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FDNYOldGuy

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FDNYOldGuy last won the day on August 18

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  1. FDNYOldGuy

    Just another WAMC thread

    @brabus has solid advice. Just wanted to tack on you could certainly try for an Unsponsored slot, as well, which will get you accepted to OTS/UPT program without having to get picked up by a squadron initially. After you have that slot, some squadrons (probably only heavies; not fighters) will be cold calling you to come interview, instead of the other way around. If you're set on fighters, then you'll still have to do legwork and get your interviews on your own, but it's certainly a way to get yourself in the door without getting picked up. As for the TBAS, do a little research on where you can do it in your area, as there might be an option besides a base. I took my AFOQT and TBAS at an ROTC detachment at a local college, which didn't require any work from the recruiter/clearance. Hell, I was able to book both online and just showed up at the time I booked. Your scores are absolutely killer, so work on those flight hours (some units want you to at least have soloed) to bump up your TBAS. Definitely make contact with hiring PoCs and other pilots in the squadrons you're interested in. Talk to them about flying, life in the squadron, missions, etc. to make sure that fits what you're looking for. They'll also get to know you in these convos, so it'll help a lot with them knowing your name when it comes time to sending out interview invites. Lastly, put together a solid, professional-looking packet that you're sending out to squadrons. It's your sales brochure, so make it look good. Good luck! You've got a pretty solid chance of getting picked up!
  2. FDNYOldGuy

    ?s on logging flight time

    Tacking on to what @Sit On Acorns said about MyFlightBook. If you hit the button on engine start, it’ll provide telemetry (takeoffs, landings, speed, altitude, etc.). It also backs up daily to an online drive, if you pay $25/yr. Not sure how well it integrates with Mil or how easy it is to grab your phone each engine start and stop during training, so maybe it’s not ideal. But, I’ve liked using it for GA and, if you don’t care about it automatically backing up daily, it’s free to use.
  3. FDNYOldGuy

    Upcoming Boards

    For units that don't offer rushing, it can be a little harder to stand out. That said, it just puts it more on you to have a solid, squared-away packet that stands out. Have a good picture of your face. Even if they ask for full length, nothing says you can't have another of your mug to help make you recognizable if/when you do get invited to a meet and greet/rush weekend/interview. Honestly, I used my firehouse headshot with my helmet on. Cheesy, for sure, but it stood out and made me more recognizable as the old geezer fireman trying for a spot. Make sure your resume looks professional. Have business-minded friends or colleagues look at it, or feel free to send it to me, if you want random stranger feedback on it. Include unofficial copies of your transcripts, any flying stuff you have, and your LoRs in the packet. Make sure it's all in one PDF and not multiple files. Spend some serious time on your cover letter and, like your resume, have it proofread by friends/coworkers (or send it to me). It should have a little of everything; who you are, why you want to fly, why you want to fly for that specific squadron, and what kind of asset you want to be to your squadron after training. Keep it to one page. Lastly, make contact with the hiring PoCs through phone or email (or both). They're getting blasted with packets from a bunch of people they don't know (who are probably blasting packets out to lots of squadrons themselves), so all you are is numbers and letters unless you make contact. Try to speak with other pilots to ask questions, express interest, and (without sounding like a bragging douche) talking a little about yourself to have them get to know you a little. The pilots will talk and, if they know who you are, I'm sure they can help the hiring board with input on who to invite for interviews. It'll also make it less awkward when you do show up if you have spoken with a few pilots in the squadron to strike up conversations. Bottom line, you've gotta create your own luck and that's by putting in most of the heavy lifting yourself. You don't want to be psycho stalker level of bugging them, but you want to make sure you're making solid contacts and showing you're interested, if you can. The squeaky wheel getting the grease and all. Just sending your packet out and hoping the numbers and letters on the pages are enough to get you a job offer might not be enough when you have plenty of other solid candidates; you've got to have personality do some of the work. Good luck!
  4. @ssup is 100% right. My original response you quoted is wrong; I had bad info and thought it was still an option then, so my apologies for false hopes. Unsponsored positions CANNOT require an ETP/waiver and you won’t be able to go that route at 30. The ETPs/waivers are sponsored by the squadron that has decided they want YOU over all other candidates and they’re willing to take the age risk on themselves. Exactly what @ssup said. The paperwork is a lot of legwork for the unit to go through for your benefit, so having a heavy unit do it and then jumping ship to fighters because that’s what you want isn’t a great move. You’re also taking a spot at that heavy unit that another applicant would love to have just to squareroot the system a bit. If you want fighters, rush fighter units. Most might not write you off at 30 and would probably give you the chance to at least come down and interview, although some certainly may balk at your age. Only after applying and hearing fighter units’ input on your packet and age will you be able to make a decision. If flying anything mil is your goal and you can get stoked about heavies, your age is certainly surmountable and you’ll get picked up somewhere if you interview well. My apologies again for the bad intel on Unsponsored slots. I thought it was an option when I posted that but realized I was incorrect upon further investigation. They seem to stop around 28, giving enough time to jump through all the other hurdles to get to UPT before turning 30 to avoid any requirements for ETPs/waivers. If you want fighters, they’re not off the table for you if you put together a solid packet, have strong background/test scores, and interview well. An ETP at your age is a much easier sell than at mine. Good luck!
  5. FDNYOldGuy

    Which Tablet, Which Software - GA Flying

    I’m very new to the EFB options, but I’ve used Seattle Avionics’ Fly-Q and been pretty happy with it. They’ll let you test drive it for 30 days for free and you can extend that time by using a different email and another trial, if necessary, to get a better feel. If you buy it, it’s $69/year for VFR and $129/year for IFR, IIRC. Not sure about discounts for Mil or CFI. I’ve been using it with an iPad 4 (snagged a used one off of eBay for pretty cheap), which is a bit of a big screen and not really yoke-mountable, but I like having the larger display personally. The previous charts/printouts in my lap weren’t much smaller and it’s easy to read. There are some kneeboard cases out there, too, but I don’t have one yet. If you’re not sure yet which to use, it’s maybe worth a look with the free trial, IMHO.
  6. Backing up with @JustHangingOut said. My unit is currently working on my waiver and OTS packet, but I’m still wrapping up with the recruiter and haven’t sworn in yet. Hell, haven’t even heard it mentioned or gotten a timeframe. Someone else I spoke with that was hired ANG was still waiting on their packet at NGB (can’t remember if they needed a waiver or not), but they were definitely still in the process/without dates and sworn in/attending drill weekends. YMMV by the unit, but that’s the gist I’ve gotten. Actually, I’m curious if what would happen if something happened with the process and the waiver or packet was kicked back and UPT became off the table?
  7. FDNYOldGuy

    addressing ANG cover letters/LOR?

    Yes, I did get picked up by a heavy squadron. And I’m DEEP in age waiver territory at 8 years older than you, so that mountain is surmountable. That said, like Harris in Major League, I had to “put anything on it I could find.” I made sure my packet was as professional and squared away as I could make it and certainly personalized the cover letter/packet to each squadron.
  8. FDNYOldGuy

    addressing ANG cover letters/LOR?

    Doh. As long as it doesn’t look like The Hills Have Eyes, maybe there’s a chance...
  9. FDNYOldGuy

    addressing ANG cover letters/LOR?

    My LoRs were genetically addressed, as I figured I would probably have to send out a lot of applications due to my age. I never had anyone saying they should have been addressed specifically. That said, if you want a specific squadron and plan on giving that your all, I’d maybe have them specifically addressed. Cover letters, on the other hand you definitely want to personalize as much as possible. I didn’t know if I should be addressing to the hiring PoC or the Commander, though. If they listed a PoC in the hiring notice, I used that name. If it was a general hiring email, I tried to chase down the squadron commander’s name and address it to that person. Sometimes you can just call the squadron switchboard and ask who the commander is. If you personalize the letter enough to the squadron, a TWIMC heading may not be a big deal except maybe in the pickiest/most competitive squadrons. Good luck!
  10. Of course! That said, I’m still not counting my chickens yet. I’m not going to believe it until my ass is in a seat in UPT. Had a couple hiccups with the paperwork, but hoping it irons out and still crossing my fingers I can make this Sept OTS board. Anyway, anyone stumbling across this can certainly reach out to me and I’ll help however I can. If my old ass can make it this far, walker and all, I’m sure lots of others can, too. Put in that legwork to get apps out there and steps checked off, be persistent, and network as much as possible. This forum helped me out immensely!
  11. FDNYOldGuy

    Upcoming Boards

    @admdelta, YMMV, but I've gotten the impression that waivers up to 32 aren't considered as big of a deal, but you'll start to get fewer and fewer squadrons (especially fighters) seem that they want to mess with them over that age. At the end of the day, it's totally up to the squadron, so it's worth just applying anyway and let them tell you what they're willing to do. Worst they'll do is say no and you're out a little work of putting the application together, but at least you know for sure.
  12. FDNYOldGuy

    Alright, light me up here

    My input is backed up by nothing more than me staying at a Holiday Inn Express last night seeing as though I am recently picked up/haven't started training yet, so take what I say with a big grain of salt. That said, here's my quick take from what you told us: The negatives. Your GPA is a little low in a non-STEM background, so it's not likely going to pop out in a stack of applications; especially if you're going for fighter units. Not having your PPL will also likely give them pause, as will not working full time right now/having serious post-college work experience. I'm not knocking servers. I worked in restaurants and bars for years and know it's tough work. It's just not "solid" work experience. In the end, they're going to be spending a million bucks(?) on your training and giving the slot to you over someone else, so they're going to want to see that it's going to be a good investment. Secondly, they might want to know you can support yourself when all the training is over. Again, not that you can't waiting tables, it'll just likely be a lot less money than you were just earning training/being on orders full time as you will be for the first 2-3 years. I'm not saying that you won't be a great investment, but that would be the negatives I'd see after quick take reading your stuff without knowing you further. And, while I didn't apply to any fighter units, a lot of the folks I've talked to say how competitive they are and that there are 50 guys going for 1 or 2 slots sometimes. So, you've gotta find ways to stand out. Now, the positives. Your Pilot and Nav test scores are pretty solid and to have a 76 PCSM with pretty low hours isn't a terrible position. Again, might be low for crazy competitive fighters, but you might be able to swing it with less competitive heavies. That PPL will add flight hours to increase your PCSM and help potential units confidence in your ability to succeed. What would be your PCSM at 60-80 hours (a reasonable estimate that you'd be here if you go for your PPL)? Could you up your shifts serving or get a second job now to bring in more $$$ for lessons? Another big positive is that you're young and have lots of time to bolster your resume, bump your scores, and get comfortable with the application process. If you feel up for it, I'd honestly start applying to squadrons now. Sure, you might not get a lot of bites just yet, but you'll at least get your name out there and get a solid grasp of the process/what they're looking for. IMHO, being that "whole person" that many squadrons tout looking for is largely about your personality and fit. If you're getting your name out there, making contacts with pilots/hiring PoCs through email/call/in person, going to squadron meet and greets, and honing your interview skills, you'll get a better idea of what they're looking for and what you might need to get better at. The whole application process is an interview; not just the questions they ask you seated in front of a panel, so the better you get at that and the more inroads you make with people in squadrons you want to be in, the better your chances are. Prove you're the kinda dude guys want to spend time around and your areas that don't stand out so much on paper start to get replaced by who you are as a person. Sure, you might get a lot of rejections at first, but it'll teach you a lot about the process and, more importantly, show you want it. A squadron you apply to a few times is going to remember you and, while you might not have caught their eye on paper the first time, they'll see you're determined and want it badly, so maybe they'll give you more of a chance the next time. Comb these forums and read any and every thread that pertains to any airframe/base/squadron you're interested in, even if the thread is years old. Reach out to people that are in the hunt, too, and those that are just starting out. There is tons to learn from this forum and, hands down, it's been the best asset I've had in this dream I've been chasing. Again, I'm no expert and I'm not knocking you for anything you've got there; it's just my .02 in what I learned during the chase. Good luck out there!
  13. Thank you again for the support, comments, and upvotes, everyone! You guys were instrumental in helping me get there and I'm very grateful for that! I'll certainly be lurking around combing the forums for info on the rest of the journey to UPT and helping out with any questions anyone might have going through the same trials to get picked up. And I'll definitely post up when it's locked in and I have dates. I'm hoping to head out ASAP (I'm sure not getting any younger...haha), so I'm still doing my best to reach out and make connections/annoy folks to keep things moving. As of now, my biggest push is to make sure my age ETP keeps moving up the chain so I can get to an OTS board. The squadron has been awesome and is pushing to get me rolling quickly, which I'm very thankful for. Last I heard, my ETP was on the Ops/CC desk a couple weeks ago on its way up to Wing, then NAF, then A3. I don't want to overstep my bounds too much, so I'm not sure how to check on it's progress without coming off as impatient, since they did make calls for me. But, it's my last piece to get squared away before going to a board, so I'm definitely like a kid before Christmas. Anyway, I'm rambling again. Haha. Thank you all again for the support!
  14. I GOT PICKED UP! I've been hesitant to post up here because there are still a couple hurdles to overcome and I didn't want to jinx myself, but I got picked up last month. I'm beyond stoked, excited and uncertain about the next steps, and wanted to hopefully give some confidence to the other old geezers out there that aren't sure it's possible if you're over 30. If I can do it, so can you! I pushed really hard to get my packet squared away, to get the right PoCs and follow up, and try to do as much of the preliminary work as I could on my own. A good line I heard from a friend was, "If you have a problem, be sure to present them with the solution to that problem." I tried to do this by handling as much of the paperwork myself so I was ready to go and not leaving it on anyone else to have to deal with. An even bigger help was making a ton of connections on and off this forum that were immensely helpful along the way. I am sure I annoyed the hell out of a lot of people and, for that, I apologize. But, all that said, all those people provided excellent advice and helped me get this far! To those hopefuls out there: utilize this asset! I actually got very lucky and went 2 for 2 on my interviews, getting offers from both the AFRC and ANG heavy squadrons I interviewed with. Both were great, but the AFRC squadron hit it out of the park with how awesome they were and I was immediately sold on being there. Also, the AFRC timeline to UPT seems to be a lot quicker than ANG, which is a big plus to me with my age, and everything I had done up until that point was with the AFRC side of things (recruiter paperwork, MEPS, FC1, etc.), so more delays would have occurred having things pushed over to ANG. I'm definitely putting the cart a little before the horse right now, since I haven't sworn in, my ETP is still working up the chain, and don't have dates yet. But, all of my paperwork is completed with the recruiter/squadron, my FC1 is certified, and I'm just waiting on the ETP signatures and my OTS board. If anyone has any input on the process from here or how to ensure all goes smoothly, I'd greatly appreciate it! Lastly, I just wanted to say thanks again to everyone here that helped me get this far; I couldn't have done it without you! This forum has been an invaluable resource with this process and the people I've met through it helped solidify that this is an amazing community that I'd be honored to be a part of. Crossing my fingers for no speed bumps as the last few things get taken care of! I'll update when it's fully official and I've got dates. Looking forward to being part of the pilot community and hopefully meeting/buying beers for some of you someday soon!
  15. Keep poking around on the boards here, as there is a TON of great info and great people to contact, but I've never heard anyone your age having any issues with the ETP Guard or Reserves. Hell, I'm non-prior giving it a shot at 36, so there's definitely hope for you. Get your PCSM up with flying hours or a retest, but your other stuff looks pretty solid to me (then again, I'm not an authority on anything).
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