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Questions for Air Force Guys

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Well-known member
Mar 16, 2002
I am about six months away from finishing my degree and I am in the process of applying to be a pilot in the Air Force. I am applying for active duty, reserve, and ANG positions so I have a few questions about all of them. I would really appreciate any information you can provide.

Do reserve units really send that many civilians to flight school? I have talked to 1 airlift unit that seemed interested in me so I was wondering if most units will send civilians if they don't get enough pilots from active duty.

If you fly for the ANG or Reserve and have an airline job, is it possible to commute to your unit, or do they require you to live within a certain radius of the base?

If I were to start out with the ANG or Reserve, is it possible to then go to active duy? If so, is it an easy process?

If I were to start out on active duty, how simple is the process to move over to the Reserve or ANG once I have completed my active duty commitment?

What is a typical schedule for a part-time Reserve or ANG pilot, if there is such a thing?

What are the opportunities like to fly full-time in the Reserve or ANG?

I have more questions than these, I just can't think of them now, so I'll post them later. Thank you in advance.
Dude, apply ONLY to the Air Guard and Reserves. They take plenty of civilians. It is a matter of persistance and the "shotgun" effect. Start withunits you have a link to area-wise. Most units want you to live local. That doesent mean you will not get hired by Richmond, VA if you are willing to move there after training. Don't be shy in sending out 50 resumes and cover letters and visiting units. Spread yourself around as far as money will go. Once you in the guard, you will realize you do not wish to go active duty (although it is possible!).

Good luck!

I too would recommend starting with the Guard. I was active duty, separated, hired by the guard and furloughed at my airline. I have since returned to active duty to finish my retirement while holding my line number at a mjor airline. I'll be retired with a full pension at 44, retirement pay of about $30K to $35K depending on rank (Maj or Lt Col) for the rest of my life. Had I retired from the Guard, I'd have seen retirement pay at age 60 at the reduced amount of around $20 - $25K.

Going active duty has its minumses, less control over what you fly, where you are assigned and adds a lot of additional duties. It also has the added bonus of having health care and job stability, a big bonus after 9-11. It carries with it a 10 year commitment after pilot training. So you won't get to the airlines until you're into your 30's.

You have to weigh what's right for you. I personally enjoy active duty. I've flown five different aircraft in 15 years and have seen many parts of the world a guard unit that flies only one type of aircraft may never get to see.

Switching from active duty to guard is easy. You need to be released to separate and then be hired by a guard unit. Its not too difficult to go back to active duty assuming you have a good record!

Good luck
To answer your question about commuting, it depends on the unit. I've been in an ANG unit and am currently in an AF Reserve
unit. Both allowed commuting. My Reserve unit is in Biloxi, MS: we had one guy commuting from Honolulu!! We currently have two commuting from Tucson.

Some units, mostly in bigger cities want you to live within a certain radius, though. Good luck!!
Check out the guard or reserves first!!!!!! You'll fly more and probably won't deploy quite as often or as long. You'll also make it to the airlines much earlier if this is a desire of yours. All my pilot training buds who went straight to the Guard/Reserves have been with major airlines for 3-5 years....and they're not furloughed. I'm just now at the end of my 8 year commitment and will be joining a Guard unit soon. If you go to the Guard/Reserve first and later decide you'd like to come on active duty, then I suspect it's rather easy....without the TEN year commitment.

I've enjoyed my active duty tour and met some outstanding individuals. You'll have to weigh all your options...medical concerns (family), steady paycheck, etc...
Actually the commitment for AD & Reserve is now 10 yrs. (not that that I think it's a bad thing!)
10 year commitment

I think what he ment by you won't have the 10 year commitment if you join active duty from the reserves is: "you won't be commited to have to stay on active duty for 10 years, you can leave when you complete the 3 years of temporary active duty is up." You will still owe the government 10 years, you just won't be lock into 10 full years of no other option.

Guard/reserve guys can come on active duty for 3 year Temporary active duty tours then leave.

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