Applying to USAFA, Don't Want to Fly

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by bandathlete157, Apr 13, 2017.

  1. bandathlete157

    bandathlete157 Member

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    Hopefully the absurdity of this thread's title will not dissuade you from giving me a chance to explain.

    Like a lot of high school juniors from around the country, I am beginning the process of applying to the United States Air Force Academy for the Class of 2022. I am already applying to Annapolis (first choice) and West Point, I liked Air Force when I visited, and I want to serve in the military any way I can, so I thought it would be in my best interest to apply to USAFA Summer Seminar and start an application. Although I was turned down from Summer Seminar, I opted to use my USAFASS application as the preliminary application to the Academy Class of 2022. When it was reviewed, I saw in my portal that it had been deemed "competitive". I am now actively competing for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. However, as you may have guessed, there is a major issue I have to confront: I don't want to fly.

    It's not that I'm afraid of heights or planes themselves, but I've just never really had an interest in being a pilot. I also wear glasses, which doesn't exactly fit the model of an Air Force pilot. It's trivial, but I always feel uncomfortable when people say, "Applying to the Air Force Academy? So you want to be a pilot?" and then I explain that I actually don't. After researching on the academy's website and the Air Force website, I know there are a lot of opportunities for officers that don't involve piloting an aircraft, but I can't shake the feeling that I shouldn't even be applying to Air Force if I don't have any affinity for getting in the cockpit. Have there been or are there other candidates and cadets in my situation? Do most cadets out of a graduating class become pilots? Thanks for any of your responses, and sorry for the question.
     
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  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Apply. Plenty don't fly who go to USAFA. If you have an interest in the other career fields, do it. USAFA has some options as a new officers other services don't like research, engineering, etc. As you go through this journey the right place become clear to you.
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    More than half of those who graduate the academy each year, Do Not Fly. And because being a pilot is a 10 year commitment, and the academy is only a 5 year commitment, being a pilot is for qualified volunteers only, So, what's your question???

    Ok, this topic is closed. LOL
     
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  4. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 5-Year Member

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    As a parent of a USAFA graduate, we got that question fairly often. In fact, get ready to be the focal point of SA questions, time after time. Both for your parents and especially you. For our daughter while in undergrad, most asked a grand total of one question. Like: "what's your daughter up to?" Answer, "She is to the UofMN and will be applying for dental school". Normally, that's the end of it. But you might get one more rebuttal. Like: "Does she want to specialize?" and you are done. But with or DS who is went to USAFA, the questions never stopped at just one question; that was impossible. In fact, get ready to be the eventual focal point of just about every group conversation once they learn you are going to a Service Academy.

    People are genuinely curious. Some want to test their own limited knowledge about how it works (nomination process, years of payback, where is the "base", etc). Others want to discuss how they knew so-and-so who attended and what they are doing now. But it always ends up with a discussion on the driving factors of why you wanted to go. A portion of people think "Air Force" and exclusively flying careers and forget that for about 5,100 military aircraft, there are 300,000 active duty personnel, 142,000 civilian employees, 69,000 Air Force Reserve personnel, and 106,000 Air National Guard. A small fraction of those peeps fly the 5,000 planes. So it should go without saying that there are a lot of people that go to USAFA that don't want to fly, including our son. If you go to USNA, expect people to pontificate how they are personally claustrophobic and could never live on a ship or sub, etc etc.

    Our son had zero initial interest in flying, but in the end of college, he would have loved to become a pilot. So if you attend, expect to wonder about becoming a pilot even though you assume you have no interest. It is a natural progression for many while others who are convinced they want to fly figure out that's not what they want.

    So if you go to a SA, get ready for themed questions over and over. Our son is in medical school right now. The themed question now is: "So he is done with the military????????????? I thought he was in the Air Force?? Or how long is his payback." I've heard those questions at least a hundred times.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
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  5. raimius

    raimius 10-Year Member

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    What kind of things would you want to do? It's hard to give good advice when we only know the job you are not interested in.
     
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  6. bandathlete157

    bandathlete157 Member

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I guess I'm not entirely opposed to the proposition that I could in the future want to pursue a career as a pilot in the Air Force, but as of right now it's not something I have any interest in. As I've said, I have looked into other career paths for Air Force officers and was interested in assignments like combat rescue officer, intelligence officer, and chemist. These are all occupational specialties that wouldn't involve any piloting on my part, and ones I might actually pursue if I am lucky enough to be appointed to the Class of 2022. My concern is that my liaison officer and admissions officers will look unfavorably on me when I tell them I don't have an interest in flying.
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp 10-Year Member

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    First, they won't care. Second, if you think your alo might, then just be vague about it. Mention that there are so many interesting and challenging careers, you'll look at all your options.mention that serving is foremost on your priorities and what job you do while serving is second.
     
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  8. Montana Falcon

    Montana Falcon Member

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    As noted above, there are many other fields for an Officer that don't require being a Pilot. My Daughter applied with no interest in flying and that never hurt her a bit. She is Graduating next month, on to Grad School, then
    Vandenberg to work in the Space Lift program which has been the career path she wanted to pursue since her High School Junior Year. Don't dwell on the "I don't wanna" in your thought process, but "What do I wanna?" If there
    are career fields that interest you at USAFA and you like the program they have at Colorado Springs, don't miss out on the opportunity. BTW, Daughter applied to both Navy and Air Force and received just the one
    appointment. Understandably a lot of work to do another application, but it will certainly increase your chances of getting an appointment to one of the Academies. Good luck!
     
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  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator 10-Year Member

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    First, I hope my fellow mod's will allow this link to pass...

    bandathlete157...check this out:

    http://www.af.mil/About-Us/Biograph...08399/major-general-james-k-kevin-mclaughlin/

    This is my classmate Kevin...notice Kevin did not become a pilot; he's a computer/cyber "geek." I can say that with love; Kevin's a superb officer and gentleman!

    I think he's done pretty well for a non-aviator.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
    "83, Best to Be"

    Okay...shameless classmate pride...but some of my classmates have done REALLY well...
     
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