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Question about ADAF

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Nov 26, 2001
Do you guys know how UPT works for the airforce? What I mean is do you have a choice on what you get to fly or where you get to be based? Or is it more pull a number out of a hat kind of deal.


You get your aircraft based on class performance. #1 guy gets his first choice, last guy gets what's left. I'm not sure about heavies, but new fighter assignments are to the base of initial training. That typically runs 6-7 months. Somewhere during initial training, you're given your follow-on location. Your preference is considered, but needs of the AF dictate your fate.

With the SUPT track, after initial training in the T37 you select (or are selected for) either fighter track or the heavy track.

If you really want to fly fighters, or your heart is set on heavies, you can probably have some chance of getting what you want. If you walk in going "I want a C17 to Charleston" or I want an F15 at Langley, you may not be so lucky.

My advice is to go with the goal of A) Getting Wings , then B) getting Fighters or Heavies (your choice) and only then hoping for the perfect plane/base match. Since your UPT committment is anywhere from 8-10 years these days, you will likely have 3 3-year flying assignments. If you don't get the base of choice on the first try, you may very well get it later on in your career.

I flew OV10s at Shaw for 2 years, then transitioned to the F15. I've had buddies go from A10s to the F15. I have three upgrading IPs in my squadron right now that flew heavies for a while (back when UPT was single track...ie everyone flew the T38) and when they graduated there were no fighters available. A few years later, when the AF needed more fighter guys, these guys made the transition. You may have seen a post on a UPT buddy of mine (Reuterf16) who flew F15s, F16s, and the U-2.

Bottom line--go to become a military aviator, and be flexible. Keep your eye on your long term dream plane/mission, and perhaps you can get there even if you don't go straight there out of UPT.

I kicked around the fighter verses heavy question in UPT, and I think at the time I would have been happy with either. My buddies who went to the 141, especially at Chareleston, had a great time and a great quality of life. Fighters are not a "mellow" community, and it took a lot of work for several years before I could actually savor the experience verses just working like a dog to hang on. However--all the effort has been well worth it, and I've had experiences that I could never get anywhere else.

Good luck--and I hope you seriously consider giving it a shot!

Fly safe,

Great Info! Just to add to it. A few years back the AF changed the way it/we did business. In my opinion it was for the better. The Flight Commander now chooses the Phase 3 Track. Phase 3 = T-1, T-38, Helo (Rucker with the Army), T-44s (Corpus Christi with the Navy). Of course, performance means everything, and generally we didn't mess with anyone's future. In other words, if Stan said he wanted a T-38 and one remained, we'd let him have it. However, the top 10% get whatever they want regardless. The same is true for follow-on assignments (i.e: graduation and getting your wings). The top 10% get their choice (if their choice exists in the drop) and the remainder get what their Flight Commander assign them. If this sounds familiar it's because the system used to be this way when I went through (back in the day), but has changed back and forth over the years. Hope this helps!
Todd, I can probably give you as much detail as you can stand with your question. I am currently a T-37 instructor and recent flight commander. There are now five locations where AF pilot training is conducted. Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, Tx, Vance AFB in Enid, Ok, Columbus AFB in Columbus, Ms, Sheppard AFB in Witchita Falls, Tx and now Moody AFB in Valdosta, Ga. Moody is the first base to start training with the new T-6 Texan II. All others still begin training with the T-37. During your initial training in the T-37, you will be ranked among everyone in your class. Your follow-on will be determined by your class ranking and your preference. Follow-on training will be one of four possible tracks. T-38 for fighters/bombers, T-1 for heavies, T-44 (Navy) for C-130s, and UH-1 (at Fort Rucker) for helos. Your class ranking is determined by the four following inputs:
1. Daily sortie scores
2. check-ride scores
3. Academic scores
4. Flight commander ranking
All of your sorties are given a numerical score based on your performance during the sortie. Your academic scores are obviously given a numerical value based on test grades. Your flight commander ranking (which is only 10% of your total score) is based on factors such as attitude, professionalism, military bearing, preparedness, etc.

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