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Natehanibal

If you had the choice - Manned Reserve VS Active Duty RPA

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Natehanibal    1

I am at a crossroads with future. I will go into a little further detail about myself, but first I will give you my dilemma.... Manned Reserve Pilot or Active Duty RPA Pilot?

Firstly I understand that both are great options and I am very thankful and appreciative for the position I am in. I have had little contact with AD RPA pilots and reserve pilots so I haven't had the opportunity to gauge where I fit in best.  So about me. I am in the AFROTC program, currently a senior with an RPA slot. I have passed my flight physical and that is all taken care of. I am not a military brat, so I have had limited interaction with what active duty is like. I have been lurking on this forum for a few years now, so that is the most exposure I have. My cadre is offering me an opportunity to pick up a UPT slot with the reserve and still commission through the ROTC program. The only difference is that I will go reserve after UPT. I am not 100% sure on the next stage but I believe there is a high chance in picking up the unit I want. I would also like to eventually become a commercial pilot so the reserves would help with that. Now, I am happy with my RPA slot and would really love an opportunity to go active duty, but my dream and goal has always been to fly manned aircraft and that will mean the reserves for that to happen. As far as I am aware this is a new program due to the critical manning in the reserve pilot force so I do have limited information.

My question is.... If you were in my shoes what would you decide on?

Are there any reserve pilots here who could give me some information on what your flying schedule is like weekly, monthly, annually? (I understand that every unit is different)

Are there any RPA pilots out there that could give me some information on how life is as an AD RPA pilot? 

Any information would help me at this point.

Thank you!
 

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herkbum    126

The answers to your list of questions have been covered ad nauseum on these forums, so UTSF.

As for your dilemma, if it has been your lifelong dream to fly manned airplanes, then I think you should have your answer.

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jazzdude    39

but my dream and goal has always been to fly manned aircraft and that will mean the reserves for that to happen. As far as I am aware this is a new program due to the critical manning in the reserve pilot force so I do have limited information.

My question is.... If you were in my shoes what would you decide on?

I think you've answered your own question.

Taking the rpa slot buys you security for the next few years (assuming no crazy RIFs...) but isnt what you said your dream was.  The odds are against you going rpa and then trying to swap to manned aircraft; time is not on your side.  Active duty isn't a guaranteed career either.

The reserve upt slot gets you much closer to your dream, at the cost of uncertainty after upt.  Even if no one hires you right after upt, you'll still have a college degree and at least one year of decent pay under your belt, and if you play your finances well during upt, you should be able to start a rainy day fund to help transition to a civilian job after upt. You may have to work a non aviation job to pay the bills as you build time for the airlines, but you'll still be a rated pilot, and be working toward your dream.

If i were in your shoes, I'd take the reserve upt slot.  It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. ROTC  makes the push for AD service, but with either choice you will be serving your country, so don't be guilted into AD with the "service before self" line if your dream is to fly.  Eventually your AF career will end, and the AF will move on without you, so be sure to take care of yourself, especially when you are presented with a choice by the AF.

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viper154    92

Just got non vol to RPAs right out of UPT. If you want to fly, love life, and be a airline dude take the Reserve gig, run for hills and never look back. If you want to work out of a box in the desert at 1g for the next 6+ years keep the RPA gig. Looking back I would have killed a dude for that Reserve slot. Just saying. 

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guineapigfury    698

I am currently an AD RPA pilot.  It is by far the worst experience of my life.  For reference my other shitty life experiences include: 12 hurricanes/cyclones/tornados, a couple of earthquakes, 17 car crashes*, a divorce, and approximately 100 rocket attacks.

*Wear your seatbelt it works.

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Chaff    8

Ops Sq life is rough and going to get worse before/if it gets better but you really think its worse than all that guineapigfury lol.

 

 

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BFM this    310

Go UPT. If you decide that you want to try RPA at some point, believe me, you'll have to little more than a Bewitched wiggle of your nose and you'll wake up in a dumpster in southern NV. Even in the reserves.

Going from AFRC RPA to manned?...seen it happen, but it's really rare, and only with prior rated.

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Smokin    145

Maybe I'm over-simplifying the question because it's not my life, but this really seems like a no brainier to me.  Take a job on active duty that people are getting non-vol'd to do and getting out ASAP from, or take a job in the reserves that guys are competing for and often do for 30+ years.  

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Natehanibal    1

Is that offer for all ROTC cadets or only rated? I can't seem to get an answer from my cadre and I'm very interested in this route. 

My cadre has offered this option to all of our 400s (all 5 of us) rated and non rated. I still have details and don't want to give you any misinformation so talk to your commander and see if they have knowledge of this. 

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HerkFE    139

I'm just an old (not too old, 45), retired, enlisted dude so I may not have the first hand experience you are looking for but I've been around a little. Take the manned slot with the Reserves. Build some time, go to the airlines, stay in the Guard/Reserve, live the dream. If, down the road you want to go RPA, that door will be wide ass open. May not happen the other way. Just my two cents. Eng out. 

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BUSTED    29

Natehanibal,

I'm just curious, what factors are making this a tough decision for you?

I don't see a single reason why you'd not pick the AFRC spot.

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HuggyU2    908

Go for Option 3:  

Try to get the Reserve pilot slot converted to a Guard pilot slot.  

You're welcome.  

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Natehanibal    1

Natehanibal,

 

I'm just curious, what factors are making this a tough decision for you?

 

I don't see a single reason why you'd not pick the AFRC spot.

The uncertainty of being in the reserves, finding a civilian career and never experiencing active duty life. Although, this post and the great people who have helped me out have made my decision a lot easier. 

Edited by Natehanibal
Did it for the gram

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BFM this    310

5 years from now, you will either look back on this "dilemma" and wonder how you got stumped on the easiest question of your life, or you will literally want to punch yourself in the nuts.

You are holding a winning powerball ticket in your hands, and asking if it's worth all the hassle of cashing it in.

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The uncertainty of being in the reserves, finding a civilian career and never experiencing active duty life. Although, this post and the great people who have helped me out have made my decision a lot easier. 

Never experiencing active duty is like saying you never got to experience prison or priest molestation.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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ned1    82
I am currently an AD RPA pilot.  It is by far the worst experience of my life.  For reference my other shitty life experiences include: 12 hurricanes/cyclones/tornados, a couple of earthquakes, 17 car crashes*, a divorce, and approximately 100 rocket attacks.

*Wear your seatbelt it works.

What is it about being rpa that is so terrible? ?? I'm in urt and am enjoying it so far, and wondering what we have to look forward to.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk

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matmacwc    1,092

 

What is it about being rpa that is so terrible? ?? I'm in urt and am enjoying it so far, and wondering what we have to look forward to.

 

Do we tell him?

 

 

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