ROTC Pilot Slot

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by DPActive, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    I'm already in my first year of college so it's too late for me to do the 4 year AFROTC program so I'm thinking about the two year program, starting up when I transfer to a University in 2 years. I know the percentage of becoming a pilot among commissioned officers is about 4%, let alone becoming a fighter pilot, but I really want something that I can devote a lot of my life to. After going through as a non-scholarship ROTC cadet (as I'm already in my first year of college), getting my bachelors, passing the tests, keeping up physically, and it's time to choose my top four careers, I really don't want to do anything other than flying. Flying a jet preferably.

    By the time I know what my career will be, will it be too late to back out if I don't get a pilot slot preferably for a fighter jet? I want to devote the next 10 years of my life to being a pilot, as pilots must do, I just don't want to be stuck doing anything else after having already devoted years to trying. If I go for it, I'm giving it my all and nothing less. Extra curricular activities, staying in shape, a 3.5+ gpa, etc. What are you opinions? Odds of me becoming a pilot if I dedicated the coming years of my life to it? As some background I'm 20 years old, 6 ft 200 lbs, was a cub scout, played football in middle school, 0 trouble with the law, not as much as a parking ticket, AP Computer Science senior year of HS, didn't do too great academically though, B/C student, which is why I'm turning myself around since I just started college. I just really want to devote myself to something, so I figure this is the best thing that I could do, plus being a fighter jet pilot is the most interesting and amazing thing I've ever thought about doing. My grandfather spent his entire life in aviation which really motivates me, I know I have what it takes, and have the level of motivation it takes, there's just so few pilot slots as far as I understand that it's makes me doubt myself. I have recently read about the AF needing more pilots though, so that gives me some hope. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  2. Stevenson

    Stevenson Member

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    You can still do AFROTC, you'll maybe be considered a 250 depending on your units. I'm not too sure, and I'll let Pima or someone with greater knowledge to answer the questions but here's what I think:

    If you do what you need to do, nothing will stop you from getting a pilot slot. The thing is, it's so early to tell and things change each year. Keeping up physically is one thing but being medically and physically qualified is another. Doing well in school is one thing, doing well in your tests are another. A lot of cadets come in wanting to be a pilot. Sure, the AF needs pilots but that doesn't make one's chances go up significantly.

    You say you have the motivation and all that then do it. Control what you can (grades, PFA score, etc) and let everything follow afterwards. You can't predict the future, you just have to give it your all, (which is what you seemed determined to do.)
     
  3. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Thanks. That's sort of how I'm feeling as well. I'm hoping that anything medical or physical wouldn't stop me. I've got over a year to get in shape before I'd join the AFROTC 2 year program, and I'm already fairly in shape as it is, I'd just need to lean out more. As far as medical goes, I had asthma when I was very young but it's been over 10 years since I've had any incident relating asthma. As far as my vision goes I do wear glasses, but with them I can see perfectly. I've yet to check, but I'm fairly sure I see 20/20 corrected, I don't know how much better ones vision could be than what mine is with glasses/contacts.

    I know a lot changes year to year, so we'll just have to wait and see. No one even knows my thoughts about doing this yet (friends, family). I know they'd be supportive, I'd just rather not bring it up until I've made my decision on whether or not I'll be joining. Thanks for the advice it means a lot.
     
  4. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    I think you need to spend the time to read all of the AFROTC threads on here and get to understand the process much better than you do right now. I will let the AFROTC experts tell the details if they wish. You will commit to being an officer before you find out whether you get a pilot slot. Also you will be 50% done with pilot training before you find out which track you will be on, and then you will be 98% finished with pilot training before you find out which airframe you get. Much too late to "back out".

    Stealth_81
     
  5. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Thanks for the information.
     
  6. usaffan

    usaffan Member

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    I'll let someone more knowledgeable/concise than myself give you a full rundown of the process, or leave it to you to research on your own, but I just want to talk about something real quick.

    "I really don't want to do anything other than flying. Flying a jet preferably." / "I want to devote the next 10 years of my life to being a pilot, as pilots must do, I just don't want to be stuck doing anything else after having already devoted years to trying."

    Don't join for the wrong reasons. I've met a lot of cadets who wanted to be "super cool" and "high speed" fighter pilots, but had zero interest/dedication to actually becoming an officer. They did not make it through. If you're dedicated to becoming a fighter pilot, that's great and you should go for it, but don't do it if becoming an intel officer, RPA (drone pilot), space officer, aircraft maintenance officer, personnel officer, finance officer etc would be "being stuck doing _____ after having already devoted years of trying". All Airmen contribute to fight, whether they're putting bombs on the ground or sitting at a desk handling people's paychecks. Now, I say this with zero experience. I'm just an AS400 (CSO select) with no active duty time. But one thing I have learned is that the Air Force's enlisted Airmen are some incredibly fine men and women, and none of them should have to be led by an officer who considers their career field not worth it. Even fighter pilots are officers first, fighter pilots second.

    Additionally, the process is long and hard. You could be the top cadet in your class and at FT, 4.0 GPA, 100 PFA but if you don't pass the medical tests, that's it. More than one of my high-speed AFROTC friends were pilot selects but lost it for reasons beyond their control (mostly medical). They are now happily serving in other career fields or are currently waiting selection for something else. I haven't heard a single one of them say "I tried so hard and failed, and now I'm stuck being an officer candidate for some other job". Even if you become a pilot, you are going to have to fight tooth and nail for a fighter slot, and should not be disappointed if you don't get one. A cargo pilot, refueler pilot, etc are JUST as crucial to the fight as a fighter pilot is. It's not about who gets to fly the fastest.

    Just wanted to throw that in there. I admire your motivation and wish you the best of luck in this process! It is 100% possible if you put your mind to it. But do understand the gravity of the commitment you are considering making. Commissioning in AFROTC isn't about flying a fancy jet at top speeds, it's about becoming an officer in the Air Force and leading some of the finest Airmen in the entire world. You will be responsible for people's lives and careers. If the idea of not getting to fly fighter jets is enough to turn you away from the military, please think twice.
     
  7. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Thanks for your opinion I appreciate it. I wouldn't say that I'd be disappointed if I didn't get one and instead become a cargo, refueler, drone, etc pilot, (if pilot at all), it's just that the purpose of me joining would indeed be for a fighter pilot slot, and I'm hoping with all of the work and dedication I will be putting in, there's more than the smallest, slimmest chance of what I want to do coming true. The medical tests on the other hand, as far as I understand, that would be something done more towards the beginning phases of the whole process, that way if you fail medically, you know which positions you're restricted to. Thanks again!
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am going to be the 1st to admit, that I know there is a 2 year program, but it is not common. I am not even positive how it works.

    I agree you need to do a ton more research. Here's my reasons:

    ROTC cadets attend SFT.
    ~ This occurs the summer of your rising junior year. Traditional cadets (3 and 4 yr) will meet that selection board Feb/Mar their sophomore year.
    ~ You must attend this training to become a POC.
    ~~ You must be a POC for at least 3 semesters to commission out of ROTC.

    I am not sure how that will work if you 2 years and go to SFT as a junior.
    ~ Traditional ROTC cadets will now as juniors apply for the rated board in Feb/Mar. Thus, if you are not going at that time and have to wait until your junior year, you won't meet the same board as other juniors.
    ~ Those selected as a junior for rated board will be sent to Wright Pat for their FAA FC1 physical.

    Now for some of your points:
    Currently, ROTC cadets up for SFT selection are asked to sign if they want to go rated or non-rated prior to the board. Once you graduate from SFT and return to school you will sign your POC paperwork. You are now at the point of no return for 4 years of AD. If you read above, the rated board meets @ 5-6 months after you become a POC.
    ~ Thus, even in college ...all bets are off, except you will go ADAF. Additionally with the rated board there are 4 options they can drop (Pilot, CSO, ABM and RPA) or none at all. It is not just pilot and if you do not get it you can walk.

    Pilot slots are competitive. Do you have any flight hours? Do you expect to gain any? Many of the cadets because they understand the selection process will have flight hours to give them an edge.
    Sorry, but I had to chuckle at that one.
    There are many heavy pilots that are finishing up their 1st tour and because of the crisis manning in the RPA world they are being sent there for their 2nd tour.
    ~ Also once operational, it is highly unlikely you will fly 5 days a week. Try maybe 2-3 days a week, the other days you will have a job on base and fly a desk.

    I am not going to address Steatlth's post, but only to 100% agree with what he stated.
    ~ A groomsmen in his wedding, commissioned via ROTC with him, he was in his UPT class and washed out @ 6 weeks before drop night. He is now in Cyber. No option to go CSO, RPA or ABM, just a desk and he will still stay ADAF.

    Years ago when I joined here there was a saying and I think it is appropriate now. Do you know what they call an O1 pilot? Lieutenant! You will be an officer 1st, last and everything in between.

    Finally, I think your stats of going pilot out of AFROTC are way off the mark. Statistically I know that make it to the point where they can compete for a slot, it is much higher. For my DSs unit they had @100% that asked for a pilot slot get a pilot slot. Now if you are saying that 4% of every cadets will end up in a fighter, than that is still low, but closer in numbers from selected to winging that do get an airframe with the letter beginning with F.
    ~ Fencer and my DS were in the same class. 28 started. 21 made it to the T1 T38 phase. They added washbacks in at this point and they were back to 28 again. They winged with 21 or 24 can't recall, but the point is they lost @25% they lost a lot along the way. This does not include the amount that did not get passed IFS where that has @25% washout. Their class had 25% go T38, but only 2 got an airframe that started with F. AN F15E and an F22.

    If you want it you can get it, but if you are not ready to accept the other parts, than maybe you should rethink any or all of this idea.
    I am just curious why you are not joing ROTC now, or investigating OCS
     
  9. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    As far as having any flight hours, from what I've read most ROTC cadets don't have any previous flight experience and that as long as everything else checks out (medical, academic, etc) you'll get all your flight experience once you've signed up.

    As I was doing research online, I read somewhere that USAF Pilots are required to serve 10 years so that's the only reason I say that.

    As far as why I'm not joining ROTC now at the beginning of my college years is mainly because I'm unsure about the idea, and for the first two years I'm going to community college to save on costs, but plan to transfer to a University and start the two year ROTC at the same time, at least that's how I'm thinking about things. I've known for years and years that what ever I choose to dedicate a large portion of my life to (which for some reason is something I really want to do, and have always wanted to do), it's going to be important, and I'm not going to give it anything but my all, I've only looked into the Air Force as an option as of recently though. Other than that though, I guess there are problems at home. As I mentioned I'm 20 living at home as I just started college. Parents don't make a whole lot of money so where I'm living now won't be where I'm living next month. They never saved up for me to be able to afford to stay on campus, or have a car right now to get myself to work, but within the next month or so I'll know where I'm living and am going to college permanently so I can really think about what I want to do.

    Thank you for your opinions they mean a lot. I guess I'm thinking about all of this a bit too late as I'm still not in high school... I just think being a fighter pilot, or any pilot for that matter, would be the most humbling thing I could do for myself, knowing that I'm willing to give it my all, I just hear about how much luck plays into it and it makes me doubt myself. Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  10. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    Didn't the AF get rid of the 2 year program years ago? During NSO at my Det every year they stress that there is no longer a 2 year program b/c sometimes people ask about it. Did they bring it back or something?
     
  11. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Possibly, I may have misread. How does it work though if for the first two years of college you're going to community college, and not a university that offers the rotc program? I plan (or planned on now that I'm being more informed), going to community college for two years to save on costs, then transferring to a university that offers the program for the last two years, and do the rotc program as I transfer.
     
  12. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    You can do AFROTC while at a community college if there's a host university with the program in your area. But before you move forward with a plan on doing a 2 year program you NEED to talk to a cadre member at the AFROTC program you plan on transfering to. I am absolutely sure they got rid of that program before I came into college in 2012, the only 2 year option with ROTC is the JAG program for lawyers. Outside of that the only option with less than 3 years of study left is OTS. But you're a freshman so if you're proactive you could join AFROTC next year, and then transfer into a 4 yr university.

    Edit: I've helped with recruiting every year since my freshman year and when the recruiting officer gives us the brief he's specifically mentioned that the 2 year program is no longer an option and to tell people that if they ask. It's possible that they've brought it back, but I think what's more likely is you have your hands on some outdated information. The AFI pertaining to AFROTC says that in order to enter the POC (upperclassman status that comes after attending Field Training) you have to have at least 2 years of schooling left to complete. Army has a 2 yr program though, I think they're the only branch of ROTC that does.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Yes and no on everything you said.
    ~ It is becoming more popular for ROTC cadets to get at least a few hours because of how TBAS/PCSM works.
    ~~ You will take the TBAS, and for ease of this purpose, if you have flight hours you will get extra points awarded towards your PCSM. PCSM is a portion of your score.
    ~~~ For cadets with a PPL going UPT/CSO they will be able to get a waiver for IFT. They will not go to Pueblo prior to UPT. Again this is about research.

    So yes, many cadets if they can afford even 10 hours will get hours under their belt to be more competitive from a PCSM aspect, but also having the hours can help on TBAS.

    Yes, the AF will train you.

    I am coming from a different POV
    In essence, I am looking at competing for a slot...step A. You are looking at once you get the slot...step B.

    Again, no offense, but more research is needed on your part.
    Have you called the local university near your CC to see if they have a det. In our area the local CC students go to the host AFROTC unit. I know friend's kids that attend the local CC in NoVA and travel to the host ROTC unit for PT and LLAB
    ~ It is difficult, don't get me wrong. Juggling school and xtown are not the easiest path.
    ~~ However, even if you decide to go to an OOS college for your last 2 years, you will have hopefully attended SFT and will enter that yr. as a POC.
    ~~~ FYI, part of your OML for every AFSC board will include how you stack out of SFT.

    I would call tomorrow the closest university that offers AFROTC. Be prepared to start next fall as a 250. SFT summer of 2017.
    ~ Spend the summer studying the AFOQT because that will be part of the SFT selection board. Training physically too
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
  14. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Thanks. I know the university I'll be going to has a det. University of South Florida, I was just unaware that you could take part in AFROTC if you weren't even going to a university, I know about the xtown/host deal, I just didn't know that applied to community colleges as well. No offense taken, I know I need to research more.
     
  15. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    As far as I know regarding the two/three year program, I believe I read that if you don't do the four year course you take your basic leadership classes over the summer, then just start in POC for your last two years.
     
  16. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    xposted with non ducor.

    I brought up OCS earlier. It is something I would investigate it thoroughly.

    Our friends DS decided as a spring semester sophomore he was interested in going AF rated, and now it was too late for him to join AFROTC. Jan. of his junior yr he met a recruiter and applied for the OCS rated board July prior to his rising senior year. In end of Aug. he was told he was picked up as a CSO candidate. He entered his sr. yr. knowing he would go to OCS at Alabama after graduation (went in July) and with a follow on to UNT.

    He is now a nav in the AF.

    Again, just like ROTC you will learn just because you place pilot as high, and CSO or RPA as low, it doesn't mean you won't get the rated you said low.
    ~ He was told flat out that for his board the only Pilot drops went to the candidates with flight hours. He had 0
    ~ ~ Hence, my earlier comment about flight hours can be a factor that you have not realized yet from the bigger picture when it comes to selection.

    It is a risk anyway you look at it.
     
  17. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Thanks for the information. I guess that's a pretty big piece of the puzzle, as far as I know it cost thousands to be able to fly after all of the costs are added up and I just can't afford that. That sucks that your friend wasn't able to place as a Pilot just because he's never flown before...
     
  18. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    Again, you really need to actually speak with a cadre member because the most updated AFI says that in order to go to FT (your summer training between sophmore & junior year) and become a POC, you must have 2 years of school left after you go to training. But you can only go to field training if you've been a GMC (underclassman corps) for AT LEAST 1 year. So AFROTC has 3yr, 4yr, and 5yr options. But no 2yr, except for JAG and maybe a few other specialties. If you want to join after you've completed your sophmore year you need to have 3 yrs of schooling left, otherwise you'll be directed to OCS. You have plenty of schooling left, if I were you I'd see about cross registering for the local AFROTC program next year.
     
  19. DPActive

    DPActive Member

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    Understood. I've mistaken "two year" for their actual three year program. I'm only at about 12 credits right now so I've got a little bit until I need to make a decision to get in on the three year program. Thanks for the information.
     
  20. Non Ducor Duco

    Non Ducor Duco I am not led, I lead

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    No problem. Haha I just wanted to make sure you understood your options before you waited too long. As far as the flight hours go, plenty of ppl get a pilot slot without any hours. Going through OCS to get a rated slot is way harder than trying to get one through ROTC. It's still competative to get, but it's still more likely than OCS. Just make sure your PT scores, grades, and AFOQT scores (the AF's standardized test) are good. Join things, get involved in the detachment to make sure the cadre know you, that can help with your commander's ranking.
     

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