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Need to be talked into it now

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Well-known member
Jun 13, 2002
Thanks to everyone who responded and answered my questions regarding Navy and Air Force flying. Now that I know that military flying is an option to me, I need to be talked into it. :D What are some of the pros/cons of military flying/life VS. civilian flying/life. I will be heading to college next year and thus need to make a decision pretty soon as whether to join ROTC, etc. Anyone in this current boat or who has been through it ... advice!?:D

In fact if it is not a burning, all-encompassing determined desire to be a MILITARY pilot, you'll never make it through pilot training anyway. You'll just take someone else's slot until you either SIE or get washed out. Make it easier on your classmates, your instructor and most of all, yourself. Stop now! As a former UPT instructor, I kindly ask you to leave the military flying to someone who has the drive, determination, and desire. Those folks don't NEED to be "talked into it."

Pros: You get to see the world if you make it through UPT.

Cons: After a successful bailout or ejection, getting your throat slashed after the Taliban disembowels you alive.

Hope this helps your decision,


Actually, I somewhat do have a desire to fly military. But also I have a desire to fly civilian. That is the problem. Im half and half and need something to be said that will make me chose one over the other. If I were to go military, I would love it ... as far as getting to fly, it would not be something I'd wash out of. Its hard to explain the feeling I have ...
It's a hare


There are no guarantees in the military. I've seen guys and gals that have multiple ratings have all kinds of problems with UPT. Some students can't help but to "sell Buicks" (PUKE) on nearly every ride until they throw in the towel. It's not a PFT program. The AF has only a certain number of bananas to use when teaching students to fly.

If you are not committed 100% to the military side of the house, I recommend to delay your choice until you are. There is a 10 year commitment associated with UPT. If you don't like it after 2 years, things will get rough, especially with the current and future operations tempo. Some flying will be fun, but more than likely, a lot of it will be tough and sometimes hair raising.

Something that is positive about the mil is the friends you will make. Nothing brings people together better than hardship. The friends I have made while at home or deployed will stay with me forever.

I'm not good with words but I'll try to express myself the best I can. This is not a light decision. You are not deciding whether to join Boy Scouts or not. You are not deciding which college you are going to attend. If you join the AF and fly, it is certain that you will be thrown to the wolves. And unfortunately, you can be killed.

Hope this helps,

Oh, by the way, it's a hare.


It's a hare from Hash House Harriers. Group of runners chase a designated hare through swamps, desert, the city, briar patches, etc, all while drinking beer at the same time. Good fun.

If you are interested, there are HHH in almost every city in the world.

I'm a runner and this gives me the excuse to go out and have fun instead of training for races. The beer is good too. Stick to light beer, it stays down better.

On On,

Actually, I somewhat do have a desire to fly military. But also I have a desire to fly civilian. That is the problem.

Let me help you. Go civilian, now. Having "somewhat of a desire" will not carry you through UPT. Your classmates, many of whom will have spent 4 years at a service academy, solely for the opportunity to become a military pilot, won't appreciate you’re “recent” decision to become a military pilot.

Will “somewhat of a desire” last the 11-year commitment? Will it carry you when you get assigned a helicopter? (No offense to my rotor wing friends) Will it carry you when you are sitting in desert stink box flying once, maybe twice a week? Will it carry you when you are only getting 200 hrs a year? Or have you considered the two worst-case scenarios? You wash out and are assigned a desk, or you are assigned a non-flying job at the 8-year point. That’s just the AF side, it gets worse when I throw a Navy slat to this argument. Personally, I loved it, except some of the things I mentioned, but then again, I wanted to be a military pilot for a long time.
What's your goal?

Is it to serve your country and fly for the military and maybe an airline career or is it to be an airline pilot. If you just want to fly for the airlines go civilian.

However, if you want to serve your country for a little while before you fly for the airlines go military. Now there is also the guard option which would have you serve your state and get trained. I'm sure they have a commitment of service but I don't know what it is.

Myself, I wanted to fly period. At the time, the options were limited and I chose to go the Navy route. They put me through college (not the USNA) and I went to flight school. There were some times I really wondered if I was doing the right thing, but they all fell away when I put on the wings.

Yes, if you fail, you will be sent to a boat or a desk depending on the service you choose, but in the imortal words of JFK "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!"

Bottom line: Serve because you want to.
Maybe I can offers some perspective...

When I was in college, one semester I had another pilot for a roommate. His dad was a Delta Captain, and he had been in/on/around airplanes since he was a kid. He loved to fly, was one the most upbeat and outgoing guys I ever met, and was one of only a handful of 21 year old guys with a DC-3 type rating (flew jumpers on weekends). He didn't have a CFI, but built his time flying jumpers and flying for fun in a C-140 and a Talorcraft he, his dad, and his brother owned. He was hired by ASA as soon as he graduated, and flew there for one year. AA hired him in 88-89 timeframe, and he's been there ever since...now he's a Captain on the MD88 out west.

Ironically, he had an interview lined up at the Georgia ANG (back then they still flew Eagles at Dobbins), but the interview date ended up conflicting with his AA class. Talk about a gut check! Ultimately, he decided to stick out his class with AA and let the ANG slide by.

Now...my old roomie has had a GREAT life...and will likely always make more money than I do. However, providing he gets to fly until 60, he will spend over 35 years at one job at AA. Not a bad life, but when we have talked he always mentioned the "I coulda..." about the F15 unit and asks how I enjoyed my career.

Contrast that with the typical military guy...he flies 7, 14, or 20 years or so then hits the airlines in his mid 30s to early 40s. At best, he will have a 25 year career, more likely 18-23 years. He'll have some neat stories, some good buddies, and the pride of having served. He will also be junior for his entire career to those guys who started early, and his lifetime earnings may or may not be equal to those fast starters.

I'm a bit more pragmatic that some on the boards...although I stayed active 14 years and (hopefully) will make 20 years in the ANG, I NEVER had any intention of hanging around the AF after my initial committment was up. I had no desire to be career military pilot even in UPT. I wanted to get my wings...serve a few years...and then go be a Delta Air Lines pilot (like my buddy's dad) for the rest of my life. However, in 96 I was having fun, the AF offered me more money, and the airlines weren't hiring that much...so all of a sudden I find myself as a mid-level AF guy going WAY past what I thought I'd ever do on active duty. I have no regrets, however...I enjoyed my career and am proud of the service I have provided. Now I am at a great company having fun, learning the ropes at a new business.

Another option (that I missed...) that is often mentioned on the boards is the ANG/Reserve slot. You go to UPT, work full time a few years and get seasoned, then hopefully start your airline career. The problem is slots are hard to come by, and once in a unit...well...the scenery doesn't change much. If you are in a C130 unit, you will most likely fly C130s your entire career (not a bad deal, and I know there are exceptions...) Another Auburn buddy did ANG duty on weekends instead of ROTC during the week (like me) and we ended up in the same UPT class (at different bases). While I flew OV-10s, then F-15s in AK, Germany, and FL, he flew F-16s in Alabama. He built equity in a house and became part of the community....I traveled the globe with family in tow seeing new and exciting places. Which do you want? Again...there are no wrong answers. He got hired by Delta only about 18 months before I was available to the airlines, but had the airlines been hiring in the mid 90s he could have probably gotten hired 3-5 years ahead of me.

So...the million dollar question is....."which guy do I want to be?" The good news is there are no wrong answers. Only you can be positive what is best for you. Have fun whatever you choose and be thankful you live in a great country where we have so many options.
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Thanks .. I think I do get what you are saying. I think I will stay away from the military and let the guys who 100% want that experience have it instead of me. I appreciate all of the help you have all given me!

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