Pilot Qualifications

botello

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Jan 4, 2022
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We were all told in Pensacola a couple months ago that they (like CNETC and CNATRA) are reducing pilot and NFO slots by quite a bit for both USNA and NROTC for a couple years (class of 2024 and onwards) due to the backlog. They would've started with class of 2023 for this, but that deadline had already passed by the time it was realized there was a big problem with NIFE wait times at NASC. Expect aviation to be more competitive because of that. GPA is very important, PRT scores are also important. It's also great to have high ASTB scores and a good ranking from your unit CO.
Curious...what's the average GPA for aviation? Or a good estimate of a minimum to be considered...just looking for a ballpark...I realize it's not the only factor.
 

goirish1

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Curious...what's the average GPA for aviation? Or a good estimate of a minimum to be considered...just looking for a ballpark...I realize it's not the only factor.
Keep in mind that you will be competing nationally for the available pilot slots, the number available dependent on the needs of the Navy. I've seen years where my DSs school had more NFOs that pilots and vice versa. From both my son's classes 2017 and 2021, they each had 6 and 4 pilots selected, respectively. Of the 10, the lowest GPA was 3.75 and all were STEM majors....hope this gives some perspective.
 

FastFood44

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Anecdotal; my ROTC classes' lowest GPA for Pilot was ~ 3.5, all stem majors, NFO lowest was 3.3.

Like you said, there are MANY other factors. Lots of emphasis on the ASTB. I know two people with a 3.2 GPA (I think one is even 3.1 or 3.15) but a 9/9/9 on ASTB and they're SNAs today.
 

botello

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Anecdotal; my ROTC classes' lowest GPA for Pilot was ~ 3.5, all stem majors, NFO lowest was 3.3.

Like you said, there are MANY other factors. Lots of emphasis on the ASTB. I know two people with a 3.2 GPA (I think one is even 3.1 or 3.15) but a 9/9/9 on ASTB and they're SNAs today.
Thank you!
 

Ivy22

Ivy League NROTC '22 grad
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Curious...what's the average GPA for aviation? Or a good estimate of a minimum to be considered...just looking for a ballpark...I realize it's not the only factor.
I'm not sure what the average is, and it probably changes every year. I have heard to shoot for at least 3.0 (bare minimum) if you're a STEM major, not sure about non-STEM. I'd shoot for at least 3.5 now for everyone just due to decreased aviation slots across the board. That alone will make it more competitive. ASTB, we've usually heard it's like 6s or 7s to be competitive. Keep in mind that it uses the latest ASTB scores you get (not superscore), and you can only take it 3 times in your life. Top 50% for CO's rankings is a factor too... PRT, I think Excellent-Low on your latest official test (junior spring) is enough?

I was a non-STEM major and had around a 3.7 for my GPA. 9/8/9 on my ASTB. Excellent-High on my last PRT I believe, but that score was around 2 years old at the time of selection due to COVID. Selected pilot, my top choice.
 

Herman_Snerd

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The conversations I’ve shared with my DS in terms of pursuing a pilot slot over the last 4 years were about not letting one’s foot off the gas in pursuing a top ASTB, GPA, PT Eval, evaluations and making the most of the summer training opportunities – we talked a lot about “going for it”, and having no regrets on where the chips would fall – in other words, doing everything you can control. I talk a lot with each of my children about avoiding eclipsing/overshadowing their strengths by any careless or unfocused gaps- I think these service selection choices have the same risk exposures.Don’t be too comforted by any one strength (4.0, strong ASTB, big kahuna role in unit, etc.) What I’ve seen in the last couple of years are mids who had strong Tier 1, 2 major GPAs and ASTBs who slotted to SNA. I’ve heard of Tier 3 majors who also slotted SNA with strong GPA/ ASTBs.

Too, don't let any one "lower" rating discourage you from pursuing your dream - it's more than just numbers that go into these selections.

I’ve also heard of some very seemingly surprised and sad faces who I guess thought one strength would offset a defiency –They are moved to roles that were lower on their service selection list. Anecdotally for the last 2 years, when I take a few mids out for a meal I sometimes hear some funny stories about the turd of the group of mids who got their dream selection which leaves others head-scratching – lower gpa, never volunteers, has lead really nothing, meh ASTBs, Tier 3 major – but *boom, there it is. I share this as again I think you go for it as there is some variance of where service selections land and of-course it won’t always be purely fair.

  • Being a triad member/ top 3 leader at a large NROTC unit doesn’t necessarily mean you can whoopsie tank the ASTB but still get a SNA slot
  • Having a 4.0 GPA but poor evaluations for your attitude/ lateness/ lackluster lack of volunteering/ leading/participation – not good either.
 

StPaulDad

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Building on what @Herman_Snerd said above, a big part of that is the understanding what you can and can't control. Put together your best effort, avoid missteps, keep your head up and roll those dice, but do all that with the understanding that you're in a large imperfect system and there will always be stories about things that happened, and that head-scratcher might be about you. The life skill you need then is fortitude to take the hit and keep moving at whatever goals are then open to you. No guarantees in this game, just opportunities.
 

A6E Dad

BGO
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A 4-ship BFM sortie...split into pairs, "go to your corners and at the bell come out fighting..." you separate and then come at each other, reach the merge, break, and the fights on!

You run several of these over 30-45 minutes, run yourself out of gas (fuel and human energy), recover to the field, and go into a 2-3 hour debrief. I've lost 5-10 pounds of water weight in a fight like that from fighting the G forces. For folks my size (6'2, 225) it was weight training and repetition that allowed us to fly that way as a norm.

I haven't been in a fighter squadron that didn't have a decent little gym for weight training. And of course, the base gym would be loaded with folks.

Oh, and when speaking of the centrifuge...it was mentioned above...in the AF if you're going to fly fighters...you must pass this pig. And to pass, unless they've changed the standards, you will have to successfully "fly" a 9G turn for 15 seconds. And that is NOT FUN. Put simply: IT HURTS.

If you PASS, you're all smiles...if you don't, you get recorded doing the funky chicken...

when you do your centrifuge training, they give you picture of you at 9+ Gs and tell you 'this is what you will look like when you are 50'. well, i was recently going through a box of old stuff and found my old centrifuge pic - sure enough, that's what i look like now :)
 

WT Door

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Dec 25, 2019
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when you do your centrifuge training, they give you picture of you at 9+ Gs and tell you 'this is what you will look like when you are 50'. well, i was recently going through a box of old stuff and found my old centrifuge pic - sure enough, that's what i look like now :)
If one goes the rotary wing route the G limits are for the airframe and not the pilot. That's probably why I look like I'm in my 30s 🤣🤣.
 

flieger83

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when you do your centrifuge training, they give you picture of you at 9+ Gs and tell you 'this is what you will look like when you are 50'. well, i was recently going through a box of old stuff and found my old centrifuge pic - sure enough, that's what i look like now :)
No picture of me in the spin box had grey hair...
 

botello

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Jan 4, 2022
Messages
144
I'm not sure what the average is, and it probably changes every year. I have heard to shoot for at least 3.0 (bare minimum) if you're a STEM major, not sure about non-STEM. I'd shoot for at least 3.5 now for everyone just due to decreased aviation slots across the board. That alone will make it more competitive. ASTB, we've usually heard it's like 6s or 7s to be competitive. Keep in mind that it uses the latest ASTB scores you get (not superscore), and you can only take it 3 times in your life. Top 50% for CO's rankings is a factor too... PRT, I think Excellent-Low on your latest official test (junior spring) is enough?

I was a non-STEM major and had around a 3.7 for my GPA. 9/8/9 on my ASTB. Excellent-High on my last PRT I believe, but that score was around 2 years old at the time of selection due to COVID. Selected pilot, my top choice.
What's the ASTB? I'm sure my cadet knows, but I'm curious.
 
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