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Air Force/NAVY - Questions

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Well-known member
Jun 13, 2002
Is the Air Force or NAVY overall better as far as being a pilot? Or does it matter?

I have wanted to be a pilot since I've been a little kid. I've always thought of going to the airlines, however, I still have thoughts about the military. My main concern about the military is whether I'd be a pilot or not. I realize that there is a chance you will get assigned other jobs/duties and not necessarily the one you wish, in my case, pilot. If I enter the military it will be to fly, as that is what I want and have always wanted to do. Another problem ... I do not have 20/20 vision. Mine is more like 20/50 or so. It is easily correctable to 20/20. I've had plenty of people tell me ... INCLUDING recruiters, that you cannot fly in the military without 20/20 UNCORRECTED vision. Is this true!? If so, I've always heard the military is in need of pilots, how many people actually have 20/20 vision who want to fly for the military or fly period. That if true, is hurting the military! Can someone please fill me in with some info. on military flying. Also .. I understand that there is a height restriction/requirements for military flying. I am 6'4", which I believe is the top height you can be and still fly for the military. What are the restrictions on this ... still the same? I can understand that if you are flying fighterS, they are pretty cramped, but what about flying transporters, etc.

I'd appreciate any info!
I'm not sure about the height stuff....but the vision stuff....THE RECRUITERS ARE FULL OF IT (nothing against them, but they need to stop telling you crap like that to fill their quota for a diff job)...............20/50 corrected 20/20...not a problem....waivers are there......I know plenty of guys that wear glasses, and yes even in pilot training there were several guys wearing glasses.....
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What a loaded question!

Both the Navy and the Air Force are great; it's just a matter of what you want. First off, don't believe everything the recruiter is telling you. As RichO said, they have their own agenda. Unless you get it in writing don't believe anything they promise you. One of the favorites is to get you to enlist promising that is a faster way to be selected.

Eyesight waivers change depending on the needs of the service, if they are short - vision can be worse. If they have more applicants than seats, then the requirements become more strict. The simple truth is almost everything is waiverabe.

Now what do you want to do. If flying is what you want to do for 20 years then by all means go Air Force. I've been lucky in the Navy by staying in the cockpit for 14 years, but the normal trend is to spend 4 years or so of that, out of the cockpit doing various staff and non-flying at sea billets (on the Carrier's staff watching others go fly). I

f you want to fly fighters, because of your eyes, you won't be able to fly off of the boat. I think the worst the Navy will allow is 20/40 and they are still evaluating the various eye enhancement procedures. You can also fly fighters in the Air Force reserve and Guard - don't forget to talk to them.

The Navy has some great opportunities and they have some aircraft such as the E6 and the P3 which would be perfect for someone your size. I've had a few friends that were over 6' 4" fly both. As a matter of fact, some of these guys could only fly big airplanes so they didn't have to worry about selecting helos out of primary.

If you want more information, visit the Navy and the Air Force web sites, or call the recruiting office and ask to speak to an Officer recruiter. Drop me a PM if you have specific questions.

Re: What a loaded question!

dragon said:
If flying is what you want to do for 20 years then by all means go Air Force.

Wow, what country's Air Force are you referring to -- I'd like to go join it!

20 years in the cockpit is a pipe dream in the Air Force these days. Between staff tours, remotes, ALFA tours, and the like, an AF pilot has his share of desk driving time during a typical career.
I was basing it on several freinds that have been able to stay in the cockpit longer I guess than most. I had heard that the AF was a little better about letting pilots be pilots than the Navy where they try to shove everyone through the same career path.

I suppose everyone wants to believe the grass is greener somewhere.
The Air Guard/Air Force Reserve is where you want to go if you want to stay in the cockpit forever. When I was in the F-4 we had several full-time guys stay until the retirement age of 55. All the part-timers who stuck it out until "getting their 20," or more, stayed in the cockpit. No such thing as a staff tour unless you specifically volunteer for it.

In my current Reserve unit, flying WC-130s, we have several full-timers who have extended past age 55. One is about to turn 59!! He still flies his posterior off.

I won't get into it here but the full-timers in the Reserve are Civil Service employees, albeit wearing their military uniforms. That's why they can stay until 55. My earlier quote about "getting their 20" refers to being eligible to retire after 20 good years.
There are several guys taller than you flying military. I've seen 6'5 through 6'7". Not sure about anyone taller than that... I think they'd be drafted to the NBA.

Roger Roger, what's your vector Victor.

Good luck,
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Drafted by NBA .. why not NFL!?

What is it with people being tall and "they should play for the NBA". Look at most football players, they are very tall too, most QB's and WR's are 6'4" and taller. :D HEHE ... Just my football fanatic coming out there!

Anyways .. thanks for answering my questions. I am glad to know that the Navy and Air Force are options to me. I have been told some things and just wanted to get them cleared up! ~THANKS!

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