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glitchfire

Was flying for the Air Force worth it?

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totally worth it. 

 

BUT if i could do it again i'd rush a guard/reserve unit. didn't know that shit even existed as a dumb ROTC guy.

 

 



This x 10000
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I just want to point out that a lot of the guys saying "worth it" to "absolutely worth it" are older dudes career wise. I can say having been in almost 10 years that this place has changed and not for the better. Flying is awesome. The Air Force sucks. Sucks to the point where it over shadows the mission. Bro, I know like 5 guys staying in past their initial commitment and they are not really the guys I want leading... But I am afraid everyone else is going to be gone. This has only 1% due to the airlines hiring and 100% to do with the complete lack of focus and the pussyfooting risk-adverse management that think they are too good to fix what's wrong with Big Blue.

Glad I experienced it, but I have had enough. Wouldn't do it again.

Stick with Med school, push for guard job.


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Or you could accept the fact that not everyone hated it as much as you.

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^What BashiChuni said.

Going to UPT as a Guard guy would be great.  Knowing what is waiting for you at the end of the training would be great. The luck and timing thing of AD is very real and if you have your heart set on flying one thing and that's not in the drop, then tough luck.  For example, the first drop I witnessed at ENJJPT was back in the days where if you could fog a mirror, you'd end up in a Viper.  The next one, half the class went to RPA's, 5 others went to U-28's, and 1 guy went to Strike Eagles. It's back to mirror fogging = Viper now, but the unpredictability sucks as a student.

 

Edited by Danger41
clarification
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Or you could accept the fact that not everyone hated it as much as you.

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Scoobs, go with quals. Otherwise STFU.


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Or you could accept the fact that not everyone hated it as much as you.

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I don't come to McDonalds and tell you your job is great. So don't do the same to me.


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To the OP,

I was in almost the exact same position as you when I was at your point. I chose flying. Would I make the same choice again? Maybe. Here are a couple of things to consider:

1. Longevity. What can you do longer? Which is more stable? I'm at the end of my commitment. Flying pointy jets has been awesome. The overall career? Eh. My back and neck hurt too. I don't know if everyone can fly their whole life due to medical reasons. I would bet doctors can still work with some of the medical issues that would ground a pilot. That might not seem like a big deal now when you're young, but trust me it's a big deal and something you should consider now.

2. Looking back it seems much easier to become a doc first and then become a pilot one way or another later. The other way is much MUCH harder from what I have seen. If you're anywhere near 50/50 on this just go to medical school. You'll make enough money as a doc to pay for all of your ratings and can then probably own your own aerobatic plane if you really want to go upside down. I make sure I go upside down on every flight in the Air Force, but I'm pretty sure most docs deal with less b.s. and get treated better when they are at work than I do. At the end of the day if you really end up wanting to fly in a fighter or something just go sign up to be a flight doc and you'll get to taste the life.

3. There's a reason why so many pilots are leaving the Air Force. Don't discount that fact! How many docs are running from their jobs? I really don't know the answer, but I bet not that many. 

4. The Air Force overall has done a really great job taking care of me and my family. There are some huge benefits to being in the Air Force. At the end of the day it sucks though. There is too much b.s.

Just go become doc. 

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10 hours ago, glitchfire said:

At the end of your commitment for flying for the Air Force, do you think it was worth it?

What were some of the other career paths you considered?

What was the peak experience of your career?

Right now I am a premed who has a good shot of getting into med school. But I think I would always regret it if I didn't go for a UPT slot and try to fly for the military.

 

I decided I wanted to go to med school after separating from the AF.  The only problem was that my undergrad was in math and I hadn't taken any chemistry or biology classes.  So, as a captain in the AF, I started with gen chem 1 and went from there.  Organic chemistry, biology, anatomy, physiology, etc. all with labs, and all taken around TDYs, deployments, and exercises.  Ultimately, I ended up going to the airlines for a couple of reasons.  I've seen many doctors have problems with the ACA, putting up with paperwork, insurance, etc.  Plus, I had a couple surprise kids and with the new family to support, school and residency would be increasingly difficult, and realistically, I wouldn't see any real money for at least another decade.  With my experience as a pilot, I could step into any major airline and start making good money right from the get-go.  

To answer your question, do I regret my decision...not at all.  I've been an instructor pilot in three aircraft.  I've flown all around the world and over every ocean.  I'm honored that I was able to serve my country and my best friends have been squadronmates.  And it gave me an in for a job where at a year in, I make over two times as much as I did as an O-4 on flight pay.  

If I was in your position, if you don't have a family, I'd go to med school and see how it worked out.  I met a flight doc that didn't get into the residency he wanted so he joined the AF and flew KC135s as a line pilot.  If you haven't already, head on over to http://forums.studentdoctor.net/ and read some experiences.  Of course, their advice will probably be to go the pilot route.  Good luck with whatever you choose!

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6 hours ago, matmacwc said:

ANG baby, the only way.

 

Best flying I'll ever have, best people I'll ever meet, have seen things nobody else will.  I can't wait to retire.

This. If you want to be a military pilot, serve your country as an aviator, and avoid the bureaucratic inefficiency much of the USAF has become, join the ARC.

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On September 18, 2016 at 5:08 PM, glitchfire said:

Are there guys out there that are flying F16s a few days a week, and then commercial the other days of the week? If so, that seems like a very nice lifestyle. Or do ANG pilots work full-time?

I worked with guys who flew F22’s on the weekends and flew B777 during the week from JFK to dubai and/or Paris. Could be worse I guess.

 

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ANG man (or lady)! Lots of people can either fly as much or as little as they want with the Guard (depending on their airframe/mission). And they say that if you really want to go Active Duty from the Guard, you can. But of course, YMMV.  

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I love military flying but despise big blue.  If I had to do it all over again, ANG or reserves.    10 years is a long ADSC and a lot can change over that time.

Edited by snoopyeast

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After 10 yrs AD (2yrs left on UPT ADSC), I really enjoy flying for the AF. B-1 was awesome and T-38s are wicked fun daily. The antics that big blue pills almost daily are mind numbing (Green dot being the most recent). As everybody alluded to earlier...try and find a guard unit. Had a student recently who was a neurosurgeon and applied to a F-16 unit (SC I believe) He just got his wings in the last few months. Doable, guard would be your best bet. 

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So the general consensus:  ANG or AFRC = mostly good, AD = mostly crap. Did I get that right? 

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3 hours ago, bb17 said:

So the general consensus:  ANG or AFRC = mostly good, AD = mostly crap. Did I get that right? 

Yup.  

7 minutes ago, Homestar said:

Be a doctor.  Then get rich and fly for fun.

For what it's worth, I have heard more than one doctor say they regret being a doctor, for various reasons, and wish they had been an airline pilot instead (no joke).  I am yet to hear the opposite, although I am sure there are some out there with that opinion too.  

  

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22 minutes ago, JS said:

Yup.  

For what it's worth, I have heard more than one doctor say they regret being a doctor, for various reasons, and wish they had been an airline pilot instead (no joke).  I am yet to hear the opposite, although I am sure there are some out there with that opinion too.  

  

I have a good bud who flew Vipers in the ANG THEN went to med School.  He loved doing both but eventually had to quit flying, he is a surgeon and it requires huge commitment...he is CONSTANTLY complaining about the costs of things like malpractice insurance so the numbers for 30+ airline career, especially in the current environment, made be better on the flying side.

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5 hours ago, PlanePhlyer said:

After 10 yrs AD (2yrs left on UPT ADSC), I really enjoy flying for the AF. B-1 was awesome and T-38s are wicked fun daily. The antics that big blue pills almost daily are mind numbing (Green dot being the most recent). As everybody alluded to earlier...try and find a guard unit. Had a student recently who was a neurosurgeon and applied to a F-16 unit (SC I believe) He just got his wings in the last few months. Doable, guard would be your best bet. 

thats insane. so he had enough time to go through flight training while doing neurosurgery? and was still young enough to be eligible? 

did he have a clone?

Edited by glitchfire

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3 hours ago, Homestar said:

Be a doctor.  Then get rich and fly for fun.

Does flying GA even compare to the type of flying you do in the military?  I would think no.   

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No, but ignorance is bliss. If you've never flown on the mil side, you almost certainly don't know or fully appreciate what you're missing. Lots of guys are happy just to get airborne, beat up the local pattern, and have lunch somewhere different every weekend. 

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Does flying GA even compare to the type of flying you do in the military?  I would think no.   


It's not the same but can be just as fun. Military flying is very controlled so the fun isn't whenever you want and most real good flying is prohibited by various rules.

Some of the most fun I've had is in small planes. An RV-8 for example
Is terrific.

Military flying is not what you see in air shows. JDAM and computers have taken a lot of the fun flying out of it so it's not all BFM and dive bombing.

That's not to say it can't be a blast. It's just not what you see in movies and read about in books.

But other than $$, it beats what I know of being a doctor which I hear has plenty of stress and work involved.


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Glitch,

   I'm a C-17 guy who is nearing the end of my 1st 10 years and I'm almost positive I will not be staying in the AF. That being said, I would absolutely do it all over again. There has been plenty of BS, but honestly all I can remember when I look back are the great friends I've made and the once in a lifetime experiences I've had. 

    Hopefully you are polling some doctors as well. I only know a couple, but they constantly complain about managed care, insurance, and school debt. Every job is going to have its downsides  

    I personally wouldn't try to do both. Choose one and try to never look back...

Edited by Harvey
Grammar

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3 hours ago, Harvey said:

Glitch,

   I'm a C-17 guy who is nearing the end of my 1st 10 years and I'm almost positive I will not be staying in the AF. That being said, I would absolutely do it all over again. There has been plenty of BS, but honestly all I can remember when I look back are the great friends I've made and the once in a lifetime experiences I've had. 

   

See you on the Guard side!

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