Question about vision.

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Thelaman99, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am new to the forum! Just a little about me, I am currently a student pilot, and going to be a junior in high school. I understand that getting into the academy is a very hard and prosperous process. I have two quick questions. Assume I get in (theoretically but hopefully in the future :D), my eyesight isn't horrible, but it's barely reaching, and I am sure it will be past the 20/70 that they require. My dream is to fly with the Air Force as well as get a great education through them as well. If my vision is 20/80 or at the worst 20/90, could I still potentially qualify to become a pilot? Would I have to get PRK surgery etc to qualify? Also, another question, lets say my vision is 20/70, it is still blurry to some extent so would you have to wear contacts/glasses if you qualify?

    (I wear contacts on a regular basis).


    Thank you and any help or advice is greatly appreciated!

    Liam.
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Liam,

    Given that no other medical or vision problems exist, you should not have a problem getting a waiver for your eyesight both for USAFA and pilot training. If, as a cadet, they deem you a candidate for PRK, they will do that.

    Good luck in the application process!
     
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  3. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Dear Hornetguy,

    Thank you for your response. It is much appreciated! Another question if you don't mind. I am currently a student pilot, and I am about to be able to solo (in around 2 weeks), does it make sense to pursue my private pilots licenses before applying to the academy? Or is it satisfactory to only be able to solo? I am personally interested in pursuing my private pilots licenses although with junior year nearing it might be slightly harder to achieve.

    Thanks again in advance!
     
  4. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Liam,

    The PPL will not provide you any advantage at USAFA or getting into USAFA. I also was a student pilot before USAFA while in high school. I actually did not complete my PPL before USAFA and only completed it after graduating in 2010 on my own. The stick time did help during airmanship programs.

    The PPL can help in other ways. You must have a PPL to apply for the flying team. Having a PPL will give you a step up in the glider and powered flight programs. I was way ahead of my peers in powered flight, I got to do more, and enjoyed the additional training my instructors could provide above the curriculum because of proficiency. However, these won't provide any kind of advantage for pilot training or being a cadet.

    The one area that it may be nice to have is for IFT (introductory flight training). Right now, anyone with a PPL can skip IFT and go direct to pilot training. I felt, as did many, that this was an advantage. However, two things to consider. Some years they make it mandatory, and some they allow the PPL waiver, it varies. The program was recently changed from a screening program (focused on eliminating) to a preparatory program (more opportunities to improve airmanship before UPT).

    Short answer: a PPL will not make a big difference. If you want it for yourself, go for it!
     
  5. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Also, Liam, your writing suggests that English may not be your first language. Is that the case?
     
  6. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Dear Hornetguy,
    I'm embarrassed! I was writing these questions out quickly because I am in a rush to get somewhere. English is my first language :). Since I am in a slight rush I just wanted to get my thoughts down quickly before I forgot what I wanted to ask, without really reading through it carefully before submitting it. My fault, this is not a proper way to ask questions.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2015
  7. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    You used a few terms that seemed a bit out of place that sound more like what someone who is plenty fluent but not native in English might say. (Prosperous, barely reaching, for example). Just thought I would clarify. :) I only ask because applicants who hold dual citizenships have additional hurdles.
     
  8. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Dear Hornet,

    Well, on that note, one last question before I really have to sign off. My mother is from Costa Rica, although I was born and raised here in NYC. We are actually going to the Costa Rican consulate this Friday to renew my citizenship I believe. I have never been there though, and I am not quite sure why I will be renewing my passport. I have no interest in moving there etc, although I wouldn't mind going there for a short vacation :). Will this cause a ton of extra problems during the application process?

    Thanks again!
     
  9. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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  10. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Dear Hornetguy,

    I actually have a phone conversation planned with my ALO for this upcoming Saturday. This is probably a great question to ask. Thanks again for the insight!

    Liam
     
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  11. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Glad to help and definitely talk to your ALO about it.

    Missed answering one of your questions. If your vision is poor enough, you would likely get PRK to correct it. If not, (and better than 20/100 probably won't require PRK), you would wear glasses or contacts for training. I knew many people who wore glasses in UPT. I was wearing contacts for UPT (20/50 right eye, 20/40 left eye; my astigmatism made them worse though). As long as you've been in approved contacts for at least 6 months prior to training start, they will authorize the soft contact lens program during training. If not, massive and super attractive issued glasses are the name of the game!
     
  12. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    My vision is quite a bit worse than yours. I fly with glasses. There are waivers available.
     
  13. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Do not get the PRK surgery on your own!!! If you get the nom/appt to USAFA, they will do it there, and as I recall, accept ONLY THEIR OWN PRK surgery.
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Hornet, I thought our OP was also not a native English speaker. Having lived in NYC for several years, he doesn't sound like a native New Yorker either.
     
  15. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Dear Fencersmother,

    I'm sorry that you get that impression. I was in a rush to post because I wanted to write down my thoughts before I forgot. I do live in New York City though. I'll try to make my posts more formal next time.

    Sorry.

    Best regards,
    Liam
     
  16. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    lol Liam, I believe the extreme formality it what led us to believe you were not a native English speaker. Relax, sit back, and enjoy the forums! Hint: you do not sound illiterate, quite the opposite.
     
  17. Thelaman99

    Thelaman99 Member

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    Dear Hornet,

    Haha alright. I was trying to be formal because I was trying to demonstrate maturity and didn't realize I could be a little more casual here. Just wanted to start with being formal just in case it was the norm on the forum.


    Thanks!

    Liam
     
  18. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Casual city, Liam.

    Relax!
     
  19. mikki

    mikki Member

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    I have several cadets that wanted to be pilots and their vision was similar to yours or worse. After they arrived at the Academy they ended up having that refractive eye surgery. One of them did get a pilot slot. After the surgery he was doing well, and has never worn glasses again.
    Not sure if that's something you're comfortable having done, but it is an option.
     

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