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I am an engineering student applying for both AD and ANG slots. If I am fortunate enough to get selected for both, I am not sure which one I would go with. Here is what I think the pros are for each:

 

ANG:

Fixed location

Known aircraft

Ability to work another job

 

AD:

Ability to see more of the world (is this true?)

Don’t have to worry about another job.

Edited by Zulu

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I think you can find the answers to these questions by searching this site.  If you think the fighter pilots in the ANG aren't "real fighter pilots" I recommend keeping that info to yourself.  I would center your research efforts on what it's like as a new guy in the ANG - you will be full time for several years before you can go back to your engineering field and most guys don't want to go back by then. 

 

I wouldn't say you'll necessarily see more of the world on AD.  In my 6 years in the ANG I've been to UAE, Israel, Germany, Spain, UK, Thailand, Bulgaria and Holland.  More importantly I haven't been back to Bagram and my ANG bros that have get to find out about it early and know when they are getting home. 

 

In 12 years on AD I saw Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Khazakstan, Afghanistan and a few places in Europe when I was in USAFE.  See the difference?  Do more research. 

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Thanks for the reply. What I wrote was worded wrong. From what I have read so far, I thought full time positions are for pilots who have been with the wing for along time. A better way to word my question would have been: With a part time job as a pilot, would I be satisfied? Is flying for a weekend every month enough, or will I regret it and wish it could be my full time job? I can't answer these yet. But I guess this question doesn't matter if new guys in the ANG are full time.

I didn't even ask the question about who gets more flying time as I know it varies widely and there is not a good answer.

I'm glad to hear that you still get to do a lot of travel in the ANG though.

 

Sorry if I offended you with how I worded my post. I have edited it to more clearly reflect what I am trying to say.

Edited by zkant

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You'll be flying far more often than a weekend every month, for starters. A lot of units expect something like 8 or 9 days, minimum. New guys are commonly on "seasoning" full time orders for a while, and new guys in the Reserve are expected to be full-time ARTs for several years, at least. This is a good thing, because it allows you to contribute to the unit, develop your proficiency, and have a well-paying job while building time for the airlines, if that's your long-term goal.

I think Evil's right in that, after ~2 years in the training pipeline and ~2 years full time (a guess), you're not going to want to go back to whatever non-flying civilian career you had. Especially not when the airlines are hiring, and likely paying more than you'll make as a junior ME.

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I am just a pilot select waiting for dates so I don't know much about anything, so take this with a grain of salt as this is just what I've been told talking to units. But from some one that just went through the process I can tell you my opinion.  

I went Air Force Reserves, I never even considered AD for a couple reasons. One being is I already have an established career that makes good $$ and i really like the company i'm with, so to leave it all and go AD for 12 years seemed like a waste of all the work and effort I put in to get here. Reason two is that I hear that AD is a difficult life if you have a family. And every guy i talked to seemed to think Reserves or ANG was the perfect gig with a good balance. 

And my unit fly's all over the world, plenty of TDY opportunities and as much flying as you'd like. Now this is a heavy unit, I don't know much about the fighter units to compare. And note that all units are different. 

A lot of my engineering buddies that fly ended up taking a full time flying gig after working in their field for a couple years, opinions always change once you are actually out doing it. Now this is not always the case but its hard to put a pilot behind a desk and expect them to stay. Plus a 2nd year fo at a major will make as much as a 10yr ME in most cases.

And to only be willing to fly for 1 particular unit wouldn't be the best approach in my opinion, I would explore multiple different units and apply to every unit that has openings that you would be willing to commute/move to. 

 

Ps. Your scores look great, and keep chugging along on your PPL its more important than you might think.

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Just curious, are you involved in ROTC at your school or have you considered enlisting in a nearby ANG unit? In my experience, being prior enlisted weighs heavily when it comes to getting a slot. Especially in Madison. 4 guys they've picked up in the last five years were in the WIANG. But if you want to fly AD you should really just do ROTC. 

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7 hours ago, sforron said:

You'll be flying far more often than a weekend every month, for starters. A lot of units expect something like 8 or 9 days, minimum.

If a squadron requires 8-9 days/month, as a part timer...run, don't walk, away from the squadron as fast as possible.  Even with an airline gig, anything above 5 days/month is unrealistic.  

 

Also...

ANG > AD

Edited by SocialD

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8 hours ago, Heavywanabe said:

I am just a pilot select waiting for dates so I don't know much about anything, so take this with a grain of salt as this is just what I've been told talking to units. But from some one that just went through the process I can tell you my opinion.  

I went Air Force Reserves, I never even considered AD for a couple reasons. One being is I already have an established career that makes good $$ and i really like the company i'm with, so to leave it all and go AD for 12 years seemed like a waste of all the work and effort I put in to get here. Reason two is that I hear that AD is a difficult life if you have a family. And every guy i talked to seemed to think Reserves or ANG was the perfect gig with a good balance. 

And my unit fly's all over the world, plenty of TDY opportunities and as much flying as you'd like. Now this is a heavy unit, I don't know much about the fighter units to compare. And note that all units are different. 

A lot of my engineering buddies that fly ended up taking a full time flying gig after working in their field for a couple years, opinions always change once you are actually out doing it. Now this is not always the case but its hard to put a pilot behind a desk and expect them to stay. Plus a 2nd year fo at a major will make as much as a 10yr ME in most cases.

And to only be willing to fly for 1 particular unit wouldn't be the best approach in my opinion, I would explore multiple different units and apply to every unit that has openings that you would be willing to commute/move to. 

 

Ps. Your scores look great, and keep chugging along on your PPL its more important than you might think.

Thanks for the great information. I was originally only applying to my local ANG wing because I saw the major benefit being fixed location near home. But I am finding out any ANG wing may be better than AD.

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1 hour ago, SocialD said:

If a squadron requires 8-9 days/month, as a part timer...run, don't walk, away from the squadron as fast as possible.  Even with an airline gig, anything above 5 days/month is unrealistic.  

 

Also...

ANG > AD

I don't understand how you could even work another job if you are working 8-9 a month at the guard, so I'm glad you think that is unrealistic.

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54 minutes ago, zkant said:

Thanks for the great information. I was originally only applying to my local ANG wing because I saw the major benefit being fixed location near home. But I am finding out any ANG wing may be better than AD.

AD is great for job security, benefits, frequent paid travel, building hours. If you want fighters, T-38s aren't guaranteed, either are fighters (debateable lately). Would you be happy in a C-17, C-130 or a T-6 FAIP? In the Guard, it could take awhile to get enough hours to fly for the airlines, but you get to pick where you want to live. AD was good to me, but I'm ready to go Guard after 9 yrs with wings.  Get as many hours flying as you can and good luck with your choice. I was a ME major wth a 3.1 GPA if it makes you feel better. 

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You would have to be an absolute idiot to go on AD if you had an ANG pilot slot, especially at the 115th.

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3 minutes ago, Bergman said:

You would have to be an absolute idiot to go on AD if you had an ANG pilot slot, especially at the 115th.

Before I made this post I never realized this so I am really glad I am getting this information. So you would all suggest that I delay my AD application for a few years while I try to get an ANG pilot slot? I'm assuming you can reapply if you do not get selected the first time?

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29 minutes ago, zkant said:

Before I made this post I never realized this so I am really glad I am getting this information. So you would all suggest that I delay my AD application for a few years while I try to get an ANG pilot slot? I'm assuming you can reapply if you do not get selected the first time?

Yes, you can generally apply with an ANG unit as many times as you want if you are not selected. I've never heard of a unit prohibiting it.

I'd definitely try to get hired with the 115th. I'm sure flying fighters in the Guard in a nice location (that also happens to be close to home for you) is as close to a dream job as it gets. I actually just applied with them and spoke with them last week and today -- was being considered for an interview but I didn't end up making the final cut, but the dudes over there are great people and I definitely plan on applying with them again if the timing works out. That said, don't limit your options even though it would be nice to stay near your home. There are a lot of great units out there and a lot of precious time will slip by if you only apply to one unit (considering that each unit tends to hold selection boards once a year or less). You're off to a really good start, just get some solid LORs and invest in as much flight time as you can.

Edited by mb1685
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31 minutes ago, mb1685 said:

Yes, you can generally apply with an ANG unit as many times as you want if you are not selected. I've never heard of a unit prohibiting it.

I'd definitely try to get hired with the 115th. I'm sure flying fighters in the Guard in a nice location (that also happens to be close to home for you) is as close to a dream job as it gets. I actually just applied with them and spoke with them last week and today -- was being considered for an interview but I didn't end up making the final cut, but the dudes over there are great people and I definitely plan on applying with them again if the timing works out. That said, don't limit your options even though it would be nice to stay near your home. There are a lot of great units out there and a lot of precious time will slip by if you only apply to one unit (considering that each unit tends to hold selection boards once a year or less). You're off to a really good start, just get some solid LORs and invest in as much flight time as you can.

Is flying time going to make that much of a difference? I have read that some units look at the 201+ hours mark mainly for the PCSM. I have 13 hours currently with a PCSM of 80 and my 201+ hours score is 99.

I could maybe get ~50 hours and shoot for my PPL, but it would be a big investment for me as a college student. I just have a hard time understanding how potentially ~40 extra hours would make a huge difference to them training wise, but I guess I could see that it shows that I'm interested and dedicated. Do you think it would be worth calling the 115th and ask about how they weight flying hours? I believe I asked the officer recruiter this but she didn't have an answer for me. Do I need to try and get in touch with somebody else?

Edited by zkant

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25 minutes ago, zkant said:

Is flying time going to make that much of a difference? I have read that some units look at the 201+ hours mark mainly for the PCSM. I have 13 hours currently with a PCSM of 80 and my 201+ hours score is 99.

I could maybe get ~50 hours and shoot for my PPL, but it would be a big investment for me as a college student. I just have a hard time understanding how potentially ~40 extra hours would make a huge difference to them training wise, but I guess I could see that it shows that I'm interested and dedicated. Do you think it would be worth calling the 115th and ask about how they weight flying hours? I believe I asked the officer recruiter this but she didn't have an answer for me. Do I need to try and get in touch with somebody else?

I've heard of some units gauging everyone by the 201+ hour bracket but I get the impression that's not the norm. It's definitely possible to get hired without a ton of flight time, but it's one of the most important things that boards look at, since UPT attrition rates tend to decline substantially with more flight experience (the PCSM algorithm is designed to reflect that since it weighs flight hours pretty heavily). I have the same PCSM score as you and more flight time (21 hours) and I got the impression that my lack of flight time was the biggest thing holding me back from landing an interview, since the POC seemed pretty impressed with the more subjective parts of my application. Don't bankrupt yourself trying to get more flight experience, but consider budgeting for some more time. Since you're only 20, you have a lot of time to chase after this, so you can spread out your flight time to ease the financial burden (although I'm sure you'll be asked about your flying background if you interview with a unit, so getting your flight time in fairly solid chunks without HUGE intervals in between would be more ideal, since you'll have make better progress and retain knowledge and skills better than if you just go for a single sightseeing flight every few months or so).

I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to call the 115FW and ask about flight time, but since the selection process is subjective, they may not be able to give you an exact answer on how much flight time they're looking for.

Edited by mb1685
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The 115th is a phenomenal group of dudes, you'd be foolish to pass up the opportunity.  I got hired by them on their last experienced hiring board and will be going there post-active duty.  If you go active duty you're rolling the bones on aircraft type and location.  Timing, then luck, and then skill will determine what you get in AD.

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25 minutes ago, F16Deuce said:

The 115th is a phenomenal group of dudes, you'd be foolish to pass up the opportunity.  I got hired by them on their last experienced hiring board and will be going there post-active duty.  If you go active duty you're rolling the bones on aircraft type and location.  Timing, then luck, and then skill will determine what you get in AD.

They have boards just for priors? Initially I was interested in the 115th for location, but after making this post and reading other threads it seems like any ANG wing may be a better bet, and the 115th would be especially amazing for me.

Just worried that I will have literally zero chance being a fresh college grad. It seems that I have decent AFOQT and PCSM scores, but I only have 13 hours and no military experience. Why would they ever pick me over a guy who has 10+ years flying in the military already?

Edited by zkant

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18 minutes ago, zkant said:

They have boards just for priors? Initially I was interested in the 115th for location, but after making this post and reading other threads it seems like any ANG wing may be a better bet, and the 115th would be especially amazing for me.

Just worried that I will have literally zero chance being a fresh college grad. It seems that I have decent AFOQT and PCSM scores, but I only have 13 hours and no military experience. Why would they ever pick me over a guy who has 10+ years flying in the military already?

They have boards for dudes like you that need to go to UPT and dudes like me that have been flying fighters for 10 years, apples and oranges.  ANG units need brand new guys and experienced guys from active duty.  It's a balance.  I don't think you're disadvantaged by having only 13 hours.  I barely had my PPL going to UPT and it worked out.  The USAF is very good at taking dudes with no experience and making them pilots.  In my opinion, what matters most is having a good attitude and being a good bro.  That goes for UPT and even WIC.

As I see it, there are 3 universal rules for being successful in the USAF and maybe life in general:

1.  Don't be a douche.

2.  Work hard.

3.  Help others get better.

 

Edited by F16Deuce
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9 minutes ago, F16Deuce said:

They have boards for dudes like you that need to go to UPT and dudes like me that have been flying fighters for 10 years, apples and oranges.  ANG units need brand new guys and experienced guys from active duty.  It's a balance.  I don't think you're disadvantaged by having only 13 hours.  I barely had my PPL going to UPT and it worked out.  The USAF is very good at taking dudes with no experience and making them pilots.  In my opinion, what matters most is having a good attitude and being a good bro.  That goes for UPT and even WIC.

As I see it, there are 3 universal rules for being successful in the USAF and maybe life in general:

1.  Don't be a douche.

2.  Work hard.

3.  Help others get better.

 

Makes a lot of sense! Thanks for the advice man, and good to know I'm not directly competing with guys like you!

i might get some more hours, but I am really going to try and stick my foot in the door somehow and try to get them to know me.

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21 hours ago, zkant said:

They have boards just for priors? Initially I was interested in the 115th for location, but after making this post and reading other threads it seems like any ANG wing may be a better bet, and the 115th would be especially amazing for me.

Just worried that I will have literally zero chance being a fresh college grad. It seems that I have decent AFOQT and PCSM scores, but I only have 13 hours and no military experience. Why would they ever pick me over a guy who has 10+ years flying in the military already?

You will almost always have a better chance with ANG units near where you are from.  They/we like home town kids.  It reduces the chances of someone going through training and then bolting for a unit near where they grew up.  It also ensures a little bit of "he'll fit in here" just from being from the area.  Packers fans and all that.

Having said that, if you can't get hired by the unit of your choice close to home, go fly somewhere else and try to transfer down the road.  Maybe you'll love where you end up and won't want to transfer.  Or put in your time and then move when the time is right.

I am very good friends with someone at the 115 FW who didn't get hired by them, went elsewhere to fly vipers for 5+ years, and has now been back home in Wisconsin flying for over 10 years.  More than one path to a destination.  Having said that, I will echo others' advice to be a good dude, help others, and work hard.  That's how you get hired, that's how you upgrade, and that's how you transfer units if the need arises.

 

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On ‎6‎/‎8‎/‎2017 at 8:32 PM, Bergman said:

"...and that's how you transfer units if the need arises."

We both know that's not true.  :bohica:

 

 

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Reviving this thread that I created half a year ago to ask another question about AD vs ANG.

I know a lot more now than I did when I started browsing the site, and I really see the benefits of going Guard like most of the people on the site do. However, the main thing I’m struggling with about the Guard is that it is a part-time job. I realize that there are full-time positions available, but from what I have read they are generally hard to get until you have some serious time with the unit or are prior AD.

Does it not suck not being able to do what you love full-time? I’m assuming most of you got into the military flying business because you knew that was exactly what you wanted to do. Or do days that you are not working at the Guard basically equate to days you would not be flying in AD, meaning that you are basically just replacing non-flying AD days with a different (hopefully more enjoyable) job?

I guess it’s just hard for a young hopeful like me to see how having a part-time military flying job is better than being full-time. Being on the outside, I’m looking in at the job I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I could see myself doing it full-time for awhile, but it’s hard to think why I would want to jump in, be full time for ~4 years (training and seasoning), and then be only half in and back to a partial boring life like before. (I’m trying to paint a picture of what it sort of feels like as a hopeful so maybe it’s easier to understand what I’m thinking)

A lot of the discussion on the site is about how AD sucks, but it’s hard for a guy like me to even follow the discussions. Do I really just need to trust you all that the AD “bullshit” is not worth it and that I’ll spend my entire AD commitment hating life and wondering why I didn’t go Guard?

Hoping somebody may be able to shed some light on this. Let me know if there is anything I’m not considering / if I am thinking about this in the wrong way. Thanks.

Edit: Just wanted to add that I really appreciate all the answers / help that I’ve already gotten over my time using the site. Was so excited when I found out that a forum existed where I could go and read / ask questions about military flying from guys who are already doing it. It’s been a huge help already.

Edited by Zulu

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How many full time positions depends a lot on the airframe, mission, etc.  I only have 3 traditional guard pilots in my wing right now.  All the rest of us are full time; not sure you truly have the full picture of (some) guard squadrons.  We are undermanned right now, but even at the best of times we'll end up having at least 2/3rds of the pilots full time.  With the boom in civilian aviation going on right now, guys are looking for part time positions more than full time. 

 

If you go ANG and want to do a 3 year tour on AD, there is a program for that.  There is not a program for AD to join the ANG before your commitment is up.  We do have TFI squadrons, but you are still at the AD beck and call.  

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Thanks for the detailed reply.

I did not know that some units have so many full time positions and sometimes struggle to fill them.

When interviewing / talking with units, should I be up front with my interest in having a full time position and wanting to know what their situation is? From what I have read, I thought many units look down on this as it makes it appear that the candidate is unnaware / doesn’t understand that they need to have the ability to support themselves financially in another way.

I also did not know about the 3 year tour on AD. Very interesting and could be a solution if I don’t get a full time position but wanted to be full time.

 

 

 

Edited by Zulu

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