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military pilot question...please help!!

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Well-known member
Jul 30, 2002
I am interested in flying for the reserve or guard but have a few questions.....Before I go to OTS and enlist in the reserve or guard is it possible to be guaranteed a flying position or do you have to enlist before you find out if you have a pilot position? The reason I ask is that I dont want to enlist and then end up with a ground position. How does all of this work? How is the guard different from the reserves? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Talk to the recruiter but here's my .02 from my experience. I had a similar situation in '90 (tough times back then). Nothing is guaranteed until you get orders for UPT......even then, nothing is guaranteed until you start UPT; get my drift?!?!
Enlisting in the ANG/Reserves in hopes of receiving a commission and a UPT slot is not a bad idea. A lot of the units like to hire from within, especially the ANG. If you decide to go this route, make sure you have all or most of the boxes check (ie. 4 year degree), granted you can get this done while you are serving. I would even recommend getting your pilot's license, but the AF pays for your ticket through IFT nowadays. I knew some dudes who took this path when I was going to college and it worked. When I was a tweet IP, I ran into a student who was a crew chief in a F-16 unit and was picked up.
So.......nothing is guaranteed, but I think it's a good path. Definitely go guard, then reserves, and active duty last if you want to fly. This is a whole new can of worms, so I'll stop here. Good luck and God bless!
So is it true that you must first enlist in the guard/reserves and then its determined if you go to pilot training? There is no way to guarantee a pilot position before signing up? That sounds risky to me. I'm going to call my guard and reserve recruiter today to hopefully get more answers.
My recent experience has been that if your are offered a slot you will get it, but I am new to this. Why would they bother wasting all the time reviewing your application, holding interview boards, and preparing the paperwork just to have you do some other job. Of course, the guarantee doesn't matter much if your not offered a slot in the first place!
No, you don't have to enlist to become a pilot in the guard. When you talk to the recruiter, make sure you're talking to the recruiter who deals with applications for UPT slots. The rest will try to get you to enlist to help fill one of their quotas.

If you look at some of the other threads there are several guys on these boards who have gotten UPT slots from the guard and reserves. I'm sure they can give you the details.

Also check out http://www.baseops.net/newjob.html for a list of units currently advertising.

If it isn't my old buddy, The Kid,

BTW, the "Kid" is in reference to your hours, not your age. Military student pilots are called “Kid” too, even if you’re 30. It's more PC than a$$face.

You don't have to enlist, and stay away from recruiters. Of the last 7 guys we sent to UPT, 2 were from the unit. It would help to enlist if you lived next door to the unit you really, really wanted. (i.e The Portland F-15 unit, and you live in Portland) If you're willing to move anywhere, then don't join a unit that you're really not sure of. Be prepared to visit the unit you really want, often. The reason I say stay away from recruiters is they will try to rope you into active duty.

You're not getting any younger, you need to get going on this. Have you taken your AFOQT?

What I'm writing may not be clear; I'm typing "fast," so if you need me to clarify I will.

What units are you targeting? West Coast I assume.
There is a KC-135 unit at Mcconnell AFB here in Wichita, KS. I work for Boeing, right next door. I am assuming that being an engineer for Boeing and the unit I want to work for located next door will be in my favor. What would be the benifits of going reserve other than getting type rated and hours in a KC-135? I've heard that military pilots do not get a large amount of hours. Would it be possible for me to work at Boeing, fly in the reserves and instruct on the side? Would this be setting me up well for the majors?
Hi Braid Kid,

I'm Boeing engineer too and am in the process of going to the Reserves to fly. In fact, some of our company test pilots are AFReservists and at least one went to UPT via AFRes off the street.

Sounds like McConnell would be a sweet deal for you. Being local and working for Boeing will look good, but it will look better if you have great test scores.

Go talk to the AFRes squadron at McConnell. With the Reserves you are only being commissioned for a pilot slot. After you're selected, you are sworn in as an E-5 right before you go to OTS. That's only a formality as EVERYONE in OTS has to be at least an E-5 (you get paid as an E-5 while in OTS). Naturally you are an O-1 after OTS and head off to SUPT.

Hey another big plus is that Boeing pays you while you are on active military leave for up to 3 mos (1-yr in some cases). So when you go off to OTS, don't quit! Just take a military Leave of Absence and Phil Condit will cut a check every 2 weeks to pay the difference between your E-5 OTS salary and what you'd be making if you were still at Boeing.
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Hey Kid,

If I'm doing the hiring, I'm looking for a local kid with flying experience. You're hired! Flying for that 135 unit sounds perfect for you. Reserve pilots fly about the same a month as their active duty counterparts. Probably more, active duty was way over manned, last I heard.

Of course you could still work for Boeing. You're going to have to work somewhere. Guard bumming won't pay for that new hot rod. You won't want to instruct after pilot training. Once your mind gets used to a certain ground speed, bug smashers don't cut it any more.

Will flying a 707 set you up for the majors? What do you think? I sometimes wish I had some heavy time.

Good Luck, we're all counting on you.

I'm local in SoCal and wondering how to get in touch with someone around here for a flight position. I've been instructing for over a year and a half and feel now is a good time to serve my country.

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