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Military Pilot Question

Steve

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I'm currently 16, working on my PPL going into my senior year of High School. My dream is to one day be a military pilot, especially with the Air Force. However, my vision is 20/180 correctable to 20/20. I have read about possible medical waivers on the AF web site, but when I contacted my local recruiter, it seamed he wanted to get me to inlist instead of helping me with a possible waiver procedures. Do any of the military pilots know of anyone, or anything about these waivers? I would be more than happy to have an operation approved my the AF, but have so far held off on any such operation. I would appreciate any help or advice from the experts. Thanks
 

RichO

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Steve,

I'm not too up to date on the latest waivers for eyesight, but it seems to go in cycles....I have a couple recommendations, first, stay away from that recruiter who wants you too enlist.....Your 16, as long as your doing semi-well in school there is no reason for you too enlist. You have a couple options for commisioning to include: Air Force Academy, ROTC, and OTS....don't sell yourself short.......I believe many of the high schools have job fairs, well there should be a ROTC recruiter there....talk to him, he'll be able to start you in the right direction. Or if there is no job fair, find a local college and call up the ROTC dept and request a visit. They will give you more information concerning commisioning so you can make a knowledgable decision about your future.

Don't get me wrong, if you decide that you can't afford college, or you don't want to go to the academy but still want to pursue a military career enlisting is not too bad. You get some great benefits for college and the experience is invaliable. But, just don't be too quick to jump until you have all the information. Also, check out the Reserves for help with college....2 weeks a year, one weekend a month isn't too bad in college....and it will help you pay for it....
 

Steve

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RichO,

Thanks for the advice. I am planning on going to a 4 year college and majoring in Aeronautical science. The school I have my eye on has a AF ROTC (One of the reasons I'm looking into it). I will call the College and ask if I can speak with one of there ROTC rep's. Thanks Again.
 

Delta3

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Someone in the military forum said a person with 20/400 got a waiver.

Also, the ANG has lower requirements than the AF.

I assume when you say "Aeronautical Science" you want to go into Riddle's flight program. If so they have the largest ROTC program in the country.
 

Steve

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No, I planning on going to a local State College which has a Aeronautical science program. Thanks for all your help
 

Clearsky

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You may be able to get a waiver. Make sure you check out the military forum on this board and also the "Student Pilot Network" site in the military section. There is a ton of data on waivers so do a search.

Usually the local recruiters try to get you in as enlisted since thats their main responsibility. Many of them are not even familiar with officer recruiting. Don't bother with the local guy. Not that there is anything wrong with enlisted but if you want to go the pilot route, as stated, try ROTC. However, I believe that you do not have a guarantee with ROTC for a pilot slot, only a chance and not even a great chance (at least that was the case when I looked into it). You could end up doing some other totally different job in the Air Force.

You can opt to get your degree and apply direct to Officer Candidate School for a pilot slot and there you will have a guarantee. You could also apply direct to individual Air Guard and Air Reserve Units and get a guarantee. Check out their websites for details. If you really want to help lock in a slot you could go part time enlisted in the local guard unit that you would like to fly for. After your done with school you would then apply for a pilot slot with the same unit. Many guard units hire from within and the prior experience could be a huge plus, but you don't have to do this.

Keep your grades very high in school, play sports, volunteer work, and most importantly do things that demonstrate leadership potential. Also, make sure you get the private pilot license.

Lastly, don't let negative responses stop you. Mostly likely your going to here alot of "no you can't do that" comments. Just keep pushing and talking to folks and you'll get there.
 
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atpcliff

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Hi!

Waivers run in cycles. If you try to get one in 1 year, you might not, then try again in 3 and get one. There is 4-yr. ROTC and 2-yr. ROTC and OCS, so you can try to get a pilot slot at various times.

ALSO, find out how many pilot slots your school averages per year. I got my slot at Auburn, which turned out to be the top ROTC school for the # of slots per year at the time I was in college. Auburn, outside of the military academies, has the highest number of general/admirals. It also has the highest number of astronauts, period (according to my dad-I don't know if the above stats are accurate).
 

BluesClues

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Steve, Keep aggresively pursuing any avenue that will get you the waiver. I had the exact same experience as a teen in the early nineties. Recruiter twisted my arm pretty hard to get me to enlist and went on and on as to how I could never be a pilot anywhere with my 20/50 eyesight at the time. I made the mistake of giving up my dream of flying in the military and am now a lifer at a commuter. Don't let any a-hole tell you, you can't do it.:cool:
 

zoom

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aIR fORCE aCADEMY

Hey Steve,

Don't listen to the recruiter. All they care about is numbers.. not people.

As an Academy Graduate, I went into the Academy with the hope of getting a waiver myself. You don't actually need or get the waiver until the end of your junior year at the Academy when it's time to take your physical to become a pilot.

As with everything, it's all about timing. When I took my flight physical, there was not a big "need" for pilots, so they only waived no worse than 20/80. I didn't get it. Three years later they were granting waivers for up to 20/400. Over the last ten years since I graduated, they have approved, then disapproved, then approved, then disapproved the lasik eye surgery.

My point is this. Do as well as you can in high school. Get your ROTC scholarship, and when the time comes, if you don't get the waiver, well, at least you'll still be an officer in the Air Force.

Beats being enlisted if you could have done better.


~ zoom
 
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weekendwarrior

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In the Army and Army National Guard, they are testing the laser sugery issue. They are issuing a few pilot slots to those who had laser correction, and are going to see how it works out. It is looking positive from what I understand. Then again, this is the Army, so your bird of choice may not be fixed wing. But, if the air force won't let you fly, then the Army might be an option as well.

good luck. As mentioned before, keep up the grades and most of all, STAY OUT OF TROUBLE! One ding on your record regarding violence, alcohol, or drugs, could ruin your career.
 

troy

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Steve, don't enlist! I enlisted into the USN when I was 17, and I wish that I would have waited, gotten a degree, and then went in as an officer. I have bad vision, too. That is what probably steered me into an enlisted slot. Try ROTC, ANG or anything else if you want to fly in the military. Try for that wavier, the only thing that they can tell you is no. If they do, try another branch or tell 'em to put it through again.

Get GOOD GRADES, PLAY SPORTS, and go ABOVE AND BEYOND. That is what will put you over the edge and into the sweet spot!

Good luck.

And remember, Navy jets (and pilots) are the best!! (at least I think so!)
 

hotshot95

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Jan 12, 2002
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You must believe - not doubt !

Steve,

What's your 20/180 vision caused by ? I would stay away from laser surgery instead get following book:

"Perfect sight without glasses" by W. H. Bates.

He developed the "Bates-Method" at the turn of the last century proving the then predominant theory of cilliary accomodation wrong.
Unfortunately it's still around and not many know about Bates' method. Think of all the opticians who would loose their business selling glasses !
Quiet a pity.
Anyway get the book and try it - it's no bull !

One more thing. Once you've chosen a goal go for it ! It feels pretty dull to regret that you haven't really tried to do something you really wanted.
 
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