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Flying for the Air National Guard

The E-Train

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I'm new to this webforum, so bare with me..

I was curious what the flying opportunities with the various Air National Guard units. Do they primarily get guys coming off active duty? Do they hire anyone with no flight experience to fly for them?

I am currently looking to finish my Masters degree and am considering a career in aviation. A pilot friend of mine who goes to my church who flies for American (a former USAF pilot) said that Air National Guard units are a great deal, being able to fly great planes on the weekend, as well as having a "normal" job.

Any info would be great!

Thanks,

E-Train
 

rtmcc74

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I'm new to the forum too, but here's what I know. First, read my message under "trying to decide" (also in the military threads) about the benefits of Guard/Reserve vs. Active duty. Without putting it all here, I just joined the AF reserve from AD, and it's a different world.
Concerning the no flight experience, that all depends on the particular unit you're looking at. Here's the thing, it saves them time and money if they hire someone who's already trained in their aircraft; quicker spin-up time and less money for them. Next, they'll be looking at some enlisted folks in their unit who want to get a commission and then go to pilot training, sorta taking care of their own, if you will. However, sometimes they do hire guys off the street with no experience, send them to OTS and UPT, and you're in. However, there are some things that will help you with that. If you have any flight experience at all (i.e. going to the local airport and starting lessons), it shows a desire. Probably even more important, is the unit you choose to apply for. Guard/reserve are big on guys who will be with them for a while, not move on after a year or two, wasting their time. For me, I chose Colorado Springs because I went to school here, my wife has family here, and this is a place we want to live. They like that stuff. For example, if you're from Texas, you've already got a leg up for the Ft. Worth 130 unit. I recommend calling up the unit you're looking at, and go to the flying squadron. Don't mess with the recruiter, as he'll tell you whatever you want to hear to rope you in ('sure, we send guys to NASA all the time!'). Hope this lengthy response helps; good luck in your search.
 

G100F16

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Guard units are great. They are also like families, however. That means they all have different personalities...good and bad. Most of them want to hire people that they will LIKE to work with for a LONG TIME. You probably want to be in a unit that YOU like and are liked. So...visit a few of them, decide if you can fit in and they will (for sure) be figuring out if YOU would fit in with THEM.

Most of them will ask "why do you want to be in THIS unit". Replying "because you fly the coolest plane" is not going to win you points. You need to have a reason...like "I'm FROM here and I want to live here the rest of my life...and serve in this unit." So - think of where you call home and start there.

Nice about 'picking' a guard unit is you know what you'll be flying if you make it through the whole process.

I've done both active and guard...and the guard ROCKS!
 

AdlerDriver

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The E-Train said:
I am currently looking to finish my Masters degree and am considering a career in aviation. A pilot friend of mine who goes to my church who flies for American (a former USAF pilot) said that Air National Guard units are a great deal, being able to fly great planes on the weekend, as well as having a "normal" job.

Any info would be great!

Thanks,

E-Train
I'm in an F-15 Guard unit and we might hire 1 newbie off the street on average every 2 years. I don't know what other units are like. It's very competative to get the slot but very worth it. Most guys are experienced and hired off AD.

One other thing. It won't be a weekend flying gig ever. You will spend about 3.5-4 years on what amounts to active duty. It will take almost 2 full years to be fully trained in a fighter and back at your unit. You'll probably be put on full time status for a couple of years to be "seasoned" and get some experience.

You won't be worth much as a pilot in the unit if you attempt to be a part timer without any experience. One of the reasons the Guard hires experienced guys off the AD is they can handle doing it part time. Even as a part timer you'll be flying 8-10 days a month on average. The only weekend flying you'll do is the one drill weekend a month. The rest of the time it's Mon-Fri. Oh, and if you're a full timer, you'll work 12 days in a row since drill weekend will have a Mon-Fri on either end of it. Just trying to give you a little perspective. This is a fighter unit. The heavies have different training and may have a lighter schedule and opportunities to be part time sooner. Maybe one of them will chime in.
Good Luck
 

MVSW

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Iam in the 189th in Little Rock and the guard unit here ONLY takes people that are already in the wing. We take 1 pilot every 2 years!! Most people that go to the board already have time and have been in the unit about 2-4 years. Might want to check out another guard unit besides the 189th.
 

MVSW

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Oh yeah! and you fly alot more than just 1 weekend a month
 

gear_guy

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That just reminded me of a picture I saw of a guy on a tank in Iraq holding up a sign that said "one weekend a month....my a$$." Made me laugh.:)
 

CobraKai

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gear_guy said:
That just reminded me of a picture I saw of a guy on a tank in Iraq holding up a sign that said "one weekend a month....my a$$." Made me laugh.:)

Saw the same thing on a t-shirt in the sandbox. It was a lot longer than one weekend for them too.
 

G100F16

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Adler is right on all accounts...being a traditional guardsman (at least in a ftr unit) is NOT a weekend/month commitment. Min of 8 days a month (including drill weekend), and like Adler said...you can plan on at LEAST 3 yrs of full time duty/flying to get the basics down. Otherwise, you'll never have a solid foundation of flying when/if you go part-time.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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Are you paid as though you are on active duty during this 2-3 yrs. of full time duty/flying, or how does that work?
 

hindsight2020

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Yes, for the duration of your flight training, you will recieve active duty pay and allowances according to the pay tables. You will have base pay, flight pay, an allowance for subsistence and an allowance for housing along with the other perks. (well BAH depends on several factors but we won't go into that)

You are looking at UPT, which is Phases I, II and III; then your formal training unit (where you will fly your assigned airframe; add the IFF course before the FTU in the case of fighters) and then you get back to your home unit.

Now once back home, you will have 'MQT' which is basically a period of seasoning to get you ready; this period is of reasonable length so you should expect to fly almost full-time during this time and be compensated appropriately although I'm not sure if you get all the oher perks while on MQT as you did on UPT.

After that you're a traditional (part-timer). All in all about 1.5-2 years worth of active duty pay and then whatever else for the MQT period before you see the part-time thing.Hope that helps.
 

PilotOnTheRise

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Yes, it answers my question. Sounds like a good deal!

I just enlisted, officially yesterday, into the 159th Fighter Wing, which is a F-15 unit in New Orleans. I am going to be a F-15 Crew Chief. I am still in college, and a couple of years away from completing my degree, but I plan to apply once that time comes. I enlisted until then, because they are one of those units that only hires from 'within'. Cool thing is, the guy who swore me in yesterday, is the guy I will go talk to about becoming a pilot with the unit. He got word I wanted to fly for them, so he gave me his card and told me to call him when that times comes. Obviously there is more I have to go through than talk to him, but I thought it was pretty cool, and hopefuly a good sign of things to come.

This leads me to another quesion. I have heard that you can apply for a pilot slot within atleast one year from receiving your degree. I've also heard six months. Is this true, can anyone shed some light?
 

psysicx

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Is it hard to maintain 8-10 days if you fly for an airline plus family time? And I was told drill weekends were not always required?
 

hindsight2020

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My experience from interviewing so far is that , in the case of fighter units, flying is pretty slim. The pilot who drove a group of interviewees to watch the -16's take-off (among which was yours truly) was one of the two most junior pilots and constantly alluded to the fact that all they get is the minimum sortie count per month to stay current, the rest of it is non-flying shenanigans. I personally thought it was still better than to not be flying an F-16 at all, but I understood his POV.

I guess the answer to the question is that, provided you're done with seasoning, it is absolutely easy to meet Guard commitments and have the civilian job, whether it's flying or not. Consequently, I think that would translate into the notion that Guard bumming is not an advisable pursuit if you're in a fighter unit.

I have no direct knowledge of the heavy units, my only experience with them was when I interviewed at a -130 unit and the pilot, who was my first point of contact throughout the interview process, was ABSOLUTELY GLAD he had the Guard gig, as he was furloughed from AA. I've also heard that Guard bumming is somewhat more fruitful at heavy units and I think that's totally compatible with the environment of military flying nowadays.

Personal rant: I find it interesting when some people get the sheer luck to get to the single-seat cockpit and start b!tching when their time building isn't skyrocketing. Jesus, if ya wanted to fly for the airlines you should have gone heavy, leave those d@mn Viper/Hog/Eagle slots for folks like me who have done everything up to this point to do single seat flying and have no desire for airline jobs. Now, not all 121 pilots who part-time as fighter pilots are like that kid, so I will give that to balance the argument. As I was looking at that kid go on his little soapbox I stared at him and said to myself "sheesh, if this kid made it past Vipers I'm gonna be f$ckin Chuck Yeager" so I guess I got some reassurance out of it :D
 

pkober

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As a Guard Baby (off the street UPT hire) I can tell you that meeting your ANG flying requirement is getting harder every year.

If you go to a heavy unit, expect to not only meet all training requirements but deploy overseas as well. Currently they have cut our flying but increased our training requirements. Some tool, AKA Active Duty, higher up in the food chain can't figure out that eventually people will say "uncle".

Most pilots are saying that if they can't meet there squares than "oh well, give me more flying!!"

Hey Hindsight !!

I would say that any cockpit in the ANG is a lucky job. Plenty of good fighter guys will be knocking on the doors of heavy units after the BRAC. Hopefully some one doesn't pull that quote about the airlines out of there pocket during an interview and ask you to explain it. Chill out and enjoy anything you fly because you may be one of those folks knocking on our door one day.

CLAMBAKE
 

hindsight2020

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I think you misunderstood my comment. I was just alluding to the whining I perceived from this kid who happened to be in a position I've been trying to attain for as long as I can remember. The fact that it happens to be a fighter slot should be incidental to you; don't start the fighter/heavy thing, I wasn't suggesting that.

On the topic of gratitude, I stand corrected. What's funny about the "hopefully some one doesn't pull that quote" comment you made is that I've already had the opportunity to VOLUNTEER it at interviews. Not only that, but opportunity to ELABORATE on it. They don't have those fighter/heavy sensitivities, I'm not scared of telling them I don't have inclinations to fly 121 and that my civilian aviation career expectations lie in other flying jobs and pursuits, more in tune with my desires and motivations...there is life,work, flying, and aviation outside 121 you know......

I've been upfront and honest about that particular personal and professional preference to them. As a matter of fact, they actually appreciate a person who comes to the interview and answers the question of "what's your plan" with an answer OTHER than "weeeaalll, I was hoping to bum aorund, maybe get and AGR posit and wait for Delta to call". And considering there are regional and major guys alike at these boards who have personally expressed their complete satisfaction with the answers I've provided to that particular issue you raise I don't feel one bit threatened by your implication that I'm burning bridges. I've never had a major guy get sore cause I don't want to fly 121. Not to mention that 121 hopefuls are already surplus enough to make my point moot.

I do apologize if my comment shafed you the wrong way, I wasn't trying to suggest anything else other than what my impressions were of that particular guy and what I considered to be ingratitude on his part, not mine.

No hard feelings bud. I'll go chill now :D
 

pkober

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Hindsight,

I've been doing this for a long time. I have learned long ago not to have a heavy/fighter thing. You can usually tell the quality of a pilot not by what he flies but by how he flies. In the end the ANG/AFRES guys usually finish well above the AD students in UPT. So the type of airplane they fly doesn't matter.

As far as the job goes, it's good to have the desire for a fulltime ANG job. They are good jobs and if you can get one take it. I remember interviewing for my pilot slot, 1992, and answering the same way you did. When the jobs didn't happen I was applying at all the airlines. Don't disregard the 121 stuff. It's a good life, especially the furloughs.

Peace, out

CLAMBAKE
 

AdlerDriver

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psysicx said:
How long does a typical fighter sortie take from start to finish?

I don't think there's such thing as a "typical" sortie. If it's BFM (1v1 Basic Fighter Manuevers) and your MOA is close to your base, it might be a 30 minute sortie. If it's a 4v8 with a tanker, you might be looking at 2 hours. Probably the average is 1.0-1.3 hours.
That's only the flying part. The 1 hour brief starts 2 hours prior to takeoff. The debrief will be something like 2-8 hours depending on the complexity of the mission.
 
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