10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Mar 14, 2008
Hello everyone,

I'm a new member of the forums, however I've been reading over a large quantity of the information posted here and I thought that I would introduce myself and see if I have what it takes, and see if on the things that I'm unsure about, if people could give a clarification of ways that I could improve upon my failings so that I could reach the skies and cross into the blue.

Currently I'm proceeding in my second semester as a freshman (18 years) in a Bachelors of Multimedia, but I really don't think this is what I was supposed to be doing, especially now that I see that some of the opportunities that were withheld from me in my past may now be a valid plausibility for my future.

Essentially I always was interested in flight and combat air craft, I've done tons of computer flight simulators in my past, involved myself with a large selection of combat aircraft games, researched numerous types of aircraft including fixed wing and rotary style frames, and more recently have been researching the combat capabilities and characteristics attributed towards the next generation flight line; including the F-35 Lightning II JSF, the F-22 Raptor, the B-2 "Spirit" bomber, and the U(C)AV Predator flight drone.

In truth I've never really known what I wanted to do with my life, and when I chose this career path it was because I had high aspirations of being a game designer / level designer and making some of my ideas come to life, however, once I heard that PRK laser surgery can be used on potential pilots and is a waiverable action, well I decided to re-research all of the stuff I knew about joining the AF and becoming a pilot, and I was pleased to see that it may still be a possibility.

I originally looked into the prestigious AFA, but my high school grades were tarnished in my freshman year, and I really had no aspirations or desire to do anything in them, except during my senior year in which I was able to bump up my GPA to a passable rate. In addition to those unfortunate events my mathematics, physics, and science skills (not reasoning, as I have that) were unfortunately never truly explored greatly, and my physical fitness was at a very poor low at the time, which influenced my lack of desire to participate in group activities or even at all, which ultimately destroyed the possibility of me ascending towards a higher education at the prestigious Air Force Academy.

But my research didn't stop there, though that's probably the best place to go to get a foot in the door of becoming a pilot, I knew there had to be other opportunities and so I came across the Officer Training School and researched that in depth. However, after reviewing the fitness requirements and the fact that it was more of an offer type system, and seemed to really be something specifically for the people who had already prepared, I decided that it would not be the best opportunity for me to do that, especially since my degree is a bit specific and may not be what I want to truly pursue.

Lastly, I researched the ROTC programs of the Air Force, and was pleasantly surprised that it might be something that I could actually get into. I recently inquired towards a detachment commander for additional information about the ROTC program and learned that I could do an in-college transfer through a scholarship since my CGPA is quite high, however I would need to pass the AFOQT (which I bought a book and am now studying through), a PFT (which I know that at this moment I couldn't do because I have no real fitness whatsoever, though I am trying to get into it, but more on that later), and the Medical Physical (which has me a bit worried since I've never taken a full physical before and am quite anxious when it comes to injections or extractions with needles).

I realize this is a lot of information that I'm pouring out but understand that I am doing it because I truly want to know if I can do this.

Essentially my limitations are as follows:

AFOQT practice scores in mechanical aspects were low.
Poor physical fitness and no real past experience in it.
Current eyesight: 20-200 adjusted to 20-20 through corrective lenses.
Lack of experience in mathematics, physics, and science related courses.
Undecided degree choice and no true pathway set out.

In addition, I've been told that though I seem to have an annoying lack of self confidence due to my lack of a large amount of socialization skills from high school, I have the qualities of a bright and determined individual, I'm quite intelligent and can reason things very effectively, I'm open to learning new things and have no problem working towards a goal, and that I'm a moral and good-intentioned individual.

I'm willing to work towards what I need to so that I can accomplish my dreams, however I would probably need help in becoming physically fit, as my current attempts have not ended up well, and I apparently bend my back when I go up on pushups.

Any help would be appreciated,

Thank you for those that read the above, and thanks furthermore to those who respond with the intention of assisting my endeavors.

- Brian.


I understand I'm probably not the usual person to post on these boards, but I want to make a direction for myself and any help on my misgivings or issues would be greatly appreciated.
Hi, Brian,

I noticed that no one has responded, so I want to suggest that you copy this into the Air Force section. You'll get more responses.

I'm not sure how the "limitations" in your life will figure in, but I do think that if you have a dream you should be willing to work for it. Your life is in your control and only you can minimize any "limitations" that you feel you have.

You can get in shape and take college courses to fill in the gaps. Not sure how your vision will figure in, but others on this forum may.

I know the ages to apply to WP is 18-23, and I'm assuming that's for all the service academies. You have time to work on yourself and then apply if that's the course you want to take.

Good Luck

p.s. The Army offers aviation, too. :wink:
Hi Brian!

WP is right you should try putting this in the AFA section.

Here are a couple of quick points.

1. As much as you want to fly, remember that you will always wear the blue as much as the bag. You are an officer first and a flyer second. Thus, if you don't want to be an officer, but just a flyer, re-think this. At a certain point to be promoted you will step out of the cockpit (typically for PME and a staff)

2. Math and Science is a big deal, so if you are lacking it, start taking classes. Your WCS will be partly based on your academic courses (60%) lack of these courses will hurt for an acad slot, and a ROTC scholarship. You must have a certain ACT and SAT score (25 and 590 for both V) to be considered acadmeically qual. Avg scores are close to 30 and in the mid 600s for both V and M

3. Get in the gym and pass the CFA, and PFT (for ROTC). YOu have time to get in shape....until next March. IMO pull-ups and the bb throw is what I have seen as the ones people have problems with. I have seen as low as 1 pull-up and as high 18. I would try for at least 8, and in the 70 range for bb. Of course the PFT has no bb throw, but the run is 1 1/2 mile instead of 1.

4. Fill out the PCQ, you will know by summer if you make the cut to apply. If you don't that doesn't mean you can't go ROTC

5. Take private flying lessons, will help you make your decision, and looks great as an EC, saying I attend XXXX flight school and have X amt of hours. and I am qualified to solo. Remember the AFA graduates most likely go to flight school. This is an expensive endeavor, the main goal for the AFA is to get the best officers and give a foot up for them in flight school. Showing that you are already flying gives you an edge showing that you have the background.

6. Call the AFA and find out who the ALO is, let him look over your record. Our ALO has been completely upfront and honest in what DS lacked and what he surpassed. This allowed him to start working on filling up the holes

Finally check out the AFROTC website to get even more detail

Best of luck
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I thank you for the replies, but I don't really know where exactly you want me to repost this because it's not necessarily meant for the Air Academy (as the possibility of me getting into that is very slim at this time).

In terms of a flight school, though I've looked into it, the fact of the matter is that it would cost 30,000 - 50,000 for an actual pilots license around here, and being in a high cost college already (which I'm not even sure I'm going to pursue a field through) makes that a bit of a problem, especially on the topic of hours and what not.

There is no actual gym in our college, and so getting into a fit shape has proven quite hard, especially since none of the people I've tried to get assistance from, have any real patience, which is what I would initially need until I could get my bearings and start improving on my own.

I can't really say what my difficulty is on the mentioned fitness techniques because I've had very little experience with all of them, though I am improving on my running speed (though that will take some time), doing push ups and sit ups has proven harder than I had anticipated, because of my poor form in it, and my lack of experience in proceeding with such workout methods.

On the topic of my academics, the college I'm at right now has mainly put me in a history and English dominated course selection, a long with some graphic design classes, and since my mathematics and science abilities were never actually explored in school, I have very limited knowledge in those fields, and would probably have to take some basic classes or find a very patient teacher, to get me back on track (which our school does not have, as it starts at a very advanced mathematics course)

As for my SAT and ACT, I never actually had to take those, as the college I've joined had a policy of giving others a chance without those, and the GPA I had was high enough to get in.

As for some of the acronyms used such as the PCQ, I'm not entirely sure what those mean.

I realize I'm kind of iffy about this, but learning about a new opportunity all of a sudden, and realizing that I really didn't know what I was trying to pursue, it made things a bit harder, especially when coupled with the fact that in my earlier school years, I just tried to survive through it, as my school wasn't one of those that could be considered, "accommodating".

I suppose what I need to initially focus on is getting into an improved fit shape, and to a point where I can improve on my weaknesses on my own.

However, how I get to that point in my current predicament, is something that hasn't currently been solved for my case at the moment.

- Brian.
PCQ = Pre-candidate questionaire
CFT = Candidate Fitness Test
PFT = Physical Fitness Test
WCS = Whole Candidate Score (academics, physical fitness, and leadership are all used to calculate this)

I hope that helps some. :smile:
The PCQ is right on the academy admissions web site.

You will need the following information to start:

  • Social Security Number
  • Mailing Address
  • Grade Point Average (4.0 scale)
  • Class Rank
  • Class Size
  • Date of Birth

You will also need to take the ACT or SAT test and submit those scores to be considered, regardless of how your current school applied them.

...especially now that I see that some of the opportunities that were withheld from me in my past...

What exactly does this mean?

I'm a complex person, sometimes some of my inner thoughts seethe out when I communicate. 156WPM can do that, heh.

I don't believe my school did class ranks.
Brian -

I am gonna be honest here - it's not looking pretty for you.
Is your goal to fly or be a fighter pilot? Either one - you have some pretty serious deficiencies that would need to be corrected.
If you would need a scholarship to complete your degree then and AFROTC scholarship may prove difficult as well.

You say:
Essentially my limitations are as follows:

AFOQT practice scores in mechanical aspects were low.
Poor physical fitness and no real past experience in it.
Current eyesight: 20-200 adjusted to 20-20 through corrective lenses.
Lack of experience in mathematics, physics, and science related courses.
Undecided degree choice and no true pathway set out.

These are some pretty serious hurdles to overcome and you don't seem to be started on any of them.
Academically - for either a service academy or ROTC you must take either the SAT or ACT. Schedule that now. You also need to start working on your academics.
For a NROTC scholarship - you are required to take Calculus & Physics regardless of major.
For AFROTC scholarship - these are pretty complicated and there are several types, some are good only for technical majors.

This I found on an AF webiste:

Fighter Pilot
Fighter Pilots fly fighter-type aircraft and are responsible for commanding crews to accomplish combat, training and other missions.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Fighter Pilot must possess extensive knowledge of flight theory, air navigation, meteorology, flying directives, aircraft operating procedures and mission tactics. As pilot and crew commander, duties include operating aircraft controls and equipment, in-flight refueling, cargo and passenger delivery, and training crewmembers.

The Fighter Pilot develops plans and policies and monitors operations, and also must plan and prepare for missions by reviewing intelligence and weather information, filing flight plans and briefing the crew, and ensuring that the aircraft is inspected, loaded, equipped and manned for mission.

This sounds like a lot of Math/Science to me.

Physical limitatons - you do not need a gym to get physically fit. You need motivation. There are tons of recourses out there on nutrition and getting in shape.

I don't know if this is just a passing thought for you or if you are serious and prepared to dedicate the next several years.
One course you may want to consider is Enlisting. This may not be the most direct route but you can earn or start your degree and get support from the Air Force if you really have the aptitude.
You also WILL get in shape.
Great observations and advice, JAM. Hopefully, the AFROTC moms will weigh in here.

I think for AFROTC, the AFOQT is the guiding standardized test instead of the SATs/ACTs. However, if his present college does not have a unit nor is part of a cross-town agreement, he may need to take them as a transfer requirement.

Enlisting-great advice. The AF is utilizing officer pilots to fly the UAVs but I think the 'backseater' weapons guy is enlisted, not sure what they call him. It would definitely be something to talk to the detailer about.
Brian, maybe you should look into a flying career- for United, South West, American, etc. Becoming a commercial pilot is also a great career field however, you still have to have the math and science classes and also you are right, it does cost a good amount of money to become licensed- I am currently in the process of flight training for my private pilot's license, and when I am done, it will be between $5,000-$7,000 (I live in CA so it is a bit more expensive out here). But, there are scholarships that you can apply for, especially from the local flight organizations and I know that offers a wide range of aviation scholarships if you are majoring in some type of aviation major and you have intentions on becoming a pilot, flight mechanic, etc.
Also, it does take time to progress from VFR, to IFR... until you get your commercial pilot's license. However, if you have the determination to fly then it definitely can be done.
I hope this helps.

Strange, the flight schools I've looked into out here are 30,000 - 50,000.

I think people are confusing certain levels of pilot certifications here on this thread. When you are first starting out, flying lessons can cost anywhere from $125 - $150 price range (plane rental plus an hourly rate for a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), who will teach you the basics to get you Private Pilot's License). Getting your PPL (which is basically a "recreational license (you can fly VFR, take your friends on a short trip, etc.) takes on average of about 30 - 40 hours of flight instruction (@ $150 / hr, you're looking at the $5000 - $7000 quoted above). Don't forget the costs for Ground School, the written and oral exams, etc., which will cost you a few hundred dollars more, plus your Class III flight physical.

What you are quoting above ($50K - $70K) is a flight school taking you from the start through all the steps (from PPL, to IFR certification, to multi-engine, to advanced ATPs (needed certifications)), that are required to get you the flight time and the certifications required to achieve your CommerciaL Pilot's License. These flight schools can last anywhere from 4 - 6 months, depending on the effort you put towards the flying (they recommend treating it like a college course, so you fly almost everyday). In fact, some of these schools will help you in your search for a Commercial flying job upon graduation through a "placement service" (but there are no garuantees).

But don't be expecting to be flying jumbo jets for Delta or United as soon as you get out. Most grads go on to small commuter aircraft with few passengers (hub transports) with long hours and minimal pay (usually @ 25K / year to start off). Many people take loans for the costs of these types of schools, and struggle for the first few years of their commercial flying experience on small pay trying to pay off the loans while earning a living. In fact, many getting out of the service will spend the first few years of their commercial career in the same boat. The good news is that after a few years, and after getting experience and seniority in a particular airline, your pay shoots up to the six figure range plus.

Again, I'm just a WSO, but I like to keep track of my options (and make fun of my front seaters with their big dreams of flying the friendly skies, with it's initial struggles of long hours in empty, out-of-the-way airfields, living four to an apartment while eating bad airport concession food:shake:)