Possible to Go USAF ROTC To Air National Guard? (for a Pilot)

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by Herman_Snerd, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Herman_Snerd

    Herman_Snerd Member

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    Hello,

    My son will be a senior next year in HS, and is getting is PPL Private Pilot's license this year. He wants to attend a 4 year school, likely Embry Riddle, and become a commercial pilot. He'd also like to serve as a pilot in the US military.

    The airline business is all about seniority/ hire date/ hours for commercial pilots. So ideally he'd like to serve in the Air National Guard where he can get a start date with the airline, serve for 10+ years as a pilot in the military, but fly commercial / keep a full time job as a commercial pilot as well when not deployed.

    He'd also like to attend college on a ROTC scholarship. Is that a possible path - ROTC College, but then be honored to serve as a pilot in the Air National Guard? Any recommendations on how to explore this path? He's an Civil Air Patrol officer and open to all branches of service.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this post and any guidance you can share.
     
  2. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Nothing negative about Embry Riddle, but it has its limitation as it is very focused on few subjects and males represent 80% of the student body. We visited it on the college tour and it seems somewhat rigid . My younger son has a friend who has studied both in Arizona and Florida locations and loves it so dont go by me. My son goes to Purdue and is finishing a degree in Professional Flight and will be commissions from AF Rotc. He chose Purdue but there is also Florida Institute of Technology, Arizona State, Univ of N. Dakota and Western Michigan. The great part about going to these schools is that you get a complete college experience. Dont get me wrong, Embry Riddle is a fine school, it may or may not be ideal for son.
     
  3. Thunderbolt462

    Thunderbolt462 5-Year Member

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    AFROTC typically does not commission cadets into the Guard. Occasionally, they will allow cadets to commission into the Reserves, but that varies by year and is the exception rather than the rule. Your son's best bet, in my opinion, would be to enlist in the Guard, utilize the tuition assistance to help pay for college, build up a good rapport with his unit, and then apply for a pilot slot with them or another unit as he nears graduation. Others may have different opinions as to enlisting in the Guard first, but the bottom line is he should not accept an AFROTC scholarship expecting a Guard commission to be an option.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Do the active duty with the necessary extra time for a pilot and then go commercial. It's a well beaten path. If he's not willing to do that then AFROTC is probably not the right path for him. Most of the guys I play golf with were military pilots first, and then commercial. True of every pilot I personally know, but I'm sure not true of all. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  5. Pima

    Pima 10-Year Member

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    Just my 2 cents but the path he is thinking of has multiple flaws.
    1. As stated if he goes AFROTC he will go ADAF upon commissioning unless they get permission from HQ AFROTC to go Guard, which would be hard since he will have his career field, i.e. pilot slot by the time he is a junior and the AF is short on pilots. IOW why would the AF allow them to go Guard over ADAF when they need them?
    2. He must apply to the Guard unit. The problem is there will be people like my DS (ADAF pilot) that will do 11 yrs and go commercial, but because in the early years they get paid very little they do Guard. It now comes down to why should they pay to send your child to UPT and FTU and ZERO AF flight hours over my DS that has proven himself within the AF?
    3. Let's assume he is one of the few that goes this path (Guard and Commercial rights our the gate). As you know it is a line number issue. He will start in the right seat and move to the left which is true for both the Guard and Commercial. Now here is the problem, which is tied to my #2 point.. Why would an airline hire your DS that has fewer hours than my DS? Both would be paid the same, but my DS will have 11 yrs of flying, and your DS has 2 or 3?
    4. Many that go the route he is thinking of will start on what military people call puddle jumpers. Great example, DS lives in Abilene TX (Dyess AFB) we fly there 2-3 x a yr. The plane carries maybe 75 people, it is basically up, down and land, repeat. It is not glorious at all. To get to the next level they have to accumulate the hours for multi-engine.
    5. As stated by kinnem, plus me, the commercial airline world is filled with ex-military and in the corporate world we would call that networking. He will have very little network compared to somebody that did 11 yrs ADAF even if he is in the Guard. Guard/Reserves are filled with weekend warriors on various weekends it is harder to network than compared to the ADAF member. Main reason why is the bonding that occurs throughout their careers.
    ~ My very best friend in the world husband flies for SWA (South West). The 1st time he saw him after winging, he shook his hand and said welcome to SWA....in 10 yrs! Our other close friend is now a United pilot and he said the same thing. A third close friend is with FedEX. IOWS, he not only has our connections retired AF), but he will have his connections through his time as an AF pilot.
    6. If this is his goal, why go to college at all? Spend the money on getting his multi-engine rating and start sooner. My very best friends' DS only has an associate degree. He has now decided that he wants to be a pilot. He is getting his PPL, but knows he will need multi engine and the ATP. It will take several years full time. I saw him a few months ago and we joked that by the time he gets hired on and moves up the ladder, both my DS and him will both be right seaters with SWA. The difference is my DS collected a very nice paycheck, and at the same time bought a home, invested money to use when he takes a pay cut to go commercial.
    7. Nobody can predict the future. Currently the AF is losing pilots left and right. The 6 figure bonus that they offer is not enough to keep them! However, your DS is maybe 17. The airlines predict that they will be hiring at this pace for about 5 yrs. and than they will slow down. See all of the points above.
    ~ FWIW, if you have investigated why there is a shortage, than you know that it is tied to 9/11 and the FAA age requirements for commercial pilots. IOWS, they didn't hire pilots for a decade, and due to the FAA the majority of these pilots are now ageing out, hence the need to replace them. Now add in the fact that about 70% are leaving the AF. the airlines will be able to fill their slots, while the ADAF will be short....see #1 regarding why would they allow him to go Guard if ADAF is short?

    Finally, ERAU is great, and no offense to them, but it is a dang gone expensive school. I am a long time poster. It is true after USAFA has the most rated positions handed out. The thing is that is a number, not a percentage. As an old poster I would advise you to ask the more important question: what is the percentage. The yr my DS commissioned they had a 93% national rate for rated (Pilot, Nav, RPA and ADM), but ERAU was below that percentage.

    Sorry for the novella, but I think you need to the big picture. Good luck
     
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  6. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    AFROTC commissions to active duty as was stated above. The exceptions to that are rare. A few years ago they allowed a few AFROTC cadets to commission to AF Reserves because of over-manning, but that one year is the only one that I can remember. The total allowed was less than 20 with pilot slots.

    There are several other problems with your plan as well. If your son graduates from Embry-Riddle, he will need to build a minimum of 1500 flight hours before he will even be looked at by the airlines. That is going to cost a lot of money and/or time. Time that he could be flying for the AF and getting paid while building hours. That line number that you are concerned about will not happen any faster for him if he is sitting at some FBO trying to build hours by teaching doctors how to fly their Bonanzas. Also, his pay during his instructor time-building will be very low ($20,000 range).

    The competition to get a slot in a Guard unit for UPT is immense and many people try for years to get one and only quit when they hit the age limit. There are also many AD pilots getting out who are looking for spots with the Guard. Even if he does get a Guard spot to UPT, the amount of time that he would need to be on full-time orders for the AF for UPT, SERE, water survival, and then 2 years of seasoning with the unit would add 3.5 to 4 years to his wait of flying commercial. As PIMA said above, the hiring projections show that the hiring will peak around 2022-2023 and then decline over the years until about 2036.

    If the path that you are proposing were viable there would be many more people taking it. Bottom line is that the AF is not going to pay for an AFROTC scholarship to have that person head to the airlines and then fly for the AF as an afterthought.

    Stealth_81
     
  7. Humey

    Humey Member

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    You may be wrong about the 1500 hour requirement. Certain schools like Purdue have an exception to the 1500 rule. They qualify so that their students only need 1000 hours. I have to imagine Embry Riddle has the same deal. Having said that, I would image that the major Airlines only hire with a minimum number of hours regardless of the 1000/1500 requirement.
     
  8. Billberna

    Billberna Member

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    I don't believe that Florida Institute of Technology has AFROTC.
     
  9. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    I am aware of the exemption for certain schools and I should have phrased my response more accurately. Even though they may be eligible for an ATP certificate with 1000 hours, as you said the majors are not going to consider them until they have closer to the minimum of 1500 hours.

    Stealth_81
     
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  10. Humey

    Humey Member

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    You are correct, I think they only have Army Rotc. I was only speaking about colleges that have a degree in Flight which is why I suspect they were talking about Embry Riddle although I know they also are big on engineering. It doesnt help if you are in Flight and they dont have Navy or Air Force Rotc