Non-Flying AF jobs?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by SamAca10, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Hey all, I found out recently that my vision probably will not qualify me for a slot as a pilot/CSO. So I was wondering, what are good AF jobs besides flying? Thanks
     
  2. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    I kind of looked into some other options just in case anything will/does happen. You many still be navigator qualified, so you might still get some time in a plane. I am not sure about this one, but I think that the vision requirements for UAV's aren't quite as high, so if you don't mind sitting on the ground flying, you might still get to fly a UAV. One of the ones that I am still interested is being an Air Traffic Controller. I know that there are many...many others, just a few that I had looked into.

    Later,

    Brian
     
  3. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    SamAca10, keep in mind that over 10% of USAFA cadets get an Air Force provided PRK surgery. Most of those who get this surgery, which happens junior year, go on to qualify for pilot and navigator. It's a pretty good shot for those who have bad eyes, around 90% of those who apply for it get it. But don't let me discourage you from looking at non-flying jobs, you never know what elso could happen that my disqualify you from becoming a pilot. I'm looking at other options too!
     
  4. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Academania,

    I am not sure where your numbers came from, but I want to put a little more realistic picture out there for candidates. My son was one of the ones from 2011 who got PRK in August, and I just asked him about the process and success rates.

    First, you do not apply to get the PRK. Cadets are tested when they arrive at USAFA, and after a year and a half of continued testing, a group of cadets who fit all of the criteria (no astigmatism, correction high enough to warrant the procedure, and lack of other disqualifiers) is offered the chance at PRK. Of those who accept the offer, there is another 6 months of testing involving no wearing contacts, eye drops, artificial tears to see if your eyes can handle the procedure, and eye exams. More candidates are eliminated here. It is far from the 90% success rate that you suggested.

    In the class of 2011 there were 35 cadets who made it through all of the testing and were given the procedure in August. There will be another, smaller, group who will get it when the Wing returns in January from Holiday Break. These will be the athletes and other cadets who for whatever reason couldn't get it done in August. My son isn't sure of the number, but it will be smaller than the August group. So while I can't give an exact number of 2011's who will get PRK, it will be much less than 10%. There will be one other group who get the PRK done over Spring Break, but they will be from the Cadet Warfighter program and not competing for pilot slots. Also, remember that getting the surgery doesn't automatically get you a slot, either. There are already some of the 35 who have been told that they are no longer qualified. It takes one year from the time of surgery until the AF will grant a waiver for the surgery, so this group won't know until next year if they are waivered.

    I don't want to discourage anyone from trying. The program is there and should be taken advantage of, but I wanted to let all of the candidates know that it is not a breeze. It takes a lot of time and missed classes to get it done, but for those who want it, it can be accomplished.

    Stealth_81
     
  5. KveTina

    KveTina Member

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  6. sprog

    sprog Member

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    I was a missileer in the AF. Essentially, I was one of the guys who sat in a launch control center underground and monitored the status of Minuteman III ICBMs, ready to launch them should the need arise (it never has, obviously). The career field is called "Space/Missile Operations" and it includes officers who operate satellites and ground-based radars as well. We are kind of the "silent sentinels" of the service, and don't get a lot of publicity compared to our brethren who fly. It might not have been the most glamorous job, but it's a responsibility most young 20-somethings outside of the military can't fathom. At 22, I was in charge of weapons with the most terrible destructive power ever imagined by man...a most sobering thought I can tell you. I di,d however, have to live in Minot, ND...which was a major bummer. Some people loved it, though.

    Did you check out the Air Battle Manager career field? Back when I was in, that was not a rated job, and guys only needed to pass a Class III flight physical to do it (same for missileers). Now it is a rated career field, so maybe that has changed. Still, it's a way to get into the air (AWACS/JSTARS) if that is your ultimate goal.
     
  7. greentrees

    greentrees Member

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    SamAca10 - what are your interests? Aerospace Engineering? Political Science? Foreign Languages? There are many jobs in the AF for non flyers -- all of which are important to the AF mission. I was a Finance Officer -- at age 24 I was supervising 56 people, and the one responsible for a $600,000 account - my neck was ultimately on the line if we mismanaged funds or misappropriated the money. I had civil engineer friends who were in charge of Red Horse teams, deploying all over the world building runways, bridges, etc. The weather officer and his office kept the pilots safe flying. My math major friend did all sorts of stuff with the space program, and the poly sci people often went into intelligence, which was & still is extremely important. They may not seem like the glamour job flying a plane is, nor get all of the respect they should, but they are vital jobs to whatever base you're stationed at, and the AF as a whole.
    I suggest you think about what you want to study and then ask where that major would best be utilized.
     
  8. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    the space aggressors program is of note too. By the time most of today's cadets are in their prime the space aggressor progam/satallites and the like will be huge. If we are ever in a time of war with the chinese or russians and even smaller nations, control of space and satillites will be of huge stratigic importance and the ability to protect ours and destroy theirs will be key. We talk of air superiority now but it will be space superiority in the future.
     
  9. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    Stealth,

    I respect that your son has gone through the program and the experience you have derived from that, but I will not back down on this, as I know my information is from credible sources. First here's an excerpt from the Falcon Family News from September 2008. this is from Lt. Col Christopher McNulty:

    "Message From Medical Group
    Two other programs deserve special mention. First, through the Medical Flight Screening program, Cadet Standards works with USAFA’s Laser Refractive Eye Surgery Center to arrange for cadet pilot candidates with significant visual refractive errors to receive corrective Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) eye surgery on an expedited basis. This outstanding program allows cadets who are otherwise disqualified from flying due to excessive refractive errors, to become pilot qualified before graduation. On average, the USAFA enables 125 or more cadets to receive PRK each year, and most of these do become pilot qualified! Secondly, Cadet Standards works with Headquarters Air Education and Training Command and the Cadet Wing to manage the program for cadets who don’t meet Air Force anthropometric requirements (height, reach, and weight) for functional cockpit checks. Cadets are flown to various AF bases where their ability to manage cockpits and flight decks in a variety of airframes is assessed, thereby allowing those cadets to become pilot qualified in specific types of Air Force aircraft. Cadet Standards processes Medical Flight Screening packages for over half of the Air Force’s pilot candidates each year. Last year, Cadet Standards provided the Air Force with 685 cadets and their completed Medical Flight Screening packages. My staff and I are very busy, but I can’t think of a better job in the Air Force. Working with our cadets, and seeing them realize their dreams to fly is exciting and humbling. Also, encouraging cadets who are not pilot qualified, and showing them that they too can have a significant impact in today’s Air Force in a variety of challenging positions has been a truly rewarding experience for me. It is an honor and a privilege to work with these young men and women. Please let me know if you have any questions at: christopher.mcnulty@usafa.af.mill"

    Here's the article link http://www.usafa.edu/superintendent/cma/newsletters/2008/08 Sep.pdf It's on pages 3 and 4.

    This says "the USAFA enables 125 or more cadets to receive PRK each year" Considering each class is around 1,000 graduating, 125 is about 12.5% of graduates receiving PRK. This is where I got my number for 10%.

    My second piece of evidence comes directly from an email with the Optometry Flight Commander (10 AMDS/SGPO) from the Air Force Academy:

    "Thank you for considering the USAF Academy.
    I’ll give you some general answers with the understanding that some of the outcomes depend on the individual.

    As far as the magnitude of your spectacle prescription (-6.00/-5.25), if it stays stable in that range you would be a potential candidate for the USAFA PRK surgery for cadets. For cadets who are able to proceed w/ the PRK there’s a very high likelihood that they will be granted a PRK waiver for aviation.

    A few things to keep in mind. First, about 10% of our PRK candidates are removed from consideration, mostly due to corneal issues and unstable prescriptions. Second, there are a number of other eye/vision factors involved in becoming medically pilot qualified. Some of the top items would be depth perception, color vision and eye health.

    The eye/vision portion of your aviation physical would take place during your sophomore yr at the Academy. It would be VERY important to not jump the gun and try to get refractive surgery prior to your aviation physical.

    Please let me know if you have additional questions that I can help you with. I believe the USAF Academy is a great place to get an education and a great start as you move into adult life and into a career. Best of luck on your application and we hope to see you here next year.

    Lt Col Nelson"

    This says that about 10% of candidates for PRK wash out because of certain eye conditions. This would mean that the number of candidates who are able to go through with the surgery is about 90%. Again, this is my source for those numbers. I think the procedure for getting PRK is much different than it is for the class of 2011. I'm definitely not saying that everyone who wants it can get it, but PRK seems to be a much larger possibility nowadays. I'm not trying to start an argument, but I will not back down on informing fellow candidates of the possibilities of PRK at the USAFA. I just wanted to let everyone with eye issues see some firsthand information that could help with the process. Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  10. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    This isn't the Alamo, you don't have to 'back down' from anything......

    Always a chance for education and you have provided some valuable resources for others to look at, but don't take it personally when someone gives their experience with a program.
     
  11. SamAca10

    SamAca10 Ensign - DWO

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    Can anyone assess this for me then?

    The Distant Vision on my current prescription (got a new one after taking DoDMERB) reads: Spherical: O.D. -.25 O.S. +2.00
    Cylindrical: O.D. -.75 O.S. -1.25
    Axis: O.D. 015 O.S. 170

    So how does this leave me with flight slots?

    Thanks for all of the posts guys! :thumb:
     
  12. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    To everyone,

    I'm sorry if I appeared aggressive or to have taken offense. I probably could have worded my post on this eye issue a little less intensely. PRK is a big hope for me, so I guess I'm selfishly trying to avoid hearing the possibility of not getting it. I apologize. I hope my information has helped, but I also must realize there are so many people on this forum who have great advice and experience (much more than I have). I need to focus on the end goal of military service, not better eyes...
     
  13. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Academania,

    Absolutely no offense taken. It is a good thing to be able to debate an issue.

    I see where you got your numbers from, and that they are credible sources. The probelm is that the figures are a year older than what I am talking about (Sept '08 vs Aug '09). With the cuts in pilot slots available, there has been a similar cut in cadets being granted PRK. There was a big discussion during the testing phases that cadets were being eliminated for things that would have passed in previous years. I am not trying to scare you off, just letting you know that things change every year. The number of cadets being given PRK now is less than it was in 2008.

    On the second point, I think you need to look at what Lt Col Nelson actually said: First, about 10% of our PRK candidates are removed from consideration, mostly due to corneal issues and unstable prescriptions. Second, there are a number of other eye/vision factors involved in becoming medically pilot qualified.. Notice he says PRK candidates. The PRK candidates are the group that has already made the first cut after the 1 1/2 year testing mark. They are the ones that have been offered the surgery. Yes, I agree that 90% of those candidates will be successful.

    So, I know you want to have the PRK done. That's a great goal, and I'll give you some advice on how to make your chances the best. Keep your grades up at the Academy. Take care of your eyes and the rest of your health. When the eye doctor says to do something, do exactly as he/she says. Several potential candidates were eliminated because they thought that when the doc said "No wearing contacts for three months before your next exam", that he really meant "Wear your contacts when you feel like it, just not to class and no one will know." Well, the doctor knew.

    Best of luck, and please keep posting. Everyone here has something to contribute.

    Stealth_81
     
  14. academania

    academania USAFA Cadet

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    Stealth,

    Thanks for the info/advice. The numbers seem to make a little more sense now. Too bad their giving out PRK surgery less now! Another problem is I have an astigmatism, so that could be an issue... But hey if I can't be a pilot then I'm still very willing to serve in the military. As long as non-aviation professions can still wear glasses, I'll still keep on pushing for Academy/ROTC, etc. And maybe PRK will be a possibility. Fingers Crossed!

    Anyways, I hate to keep this forum off topic anymore. Anybody know about the opportunities for officers in Air Traffic Control?
     
  15. bsa07eagle

    bsa07eagle Member

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    Here is a good link that lists many of the job opportunity's as an officer. It separates them into different categories: Flight,Nontechnical, Technical, Specialty. It is a good resource to get some good information about different possibilities both as a pilot and non pilot. Under Nontechnical there is a Command and Control Officer, which is pretty much an ATC with a few other duties. That is defiantly my second choice if pilot doesn't work out.

    http://www.airforce.com/opportunities/officer/careers/nontechnical/

    Later,

    Brian
     
  16. Dadandgrad

    Dadandgrad Parent

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    Funny how the ad that appears on this thread is for LasikPlus!
     

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