Pilot Medical Qualifications

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by schul542, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. schul542

    schul542 Member

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    I am hoping to attend the USAFA as the class of 2021. My goal is to become a pilot after the academy. I am male who is only 5'4" and I am not expected to grow anymore. This is the very minimum height requirement to qualify for the pilot slot, but I know there are other measurements they test. Also, I have a rod in my right leg from when I broke it. I have full mobility and a complete recovery, but should I be concerned about being medically qualified with those two issues? I have already had a solo flight and have logged many flight hours. Thank you in advance for the help.
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    If 5'4" is the minimum height, and you are that height, then why would you ask if you should be concerned? It's sort of like being pregnant. You are.... or you aren't. So, apparently you are. "Qualified for height", not pregnant.

    As for the rod in your leg, yes you should be concerned. However, there's nothing you can do about it. So.... apply to the academy, take the physical, answer all the questions honestly, and you'll either pass, put in for a waiver if needed, or you won't. But again, there is t anything you can do about it, so don't stress over it. Best of luck.
     
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  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Oh, because I'm bored, (Getting ready for work), I thought I'd make another comment about your height and you "Not Expected" to grow any more.

    David Robinson – 5’9 his junior year of high school and 6’7 his senior year and then 7’1 in Naval Academy. last spurt was at age 21. (Matter of fact, David Robinson wanted to be a Naval Pilot, but the last growth spurt made it so he "Couldn't".) But the NBA sort of made up for it.
    Dennis Rodman – From 5′ 9″ –> 6′ 7″ around age 20, 1 years time.
    Scottie Pippen – From 6′ 1″ –> 6′ 8″ around age 19 or 20, 1 years time, but mainly in the summer
    Actor Kevin Costner grew from 5’2″, to 6’1″ from 18-20 yrs. old
    Dennis Johnson 5’9″ as a HS senior to 6’4″ in one year.

    You never know.
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    And my two cents - don't refer to yourself as "only" whatever height, no matter the context. Just say the height as a fact. Using "only" shades the fact into appearing to be a lesser thing, somehow, and coming from the owner of that fact, spotlights it even more.

    I have known many people on that end of the height range. People who were confident in who they were, owned their physical stats, ensured I didn't see or much notice that particular physical trait.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't think that your height is going to be as big of an issue compared to that rod in your leg.

    They are going to look at your sitting height when it comes down to it since you are already qualed for standing height. DS has a friend that was selected for UPT, but due to her sitting height she was told from the get go that she would track heavies because she did not meet the sitting height for ejection seat airframes.

    As Mike stated right now all you can do is go through the process. As a candidate your 1st concern should not be about 4 years down the road when you go up for the FAA FC1 flight physical as a UPT selectee, but now for the DoDMERB exam. Get your medical paperwork in order because to be honest I would be down right shocked if they do not at the very least give you a remedial, if not a flat out DQ for the rod in your leg. DQs are not the end of the world...it is just one more step you have to plow through to get to your goal of USAFA.

    I get you are completely recovered in your eyes. However, what they are looking at is the big picture. Can they use you in every aspect for any type of mission? Can they deploy you to anywhere around the world, including places with limited medical facilities? It is not really about you personally per se, but about how your medical condition may limit what you can do in the military and in turn that means somebody else has to pick up the slack to complete the mission.
    IE: You want to fly, but maybe that rod in your leg means you cannot go ejection seat. That means if they give you a waiver for you to go heavies only than they need to make sure the others can go fighters.
    ~ I know most want fighters over heavies, but that is not the point. The point is that everytime they give a waiver to someone they are doing it knowing that there is 1 less person that can do that job. Just imagine if they give 100 waivers for UPT, where they can only track heavies. Typically they wing @1200 a yr. That means 10% right off the bat are out of the fighter pool regardless how great they are handling the stick. In essence, it impacts their goal/mission because instead of taking someone without a waiver, they must accept that you have specific limits from a pre-existing medical condition.

    Additionally, it is not just about career limitations, but health coverage too when they give you a waiver. As a military member you will get 100% coverage. If for whatever reason that rod later on causes other medical issues they will pick up the tab. Let's say 10 yrs from now there is a medical recall on the type of rod that was placed into your leg. They will be the people on the hook financially to get it replaced, on top of the fact that you will not be able to work/deploy for x amt of time. Or let's say the metal rod causes you to be like me...when the weather changes drastically I am in intense pain. Rolling on the floor pain. Taking 500mg Naproxen pain. Grabbing the staircase bar to climb the stairs pain. I don't need the local weather person on TV to tell me that in 2 days we will be expecting major rain!
    ~ At 19 I had major knee surgery (metal in my leg too). I walk fine, I can run, I can jump...yadda yadda yadda. However, as I aged the pain has become excruciating when a weather front comes into town. I am the ripe old age of 51. At 45 the ortho already diagnosed me with traumatic arthritis and that was after 2 years of prescribed drugs, MRIs, xrays and specialist apptmts to rule everything out. They now know I will need a hip replacement and are just trying to hold me off until I get to 55 because they know there is a life expectancy on a hip replacement (not life as in your life, but life as in durability for the replacement). Notice hip not knee. Why? Because of my knee surgery at 19, over time my body aka my hip took up the slack to protect my knee without me ever knowing it. See above...I can run, skip, hop, wear 5 inch heels until my feet ache, the only way you would know looking at me that I had knee surgery would be the 5 inch scar from my shin to my thigh around my knee. I am just a wife of a now retired military member, however, they were on the financial hook for me, and my guess is Tri-Care shelled out tens of thousands over the years for my pre-existing medical condition.

    Just saying as a rated officer you cannot take anything more than aspirin. If you need more than that than you will be what is called DNIF....Duties Not Including Flying. As a pilot you owe 10 yrs back after winging. On a very good day you can walk from the AF at 34. How many years would that be from when you had the rod placed in your leg? Close to 20 yrs? That is something they are thinking about when they waive.

    Sorry for the novella, but I really think it is important you understand the importance of getting those medical records in order NOW regarding that rod in your leg because to the AF this is a long term game plan.

    I would strongly suggest you ask yourself 1 question. Do you want to be an AF officer or an AF pilot? If it is the latter and not the 1st than take this time and really think about going down this path. You know what they call an O2 pilot compared to an O2 Intel officer? LT!

    I wish you the very best in everything you do.
     
  6. schul542

    schul542 Member

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    Thank you for all the responses. I did not intend to make my height seem like a lack of confidence, just hoping for a growth spurt!

    As for my leg, I have already been qualified for the academies through DoDMERB, which gives me some hope that I may be able to qualify for UPT.
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Good luck, take it a step at a time.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I would again suggest you look into the FAA FC1 requirements if the only reason you are going down this path is to be a pilot and not an officer in the AF.
    ~ DoDMERB is 45 minutes, basically a sports physical. FAA FC1 is huge. DS was an AFROTC grad. They flew him to Wright Pat for 3 days. The exam included everything from dental to an EKG and everything in between!

    I wish you great things, but ask yourself if in 4 yrs from now you get DQd and no waiver will you regret going to USAFA over going to plan B college? Remember you will owe 5 yrs before you can dive at the very earliest.

    have to say I am shocked that they did not hit you with a remedial for the rod in your leg.Guess I was thinking it was a large rod down your femur or shin.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    "no pun intended"? :angel:
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Thought about it after I wrote it, let it fly, no pun intended, it was apt as it was. Some days my prose is just not lyrical.
     
  11. Padre101

    Padre101 Parent

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    It's better than "Break a leg."
     
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  12. schul542

    schul542 Member

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    I did end up getting a remedial for the leg, since it is a rod down the shin. On the other hand, even if I get DQ'd for a pilot slot I would still be just as happy to serve my country in another way through the Air Force.
     
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  13. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    Personal story: I am not PQ because of one of my eyes, despite perfect vision in both. Don't come to USAFA and plan only on being a pilot. Come here to be an officer. Pick a major that you enjoy (not one that is "easy"), and think about what non-rated (non-flying) jobs you might want. If you want to be a pilot and only a pilot, then go fly for airlines. You wind up behind a desk after too long in the USAF anyway.
     
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  14. kittkatt

    kittkatt Member

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    While I'm hoping for a UPT slot, I'd likely list aircraft maintenance as my top non-rated goal. How competitive/popular are aircraft maintenance slots (21AX) and would having an A&P help?
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I can't answer your question about competitive or anything, but a simple reminder. Out of the academy, you are an OFFICER. Which means, "You don't work for a living". Hee Hee. Only kidding. But it does mean you're "IN CHARGE" of aircraft maintenance. Not that you will actually DO Aircraft Maintenance. A Telecom Officer doesn't fix electronics. An IT Officer doesn't fix computers or do networking. Not that you wouldn't be involved in the field, just that you'd be involved with the operational/organizational side of aircraft maintenance. Not working on planes.

    But I'm sure you already figured this out. I only bring it up because there's a lot of people who ask about jobs, not realizing that enlisted personnel, not officers, actually do the work. E.g. a Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) is in charge of the PJ's (Para-Rescue). But the CRO isn't the one jumping out of the plane rescuing people. There are some that hybrid a little. Like a STO (Special Tactics Officer) does work side by side with their Combat Controller, TACP, other special ops, etc. But even then, the STO's primary job isn't that of the combat controller, rescue person, air traffic, etc. There's also a number of officer jobs more hands on in the sciences fields like engineering. Even Missile Officers monitor, manage, and push the button. But they aren't actively involved with the missiles. But the MAJORITY of officer jobs, on the "Non-Rated" side are managerial in nature.
     
  16. HeWantsTheBFE

    HeWantsTheBFE USAFA Class of 2017

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    AFAIK, AFPC doesn't consider anything for non-rated jobs other than major (i.e. if you are qualified), preferences, and class rank.
     

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