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AFRES or ANG to become a pilot?Advice?

Discussion in 'Military Pilots' started by inspiringpilot96, May 16, 2017.

  1. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    I am 20 and going to college soon and now I a trying to figure out whether to enlist in the ANG or the AFRES. My goal is to get into a fighter unit and eventually apply for a pilot slot to fly fighters. I am going to a community college before I go on into a university and majoring in aviation science and geology as a backup plan.. The state I live in now is a fighter unit. After two years of being in that unit, I will transfer to a university in a state that has a fighter unit and change units so I can know pilots in both units since I heard that they hire mainly from within. Will I be able to change units, or will I have to stay in my hometown unit?

    In the AFRES, there are several units that are in states with colleges I am looking at with major fighter units and that has those degrees. One is Utah Valley University, which is located near Hill AFB, I think, which has a large reserve fighter unit. Another one is Latorneau University, which is in Texas where there is an f16 unit. I'm also looking at Embryo Riddle in Arizona. At Luke afb, there is a reserve fighter unit. Enlisting in the reserves, will I be able to choose the aircraft as well as the unit I want to work with as a mechanic?

    Some of the states that have my desired colleges have ANG fighter units and major reserve fighter units. Which one would give me a higher chance of getting picked up for a fighter slot? Do reserve units favor people from their units like the guard? Or should I enlist in the guard and apply to the units I served and apply to reserve units as well?
     
  2. Pilot Fighter

    Pilot Fighter Well-Known Member

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    Go to a state college in your state of residency, graduate in four years, maintain a high GPA, minimize your debt.

    What would you study if you weren't considering a military or aviation career. That's your major. Unless it's a real engineering degree, avoid aviation-related degrees.

    The best path to an Air Force cockpit is probably AF ROTC, commission, and normal progression toward a regular Air Force career.

    It's a numbers game and ANG slots are few. They like to hire their own but it's extremely competitive.

    AFRES looks appealing but I've seen many folks go AFRES and lose focus. On paper it looks like a better path than AFROTC but AFROTC has a singular focus, a commission. It seems that many AFRES folks progress slowly through school, get in a relationship, get in debt, and end up dropping out of school and going active or working two jobs with no path to a commission or cockpit.

    If you don't want to be a military officer as much as you want to be a fighter pilot, you probably shouldn't pursue a military career.
     
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  3. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    Thanks. Why do you see that the AFRES looks more appealing? I'm 100 percent willing to go that route if that is a better way.

    Also, the reason I didnt want to only stay in my state of residence is because my local fighter unit, the 192d fw, VA ANG, rarely hires anyone and I have no clue why. I think its because since they share aircraft with the active duty 1st fighter wing, they get pilots all the time who no longer want to be active but want to remain flying f22s. The 192d fw has none of the f22s or any aircraft at all for themselves. I also remember a recruiter telling me they were stuck in a hiring frenzy for about 7 years.
     
  4. Pilot Fighter

    Pilot Fighter Well-Known Member

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    This is a conversation about what is possible and what is likely. The reason you didn't get an immediate response is that folks were afraid they couldn't maintain control and not use profanity.

    You have identified some paths to an Air Force cockpit that are possible, but either not likely or recommended. The Air Force has identified the recommended path. You are shopping for airframes when the top graduate of the Air Force Academy has no idea what he or she will fly, or even if they will get through flight training and get their wings.

    You need to fight one bear at a time. First, figure out if you want to be an Air Force officer. Educate yourself about the lifestyle and culture.

    Second, find a state school with an AFROTC program and academic programs you want.

    Third, don't get arrested.

    Fourth, minimize your debt or potential debt, which probably means a school in your state of residency. Don't buy a house or expensive toys.

    Fifth, don't get anybody pregnant or fall in love with somebody that can't hack being a military spouse.

    Six, makes good grades in a meaningful degree program that would prepare you for a non-military or non-aviation job you would like.

    Seven, early in your stint in AFROTC, you will have a better idea what the Air Force is about, you might hate it.

    One bear at a time. You are creating complex possible scenarios based on trivial criteria that have big downsides where a recommended and simpler path exists. A lot can happen between now and when you graduate. If you have or acquire a minor medical issue that precludes being a pilot or officer, you might find yourself with a worthless degree, in a state you hate, with a part-time job you hate and can't immediately quit.

    AFROTC was designed by the Air Force to produce college graduates, Air Force officers, and pilots, period.

    AFRES is a great part-time job with education benefits. The Air Force doesn't see it as a pipeline to a commission or a cockpit. You will be expected to do your job first, they don't care about your dreams of becoming a pilot.

    ANG is is a great part-time job with education benefits. The Air Force doesn't see it as a pipeline to a commission or a cockpit. Numbers-wise, it's tougher to get an ANG slot than appointment to a military academy. Since you could be assigned to that wing forever, being great at your job and being a good student isn't enough, they want what they want and they may not want you for some trivial reason. It can be political and subjective.

    Get lots of opinions from career AF pilots on this one. The landscape changes. Also, have a conversation with an officer programs recruiter. I repeat, officer programs recruiter, not a recruiter that needs to hit his numbers and will let you believe what your currently believe.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
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  5. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

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    The problem with focusing on one particular unit is once you have all the boxes checked (which is a lot) that unit has to have a board coming up. You'll end up shotgunning a bunch of units at once and then having to pick a unit from there if you get hired. It's like an airline, you don't not go to one because you're waiting on another. Just go.

    I'm local to the 192nd as well. 5 years ago I got all my stuff in order and started applying to units. I saw the 192nd had just had a board so I called them up. The guy said they hadn't sent anyone to UPT before that board in 20 years and wouldn't be having another in a while lol. The only consolation is that unit has a bunch of 38s to fly red air against the 22s. The guy who was sent to UPT hasn't been checked out in the 22 and won't be for a while. So don't think if you get hired there you'll be going straight to a raptor.

    Good luck
     
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  6. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    You didn't get hired? What did the guy end up flying?

    Are you saying this is not a unit to look at if I am thinking of future boards? Should I just go into the reserves then?
     
  7. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    I'm trying to become a pilot in the airlines as well. So since moving to other units will be hard, is this a good idea? I want to apply to as many airlines as possible to increase my chances.
     
  8. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

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    I missed the board so I didn't get to interview. But the guy who got hired is flying the 38.

    I'm saying this unit very rarely has boards. Don't wait around for them. Get your stuff, apply everywhere, go to the one who will get you to UPT first. This is especially true if you want to to fly for the airlines as well. The process is a long bureaucratic nightmare. You want to get it started asap.
     
  9. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    Should I just enlist in the reserves since the most other guard units hire from within?
     
  10. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely not. If you want to fly DO NOT ENLIST. Doesn't matter if you're enlisted you still have to have a good package and interview well. I got hired over an enlisted guy in the unit somewhere.
     
  11. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    I heard that they take people from in the military over civilians because they know what to expect from them.
     
  12. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

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    Not true. Like I said you need good timing and to interview well. With the airlines hiring like crazy it's way less competitive than it used to be.
     
  13. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    How do you think the situation will be by time I graduate college, which I predict will be in 6 years from now? Could I be in good timing?
     
  14. TC_ABM

    TC_ABM Well-Known Member

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    No way to tell since there are too many variables at play.
     
  15. Pilot Fighter

    Pilot Fighter Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't it be nice if you could enlist in ANG or AFRES and have them pay for your education.

    Then, expect that the demands of your enlistment or life wouldn't slow your academic progress.

    And, expect that the demands of life and your academic pursuits wouldn't compromise your job performance.

    Then, based on your service history, expect preference for a pilot slot.

    Then, expect a quick and easy transition to an airline career.

    Lots of assumptions at play here. It's all possible, but the stars have to line up. Right now, starting your airline career at age 36 after your AF commitment is satisfied seems like a timeline that you won't consider.
     
  16. inspiringpilot96

    inspiringpilot96 New Member

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    What to you mean? I have no plans for having relationships or a wife and kids in the future(I'm forever alone). Wouldn't these things be easier to do without this life demands?
     
  17. TC_ABM

    TC_ABM Well-Known Member

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    So, @inspiringpilot96, here's what @Pilot Fighter and I are trying to get at.

    There's whole lot of life and politics that's will happen before you're even qualified to apply for a pilot slot, much less be a fighter pilot.

    You're not going to like what I'm about to say, but here's the deal. You're already 2 years behind most of the folks that will become fighter pilots, since they're halfway through college already. You're forecasting six years to complete a four year degree. That's not too competitive AND it puts you at 26 years old. Guess what; 27 is the cutoff for a UPT slot. You've got one shot based on your timeline. Very slim odds, assuming life doesn't interfere anymore than it has already. Not sure where you are getting your info on what specific ANG/AFRES units look at for hiring, but it's probably not a dude in that unit that's done from ground up. In 20+ years of an AF career, I know exactly 1 guard baby that went on to fly fighters in the Wing he grew up in.

    In that same timeframe, tons of units have closed, swapped iron, converted to UAV, all sorts of stuff.

    So, no telling what the landscape is going to look like when you're actually qualified to compete.
     
  18. learhawkerbe400

    learhawkerbe400 Well-Known Member

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    The UPT cutoff is 30 now.
     
  19. ///AMG

    ///AMG Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if I would agree with the last statement (though I agree with the timing part). You can look at military aviation as a big upside down funnel, when it comes to manning. The big open mouth is the new accession (ENS/2nd Lt) coming into flight school. That "demand" is relatively stagnant over time, though on a much smaller scale, it does ebb and flow a little through time, though that is entirely related to how ahead or behind the training commands currently are with "production" of new first tour folks, and how that is being projected forward a couple of years which is the timeframe anyone with new butter bars would actually matter to the fleet. All those brand new guys are a decade from being eligible to leave the service and go fly for the airlines, so there is really no relationship between them and airline hiring. Even 2-3 years later, when they get done with training and reach an operational unit, they are in no way replacing the folks from the slimmer middle of the funnel who are eligible and leaving for airline gigs. The manning crisis the AF keeps shouting about isn't in filling first tour fighter cockpits. There will always be a surplus of supply for that. They are having problems retaining qualified guys to fill mid level staff billets, and potentially in another few years, DO/CC/squadron commander jobs if the trend continues. What I'm trying to say, is that with X amount of fighter qualified Majors leaving for the airlines, there is no quantity of new 2nd Lts that will fill that gap, because they aren't qualified to be a 1 for 1 replacement. Conversely, that same X amount of senior guys leaving does not have any bearing on the fact that Y amount of 2nd Lts are required to man operational units over the next 3 years or whatever. Apples and oranges comparison.
     
  20. Pilot Fighter

    Pilot Fighter Well-Known Member

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    @inspiringpilot96,

    It is easy to see why you are attracted to the timeline you are fantasizing about, it solves all your problems and satisfies all your desires. In your scenario, somebody else pays for your education that you plan on pursuing at a leisurely pace, somebody pays for your flight training, somebody gets you to commercial hiring mins. Somebody let's you fly the airframe of your choosing. Somebody doesn't mind you selfishly using their organization as a stepping stone to an airline career.

    You have described a timeline that borders on the impossible for a twenty year old that hasn't started college and plans on wrapping up a four year degree in six years. It appears that you are drawing too much inspiration from college graduates that are giving the ANG/AFR options a shot.

    What's left? In order to fly for a major or find your way into a military pilot's seat, you need a four year degree. Pursue that aggressively and you've increased your odds and options.

    Good luck.
     
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