Starting out?

Looking to change career fields or contemplating to request a new assignment? Here's where you find out if the grass really is greener on the other side...
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spoony

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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 18:53

Hey guys I'm really interested in becoming a pilot or maybe even join the Air Force I'm not sure. I'm 18 and I know that you spend more time studying than actually flying but I'm not sure where to begin.. any ideas? Flight simulators? Could you guys maybe suggest some reading? Thanks guys hope to hear back soon.
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kori

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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 21:50

You came to the right place. This forum has quite a few retired and active viper drivers who are more then willing to share their stories and help you out.

First off, I'm not a pilot, but I'm pretty much in the same boat you are, only a little younger.
Secondly, I would try a simulator out a few times to see if I like it, not a video game like Ace Combat or HAWX, those games are completely un-realistic.
(I recomend FSX, the trial will only give you civilian airplanes but if you buy it there are a TON of freeware military planes, pm me and I'll hook ya up :)
Also, I know this stupid, but don't get hung up on the sim, thats what happened to me, and is happening to me right now, I'm so into playing the sim, that sometimes I forget that playing it isn't going to take me where I want to go.

You need a 4 year degree to become an officer, you need to be an officer to fly, I would get started on this right away as this is obviously the most important thing. I believe you have to be in UPT (under graduate pilot training) by age 27 or 28, MAYBE a little later with a waiver, but why push it.

If you're looking for advice, head over to the interview section and look at some of the viper driver's interview, most of them offer advice and insight into the life of a fighter pilot, or pilot in general for that matter.

Also, if and when you get into college, you should REALLY do ROTC, I've been told its hard to get commissioned without it, plus it will give you a lot of insight into general air force life, and officer life. I don't wanna go overboard with the information, but you should check out Embry Riddle, their a Aeronautical University in Arizona and Florida, I've heard really good things about it.

So I guess I'll leave you with this last piece of advice my grand father ALWAYS tells me when I talk to him about becoming a pilot;
'If you want it bad enough, you'll get it'

Best of luck,
Kori
I'm safer up here, then you are down there.
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spoony

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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 22:50

I was thinking I would just focus on school at the moment and get the rest sorted out later. I was thinking about joining the Air Force and doing some engineering on planes at first.. Can you do that? Be an engineer when you first join and then become a pilot?
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kori

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Unread post28 Jan 2011, 23:55

To be honest, I'm not really sure..

I've heard of people being Flight Surgeons or Dr's or whatever their called, and being pilots aswell, but if you look at it from a logical stand point,
when you graduate from college you have a set of skills, which is engineering, you join to be an engineer, the air force puts your through more training, using up more tax dollars, now, why would they let you just switch from being an engineer to a pilot? This is millions of dollars worth of training your receiving and there are definitely no shortage on people wanting to be pilots without a 'first set of skills', again, this is just my 2 cents, from a 16 year old kid with no experience in the military.
I'm safer up here, then you are down there.
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dmike

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Unread post29 Jan 2011, 01:12

As a former USAF officer, I would suggest the following. You are actually trying to make two decisions: 1) do you want to be a pilot, and 2) do you want to be a military officer.

To address question #1, forget about flight simulators. Go down to your local airport and take some flying lessons in a real airplane. This will help you figure out if you have a thirst and love for flying. It's money well spent if you're seriously considering a career as a pilot. You can solo a single engine plane in as little as 10 or 15 hours of instruction, and this will really help you discover whether you love flying and have an aptitude for it.

Question #2 is a different matter entirely. Military pilots are officers first, pilots second. And the military can and will assign you non-flying duties along the way, or you may wash out of flight school and be assigned a non-flying job. You have to figure out whether you want to be a military officer with all the obligations and sacrifices that entails.

If the answer to Question #2 is yes, and if you make it through college and officer training (Academy, ROTC, or OTS), and if you are competitive enough and physically qualified and get a pilot slot, you will attend the finest pilot training anywhere in the world.

You can forget about both #1 and #2 if you're into drugs. Don't hang out with the wrong people and keep your record clean.

Best wishes as you find your way. Having goals is the key to success....good for you!
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delvo

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Unread post31 Aug 2011, 00:25

spoony wrote:I was thinking I would just focus on school at the moment and get the rest sorted out later. I was thinking about joining the Air Force and doing some engineering on planes at first.. Can you do that? Be an engineer when you first join and then become a pilot?
I suspect that by "engineer" you mean what is actually a mechanic. The military services have mechanics. Their job is to keep the machines running. Engineers design and build new machines or substantially alter existing ones to meet new requirements. But that kind of stuff is done not by the military services themselves, but by the companies that supply them their equipment, whose employees are civilians. The minimum for an engineer to get a job is a bachelor's degree in engineering, and more than that would be necessary for some jobs, particularly in the more advanced cutting-edge projects. Any engineering degree you got would be usable for jobs that don't have anything to do with military service, as well as for those that do.

If what you had in mind was working on planes within one of the military services and then switching to become a pilot while still in the same service, I can't comment on that. But if what you had in mind was really switching from engineering (which means civilian) to military flying, then they're just too completely different and unconnected. It would be like planning to be first a retail store manager and then a safari guide.
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JetTest

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Unread post31 Aug 2011, 01:12

At least in the USA there military personnel that are engineers that do work on aircraft and weapons systems, it is not all done by civilian contractors. I would also agree that the only way to determine if a flying career is for you is by sitting in the seat of an aircraft working real flight controls, not sitting on your couch playing with your mouse.

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