0 - Fast jet pilot time in the military

J777Fly

Well-Known Member
This is probably for the military guys, but it takes 1000-1500 hours TT to realistically land your first airline gig (flying a turbine), but in terms of flight hours, how long does it take for a new recruit to go from 0 flight time to fly solo as a front line fast jet pilot? i know its about 4 years (well atleast in the UK it is), but how long does that relate in terms of flight hours?
 

Matt13C

Well-Known Member
This is probably for the military guys, but it takes 1000-1500 hours TT to realistically land your first airline gig (flying a turbine), but in terms of flight hours, how long does it take for a new recruit to go from 0 flight time to fly solo as a front line fast jet pilot? i know its about 4 years (well atleast in the UK it is), but how long does that relate in terms of flight hours?
Not a military guy but I don't think it is even comparable. The selection process they face and the type, level and intensity of the training they receive seems to make the hours as irrelevant as my time in a car if I were to get into a Ferrari F1 car.
 

FlyingScot

Spanish Proficient
It is shockingly low, I have shared a beer with an F-18 pilot on here and have worked with a few military guys, but I forget the numbers. As Matt said the weeding process is such that they make it or they don't and those that make it get to break the sound barrier at about the same number of hours a civilian is getting their commercial ticket.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
By the time one is considered Combat Mission Ready, probably about 280-300 hours or so, nowdays. But, he's not let out the gate to do whatever he likes, as that pilot is tied pretty tight as a wingman and under some form of supervision for any kind of missions that aren't simply administrative. Though it didn't used to always be that way necessarily, depending on the particular job.
 

KappaSigmaPilot

Well-Known Member
The assistant chief at our school was talking to an F-15 pilot at a base tour we went on. If I recall correctly the pilot said he had somewhere in the area of ~500TT. I did hear that from someone who heard it from someone so take it for what its worth.
 

MikeFavinger

Hubschrauber Flieger
In my community you show up to the unit as a co-pilot with about 130 hours. You're a FMC co-pilot for day and night at around 160-180. NVG co-pilot by around 190-250. If they are good, they're looking at being a day/night PIC at around 500 hours. For NVG PIC it can vary greatly and depends a lot on how much NVG time they can accumulate. I look for about 100 hours NVG time before thinking about putting up someone for a NVG PC ride.

For those who will track IP or Test Pilot, the minimum is 500 hours to go to school (must be a PC with over 50 hours PC time), but the average is 750 to 1000 hours.
 

///AMG

Well-Known Member
I had about 250 mil hours under my belt before I had my first solo flight in the F/A-18. More shockingly, it was only my 5th Hornet flight. It's a steep learning curve, but you get the firehose in flight school so that much is normal by then. It takes a while before you are really combat ready though.
 

jskibo

Done
I had about 250 mil hours under my belt before I had my first solo flight in the F/A-18. More shockingly, it was only my 5th Hornet flight. It's a steep learning curve, but you get the firehose in flight school so that much is normal by then. It takes a while before you are really combat ready though.
Does that include your 190E time? :)
 

The Fez

Aftplay Advocate
From IFS to walking in the door of my unit as a co-pilot was ~250 hours. Add another 12-15 or so of assigned unit Local Mission Qualification Training and upgrades you don't get at Kirtland (Day Water Ops, Deck Landing Qual, etc). I had almost 40 hours of NVG time by that time as well. If I were to factor in all the simulator rides that would add another 150 hours. As AMG said, the learning curve is almost a straight vertical line. It's a lot to stay on top of.
 

Springer

Well-Known Member
I finished UPT with 209hrs TT. I had about another 18 hrs if even that when I was set free with a new WSO in an F-4. Mind you this was the recce version (alone, unarmed, and unafraid) of the Phantom and not any of this wingman crap.:) The IP just said to bring it back in one piece. A 24 yr old with a supersonic plane legally flying at 500' going warp eight anywhere I wanted. Unbelievable when I think back on it.
 

staledog

Well-Known Member
I finished UPT with 209hrs TT. I had about another 18 hrs if even that when I was set free with a new WSO in an F-4. Mind you this was the recce version (alone, unarmed, and unafraid) of the Phantom and not any of this wingman crap.:) The IP just said to bring it back in one piece. A 24 yr old with a supersonic plane legally flying at 500' going warp eight anywhere I wanted. Unbelievable when I think back on it.
You are my hero and I want to be you in my next life. That is awesome. For real.
 

Springer

Well-Known Member
You are my hero and I want to be you in my next life. That is awesome. For real.
Thanks but naw, it was just being in the right place at the right time and lucky enough to finish high enough to select the plane I wanted to fly. And to think a year and half before that I looked into a F-4 cockpit on static display and thought to myself there is no freaking way I could fly that. Bouncing along in a C-150 even scared me back then.

The RF-4 training was pretty unsupervised since the mission was mostly low level single ship and they wanted you to fly with a WSO as soon as possible compared to the fighter version. I had a choice of either out of UPT but flying LL really intrigued me. Career wise it was a poor move.
 

Maurus

The Great Gazoo
By the time one is considered Combat Mission Ready, probably about 280-300 hours or so, nowdays. But, he's not let out the gate to do whatever he likes, as that pilot is tied pretty tight as a wingman and under some form of supervision for any kind of missions that aren't simply administrative. Though it didn't used to always be that way necessarily, depending on the particular job.
From what I was told there was time that you could fly a in a F-4, hop out and into a F-105, and then into an O-1 all in the same day. Times sure have changed.
 

mhcasey

Well-Known Member
It's only about 140 hrs if I remember correctly to the first T-38 solo in UPT - maybe 10 of which are dual in the T-38. Viper solo was I think on the 6th sortie at the B course, so maybe 240 hours total military time.

We do a lot of sims, only count wheels up time, and don't waste tons of time flying 90 knots to/from the training areas, but yeah it still happens pretty fast.

3.5 years into my USAF career and I am still an F-16 wingman. For the layperson, that means yes I am the aircraft commander of a $30 million national asset, but usually not unsupervised. As soon as the initial solo is done in the F-16 the focus is 99% tactical and 1% admin and it still takes years and hours to really be proficient.

Write your congressman so we can fly more and get new jets...
 

granlistillo

Well-Known Member
I heard about 5 years ago they had totally changed UPT where you would get winged at 200 hrs or so and then go through advanced track training? No clue how they do it now, but apart from some screening program using a piston trainer (Diamond?) it is all high performance turbine from lesson 1.
 

ian

Well-Known Member
i had about 250 mil hours when I started flying my airplane....probably 60 of them were OTHER time, so probably ~200 primary/secondary time
 

ian

Well-Known Member
It's only about 140 hrs if I remember correctly to the first T-38 solo in UPT - maybe 10 of which are dual in the T-38. Viper solo was I think on the 6th sortie at the B course, so maybe 240 hours total military time.

We do a lot of sims, only count wheels up time, and don't waste tons of time flying 90 knots to/from the training areas, but yeah it still happens pretty fast.

3.5 years into my USAF career and I am still an F-16 wingman. For the layperson, that means yes I am the aircraft commander of a $30 million national asset, but usually not unsupervised. As soon as the initial solo is done in the F-16 the focus is 99% tactical and 1% admin and it still takes years and hours to really be proficient.

Write your congressman so we can fly more and get new jets...
yeah crazy. after about two years on station and just shy of 4 years into my AF career I became an aircraft commander in a $276 million airplane (I think that's the right number)...albeit you guys do a lot more intense stuff than us.
 

///AMG

Well-Known Member
3.5 years into my USAF career and I am still an F-16 wingman. For the layperson, that means yes I am the aircraft commander of a $30 million national asset, but usually not unsupervised. As soon as the initial solo is done in the F-16 the focus is 99% tactical and 1% admin and it still takes years and hours to really
Same same for the Hornet. At just over 4 years, I'm only about to start my upgrade process to section lead....which is right about where the syllabus is designed to put me. Most guys aren't division leads (IIRC the equivalent to your "flight lead" qual) until the last year or so of their first tours, so about the 5-6 year mark. Regardless, it's a long process, but there are a lot of skills that simply require practice.
 
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