Flight Surgeons as Pilots?

So you want to be a Viper driver, mechanic, loader, avionics technician...? Here you will learn that you will need education, hard work and steadfast dedication.
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HaveVoid

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 02:05

Hello all,

I have been posting on this site for a few months, and reading it for a few years. I have debated posting my question in regards to this after seeing some similar posts get torn to shreds, but I figured I'd try. I am, sparing my untimely demise, going to join the USAF. It is my desire to be a pilot. However, I also desire an education in medicine, and would like to be a doctor. I spoke with my cousin, who flew A-10s, and is about to fly Predators, and he spoke about several pilots he knew, who were also flight surgeons. Does anyone have any more information about whether or not this is a possibility. the recruiters I have spoken with have told me that if I become a Flight Surgeon, thats all I will ever be allowed to do. If that is the case, I'm not gonna change my life plans, I'll still join up, and serve in a medical capacity, I'd simply like to see if my dreams are compatable. I understand if they are mutually exclusive, and would love any info y'all have.

NKDP
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vegasdave901

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 05:11

FWIW, the book about the F-15E during Des. Storm specifically mentions that one of the back seaters was a Doctor in the AF and talked about him having to waive his Geneva Conv. rights for him to fly in combat.
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darkvarkguy

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 05:16

All the Flight Surgeons I knew satisfied their 'flying status' requirements as Backseaters (or right seaters as it were). I never saw an AC/Flight Surgeon.
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itsboy

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 07:40

Maybe I'm wrong. But Flight Surgeon with 2009 Thunderbirds has flown 200 hours in F-16, F-15, C-17 and C-130. I was thinking that this meant she piloted aircraft. If she wasn't a pilot, what "she has flown 200 hours" mean?

http://thunderbirds.airforce.com/popup_ ... _o_09.html
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Code3

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 10:23

Your cousin is correct, it is possible to be both a flight surgeon and a pilot. I have a friend going to USUHS (military med school) who has a person in her class who is getting qualified as a flight surgeon and has a spot to go fly F-16s lined up upon graduation. However, the way she made it sound, I don't think these slots come along that often...not even one per year. Infact, I don't think there's more than a handful of people who are "dual qualified" in the Air Force.
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Bodizzle

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 11:37

The way I've seen it is that each squadron has their own flight surgeon. They're a rated pilot and they have their name on the canopy of one of the jets. It was a D-model back in the 421. I believe Flight Surgeon would be your primary duty, you'd spend most of your time doing that, and fly enough to maintain your rating. The Flight Surgeon back in the 421 deployed with us, but he ran the squadron clinic and I couldn't say whether or not he ever flew while we were over there.
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rossdawg16

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 15:37

Bodizzle wrote:The way I've seen it is that each squadron has their own flight surgeon. They're a rated pilot and they have their name on the canopy of one of the jets. It was a D-model back in the 421. I believe Flight Surgeon would be your primary duty, you'd spend most of your time doing that, and fly enough to maintain your rating. The Flight Surgeon back in the 421 deployed with us, but he ran the squadron clinic and I couldn't say whether or not he ever flew while we were over there.


You're mixing issues here. In general, flight surgeons are NOT rated pilots...they are physicians, who are qualified to ride in the "trunk" of the jet; the flight time they log is not FP, it's "other" time.

I've known 2 pilot/docs from my military flying experience; they're very few and far between.
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rossdawg16

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 15:42

npeterman18 wrote:Hello all,

I have been posting on this site for a few months, and reading it for a few years. I have debated posting my question in regards to this after seeing some similar posts get torn to shreds, but I figured I'd try. I am, sparing my untimely demise, going to join the USAF. It is my desire to be a pilot. However, I also desire an education in medicine, and would like to be a doctor. I spoke with my cousin, who flew A-10s, and is about to fly Predators, and he spoke about several pilots he knew, who were also flight surgeons. Does anyone have any more information about whether or not this is a possibility. the recruiters I have spoken with have told me that if I become a Flight Surgeon, thats all I will ever be allowed to do. If that is the case, I'm not gonna change my life plans, I'll still join up, and serve in a medical capacity, I'd simply like to see if my dreams are compatable. I understand if they are mutually exclusive, and would love any info y'all have.

NKDP


My advice would be to focus. Piloting is a very rigorous and hazardous vocation, I wouldn't muddy the waters by pursuing a second discipline until I was competent at the first. The same approach would apply to pursuing a medical career first, then becoming a pilot.

I find it extremely premature to ask the "what-ifs" before you've truly had any real exposure to, or experience in either field.

Just my 2 cents.

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ATFS_Crash

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 19:37

I have known of several flight surgeons that were pilots. Often a person's career as a fighter pilot is short because medical issues often creep in that can disqualify you from flying; so it's best to structure and continue your education if you're a pilot to have a backup career. From what I understand some pilots study medicine because they can no longer medically qualify as pilots so they try to use their education to keep themselves in a job that supports flying and their country.
Last edited by ATFS_Crash on 15 Jan 2010, 22:11, edited 1 time in total.
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03fomoco

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 21:15

Let's make this simple. If you want to be a fighter pilot you are going to have to kick the air forces door down and even then might end up in a seat sipping coffee and watching a predator fly. Or on the other hand you become a doctor and if medically able the air force will kick your door down for your talents.

Both disciplines are very in depth and doing both with the ability to excel at both would be borderline superhuman. There are people that do it and those are the 1/10 of 1% and that is being generous.

It's been said on here a 100 times. Find out somehow if you will be medically able, it is not easy as the military is not going to look at you just to check. But you can find the info. It would suck to chase a dream and find out you depth perception is not as good as you think or that even though you could run a marathon you have a heart valve that does not make a perfect seal every beat, etc.. You get the idea.
Last edited by 03fomoco on 16 Jan 2010, 03:45, edited 2 times in total.
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Elliboom

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Unread post15 Jan 2010, 21:37

While it's not unheards of to have a flight surgeon who is also a pilot or GIB, it's very rare. Everyone I have known were Guard guys who finished their undergrad, went to pilot training then finished med school after becoming a pilot. With the age requirements the way they are I think it would be a tough task to pull off in the active duty, not impossible, but you would have to be able to handle med school while keeping up with your training beans and deployments as a pilot.
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aflax288

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Unread post16 Jan 2010, 00:47

I know 2 flight surgeon/ pilots. One is an active duty current F-22 pilot (former C-model) and the other is a Guard Viper pilot. As far as I know they were doctors first then pilots. Good luck with your goals.
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deadseal

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Unread post16 Jan 2010, 02:56

I am currently a viper guy in the USAF. You cannot be both a pilot and a doc at the same time. You can be a pilot and then become a doc, but not the other way around. The air force is not going to spend 2 million dollars from UPT to MR status just for you to be a part time fighter pilot. You can have spent a couple of years in the jet. (i heard the least amount is 5-6 years post MR), and then go to Med school. Realize that you will become an LT again if you go this route. Dude.....Being a fighter pilot is a 24-7 job. You will get yourself and your wingman killed if you don't live and breath this sh*t. If you want to hang it up fine. But you can't do 2 jobs at once and hope to be sh*t hot. Look at the guard. The only good guard guys were dudes who were active and went to the guard as experienced IP's. The guard babies suck and they know it. :)
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cutlassracer

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Unread post16 Jan 2010, 08:20

My sister is just finishing her residency. She's gone through the whole doctor learnin process about as fast as a person can, one school right after the other without delays in between. She started right out of high school. She turns 30 this year. It's a looooonnnnggggg process to becoming a doc. It's also very very involved. Med school students aren't really supposed to be employed during med school as it is such an intense learning experiance. Fighter pilot school although not as long is most likely just as intense or even more so. If yer gonna do it, good luck.
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discofishing

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Unread post16 Jan 2010, 19:55

I have only read about an F-16 pilot in the 149th FW that was both a pilot and doctor, but that's TX national guard. I can't find the article, but I'll keep googling for it.
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