USAFA vs. USNA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by navyafgirl, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. navyafgirl

    navyafgirl Member

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    Hey guys! I'm posting this in the usafa thread since it was the first on the list... not for biased reasons or anything. I'm hoping both navy and air force people reply to this thread!
    So I've received appointments to both academies and I definitely want to be an officer in the military. I also want to fly (not sure what yet but I always shoot for the best... fighters;)) and I know that I would have the opportunity to do that in the Navy or the Air Force (some people say Navy is better and others say air force is better to fly so I'm going to put them equal at that) and if I can't fly... I guess it will depend on which service I am in! I know that in either service I would find something I really like doing and I would most likely grow to love that service the most.
    I'm just having a really tough time deciding between these academies, they're both great places so I guess I would like to hear experiences from people who have been through the career part of the service as a woman. Please be completely honest, you are not dissing your branch, I would just like to know the good AND the bad things about them! Which service treats their people, women in particular better? Which one has the better bases or housing and why? Which is easier to have a family in? Just anything like that that you think would help in my decision making!
    Also if you have any insight on the academies in particular that would be appreciated too!
    Thanks :)
     
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  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Air Force has more planes, fly from fixed land based airports that a family can live near, and the grocery store is normally a short drive away. Navy has fewer planes, more rotary stuff, take off and land on tossing postage stamps, and there are no grocery stores near by for 6 months at a time although your family will be near one.

    BTW, your size has a lot to do with what you can fly in any service.
     
  3. Hikes&Bikes

    Hikes&Bikes Member

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    Could you expand on size/aviation? What are people of smaller sizes able to fly?
     
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  4. Teragram

    Teragram Member

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    DD was told that she was too short to fly jets...she is 5'3". She would be able to fly rotary platforms according to both Navy and Air Force. She was told that height is waiverable but not likely.
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Here's an unofficial source to start your research:
    http://work.chron.com/height-requirements-pilots-navy-18186.html

    There are official instructions (policies) that lay out specifics for each air frame. In very general terms, the more enclosed and tight the pilot's seating area is, the more restrictive the "no taller than,""no shorter than," and "seated height."

    Most unclassified instructions can be found online these days, so you can probably find the ones mentioned in the link above.
     
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  6. EfusaurusRex

    EfusaurusRex USAFA '21

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    Kinnem has a very good point about the family and grocery store being close. Family is the reason why I picked USAFA over USNA. I personally feel that being on a ship for 6 months at a time isn't exactly the most conducive thing for starting a family, which is something I'd like to do in the future.

    Unrelated to Kinnem's post, I've yet to talk to a member of the Air Force that wishes he/she had joined a different branch, but it seems that almost every veteran I talk to from the other branches wishes they had joined the Air Force:D I took that into consideration as well.
     
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  7. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator 10-Year Member Founding Member

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    The deployment schedule for Air Force pilots can change dramatically between airframes. Pima can tell you that her son who flies the C-130 is gone a lot for short (3-10 day) trips on a fairly continuous cycle, with a longer trip thrown in once in a while plus deployments. My son who flies a fighter doesn't have as many trips, but has a lot of 2-day out and backs, some 3-week trips for exercises, and a 6-month deployment about every 2 years. Son's friend who flies J-STARS has been deployed for 6-8 months every year since he started. These schedules could change by the time that you would get to fly depending on the world situation.

    As far as physical requirements, height and weight are more critical in fighters as was said above. The controls on fighters are within a small range of adjustment so the minimum height is required to reach all of the controls while maneuvering. The ejection seat is stationary so it cannot be moved closer to the controls, only the pedals move back and forth. The ejection seat motors also have a specific range that they safely eject the seat and pilot. If the pilot weighs too little, they are ejected too fast. The F-35 originally called for a larger range of pilot weight (103 to 245 pounds) but in testing it was changed to a minimum of 136 pounds, and there is even increased risk in the 136-165 pound range so they prefer pilots over 165. Even some of the older heavy airframes are not short-person friendly for reaching the controls. I have told the story of my son's friend from USAFA who was under the minimum height and was still awarded a pilot slot. The AF sent her to several bases to get checked in different airframes and the only one that she qualified for was the C-17 and that is what she flies.

    Stealth_81
     
  8. Humey

    Humey Member

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    My only word of advice is that same thing athletes are told when choosing a college. If you dont get to play ball (choose your sport), would you be happy at that school as a regular student. In your situation, If you dont get to fly, which branch would be better for you if you had to do something else besides flying. My son is in AF Rotc and got a pilot spot. If he hadnt, I am not sure if he would been happy doing something that wasnt related to flying. In my head, which means I have no actual knowledge, there seems to more alternative opportunities in the Navy that would be equivalent to being a pilot
     
  9. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

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    Do you look better in Navy blue or Air Force blue?
     
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  10. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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    vv___[​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  11. LA Navy

    LA Navy New Member

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    It's a great question, and a wonderful dilemma to have! I'm old now, but was accepted to USNA and USAFA when I was 17. I had never even visited either school, and I chose USNA because of the history and tradition (and because I thought it would be fun to fly off carriers.)

    Everything on the other posts are true, and you have to think about what you'd do in each service if you don't get a pilot slot. You also have to know that if you do become a pilot, as a Naval Officer your primary duty is as a leader and officer first, being a pilot is a secondary duty. Pilots in the Navy always have division officer, department head, etc. duties.

    I did well and got "jet grades" through primary pilot training, but everyone in my selection class got helicopters. "Needs of the Navy" always comes first and may trump what you want to fly. With that said, I am extremely happy that I got to fly helicopters all over the world. My second tour I wanted to get back to fixed wing and got accepted to be a primary flight instructor with an Air Force squadron. So, as a Navy pilot, who got to spend 3 years as an Air Force instructor pilot, then went on to be an airline pilot, I'll sum it up this way:

    There is no wrong choice! I have never regretted my choice to go to USNA. I also know if I had gone to the Air Force Academy, I'd say the same thing. You won't regret either decision. Good luck, enjoy every experience, and once you make the decision, excel at everything you do.

    And BTW, ignore Maplerock's question above. EVERYONE looks better in Navy uniforms!

    Good Luck!
    USNA '90
     
  12. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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  13. navyafgirl

    navyafgirl Member

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    Thanks everyone for your responses! I have started researching other options besides flying and I don't think I would be interested in subs or swo (for navy) one bit! I'll keep researching...
    hahah I am trying not to keep uniforms as a deciding factor...well, because I do love those navy uniforms! That should totally not matter at all though :)
     
  14. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    If you go to the Naval Academy you can also go into the Marine Corps! Don't forget about that. The Marine Corps has its own aviation assets and many wonderful ground opportunities.
     
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  15. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    And the Marine Corps currently has a pilot shortage. Might be different in 4 years, but it's a shortage now.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, their uniforms are even better!!! Except they don't wear summer whites except as midshipmen.
     
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  16. ktnatalk

    ktnatalk Sailor. Shipmate. Parent.

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    IMG_4050.JPG
    Welcome aboard!
     
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  17. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    For. USMC, the OP must still know if she would want to go through TBS.
     
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  18. Capri120

    Capri120 Parent

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    You do realize the pictured Navy ones are the maternity uniforms? :rolleyes:
     
  19. Wishful

    Wishful "Land of the free, because of the brave..." 5-Year Member

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  20. navyafgirl

    navyafgirl Member

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    I totally respect the marines, they are tough! I just know for sure the marine corps life is not for me... I would rather be a SWO in the navy than fly in the marine corps haha. Thanks though!