Navy offers more pilot slots than AF?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USAFA83GradWife, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    (sorry for the cross-post. I want to get as many view points as possible)

    My DD has gotten appointments at both USAFA and USNA. She came back from Navy's CVW and said she was told that Navy offers more fighter pilot opportunities than Air Force. Is this true? That seems very counter-intuitive. She said that she was told that Air Force was going drones and reducing the number of actual pilots.

    DD was leaning heavily toward USAFA until she heard this. Now the balance has tipped the other way.

    Can anyone confirm this information?
     
  2. Harbor1

    Harbor1 Member

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    Found this in regards to the Class of 2011

    USNA:
    Class Size: 1035
    Pilot Training (incl. “Marine Air”): 305 (30%)
    Naval Flight Officer: 75 (7%)

    USAFA:
    Class Size: 1021
    Pilot training: 495 (49%)
    Combat Sys Officer: 25 (2%)

    So if you attend USAFA, you basically have a 50/50 chance of going to pilot training, as opposed to 1 out of 3 at Annapolis (to be a “naval aviator,” since pilots drive the boat). By contrast, if you want to (or are medically only able to) fly in the back seat as a systems operator, you’re three times better off going to Annapolis.

    It’s also worth noting that the Navy/Marines fly a far lower percentage of fighters (and a high percentage of helicopters) than the Air Force. For example, the only F/A designated aircraft in the Navy right now are the variants of the F/A-18 Hornet, which number around 700 or so. By contrast, just the F-16 accounts for nearly 1,200 aircraft in the Air Force (then add F-15s, F-22s, A-10s…). So if you want to fly a “fast mover,” you’re statistically better off in the Air Force — which kind of makes sense even without the numbers to prove it.

    That said, past performance does not guarantee future results. The Air Force is currently in a draw down of some officers, and the RPA/UAV field is growing faster than manned aircraft. The USAFA Class of 2011 sent 32 directly to RPA training; there was no equivalent Navy assignment. The Navy UAV program is still developing, though it is doing so rapidly.

    Hope this helps
     
  3. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    It does - thank you.

    Both USNA or USAFA are awesome choices and I am proud of her regardless of her choice (I have worked with both pilots and aviators during my career. )
    I just want DD to have all the information before she decides.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Ignoring all the pilot stuff for a moment... one thing you and DD should "game" is what is the backup plan if a pilot slot of any sort does not come through? Which service seems right then? Not saying she shouldn't give her all to her dream but perhaps more of a case of the backup plan perhaps confirming the initial choice.
     
  5. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    That's a good point. I know that DD has a sort of romantic view of life on a ship. If someone could give a little insight into what it's like, that may help as well.

    She'll be studying physics/aerospace engineering, so I know that opens up quite a few options for her.
     
  6. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

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    Received a newsletter with the stats from the class of 2014 at Annapolis:

    Class of 2014 Service Assignment yielded 215 Surface Warfare Officers, 136 Submariners (including 15 females), 244 Pilots, 83 NFO, 33 SWO Nuclear Power, 28 SEALS, 14 EOD, and 52 Restricted Line (805 Navy). 270 Midshipman were assigned to the Marine Corps (largest group ever) with 172 USMC Ground and 98 USMC Air. 80% of the midshipmen got their first choice, and 94% got their first or second choice. The previous record for USMC was the Class of 2012 at 267.
     
  7. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    Let's be real...

    Anyone that goes to Navy only because they want to be a fighter pilot is either very naive or over confident. Academics at Navy (and all service academies) are tough. Order of merit determines the order of selections in 1st class year. Combine all the evaluations, performance and academic, and there will be a ranking.

    About 200-250 Mids will be selected for Navy pilot training. A much smaller number will be selected in a more involved process for the Marines.

    Those that go to flight school will go to flight training and at the end will be assigned to a platform... at the needs of the Navy. So... if your daughter completes four years at navy, and has a very good class standing, she may qualify for flight training.

    If she does, and successfully completes the training, she will be assigned a platform. Many are the Mids that entered wanting jets, only to find themselves flying other machines. That may be a transport or a helo.

    Common perceptions: Jets are glamorous... jets were in Top Gun! Jets fly super fast! Jets carry awesome weaponry! Jet pilots are the best and brightest! Everyone respects jet pilots! I know a young man that believed all of that and during flight training he found out that his body could not withstand the forces of jets. He washed out.

    All jobs in the Navy are necessary. All are important. You don't have to be a jet pilot to help our nation. If you really want to be a jet pilot there are several universities that could make that happen with a higher degree of certainty that any service academy.

    It is great when a kid gets to achieve a dream, but the academy isn't here to make dreams come true. The academies exist to supply officers that help maintain a balanced, efficient defense force for the USA.

    Bottom line... if you can't live with life on a ship, don't go to navy. There are lots of sailors that go months without ever setting foot on land. Pick Navy because you want to serve... not because you want to fly jets.
     
  8. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    seavoyager - Very helpful, thank you. I'm surprised about the subs, though. DD said she was told no women on subs. She must have misunderstood.

    Maplerock - DD completely understands that. Military service is her only real goal. Being an aviator is icing. She made that very clear during her interviews - said she'd be happy to serve where needed and I believe her. We did not push her in this direction, she came to us and made the announcement that she wanted to serve her country (to give back) and my husband and I support her decision 100%.

    My husband spoke to her about what that means, and I, growing up as an Army brat, told her what it was like for a family. So, please do not assume that the only thing she's looking at is flying. If she has a choice, yes that is #1, but she really likes all the other aspects as well.

    Nothing wrong with getting all the information before making a decision, don't you think? I would expect any good officer to do that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2014
  9. 1964BGO

    1964BGO Member

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    Women on subs is a new phenomenon - within the last couple of years. Initially they were assigned to the boomers (ICBM) only, but Navy is opening a couple of other sub classes to fems in the future.

    There were a couple of years in the now distant past when NAVY actually did send more grads to flight school than did AFA, but in recent years we have been averaging someplace around 250 to 300 to pilot training (both Navy and Marine) and about 50 to 75 to NFO training (back seat).

    One of the factors you may have to research is the question of the number of fighter seats in USAF vs USN+USMC. I recall that AF was shedding a goodly number of fighter acft a few years ago in preparation for the arrival of the F35, both in numbers and budget. Also, keep in mind that AF has a large inventory of bombers, transports, and tankers.
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The other thing about being a pilot . . . physical stuff can do you in. Unless things have changed, to fly jets, you must meet certain body measurements (sitting height, etc.). Most "average" people are ok but there are always a few surprises. You must pass the aptitude test. You must not suffer an injury while at USNA that DQ's you -- such as blowing out your knee.

    I would pick the SA and service that offers the highest number of potential service selections that interest you. That way, if pilot is not an option, the other choices are palatable. For USNA women, that's SWO, subs, and USMC "ground" (which includes a lot of things). Not sure about USAFA.
     
  11. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    What if she's already blown out a knee (ACL surgery) and gotten a waiver? Does that disqualify? her
     
  12. Seavoyager

    Seavoyager Member

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    Not sure if that will disqualify her. Everyone goes through another thorough physical in their junior year though, and the results of that will determine what communities your qualified for. Additionally, if you get selected for aviation, you will complete yet another thorough physical when you get to flight school.
     
  13. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    That's what I thought. She wouldn't have gotten a waiver from USAFA if it was a concern. She has no lingering issues with it at all. :smile:
     

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