F-35 available from UPT after T38?

fishandbike

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Feb 13, 2019
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Hello, so I just graduated, commissioned, got my pilot slot, passed flight physical, got my security clearance and am now waiting to EAD. I got two questions,

One: I am curious if by the time I go to UPT (presumably starting the summer of 2019) will I be able to track F-35/F-22 directly? Or will I still need to track something more common such as F-15 or F-16 first and then transfer down the road? I know it all depends on what is available for my class, but lets assume there are available F-35/22s... would those even come up as options for brand new UPT grads?

Two: n00b question sorry! Do I find out which airframe I fly before or after I am selected to track T38? Like when you finish on the T-6 do they say "Congrats, you are flying the F22! go hop in a T38 now" or do they say "Congrats, you've been assigned fighter, go hop in a T38 and we'll tell you which fighter you get after you are finished with the T38"?

Thanks in advance!
 

Pima

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May I ask did you commission AFROTC or OTS?

Just a little confused with your questions regarding the UPT process.
 

Humey

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My son is at UPT. Everyone starts with the T-6. About 5-6 months later you track, either the T-1, the T-38 or Helicopter. In my sons class of 18, 2 left during the first 6 months. They just tracked 2 weeks ago. 4 students including my son, got the T-38 (one being National Guard A-10) , one guy got Helicopter and the rest when T-1. Since you are interested in F-35, I will only deal with the T-38. Only those who fly the T-38 can get a fighter or a bomber although there have been cases of guys flying T-1 who got the B-52 bomber. Once the class is over, they decide who gets what. Of my son's T-38 group, one will get the A-10 as he is National Guard and the rest can get anything from FAIP to C-17 to a B-1 Bomber to F-35. You dont work yourself up to the F-35. If you are at the top of your class and if you want the F-35 and if there is an F-35 available and it is offererd to you, then you get to fly the F-35. You dont start with a F-15 or F-16 and work yourself up. Chances are in my sons class, maybe 1 other will get a fighter\bomber but that isnt guaranteed either. Now if you go to ENJJPT, which is the Nato version of UPT, everyone starts with the T-6 and everyone graduates to the T-38. While it was almost guaranteed you would fly a fighter\bomber, those days are gone and they too fly all different types of planes. As they take the the best rated student pilots, it is also the most competitive. I would assume they have lots of AF Academy guys there, but that just is just guess. At my sons base, they have had 3 graduating classes in the last two months. Each class had one F-22 and a couple of F15/16. The last ENJJPT class I saw had 1 F-35. According to my son, no one has received an F-35 at his UPT base in a year.

1. So no, you dont work yourself up to a F-35, you either get it or you dont
2. You find out what you fly after your tracked and after you finished with the T-1 or T-38. So for example my son will start the T-38 in middle to late February and find out what he is flying in late July and graduate around 2 weeks later
 

zachtx

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Both the F-35 and F-22 are available to folks directly out of UPT, I saw both drop numerous times during FY18 at Vance and have classmates in the pipeline now, but it is much more common for folks to drop the F-16 or F-15E just due to manning and the number of squadrons that need young wingmen. To answer your second question, if you track to the -38, you have no idea what you'll be flying after UPT, nor are you guaranteed a fighter. I'd say for the last year and half or so, the trend in a class of 6-8 -38 bros is about half fighters, a faip or bomber, and some sort of widebody ISR (E-3/E-8) or other ACC heavy (HC-130/EC-130). Occasionally they get an AFSOC drop (gunship or U-28 usually), but the point is that tracking T-38s won't guarantee you a fighter, you'll still be competing for it post track. It's all based on the needs of AFPC.
 

Stealth_81

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Also, if you do get an F-16 rather than an F-35 there will be opportunities to switch airframes. My son has been asked a few times to switch. There is no way to tell what it will be like when you get to that point, however.

One thing to keep in mind - The flying hours that you get in the new jets are less than in the legacy airframes. A lot of the currency requirements are done in the sims rather than in an actual aircraft. But, as I said, there is no way to tell how the future will be.

Stealth_81
 

Pima

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you'll still be competing for it post track.
+1

The slate is wiped clean once you track.

As others have stated it all comes down to the drop. These are some of the more recent drops.

KEND 19-04/19-05 ...note it is for both class 19/04 and 19/05
T-38s only,
F-15E
E-3
F-22
B-52
T-6 Vance
F-15 Singapore
F-16 TBD
F-22

Another recent drop
T-38
F-16 Luke
B-1 Dyess
B-52 Barksdale
38 FAIP x2

One more recent drop
T-38
2X F-16 One WI ANG guard, one AD
B-52 Barksdale, LA
F-15C Kingsley Field, OR
2X F-15E Seymour Johnson, NC
A-10 DM, AZ

The last drop I saw for Columbus was back in Nov. 19-03 and there were no 35s or 22s.
CAFB 19-03

T-38
A-10 MI ANG
3x B-52 Barksdale
2x F-15E Seymour-Johnson
B-1 Dyess
T-6 FAIP
4x F-16 TBD

As you can see there were no 35's dropped out of the 38s, and only 2 F22s in total.

With that being said the 35 is going to replace the 16 just like the Strike replaced the 4 and 111. Eventually you may have the ability to
 

Humey

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Messages
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This was the last drop for ENJJPT

Shep 19-02

F-15C ANG
F-16
T-38A ADAIR Langely
F-15C ANG
E-3 Kadena
F-15E
T-6 Sheppard
F-22A
AC-130
A-10C
B-52
F-15E
F-16
T-38C Sheppard
F-35A
F-16

F-16 Denmark
F-16 Denmark
CF-18 Canada
 

a400831

5-Year Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Messages
53
Hello, so I just graduated, commissioned, got my pilot slot, passed flight physical, got my security clearance and am now waiting to EAD. I got two questions,

One: I am curious if by the time I go to UPT (presumably starting the summer of 2019) will I be able to track F-35/F-22 directly? Or will I still need to track something more common such as F-15 or F-16 first and then transfer down the road? I know it all depends on what is available for my class, but lets assume there are available F-35/22s... would those even come up as options for brand new UPT grads?

Two: n00b question sorry! Do I find out which airframe I fly before or after I am selected to track T38? Like when you finish on the T-6 do they say "Congrats, you are flying the F22! go hop in a T38 now" or do they say "Congrats, you've been assigned fighter, go hop in a T38 and we'll tell you which fighter you get after you are finished with the T38"?

Thanks in advance!


I might be late to the party but I am gonna post just in case anyone in the distant future decides to stumble upon this thread.

Like others said, you got a very long ways to go before being able to voice a preference. I would say one of the worst things you can do Day 1 of UPT is be 'that guy' who is extremely vocal about wanting a Raptor or fighters in general. Sure, if someone asks, feel free to speak honestly. However, of all the dudes who went fighters with me out of my class, they were all silent hard workers, not the vocal ones.

You can have great hands and be a smart dude, but if you have a reputation that rubs your flight commander the wrong way, they will not give you what you want. Is it fair? Not really. Is it the reality of the situation? Currently yes.

The best way to do well is study hard, work hard, be a good dude, and never miss an opportunity to keep the mouth closed and ears open. I am not saying this to be mean, I am saying this as someone who has already been there and wants future dudes to succeed.

That being said, your preferences now may very well change during UPT. I started out wanting helicopters. I ended up going T38s, having the opportunity to go Raptors, and picked Vipers. The only way you have significant control of your destiny is to be #1 in the class and the rest is timing outside of your control. Don't work hard for a specific airframe. Work hard to have multiple options. Do your best, help your bros do your best, and let fate decide the rest.
 

Nemo567

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Messages
169
I might be late to the party but I am gonna post just in case anyone in the distant future decides to stumble upon this thread.

Like others said, you got a very long ways to go before being able to voice a preference. I would say one of the worst things you can do Day 1 of UPT is be 'that guy' who is extremely vocal about wanting a Raptor or fighters in general. Sure, if someone asks, feel free to speak honestly. However, of all the dudes who went fighters with me out of my class, they were all silent hard workers, not the vocal ones.

You can have great hands and be a smart dude, but if you have a reputation that rubs your flight commander the wrong way, they will not give you what you want. Is it fair? Not really. Is it the reality of the situation? Currently yes.

The best way to do well is study hard, work hard, be a good dude, and never miss an opportunity to keep the mouth closed and ears open. I am not saying this to be mean, I am saying this as someone who has already been there and wants future dudes to succeed.

That being said, your preferences now may very well change during UPT. I started out wanting helicopters. I ended up going T38s, having the opportunity to go Raptors, and picked Vipers. The only way you have significant control of your destiny is to be #1 in the class and the rest is timing outside of your control. Don't work hard for a specific airframe. Work hard to have multiple options. Do your best, help your bros do your best, and let fate decide the rest.

Is it true that during UPT the squadron CO has a direct impact your version of NSS?

Was talking to someone about the differences between Navy and Air Force flight school and that came up.
 

zachtx

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Mar 4, 2013
Messages
97
Is it true that during UPT the squadron CO has a direct impact your version of NSS?

Yes. The flight commander in both T-6s and T-1s/T-38s controls part of your MASS (not sure how it works at Rucker). I want to say it was 20%, but I'm not positive on what the exact percentage was. How said Flt/CC chooses to use it is up to him. In my T-6 flight, he did it with minimal input from other IPs and besides that, decided by himself. My T-1 Flt/CC used peer rankings and rankings from all the other IPs, and then used his personal opinions to break ties or move people up or down a spot as he saw fit.
 

fencersmother

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UPT is the hardest time in any young 2LT's life. As PIMA can tell you, if you hear from your LT anytime other than the ten minutes on Sunday afternoon, it's bad.
 

Army Al

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I know it's an old post, but if you want to be guaranteed flying fighters along side with Goose and Maverick, there is only ONE way. Can't be done in the Navy, Marines, Army (no fixed wing fighters) or even the active duty Air Force. You must apply to an AF Air National Guard or AF Reserve Squadron that flies your fighter of choice. You pick your fighter and location. You want a F-22, locations are in Alaska, Hawaii, Florida or Virginia. HIGHLY competitive but someone has to do it. A F-22 in Hawaii living on the beach, not bad. When you go Active Duty for fight training in any service, you are at the MERCY of their wishes, desires and demand.
 

EEBTTF

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Messages
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I know it's an old post, but if you want to be guaranteed flying fighters along side with Goose and Maverick, there is only ONE way. Can't be done in the Navy, Marines, Army (no fixed wing fighters) or even the active duty Air Force. You must apply to an AF Air National Guard or AF Reserve Squadron that flies your fighter of choice. You pick your fighter and location. You want a F-22, locations are in Alaska, Hawaii, Florida or Virginia. HIGHLY competitive but someone has to do it. A F-22 in Hawaii living on the beach, not bad. When you go Active Duty for fight training in any service, you are at the MERCY of their wishes, desires and demand.
??Navy and Marines both have fixed wing fighters. Active duty Air Force as well.
 

Army Al

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??Navy and Marines both have fixed wing fighters. Active duty Air Force as well.

All Active duty services WILL NOT guarantee a fighter slot . Only the AF Air National Guard & AF Reserves will let you earn that honor. Of course, the AF, Navy & MC have fixed wing fighters. No need for the USCG and the Army is prohibited by the Key West Agreement 1948 in having fighters.
 

Stealth_81

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I know it's an old post, but if you want to be guaranteed flying fighters along side with Goose and Maverick, there is only ONE way. Can't be done in the Navy, Marines, Army (no fixed wing fighters) or even the active duty Air Force. You must apply to an AF Air National Guard or AF Reserve Squadron that flies your fighter of choice. You pick your fighter and location. You want a F-22, locations are in Alaska, Hawaii, Florida or Virginia. HIGHLY competitive but someone has to do it. A F-22 in Hawaii living on the beach, not bad. When you go Active Duty for fight training in any service, you are at the MERCY of their wishes, desires and demand.

Well, technically you are correct. However, from a practical standpoint, the chances of getting a fighter by going this route are minuscule compared to going through UPT as a regular AD candidate.

If you go through UPT as a regular AD student, you are in a class of 25-30. Of those 6-9 will track T-38s and somewhere between 1 and 6 of those will get a fighter. Let's say for averages there are 3 fighter slots per class of 30. Your chances for a fighter from the beginning of the class are 10%. If you work hard and try your best it is not that much of a stretch to be at the top of your class and get a fighter since many in the class do not want them and won't track T-38 anyway.

Now, let's pick a typical Guard fighter unit. I will use the 115th FW, which is the Wisconsin ANG unit flying F-16s, and are on the list to get F-35s. In 2019 there was a UPT board for 1 (ONE!) UPT spot, with one alternate. There were over 170 qualified applications for that one spot last year. Now, in order to rush this unit, you are required to visit the squadron several times during their drill weekend to get to know the members. This takes 1-2 years until they get to know you, and is all on your own dime until you are picked. Being picked for a Guard or Reserve unit is a very group-type decision. Your stats have to be top notch to get an interview, and in the visits and interviews you need to make a very positive impression on the whole unit. Most units also require at least a PPL with as many hours as you can get. And, this is only one unit. Many people who are trying this route are applying and visiting to multiple units at the same time and spending lots of $$ to do so.

A Reserve fighter unit is very similar. The 93rd FS at Homestead ARB hires for one UPT slot on average every other year. They have even more applicants than Madison due to the nicer weather and the Miami domicile nearby for the airlines (many Reserve and Guard pilots fly for the airlines as their regular job). I don't have the numbers for the 199th FS in Hawaii that you mentioned in your post, but looking at their hiring history quickly it seems that they last hired a pilot for UPT in 2017. There are people who have been trying for a fighter slot at the best units for many years and don't give up until they go above the age limit.

Another huge factor in all of this is that many Guard and Reserve units have a policy of only hiring internally for UPT slots. That means that the only consider candidates who are already a member of the unit, either enlisted or officers. In order to be considered, candidates join the unit and then spend years trying to get a UPT slot.

So, as I said, your post is technically correct. However, there is much more to the story than you said.

Stealth_81
 
Last edited:

Army Al

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Well, technically you are correct. However, from a practical standpoint, the chances of getting a fighter by going this route are minuscule compared to going through UPT as a regular AD candidate.

If you go through UPT as a regular AD student, you are in a class of 25-30. Of those 6-9 will track T-38s and somewhere between 1 and 6 of those will get a fighter. Let's say for averages there are 3 fighter slots per class of 30. Your chances for a fighter from the beginning of the class are 10%. If you work hard and try your best it is not that much of a stretch to be at the top of your class and get a fighter since many in the class do not want them and won't track T-38 anyway.

Now, let's pick a typical Guard fighter unit. I will use the 115th FW, which is the Wisconsin ANG unit flying F-16s, and are on the list to get F-35s. In 2019 there was a UPT board for 1 (ONE!) UPT spot, with one alternate. There were over 170 qualified applications for that one spot last year. Now, in order to rush this unit, you are required to visit the squadron several times during their drill weekend to get to know the members. This takes 1-2 years until they get to know you, and is all on your own dime until you are picked. Being picked for a Guard or Reserve unit is a very group-type decision. Your stats have to be top notch to get an interview, and in the visits and interviews you need to make a very positive impression on the whole unit. Most units also require at least a PPL with as many hours as you can get. And, this is only one unit. Many people who are trying this route are applying and visiting to multiple units at the same time and spending lots of $$ to do so.

A Reserve fighter unit is very similar. The 93rd FS at Homestead ARB hires for one UPT slot on average every other year. They have even more applicants than Madison due to the nicer weather and the Miami domicile nearby for the airlines (many Reserve and Guard pilots fly for the airlines as their regular job). I don't have the numbers for the 199th FS in Hawaii that you mentioned in your post, but looking at their hiring history quickly it seems that they last hired a pilot for UPT in 2017. There are people who have been trying for a fighter slot at the best units for many years and don't give up until they go above the age limit.

Another huge factor in all of this is that many Guard and Reserve units have a policy of only hiring internally for UPT slots. That means that the only consider candidates who are already a member of the unit, either enlisted or officers. In order to be considered, candidates join the unit and then spend years trying to get a UPT slot.

So, as I said, your post is technically correct. However, there is much more to the story than you said.

Stealth_81
That's where homework comes into play and LUCK. Never stated it was easy, it's HIGHLY competitive but guaranteed if selected. Even ANG/AFRes fighter squadrons need Lt pilots.
 
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