USAFA true or false?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by yaviel, Jun 9, 2012.

  1. yaviel

    yaviel New Member

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    Hi,

    I was just at the Naval Academy for their summer seminar. Up until then I had been sure I wanted to go AFA and only went to NA for their seminar because I missed AFA's deadline for application. When I went there, however, they were pretty negative about the AFA. I'll admit my perception of AFA is probably covered because almost all of my relatives have graduated from there so I was wondering if anyone could clear up some things that people at NA said about AFA.

    1. The Naval Academy graduates more pilots a year than AFA does.
    2. If you don't get one of those coveted pilot spots in AFA, the rest of your career will be spent at some obscure place testing missiles, whereas not being a pilot after NA leaves you the opportunity to go Marines, surface warfare, subs, etc.
    3. The marines have the most officers in military diplomacy (this is where I ultimately want to end up).

    I don't really like water so I'd rather go Air Force but if it's really so hard to be a pilot, I'd rather be on a ship than stranded testing missiles.

    Thank you so much!
     
  2. nuensis

    nuensis USNA 2016

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    First, you have to understand that a lot of it is friendly prodding from a sister service. They insult each other, but it's all for fun. You'll need to learn to tell the difference between a snide comment as humor and a statement as fact.

    One: Definitely false. A quick Google search says USAFA graduates about double the amount of pilots (~500 for USAFA vs. ~250 for USNA)

    http://www.goairforcefalcons.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/060209aae.html

    http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/choices.htm

    Two: Definitely false.

    http://www.airforce.com/careers/#officer

    Three: Even if this is true (I suppose you could go and count them?), if you want to play a numbers game your best bet would not be the U.S. Naval Academy, but PLC. Of all the commissioning sources for Marine officers, the U.S. Naval Academy graduates the least number of second lieutenants.

    http://officer.marines.com/marine/making_marine_officers/commissioning_programs

    As I said, it's highly likely the midshipmen you were talking to were not in any way serious about what they were saying.
     
  3. ctuma2

    ctuma2 Member

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    I'll only be answering one of your questions as I'm not quite sure about the others.

    Regarding the more pilots from USNA than USAFA, that is somewhat of a misconception. The thing is that most of the people attend USAFA want to fly and there is only a certain number of slots for pilots available. At USNA, it is much EASIER to get a pilot slot than at USAFA because the competition is not so intense for the slot. However, the Air Force still has more pilot slots than the Navy.

    For the second question, I think (emphasis on "think") that Navy does have more opportunities for big shot stuff though I believe that everyone's role in the branch of service is important. For me, I was deciding between Navy and Air Force and since I really do detest water, I realized that even if I don't get a pilot slot, I'll be happy with whatever job I get because it is the purpose that makes the difference.
     
  4. yaviel

    yaviel New Member

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    thanks! I definitely agree about sifting through friendly prodding and actuality (one midshipman called the AF "bureaucratic and nerdy" ;) ) but the pilot comment was made at the admissions brief for all 750 of us by an officer and I heard it repeatedly as well. I think I'll end up visiting USAFA and just seeing which one I like best. Thanks so much for your time and help!!
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    As for pilots and going to the air force academy, it is not true that everyone there wants to be a pilot and the competition is tough. If u want to be a pilot and u qualify, then u r almost guaranteed a pilot slot. I say almost because nothing is 100%. Even cadets ranked towards the bottom of their class get pilot slots.

    Maybe 80% or more come to the academy wanting to fly; but after a couple years of school and the academy/military life, many change their mind. They see had hard the academics are and that there will be up to 2 more years of that to be a pilot. They also realize that maybe they dont want to commit 10 years. Many starry eyed teens change their mind once they get to all the academies. But if you can graduate and u qualify, then its not hard to get a pilot slot.
     
  6. ctuma2

    ctuma2 Member

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    That is a very interesting point you bring up because I never knew that many people realize that a flight career in the AF isn't for them. But I do agree with the fact that not everyone wants to be a pilot and that is why in my post I said "most" as I think that 80% qualifies as the majority. And comparatively to the Navy, I've seen statistics showing that it is easier to get a pilot slot for the Navy since not as many people are set on it from the start.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    The thing is, come their 2nd year, its no longer around 80%. It's closer to the 50% who actually wind up wanting and getting the pilot slot. Rarely do u find a qualified candidate not get a pilot slot.
     
  8. yaviel

    yaviel New Member

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    thanks! I also heard that they were cutting down their numbers of pilots in all services due to the expenses but hopefully I can still make it in.
    Thanks for all your input!
     
  9. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    Keep in mind that changes they make now may not be relevant in four years.
     
  10. iflylow

    iflylow Member

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    From an AF officer who did a non flying gig as an intel officer prior to pilot training and has been stationed on a Navy base and worked in a joint assignment I think I'm somewhat of an expert.
    Every service will tell you their the best, just as every pilot will tell you they fly the best aircraft.
    It is what you make of it....but you can make a lot more of it in the AF flying the mighty herc.
     
  11. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    As has been stated repeatedly, USAFA gets more pilot slots than USNA by a large amount (roughly double).

    In the "not pilot slot" category, USNA will have more combat positions than USAFA. Basically, the people likely to be putting warheads on foreheads or delivering US policy 62 grains at a time are fighter/bomber/gunship pilots, CROs, STOs, Security Forces, or OSI (sometimes, for the last two). As a breakdown of numbers, each USAFA class will get under 10 OSI slots, around 20-30 SF slots, and single digits of CRO and STO slots. The remainder will go to career fields like Intel, Maintenance, Logistics, Force Support, Developmental Engineering, etc.

    I can't speak to #3, because I have no idea about the comparative numbers. The AF does have some diplomatic type slots, but not a whole lot.
     
  12. USNA2016Dad

    USNA2016Dad Member

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    Drones

    Looks as if you're getting some answers. What you may also want to ask is how many of those pilots coming out of UPT get assinged to flying drones. There's a lot of talk about that. When you get designated a naval aviator, you're going to a cockpit. Sitting on the ground and piloting a drone is not the same. The view is much, much better up there.:smile: You can read more here;
    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/showthread.php?t=10621

    One more thing to consider; would you rather spend winters in Minot, ND or San Diego?
    Cheers...
     
  13. JohnUSAFA

    JohnUSAFA USAFA 2015 Appointee

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    Nice try, but RPA (what UAV's are now called) is it's own AFSC. They go to their own training, and UPT won't produce RPA pilots.
     
  14. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    I'm glad you're asking around for some clarification and second opinions on what you heard while visiting Annapolis. Just as I'm glad you understand that if the situation was reversed, or if (heaven forbid :biggrin:) you were at West Point, the opinions would all be different.

    Comes down to being at someone's house and asking their opinion about the neighboring town. Similar people in both towns, but most times you'll hear why one place is so much better than the other place, all depending on which zip code your visiting.

    It really comes down to looking at the cultures for each of the services and deciding where you think you would be a better fit.

    "Bureaucratic and Nerdy", huh? :mad: Well, you can reply back to that mid next time you see him that THIS guy's impression of the Navy is.... aaaaand, let's not go there. :biggrin:

    As to who produces more pilots, or which has the better opportunity to fly? Just some facts to consider. The USAF currently operates twice as many fighters as the Navy AND the Marines COMBINED. THEN you can start adding in all the bombers, and the heavies, and the tankers, and the Command and Control birds, and the other planes in the multitude of missions the AF performs, and see that the USAF's fleet of fixed wing aircraft vastly outnumbers the DoN's. Bottom Line: more opportunities. It is called the Air Force for a reason.

    But, truth in advertising, there are some caveats (there always are). While the AF trains a significant more number of pilots each year, the PERCENTAGE who get fighters out of initial pilot training is smaller than it is for the Navy (if fighters is what you want), simply because the Navy doesn't have as many other types of aircraft in the numbers the AF has. Second piece of truth? If you really are just making this decision based on the numbers game, the Army has even more helicopters than the AF has fighters.

    As to the whole RPA thing? Well, someone beat me to the punch about the training pipeline, but that is semantics. Yes, the AF is flying a lot of UAVs now, and yes, we need a lot of operators to "fly" them. But don't think for a second that the Navy won't be shortly going down that same path, very soon. Me? I'd personally have my trailer I'm operating them from a few miles from my house and family at the end of the day than in the basement of ship on the other side of the world from my family. But that is just me.....

    And let's not start comparing some of the "not the vacation spots" for the AF against the "#1 garden spot" for the Navy. A little Apples to apples would do.

    Me? I'd personally like to spend my winter in Aviano, Italy, or Germany, or Hawaii, or Florida, or even Anchorage Alaska (where the winters are less cold that Bangor, Maine). Each service has it "desirables" and it's "less than desirables". You just deal with both the bad and the good for each. (But I never, ever, EVER want to spend my winter in Ft Polk, Louisiana. Or my Spring, Summer, or Fall either, for that matter ... :thumb:)
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  15. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    BTW, in regards to question #3....

    Yes, statistically there are more Marines involved in Embassy duty around the world than the other services. But remember that old saying about truths, lies, and statistics. They're there doing guard duty. So, if your idea of "diplomatic duty" is to lead the guard detachment at an US Embassy, join the Marines and have at it (and there is nothing wrong with that).

    But, if you're idea of "diplomatic duty" is more centered around liaising with the Governments and military of other nations, then the mix is pretty even between the services, depending on what we are liaising with them about. Are they interested in operating with our jets together with theirs, or the two Armies, or the two Navies? Bottom Line #2: the services are all equally represented in regards to these types of "diplomatic missions".
     
  16. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    True:
    Navy to Train Drone Pilots from Current Platforms

    Also true, the USAF RPA pilot has it's own pipeline now. The people selected for the RPA slots go through IFS with the regular UPT students, but then head to Randolph AFB in San Antonio for separate RPA training. There are no longer UPT drops into RPA.

    I would like to also mention that getting a pilot slot is just the beginning. There is a long road after graduation from USAFA to actually becoming a pilot. I am seeing this first hand with several of our son's friends who have chosen to leave pilot training since last May, or have been removed by their commanders for failing to perform. Some have left the Air Force, and of the two who were retained, one got an ALO slot and the other got Missles. Our son, who in all honesty admits that he walked through USAFA without working too hard, says that UPT is by far harder than anything he has ever done.

    Stealth_81
     
  17. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    DS Just came back from SLS at usma. He left wanting either USMA, USAFA or USNA and came back wanting USMA. Next week when he goes to USNA NASS it will be different. Two weeks later he has a wk long program at USAFA. So by the end of the summer he should hear it all around.

    Though DS's comments were very tongue and cheek and light hearted, Some of the things he said about USNA & USAFA were:
    1.) USNA doesnt even have a swim class (I am not even sure what he meant...)
    2.) If you go to USNA you will not be able to branch marines or ground so you better love to be on a boat for YEARS at a time.
    3.) USNA places all their emphasis on sports and admissions is all about sports and not building officers.
    4.) Kriss Proctor,Kriss Proctor,Kriss Proctor
    5.) USAFA is easy PT and pretty boys
    6.) USAFA cheats
     
  18. kdc246

    kdc246 Member

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    Hmm. Pretty sure PT at high elevation is not easy. Not only that, unlike USMA and USNA, USAFA has there own PT standards that are considerably higher than the regular AF PT standards and they don't take the altitude into consideration for cadets. At least this is the information my cadet has given to me.
     
  19. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    :bsflagsmileyface:
     
  20. navy

    navy Member

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    Yaviel,

    Good luck with your decision. USAFA and USNA are two outstanding choices, but the Air Force and Navy are two very different services. Look at your first choice, but I would also caution you to also have an acceptable plan B.

    I have seen many pilot selectees turned away by NAMI (the flight surgeons/medical folks), or in other words, the "NAMI whamy". I believe your backup plan, should be part of your decision making process. What is your backup/second choice if USAFA, and what would you do at USNA?

    You also have to consider your dreams and desires. If it is your life long dream to fly at the boat, then the decision is simple. Follow your dreams, but at least consider a plan B. Good luck.
     

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