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Branches in need of pilots?

PilotOnTheRise

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What branches of the military are most in need of pilots? I've heard the Marines are short, and need pilots badly, while the Air Force is much more competitive, and also overmanned. What about the Navy?

If you get accepted by the Marines or Navy, what are the chances of flying fixed wing vs. helicopters?

I recently enlisted in the ANG, and have planned, once graduating, to apply for a slot with my unit, but I am not ruling out applying for an active duty slot with one of the branches.
 

Galaga

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Helos are a blast to fly!!!!

I would have had a better time had I not been in the Army, but that's not the point...it's all about the flying!

I think all branches need pilots. As this war drags on, I think you'll find more need than we've seen in a long while. Find the branch that best suits you and go for it if that's what you want!
 

LAFrequentflyer

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Go Af!!!

If you want to fly go into the AF...Nothing against the other services...But, I'm a pround AF mustang!

-LA
 

PilotOnTheRise

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You flew helos for the Army? What are you doing now? Personally I'll fly anything I get put in, but, if I don't make flying for the military a career, I want to make it a career flying civilian. I've always assumed I would fly for the airlines, but what opportunities are there for helo guys outside of the military?
 

Galaga

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I'm flying MD80s right now...

I'm not a big fan of the Army (sorry Army guys/gals). I went in when I was 19 as the Army is the only branch that lets kids with no degree fly.

I had a good time and I grew up a good deal. Although, I did find out very quickly I wasn't a yes sir - no sir kind of guy. I did 6 years worth of fun then called it quits. I finished up my fixed wing stuff during college and then did the turbo prop thing, then the RJ thing, and now the -80 thing...

For quality of life while in the service, the AF is the best. When we went to the field to play war, the AF guys who played with us got to stay in a nice hotel. I got to sleep with the snakes and bugs and other fun crap in the desert.
 

SIG600

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LAFrequentflyer said:
If you want to fly go into the AF...Nothing against the other services...But, I'm a pround AF mustang!

-LA

To counter this... I'd fly for the Navy or Marines and no one else. AF is too up tight, BUT THATS JUST MY OPINION! (Before this turns into a pissing match).

Everyone flies cool sh!t though.


As far as fixed wing vs. helo in the Navy... unless you just really wind up at the bottom of the list when you finish primary, or theres a huge helo draft (I never saw one)... you can chose from P-3's, E-6's, E-2/C-2, jets, etc.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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SIG600 said:
To counter this... I'd fly for the Navy or Marines and no one else. AF is too up tight, BUT THATS JUST MY OPINION! (Before this turns into a pissing match).

Everyone flies cool sh!t though.


As far as fixed wing vs. helo in the Navy... unless you just really wind up at the bottom of the list when you finish primary, or theres a huge helo draft (I never saw one)... you can chose from P-3's, E-6's, E-2/C-2, jets, etc.

I see you are/were in the Navy. What did/do you fly? They are all competitive, but how competitive is the Navy as far as getting a pilot slot? The Air Force, understandably, has a lot of people trying to be pilots, afterall, it is the Air Force. Is this the case with the Navy too?
 

talondriver

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SIG600 said:
To counter this... I'd fly for the Navy or Marines and no one else. AF is too up tight, BUT THATS JUST MY OPINION! (Before this turns into a pissing match).

UPTIGHT...UPTIGHT???? WHAT DO YOU MEAN UPTIGHT????? ARRGGG!!!!

I'd stay here and start pissin' but I have to put my pubs together before they do another no-notice pubs check. Then, I have to put my board together for my briefing so I cover all the special interest items the command thought up themselves. Oh...and I need to sign off the 1,000th FCIF to make sure they know I won't fly fast and low at civilian fields...again. :D
 
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TankerDriver

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Quality of life is going to vary greatly from branch to branch, from airframe to airframe and depend on what's going on in the world and where you are deployed. One can't say the AF has a better quality of life than the Navy vs. the other. War tends to alter the "good life" quite a bit. Do your homework before you join active duty.
 

say again

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Is it true that the military is now taking pilots with LASIK??
 

sardaddy

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The Coast Guard is always looking for pilots. Odds are you will be a helo pilot but it is the best gig in the military.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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sardaddy said:
The Coast Guard is always looking for pilots. Odds are you will be a helo pilot but it is the best gig in the military.

I assume you are in the Coast Guard flying/instructing in helos. How is the Coast Guard? I wouldn't mind flying for them at all.
 

SIG600

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Military needs for pilots change about every 6 months... it's a slinky effect. One year they'll be fat on pilots trying to cut as many as they can, the next they'll miss their goals by several hundred. The Navy has people trying to get into dozens of different communities. SWO, Intel, Crypto, Sub nukes, Supply, Pilot, NFO, etc... there are all kinds of career fields.


A good AF vs. Navy comparison thats been circulating for years...


USN or USAF? by Bob Norris

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 at his web site. Click Here. 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 pilot...so 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.

Banzai

PS Air Force pilots wear scarves and iron their flight suits.
 

slacker

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Another letter

I know this doesn't keep with the whole interservice rivalry theme going on in this thread, but here's another letter of guidance to a youth pondering a career in the Air Force. It's probably been posted here before, but it's still funny.

To LtCol Van Wickler:

Sir,

I am DJ Baker and I would appreciate it if you could tell me what it takes to be an F-16 fighter pilot of the USAF. What classes should I take in high school to help the career I want to take later in my life? What could I do to get in the academy?

Sincerely

DJ Baker

REPLY:

Dear DJ,

Obviously, through no fault of your own, your young, impressionable brain has been poisoned by the superfluous, hyped-up, "Top Gun" Media portrayal of fighter pilots. Unfortunately, this portrayal could not be further from the truth. In my experience, I've found most fighter pilots pompous, back-stabbing, momma's boys with inferiority complexes, as well as being extremely over-rated aeronautically.

However, rather than dash your budding dreams of becoming a USAF pilot, I offer the following alternative: What you REALLY want to aspire to is the exiting, challenging, and rewarding world of TACTICAL AIRLIFT. And this, young DJ, means one thing....the venerable workhorse, THE C-130! I can guarantee no fighter pilot can brag that he has led a 12-ship formation down a valley at 300 ft above the ground, while trying to interpret a 9-line to a new DZ, avoiding pop-up threats, and coordinating with AWACS, all while eating a box lunch, with the engineer in the back taking a piss and the navigator puking in his trash can! I tell you, DJ, TAC Airlift is where it's at!

Where else is it legal to throw tanks, HMMWVs, and other crap out the back of an airplane, and not even worry about it when the chute doesn't open and it torpedoes the General's staff car! No where else can you land on a 3000' dirt strip, kick a bunch of ammo and stuff off the ramp without even stopping, then take off again before range control can call to tell you you've landed on the wrong LZ! And talk about exotic travel-when C-130s go somewhere, they GO somewhere (usually for 3 months, unfortunately). This gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture enough to give any natives a bad taste in their mouths re the USAF and Americans in general, not something those strat-lift pilots can do from their airport hotel rooms!

As far as recommendations for your course of study, I offer these:

Take a lot of math courses. You will need all the advanced math skills you can muster to enable you to calculate per diem rates around the world, when trying to split up the crew's bar tab so that the co-pilot really believes he owes 85% of the whole thing and the nav believing he owes the other 20.

Health sciences are important, too. You will need a thorough knowledge of biology to make those educated guesses of how much longer you can drink beer before the tremendous case of the shoots catches up to you from that meal you ate at that place that had the belly dancers in some God-forsaken foreign country whose name you can't even pronounce!

Social studies are also beneficial. It is important for a good TAC Airlifter to have the cultural knowledge to be able to ascertain the exact location of the nearest titty bar in any country in the world, then be able to convince the local authorities to release the loadmaster after he offends every sensibility of the local religion and culture.

A foreign language is helpful, but not required. You will never be able to pronounce the names of the NAVAIDs in France, and it's much easier to ignore them and go where you want to anyway. As a rule of thumb: Waiters and bellhops in France are always called "Pierre", in Spain it's "Hey, Pedro" and in Italy, of course, it's "Mario." These terms of address also serve in other countries interchangeably, depending upon the level of swarth of the addresee.

A study of geography is also paramount. You will need to know the basic location of all the places you've been when you get back from your TDY and are ready to stick those little pins in that huge world map you've got taped to you living room wall, right next to that gigantic wooden giraffe statue and beer stein collection.

Well, DJ, I hope this little note inspires you. And by the way, forget about that Academy thing. All TAC Airlifters know that there are waaay too few women and too little alcohol there to provide a well-balanced

education. A nice, big state college would be a much better choice. Good luck and see you on the SKE scope!

Maj. Hunter Mills
 

tubelo

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SIG600 said:
As far as fixed wing vs. helo in the Navy... unless you just really wind up at the bottom of the list when you finish primary, or theres a huge helo draft (I never saw one)... you can chose from P-3's, E-6's, E-2/C-2, jets, etc.

Not sure I compeletly agree with the above. Current manning has helo pilots approaching 50% of aviators. This includes NFOs. Take out NFOs and the percentage obviously increases. That being said, you have a higher percentage of "selecting" (read being selected for) helos. Consider the fol quote given at a Tailhook conventioin (jet guy party):

“Helos are our only growth industry” in naval aviation, Quinn told the 2003 Tailhook Convention, in Reno, Nev. When the Navy begins fielding two helicopter squadrons per carrier, by 2008, at least 56 percent of all naval aviators will be helicopter pilots."

All that being said, helos are a blast to fly. One positive thing about being a Navy pilot is you are initially trained in fixed-wing and then transition to helos. After you first tour there are plenty of opportunities to transfer to fixed wing (although you will always have the "Scarlet H" stink on you). Also, being dual qualed opens up a lot of doors to a greater segment of aviation when you get out.
 

GoingHot

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PilotOnTheRise said:
What branches of the military are most in need of pilots?

None of the Services are looking for "Pilots". However they are looking for prospective Officers who may want to enter flight training.

If you just want to be a "Pilot", and have no interest in being an Officer and all that goes with the position, don't join the military. Instead, flight instruct, fly jumpers, tow banners, fly traffic, etc, until you reach 1200 hours total and Part 135 mins. At that point, get on with a 135 freight operation. Do a search. They have all been discussed in detail, the good the bad and the ugly. You may fly 1000 hours in your first year as a freight dawg. Depending on the airframe, it may take 10 years for that much flight time in the military, maybe 20 if you're an Army Commissioned Officer.

Please don't burden the military with another "Pilot".
 

SIG600

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viper548 said:
I gotta call BS on that

I've seen it happen. Watched 4 AF guys get done flying, go back to their Q rooms before showing up the the club in their freshly ironed, clean flight suits.... mean while the rest of us just stripped out of our gear, and were beer in hand within 20 minutes of shut down. And technically their called "ascots" but still look a little gay.
 

SB Diver

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I left the Training Command earlier this year as an instructor, so here is my stab at some of the questions. I

t seemed as though the Marines weren't in any bind of having too many or not enough aviators. Out of Primary you get about 2/3rds helo slots vs 1/3 jet slots, with a few C-130 slots here and there (maybe about 5-8% of the selection). They are just starting to select the first V-22 pilots and that will only grow as the CH-46 slowly goes away.

The Navy had too many student pilots and were looking to allow some of them to leave the service without any commitment to pay back for school (academy or ROTC). They were shrinking their jet community (with F-14's and S-3's going away) so it will be more difficult to select them out of primary. It seemed as though the Navy helo community was growing a lot and will be the largest group of aircraft type. P-3's were also slowly going away (being replaced by the 737?) and that community was shrinking as well. The E-2/C-2 community was staying the same size.

Again, just my two cents...
 

sardaddy

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"I assume you are in the Coast Guard flying/instructing in helos. How is the Coast Guard? I wouldn't mind flying for them at all."

Yes, I am actually an instructor at the Aviation Training Center in Mobile. I can't say enough about being in the Coast Guard especially as a pilot. We are treated well, we have great people, get to fly a lot, and the mission rocks. I did ten years in the Army prior to doing this and while I am glad for the opportunity they provided, there is no comparison.
 
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