USCGA vs Air Force ROTC

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by alexFL1, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. alexFL1

    alexFL1 Member

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    My goal is to become a pilot, I am dead set on that. But which route would be "better" or more guaranteed? I got wait listed at the USCGA, but hoping I eventually get accepted, my choices then would be there or joining the Air Force ROTC at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Which school or program would be best for becoming a pilot. USCGA or UCF AFROTC and please give reasons why! Thanks
     
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Do you want to serve on a ship?
     
  3. alexFL1

    alexFL1 Member

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    I have no preference. If you are referring to the Navy, I already attempted that route: I was denied from the USNA. I want the route that will ensure me flying as quickly as possible. Being on a ship or even overseas does not bother me.
     
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    If you weren't ok with being stationed on ship I was going to recommend against CGA.

    Aviation out of CGA is competitive but you also have later (not much later) opportunities to apply to flight school.

    I don't know how competitive aviation is out of AFROTC.

    I realize this wasn't that helpful.
     
  5. FutureCadet12

    FutureCadet12 Member

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    If you want to be a pilot immediately after graduation, then go AFROTC. According to the USCGA website (http://www.cga.edu/admissions2.aspx?id=314):

    "Currently the CGA is authorized to send up to 1/10 of the graduating class directly to flight school; however, the actual number is usually smaller. The majority of Coast Guard pilots do not go directly to flight school after graduation; officers up to four years after graduation apply to flight school."
     
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  6. alexFL1

    alexFL1 Member

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    I found another thread on here dealing with this, basically answering my question. FencersMother said: "There are approximately 1050 AF pilot slots every year. AFA gets 500 of them, AFROTC gets 500, and AFOCS gets 50. Since there are many many more ROTC pilot-wannabes, your chances of getting a slot, should you be PQ'ed, is greater by far at AFA."

    She is referring to USAFA vs ROTC (rather than USCGA), but these numbers for AFROTC pilots seem to be more promising than the numbers provided by FutureCadet12 for USCGA pilots.

    For reference, link to that thread is here: http://www.serviceacademyforums.com/index.php?threads/getting-a-pilot-slot-usafa-v-afrotc.9840/
     
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  7. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Right, makes sense. Of course, having the numbers makes it a little easier, eh? haha
     
  8. CoastiePilot

    CoastiePilot Member

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    Let me help you look at this from a better angle. I realize your ultimate general goal is to become a pilot, but the two routes you mention have vastly different missions and airframes. Do you have any preference in fixed wing versus rotary, does the mission matter?

    There should (and I'm sure there are) many more factors that you should consider in deciding which route you choose than essentially which one gives me the highest probability.

    I'll also pass this along which I tell my aspiring cadet aviators...I've never met anyone who was medically qualified that eventually did not get to go to flight school in the Coast Guard. Many of them didn't get in the first or second try, but the ones that stuck with it normally got picked up eventually. If you go to flight via CGA, you are committing 13 years of your life to the service so make sure the mission and the aircraft are good fits for the type of flying you want to do.
     
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  9. alexFL1

    alexFL1 Member

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    Yes sorry for not clarifying- I want to be an airplane pilot. Fixed wing. And no the mission does not matter to me, I just want the opportunity to serve my country (in any way) by doing something I love- flying.
     
  10. CoastiePilot

    CoastiePilot Member

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    Well if that is the case, you have a tough decision to make. Fixed wing flying used to be (as in before 2000) what everyone wanted to do to pipeline to the airlines but the pendulum has swung and most people want to go helos now it seems.

    I had the same ambitions as you at 18 wanting to experience military flying and eventually the airlines and had to choose between USAFA and USCGA appointments. I made my decision based on the mission and have never regretted it. If I can help at any way, please don't hesitate to reach out with a PM.

    Best of luck to you during a very exciting time in your life!
     
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  11. ServiceBeforeSelf325

    ServiceBeforeSelf325 Member

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    The CGA sends 10% to flight training every year, but that number is decreasing. The AFA/ AFROTC send 1000 combined, that's triple the class size at CGA. I would say go AFA or AFROTC. My father is currently a CG Aviator and he didn't get flight school on his first try. It just depends on timing and your abilities. Hope that helps!
     
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  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Actually 1,000 is about 5x a graduating class at CGA.

    As other have said, not everyone gets it first time. I can't remember which of my classmates got flight school right out, maybe 10-12 went. Other were picked up for flight school later.

    Before 2004, no CGA cadets could go to any unit other than a cutter.
     
  13. alexFL1

    alexFL1 Member

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    Yes it helps. It is also important to remember that there are many more cadets in AFROTC around the country than there are CG grads. 1,000 may seem like a large number, but how many is that out of?
     
  14. Chuck20

    Chuck20 Member

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    That is a tough decision. From a friend who's son went recently to USAFA and got a pilot slot, it was nice to find that not everybody that joins the USAF wants to be a pilot because of the great science programs. About half his class were going the non pilot path. Not sure if that applies to ROTC as well but it would be a good question to ask. USCGA sells flying as everybody who wants to fly that is medically qualified will get flightcrew opportunity but would all potential pilots be happy on a ship for possibly 3 years waiting for a slot after 4 years of college. From what it looks like online, an AFROTC graduate that performs in school can go straight into the flight program. For USCGA, a small number get that option to go direct. Then as others have pointed out, the type of aircraft to be flown has to be considered as USCG has less than USAF. Another option to consider for flying is the Air National Guard. I had a friend retire 3 years ago and he had the opportunity for almost constant deployment over his last few years of service.
    Another friend's son was looking at Marine Core avaition contracts which supposedly guarantee a pilot slot on graduation.
    Good luck with your decision.
     
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  15. alexFL1

    alexFL1 Member

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    Thank you this was very helpful.
     
  16. Cidgrad130

    Cidgrad130 Member

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    I'll take a quick stab at helping you...but ultimately, there are way too many variables that can influence where and how you serve. I'm a firm believer that there isn't a bad job in the military - it is always what you make of it. Before you make the decision to enter the military, accept that the needs of the service come first and everyone has a unique career path.

    I flew in the USAF for 20 years and retired about 18 months ago...but things are changing quickly. Even things you have found from 5 years ago on this forum can be a bit stale. End strength figures for USAF have changed dramatically over the past 5-10 years (the service is getting smaller every year). Trying to calculate you chances of getting a pilot slot in one branch of service vs. another will never be an exact science. All that being said, you can check the most recent USAF demographics here: http://www.afpc.af.mil/library/airforcepersonneldemographics.asp

    In round figures, there are about 1000 pilot slots per year nation wide. There are about 1000 USAFA grads a year. There are about 500 pilot slots per year for the USAFA grads...so traditionally 50% chance. The way things are going in the next few years, every medically qualified USAFA cadet who wants to fly will be offered that opportunity. There are about 2000 ROTC grads commissioned per year. There are about 1000 commissioned via OTS per year. There is a higher percentage of ROTC folks who are offered UPT (pilot training) - but OTS is used by the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) to manage short term needs...so it is always a moving target between ROTC and OTS. You have ROUGHLY a 20% chance to go to UPT out of ROTC - but that number is subject to change. Also, remember that ROTC is much more programmed than either USAFA or OTS when it comes to academic major and type of career field you are offered - it is the most rigidly managed commissioning source that AFPC has.

    Like the Coast Guard, the USAF also has a "late rated" opportunity for officers in other career fields. AFPC uses this process at a very tactical level to manage student flow at UPT bases. In certain years there will be no flying boards...in certain years there will be multiple boards. My point is that even if you commission as a support officer in the USAF, there MAY be an opportunity to still get that pilot slot (but it is quite random when and if it might happen). If you want more info on this, research "USAF Undergraduate Flying Training Boards" to learn more.

    The numbers have already been laid out in the thread when it comes to your chances in the Coast Guard. All that being said, here are the takeaways:

    1. Pick the military branch that has the mission you are most interested in being a part of - flying is never a guarantee. You could be medically disqualified, or the needs of the service could change dramatically during your 4 years of college. However, the mission of the military branch won't change much over the short term - so choose the branch by whichever you are most passionate about.

    2. Your chances of flying fixed wing are probably better in the Air Force.

    3. Your best chances of flying in the Air Force are to commission via USAFA. If you need to enter you local university or community college and re-apply to USAFA next year - that is the path you should choose.

    4. You have a better chance of EVENTUALLY flying in the Coast Guard than you do as a USAF ROTC commissioned officer.

    5. It is great to have a goal - but make sure you have thought about the contingencies and weigh the possible outcomes of your decisions before you choose your path.
     

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