about that....
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    "...CAVEAT: graduate high enough out of the AFA and you can get ENJJPT, every UPT student that graduates gets fighters!"

    USED TO BE TRUE, BUT NO LONGER!!!

    Because of a lesser need for fighter pilots right now...ENJJPT folks are getting heavies (and not just B-52s...think T-tail) as well as...wait for it...UAV slots.

    That's from the AF and AETC folks.

    This is what they're telling us.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. DMeix

    DMeix Retired Staff Member

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    or, you could be a REAL man and fly Navy!
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Wow that stinks! So why in the world would anyone bust their butt to get to ENJJPT? That was always the carrot dangling to get high enough so you could go there and be guaranteed a fighter.
     
  9. edhvoice

    edhvoice Founding Member

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    Great analysis of prioritization!!
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    I assume you meant Marines right? The men's department that is. :biggrin:
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Now now Hornet behave yourself!

    If you wanted to say anything you should have said "REAL MEN FLY FOR THE NAVY, BUT SMART REAL MEN FLY FOR THE AIR FORCE!:muscles2::muscles2::muscles2:

    JK here folks don't :rocket: me
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Definitely a lot of changes coming. But to the OP; definitely understand the very wise comments posted here. NEVER join the military only for a specific aircraft, astronaut, job, etc... The military is much bigger than you or a particular job. It's a team effort. Nothing wrong with having dreams and wanting to do a particular job, but you have to be willing to say if that doesn't work out, there will be other opportunities. If it's fighter jets or nothing; then you should choose Nothing. Also as has been mentioned, the rules change continuously. And believe it or not, so will your desires.

    My son wants fighter jets. Always has. And if he continues on with the grades he's been getting, there shouldn't be any problems getting a flying spot. But now he's also having other options that interest him. He's interested in going straight to graduate school. (If he gets a pilot UPT slot, they'll hold it for him until he's done with graduate school). This will allow him to look at his entire military career. Especially 10+ years down the road. He's also looking at the possibilities that if fighter slots are tight (Currently there are graduates who GOT FIGHTERS who are sitting behind a desk because there are NO FIGHTERS for them to fly) that he might be interested in a plane like the C-17. While a fighter jet is an impressive ego booster; the C-17 allows for a very exciting and diverse career. My son's football coach at the academy was a C-5 (as well as other cargo) pilot prior to a tour at the academy as a football coach. While the fighter pilots pretty much stayed at their base unless deployed or on exercise like William Tell or similar; the cargo pilot football coach had been to 82 countries in his entire career. Transporting people, supplies, military equipment, humanitarian aid, dignitaries, etc.... from china, to russia, to ecuador, to india, etc...

    So, while a fighter jet is definitely in his dream of an air force career; he also has aspirations for a complete military career. If fighters don't work out, he has other aircraft options. He also wants grad school and continue with his behavioral science degree to lead into counseling and possibly even getting a doctorate degree and becoming a medical psychiatrist or counselor. He has his dreams, but he also knows that the needs of the air force also have to come first. He's positioning himself to have options that he wants but also that the air force would want.
     
  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    A slight aside on the Navy-AF pilot thing

    Pima, this is an honest-to-goodness no-sh----r: I was on a commercial plane, standing in the aisle, awaiting the jet doors to open. A bit of a bumpy landing. The woman in front of me was commenting to her son that it must have been a former Navy pilot at the controls, because it didn't matter how smoothly they set it down on a boat... and Air Force pilots were always smooth because they landed on a runway. I was glad my husband wasn't standing in the aisle with me, believe the after-burners would have glowed red-hot. Appreciated the joking comment in your post, because all of us in this big military club know it's part of the family.
     
  14. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    When did this happen, because I might have been the woman!

    Seriously, as I am walking off I turn to the pilot and ask in a question what branch they served in..i.e NAVY? I always turn to Bullet or the kids with my guess, when we came home from Italy DS1 guessed and asked the pilot which branch, he was correct (he was navy)! I also have yet to be wrong!
    It is not the harshness of the landing so much as it is how long it takes to taxi to the gate. In my experience the AF pilots use up all of the runway and have a short taxi, the Navy lands on the runway as soon as they can and it feels like you taxi for forever! BTW Bullet hates when I do that.

    Let's remember as Bullet has always said, there is something calming when returnng afer a bombing run/being shot at, the runway is where you left it at when you took off!

    Now before any Navy guys start showing their feathers about being a better pilot for getting home to a moving object. He would also say it is not his fault you did not choose wisely! Afterall, he never had to spend months on end away for the family to keep his quals up!

    BTW Bullet hates when I do that.
     
  15. nick0094

    nick0094 Member

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    lol, the lightbulb

    Yeah, I realized this today at my summer job. I was digging through trash cause I had to sort the recyclables from the trash, while I was picking up half eaten food and feeling squishy liquids, I realized that I wasn't really picking trash for money (well, I sortof was.... :) ) I was doing it for something larger than myself, then I realized the reason I wanted to be in the Air Force in the first place was not to be a fighter pilot (although thats what I'm aiming for), but it was to help people. I'm still going to try to be a fighter pilot, but I won't leave or anything if I don't. Also, what do CAVEAT and ENJJPT stand for?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  16. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Caveat means like a brief explanation or tidbit (this is a vocab word, not an acronym).

    ENJJPT stands for Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training. I am hoping that I will be assigned to this program come February. Fingers are crossed!
     
  17. justawife

    justawife Founding Member

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    Heard a guy at Vance SIE after his drop night got a UAV. Guess he should have realized 9 months ago......
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'll hold my temper here...

    THIS is the type person I try to "weed out" during the ALO interview process. Why?

    Because I want to find the BEST OFFICER CANDIDATE I can...not the best "wannabe XXXXX" type. Think about it...this person STOLE someone else's slot. Why do I say that? Because they weren't willing to SERVE. There may be some maintenance officer in Afghanistan now sitting in her hooch...wondering why she couldn't get her UPT slot...and this "officer" took one and bailed because an assignment came that he/she didn't like?!

    Mike, Bullet, etc...can relate to this statement: YOU SERVE, period. I don't know the trials/tribulations they took to get where they ultimately got but take mine for example. I was assigned to an F-4 out of UPT (my #3 choice) and I was ecstatic!!! Then some weather issues, late graduation dates, med issues, etc...etc...I missed fighter lead-in, then F-4 RTU...so I was put back into the pool and got the LAST, DEAD LAST thing on my list: the KC-135.

    I said: "Well, I got my wings." And I flew the venerable Stratobladder. And LOVED IT!!! That assignment "A" led to assignment "B" which begat "C" which begat the exchange whereby I ended up in the F-15 (my FIRST choice in UPT!!!) as the "OLD MAN BLUE 4" rookie! And I loved it!!!

    And now, 26 years after graduation, I'm back in the KC world, training pilots and loving it. ALL because I took advantage of what was handed me and did the best I can.

    A wise man once said: "Fighter pilot is an attitude, not an AFSC..." and it's dead on accurate! I've been blessed to fly several jets in the AF and EACH ONE was an outstanding experience and mission! In the end it's not what you're flying/doing, it's how well you do what you've been tasked with.

    Folks that bail like petulant little children...:mad:

    Okay...rant stopping...anger building...:rant2::blowup:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have said this often and every candidate should take it to heart.

    You know what they call the 2nd Lt pilot who got an F-22 on drop night?

    LIEUTENANT!

    What do they call a 2nd Lt in Accounting and Finance?

    LIEUTENANT

    You join to wear the uniform and to serve!
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    And I always thought a 2lt pilot was "BUTTER BAR" and a 2lt accounting and finance officer was "MARGARINE". Guess I was wrong...:confused:

    No, pima is correct. Just like in the army; ALL soldiers are infantry first and their MOS second. In the Air Force; all are AIRMEN first and your AFSC second. The military; any branch; is a TEAM FIRST, and INDIVIDUAL SECOND. later... mike.....
     

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