10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Jan 31, 2008
Son has appointments to both USAFA and USNA. He is favoring AFA, basically for flight opportunities. He still has desire for USNA, but has been told flight chances are much less. Wondering if he should schedule another visit to Annapolis or just let him go with AFA based on what he has heard. Any advise?
well I would tell u to go visit the USNA. I am from colorado personally and, while your son will have a good chance of going Pilot from AFA, Navy Pilots are the best in the world, they are the only pilots in the WORLD that are qualififed to land on an Aircraft Carrier both Day and Night in ALL weather conditions. While Air Force Pilots are extremely well trained You need nerves of steel to land on a little floatin island and night in a snow storm. If your son wasnts to be the best I would strongly consider the USNA. But then again I kinda am biased since im already a 3rd Class petty Officer in the Navy :biggrin:
It might even depends if he wants a landing strip on the land or on the sea. One stays in place; the other doesn't. . .
I can't speak for the AFA, but here at USNA we had 344 out of about 1000 get flight school spots this year. Your son won't be competing with the entire 1000, because many people will put something besides pilot/naval flight officer as their first choice.
Tell him to look at it this way. If something happened during his academy career that precluded him from going pilot, what else would he consider doing? Keep in mind that he'll have to pick something else if he's disqualified for pilot, as the Air Force/Navy won't simply release him from his commitment. In my humble (and slightly biased) opinion, USNA offers a much wider variety of options. (marines, surface, submarines, etc..)
In fact, if you polled my class coming in, the vast majority would have told you they wanted to go pilot. Fast foward four years, and you see that many chose other career paths, because they had some experience here that made them want to go in a different direction.
Finally, have him read this. It sums up why he should choose naval aviation over air force aviation.
Fly Navy!

Bob Norris is a former Naval aviator who also did a 3 year exchange Tour flying the F-15 Eagle. He is now an accomplished author of entertaining books about US Naval Aviation including "Check Six" and "Fly-Off". Check out his web site .In response to a letter from an aspiring fighter pilot on which military academy to attend, Bob replied with the following.
12 Feb 04

Young Man,

Congratulations on your selection to both the Naval and Air Force Academies. Your goal of becoming a fighter pilot is impressive and a fine way to serve your country.
As you requested, I'd be happy to share some insight into which service would be the best choice. Each service has a distinctly different culture. You need to ask yourself "Which one am I more likely to thrive in?" USAF Snapshot: The USAF is exceptionally well organized and well run. Their training programs are terrific.
All pilots are groomed to meet high standards for knowledge and professionalism. Their aircraft are top-notch and extremely well maintained. Their facilities are excellent. Their enlisted personnel are the brightest and the best trained. The USAF is homogenous and macro. No matter where you go, you'll know what to expect,
what is expected of you, and you'll be given the training & tools you need to meet those expectations. You will never be put in a situation over your head. Over a 20-year career, you will be home for most important family events. Your Mom would want you to be an Air Force would your wife. Your Dad would want your sister to marry one.

Navy Snapshot: Aviators are part of the Navy, but so are Black shoes (surface warfare) and bubble heads (submariners). Furthermore, the Navy is split into two distinctly different Fleets (West and East Coast). The Navy is heterogeneous and micro. Your squadron is your home; it may be great, average, or awful. A squadron can go from one extreme to the other before you know it. You will spend months preparing for cruise and months on cruise.

The quality of the aircraft varies directly with the availability of parts. Senior Navy enlisted are salt of the earth; you'll be proud if you earn their respect. Junior enlisted vary from terrific to the troubled kid the judge made join the service. You will be given the opportunity to lead these people during your career; you will be humbled and get your hands dirty. The quality of your training will vary and sometimes you will be over your head. You will miss many important family events. There will be long stretches of tedious duty aboard ship. You will fly in very bad weather and/or at night and you will be scared many times.

You will fly with legends in the Navy and they will kick your ass until you become a lethal force. And some days - when the scheduling Gods have smiled upon you - your jet will catapult into a glorious morning over a far-away sea and you will be drop-jawed that someone would pay you to do it.

The hottest girl in the bar wants to meet the Naval Aviator.

That bar is in Singapore

Bottom line, son, if you gotta ask...pack warm & good luck in Colorado


PS Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits.
I'd have him visit both if possible, but definitely USNA if you can only do one. My dd had apointments to both, did summer seminars at both, and going in, thought AFA was at the top. Well, that changed around after summer seminar... She did a CVW to USNA and had one planned to AFA, but after the CVW to USNA, she cancelled the extra trip to AFA and signed her Navy papers. The reason? The wider range of opportunities at USNA. There are times that I wish she was closer, (we're only 3 hours away from AFA) like today as we put her back on the plane to Annapolis. But, she's where she should be...

Blessings on your decision--you have two great choices!