Ideas for Private Pilot’s License

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by LTV24, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    Howdy, recently I’ve been looking through these forums to see if there are individuals who have advice/recommendations for achieving a Private Pilot’s License and getting a good amount of flight hours going. I heard many recommend CAP, some even say they did it all on their own. I researched online too, coming across the AFJROTC Flight Academy Program/Scholarship (unfortunately I just graduated and am no longer in AFJROTC). All in all, if y’all have any ideas you’d be willing to share I greatly appreciate it! I’ll include some information about myself to give you a better idea.

    Background:
    I did AFJROTC for four years and was inspired by my instructor to pursue a career in the USAF. I was awarded a 4 year Type 7 Technical Major AFROTC Scholarship. I will be headed Texas A&M University in a week, consequently as a part of the Corps of Cadets. This has been my first big break to pursue my dream of not just going to college but majoring in engineering and having a chance at earning a slot for a rated career in the USAF. I know a couple of others with the same opportunity, but they’re going in with a PPL (a little more fortunate monetarily) and it sounds like this is a great booster to the all-around aspect that’s taken into consideration for these slots. I understand there’s TONS more that goes into being considered for selection, but I’ve worked extremely hard to get this far and I’ll continue that in every way possible (academics, fitness, FT, AFOQT, etc.).

    Thanks for any and all help!
     
  2. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    I sent this in this forum since I’m an AFROTC HSSP and will be a cadet for the next four years in college. It’s my first post so I’m a bit new at this, if someone thinks this post would be better in a different forum, I’d gladly post it there! :)
     
  3. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator

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    Your post in this forum is perfectly appropriate.
     
  4. Tex232

    Tex232 Member

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    Since you’re going to college in a week, I’m assuming you’re at least 17, if not 18 or very close to it. Having said that, the only way for you to join CAP now would be as a senior member, which essentially means you would be going in as an adult member in a CAP squadron. Yes, many adult members in CAP do fly, but there are quite a few hoops to jump thru just to get to the point where you can start flying and actually logging hours. I personally know serveral people that fly with CAP, and all of them already had military and/or civilian flight experience before they joined. If you’re serious about getting your private pilots license, I would recommend just doing it yourself, assuming you could come up with the money.
     
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  5. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    Thank you Tex232 for the information and advice. I'm barely breaking even for this first semester having to pay the costs not covered by the ROTC Scholarship, so I'll keep working and saving up so that hopefully coming up with the money myself will be an option at some point. Of course, it isn't do or die...I hope my original post didn't convey that. I just want to seize the opportunity as much as possible to get closer to that end goal. Thankful for what I have, hungry to earn more.
     
  6. lcdrmom

    lcdrmom 5-Year Member

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    LTV24, you don't need many or any flight hours if you work hard.

    My son is going into his last year in AF ROTC. He was selected for a pilot slot last year and has a 84 PCSM. He achieved this with 13 flight hours. Without the flight hours his PCSM would still be around 67, still very competitive for a pilot slot.

    As you know, flight hours are very expensive but if you start saving you may be able to get a few in over the next couple of years. I would guess most people go into pilot training without a PPL, but a couple of hours at least probably helps give you some confidence. Best part is if you can manage at least 12 hrs it will directly add to your PCSM score which is a big part of your rated package.

    Good luck!
     
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  7. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    I agree with and disagree with lcdrmom.

    No flaming, but my disagreement is from the fact that although their DS's PCSM would have been 67 without flight hours and competitive for their DS's yr group it might not be in 4 yrs.
    ~ Yes, USAF is short pilots because airlines are hiring at a frenzy, but as it has happened before, eventually the airlines will not be hiring at the same rate. It is predicted that their hiring frenzy will end in @3 yrs. What does this mean in the future to many pilots? It means that many of them will now start taking the 6 figure bonus as an O4 at a higher rate than is currently occurring at this moment. If that does occur than come 4 yrs from now there maybe less pilots needed in ADAF, thus what a competitive PCSM now maybe much higher in 2022.

    I say this for the OP to beware things will change regarding how many pilot slots will drop when he comes up for rated board selection. I am someone that believes hope for the best, but expect the worst. In effort to keep your competitiveness at the highest level get some flight hours, at my DS's det all of the cadets that were selected for UPT had flight hrs. The cadet selected for RPA had 0 flight hrs. It is very common that many AFROTC cadets will get hours to bump their score, and is becoming more common with every yr group.

    LTV24 you have several yrs and large hurdles to clear 1st. 1st will be passing your AFOQT. 2nd is selection for SFT. 3rd will be the TBAS. During these yrs you can take a small part of your stipend every month and get a flight in every other month. You can also ask the parents for your birthday or xmas/hannukah present to give you flight hours. On top of that you will be home for the summer, and I would assume you will get a job, you can use some of that money for more hrs. Within the time you are up for rated as a rising AS300 you should easily be at 20 hrs at the least.

    As lcdrmom stated, which is where I do agree, you don't need a PPL, even a small amount of flight hours will help you. There are break points regarding hrs that increase the bump on the PCSM.
    ~ Another reason many cadets try to get their PPL is from a long term perspective...UPT. UPT is not easy in any manner. Having flight time in the beginning for IFT or the T6 phase it can help you and reduce the pressure too.
     
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  8. lcdrmom

    lcdrmom 5-Year Member

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    Prima is right (as usual). By 2021 no one knows what a safe PCSM score will be for pilot selection. You just do the best you can which means trying to get some flight hours to boost your score.

    As Pima said if you start saving you should be able to get some in by selection time during your junior year. You don't need a PPL but try and get at least 12 hours. More is better to help your PCSM. If you do a search you can find a thread discussing the various cutoff numbers for flight hours vs PCSM boost. You might also want to check out some of the discussions on PPL and IFT. As of now, If you have a PPL you can skip IFT and go straight to UPT, which has various pros and cons. Lots to think about. One good thing is once you get to your unit there will be lots of others in the same boat working towards the same goal. You'll also have POC and cadre members to help with ideas and advice. My DS got to know another student that had an instructor license and would take him up for lessons if he would pay for rental and fuel.
     
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  9. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    Wow! A lot of great answers! Thank y’all for the input, it definitely widened my perspective on this. Luckily these are all goals I can set to work towards. I’ll keep those other variables in mind...seems like the common denominator here is putting in the work and doing everything I can, can’t get to the next step without exceeding at the one I’m at now and going to be at in the near future.
     
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  10. ncbill

    ncbill Member

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    Does it really matter?

    My oldest is out of USNA next year & most likely will go aviation.

    No prior flight hours. IIRC, they'll be sent to a civilian school for their PPL.

    Youngest is starting undergrad this fall, enrolling in AROTC, & has been taking flight lessons since they were 15.

    Plenty of hours, taking the written next week, but couldn't schedule with an examiner in time.

    So they'll have to postpone their check-ride until after they start university, via a flight school there.

    Youngest is currently hoping oldest can be sent to a school near them so they can room off-campus together...
     
  11. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    If you’re asking if it matters to me, yes absolutely. Aviation in general is a world that I respect and aspire to be apart of. If you’re asking if it matters in the grand scheme of things, from what I’ve learned so far it’s more of a booster than a measurement considered by boards. It’s an all-around aspect anyways, there’s more pieces to the puzzle.

    Congrats to your oldest and youngest, those are all great accomplishments and I’m sure they appreciate your support and pride in them, thanks for the information
     
  12. StealthyPilot

    StealthyPilot New Member

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    I have done lots of research into this and honestly you don't need a PPL if your planning on becoming a pilot via the air force. The military will give you all the training you need, although you may learn things that will come in handy beforehand it will nonetheless be largely the same.

    Secondly the civilian sector gives different training in contrast to that of the military. You may even pick up habits that are not good for the military, habits your gonna have to unlearn. If you weigh all these pros and cons and still come to the conclusion to get your PPL, then get it. If it comes between you and getting just that 1% higher of a score on your AFOQT though, on top of how expensive flying hours can get. Then it may not be worth the risk.
     
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  13. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    Thank you, StealthyPilot for the response. You make a good point!
     
  14. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Some corrections need to be stated.
    1. It is TBAS that is used for the rated board.
    ~ That is where you hand in your flight log for the PCSM
    ~ Unlike the AFOQT, there are no study guides, or example tests. It is super secretive on what is on the exam. It is like the AFOQT, it is timed.
    2. Yes, stealthy is correct you can get bad habits, however...
    ~ You will still learn how to land a plane in cross winds
    ~ You will learn how to study the BOLD.
    ~ For our DS we made sure that he took lessons with a retired AF pilot that had been an F15E IP, and a UPT IP. The reason people fear the bad habits is because the AF has their own way even when you compare them to the Navy pilots training. As Stealthy stated that goes even more so if you are going to use an instructor that basically teaches part time to pay for their fuel, loan, ins., etc. If you live reasonably close to an AF base than investigate the pilot to see if they flew an airframe in the AF.
    3. Fail IFT = no UPT
    ~ You can skip IFT and go straight to you UPT if you have a PPL
    4. UPT IPs could give a rats butt how you commissioned (USAFA/ROTC/OTS). They care how you handle the stick
    ~ Please read raimius blue tag line, start a few pages in to see what UPT life is like.
    ~~ Ask Stealth, fencer, myself regarding how as parents we spoke to the kids only on the weekend, and if the phone rang during the week we were ...is this a good call or a bad call? UPT is a killer between academics, sims and flying, plus chair flying at home while you are eating dinner having that confidence regarding flying in the beginning is a confidence builder those first few weeks. HOWEVER, do not think that having a ppl = fighters because it doesn't since one part of the system is academics. In the course of a yr I think I recalled that students have totaled @800 questions asked in the exams during their tracking phase. At the winging ceremony they announce the student with the highest number correct in each track. IOWS, when track night or drop night comes along, those grades are going to matter. It could matter from getting the fighter track and the heavy track,

    Just like track and drop nights. it may be 1% difference, but in the end of the day 1% can be the make or break. Just like the scholarship, you want to make sure you put every point on the table because there will be line that they draw for the applicants. Those with above will get UPT, those below will not. Believe it or not it probably will be less than 1% difference in the score. If that is the case, how will you feel when you look back and say...I should have saved X dollars from my stipend, and my summer job, plus asked the folks for my gifts over the next 3 yrs to be flight hrs instead of the latest Xbox game that I no longer play?

    My 0.198753 cents.
     
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  15. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    OBTW, you are going to an amazing AFROTC unit at TAMU.

    If you were my child, I would say, place flight hrs on the back burner until you are home for winter break for multiple reasons.
    1. SMCs are not like traditional ROTC units since you will be in the Corps which demands a lot more time.
    ~ You don't need to try to find a pilot there and how to set up hrs on top of waking up at O dark thirty, plus ROTC, and academics as an engineering major.
    2. You may believe right at this moment that since you know you want rated for a long time, but many change their minds once in the program and find out about other career fields.
    ~ You have stated engineering, but not which type. Once you get settled in and meet POCs within your major that are going non-rated, you may change your opinion one way or another.
    ~~ Some engineering majors are considered critical manning. A few yrs ago if memory serves me correctly EEs were critical, they took only the top 5% of EEs for UPT and that was a yr they had 90% get Pilot. Those flight hrs mattered that yr. Again fwiw, nobody knows the needs of the AF, so just because this yr a certain major is critical, it does not mean it will be in 3 yrs.
    ~~ You may hear about what these non-rated engineers will be doing and re-think whether you want to dedicate your life to the AF until you're at least 34 yo or just do the 5 and dive and go corporate or defense contractor. Yes, you will be @34. ---Grad TAMU @22. Currently, most UPT students, including USAFA will wait 6-9 mos to start UPT. 1 yr at UPT and you are at 24. 10 yrs owed upon winging.
     
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  16. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    If USN is like USAF it does matter when it comes to ROTC. You could be what USNA calls the anchor and still get a pilot slot. ADAF has X number of slots, USAFA gets the largest number of pilot slots, flight hrs do not matter. Until recently, the next batch that got pilot was AFROTC, with ADAF deciding how many slots were left in the pot for the FY. The last batch would go OTS.
    ~ I say until recently, bc the current SecAF has decided to double the number of OTS rated slots(125 to 250). Yet, at the exact same time they have not increased the number of pilots they can wing yrly. Hence, if they keep the number of USAFA grads, while increasing OTS numbers, the only place left to reduce is AFROTC.

    My DS is an ADAF pilot. At least 50%+ are AFROTC or OTS commissioned in his airframe. According to him, at UPT 90% of the ROTC/OTS grads had the least amount of hours to get a bounce in their PCSM
    ~ My DS was a rising AS400 with a pilot slot out of AFROTC. 2 of his friends from HS got CSO, both had 0 flight hrs. 1 went ROTC, 1 contracted via OTS (their rising sr yr). Both were told the exact same thing...UPT was only given if they had flight hrs.

    Right or wrong, it has become more popular for AFROTC cadets to get at least 15 hrs to bump their PCSM. It is basically Cadet Jones has a PPL, Cadet Smith has 69 hrs, Cadet Davis has 12. Knowing how competitive it is, and many cadets being alpha personality they too will get hrs. to be as competitive as they can be for a board. In essence, with every yr there are more cadets with at least some flight hrs.
    ~ Flight hrs also help with the TBAS exam, which is part of the PCSM. I am not talking about the flight log, but the actual exam because you have personal flying experience when it comes to a question.

    Sorry, but I don't want posters or lurkers to assume that all branches are the same. Thank you and your family for serving this great nation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  17. Humey

    Humey Member

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    My son majored in Professional Flight at College. Basically a degree in being a pilot. We decided he should get his pilot license the summer prior to attending college. Due to this, he didnt have to take the first semester class that taught them how to fly. At my son's college at least, the tution doesnt cover the flight time so that is extra. Honestly we dont know if we saved money by paying the private flight school in the summer, but it gave him an edge throughout the school term. He graduated with over 200 flight time. His PCSM score without any hours was 70. His flight score on the AFOQT was a 95 as he had a reasonable amount of flight time. With his 200 hours, his PCSM was 98. While the average PCSM scores seems be around 70, I would assume his score put him on the top. From what I read, due to the pilot shortage and other factors, the average PCMS has dropped in recent years. As others have said, no one knows what will happen in the next several years , but you have to believe that average PCSM score will probably rise. If you have a 4.0 GPA, you are a STEM major, you rated on the upper 1/3 of Field Training, your commanders ratings is in the top 5 and your PT scores are 99, then maybe you dont have to worry so much what your PCSM score is (as long as its reaonable). For others, having a great PCSM score may make up for some other deficienies you may have.. My son is in UPT as we speak.
     
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  18. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    Thank you EVERYONE for the in-depth information and pointers so far...I want to be as proactive as possible with this opportunity and get into the motion of things, but I also don’t want to forget why I’m here in the first place (not to be a pilot, but to serve as an officer in the USAF). Perhaps there’s a discussion in this forum on other sought-after STEM careers in the USAF that don’t often get the spotlight. I head off to Fish Orientation Week tomorrow for TAMU Corps of Cadets; from what I’ve gathered in this discussion I think I can work out a plan with a little better direction than before, if that makes sense. Time to hit the books and do my best -plus more- in every way I can. I’ll start working extra when I can to save up enough for those hours, I guess I’m going to have to stick with my trusty ol’ bike and put that first car on hold Thanks again everybody, the realistic and outstanding information is greatly appreciated.
     
  19. Humey

    Humey Member

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    [​IMG]

    I am attaching PCSM scores of people selected for the last 4 years. If you got anything over 80, you are good to go
     
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  20. LTV24

    LTV24 Member

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    Wow!! Thank you, I didn’t even know they released that information to the public. Thank you so much Humey, very interesting data it’s got there. If I saw correctly, when handing in the flight log at TBAS, having a minimum of 12 flight hours directly adds to the PCSM score?

    Y’all have gone above and beyond, seriously big thanks.