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Buckley Viper Hopeful

Buckley 2018 UPT Board Difficulty?

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Hey everyone,

 

I think this will be a half rant and half legitimate questions. Anyway here it goes. I just took the TBAS and my PCSM score is really low at a 37 with 1 flight hour. My AFOQT pilot score is sitting very low at 74. Buckley's pilot board is this March, so I can retake the AFOQT by then, and get my PPL. Theoretically speaking, my PCSM score for hours 41-60 goes to 59, and if I get 90+ on the pilot section in the AFOQT, then I can raise my PCSM to 70-80, if that sounds about right. I can take the TBAS again maybe before they start conducting interviews so if I score higher the second time, then that can be a talking point. This was all theoretically speaking and for my sanity but now on to the real stuff. Here are my stats for reference.

 

PCSM - 37 w/ 1 flight hour

AFOQT - P74 N84 AA82 V90 Q66

GPA - 2.52 Mechanical Engineering

Age - 23

Occupation - Engineer in top Defense Contractor

 

Buckley would be my dream unit though I can't find much info on Buckley online. What I have found is that this is one of the hardest ANG units to get hired into. Would anyone with knowledge of Buckley or any current or former fighter pilots at Buckley care to weigh in on getting selected? Looking at my stats, I know there is no way I could get in now. But what if my theoretical scores became my actual scores? Would it be beneficial for me to enlist or is that risky? I would love to be a Redeye but it is my first priority to get into the cockpit of a fighter. Any and all insight is greatly appreciated.    

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I'd guess you probably aren't going to get an interview for fighters without a PPL and a better PCSM. You don't have to be the best qualified on paper to get hired, but you do probably need to be among the top twenty or so applicants. 

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The common denominator on the fighter interview circuit was a minimum of a PPL when I was going through. I've come across people with lower AFOQT scores, but that was offset by a commercial license/ATP and high number of flight hours. The thing that is most in your control right now is to get your PPL as quickly as possible. The general aviation knowledge gained through ground study will help when it comes to retaking the AFOQT, too.

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Also, you can go to www.buckleypilotjob.com to get more information and contact information.   Good luck man!  Stay motivated and do what's in your control.  It's okay for them to be your dream, but I would have some back up plans as well too.  It can never hurt. 

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I was speaking to a Major from Buckley at a fly in recently and he said they had close to 500 applicants last year (or the year before, can't remember) for 1 open slot.  

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On 10/31/2017 at 3:54 PM, dmginc said:

he said they had close to 500 applicants last year (or the year before, can't remember) for 1 open slot.  

They haven't had a board in 3 or 4 years

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27 minutes ago, Buckley Viper Hopeful said:

In other words this is an impossible unit to get into and this is a chance of a lifetime. Damn... a dude can dream though!

Apply to all available boards! You might be surprised how well you like certain units, or realize how poor of a fit some are based on what you're looking for. Plus, it's good experience to go to interviews, which could help you out with Buckley down the road.

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7 minutes ago, cagg011 said:

Apply to all available boards! You might be surprised how well you like certain units, or realize how poor of a fit some are based on what you're looking for. Plus, it's good experience to go to interviews, which could help you out with Buckley down the road.

That was definitely my plan. Beggars cannot be choosers. It's just bad for me that Buckley only has boards once every 3-4 years since I'm already going to be 24 this spring so this is my one and only shot at Buckley for UPT. I could come back as rated, but that would be way down the road. I would still just be happy to be sitting in the cockpit of a fighter though so that's really all that matters.

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11 hours ago, Buckley Viper Hopeful said:

That was definitely my plan. Beggars cannot be choosers. It's just bad for me that Buckley only has boards once every 3-4 years since I'm already going to be 24 this spring so this is my one and only shot at Buckley for UPT. I could come back as rated, but that would be way down the road. I would still just be happy to be sitting in the cockpit of a fighter though so that's really all that matters.

Don't get discouraged, just take the extra time to improve yourself. Retake tests, get some flying time in. You're still very young and have an excellent opportunity to obtain some experience visiting units, interviewing and gaining some valuable knowledge about the application process.

Also, just because it's been awhile since their previous board doesn't mean it will always be that way. For all we know, Buckley could hold another UPT board again next year, so there's no use in feeling disheartened at this point. I'm 28 and the 120 FS is my ultimate dream unit as well; I'm still going to give it my best shot with high spirits, and you should too.

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Apply to any and all units, Reserve and ANG. Took me 40+ apps before a successful result. If anything else it's good interview practice.

Retake the AFOQT/TBAS and rage through a PPL ASAP. I think that'd get you in good fighter unit territory.

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Anything is possible, Buckley is my dream spot as well. Instead of trying to get a slot with them directly, I'm using my current unit to get a slot and go to Buckley Rated. Helps that my unit is an training unit so we have to go away to another base to season for 2-3 years and if we like it we're allowed to stay there. May not get there immediately but down the road hoping to get in that block 30. Good Luck! 

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Would anyone know of enlisting into Buckley? I am not young but am starting to get close to get close to the cut off age if I considered enlisting. I would imagine I would be near 26 when all is said and done. How much greater of a chance would I get by enlisting? Anyone know if they hire more from within or on the street? 

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56 minutes ago, Buckley Viper Hopeful said:

Would anyone know of enlisting into Buckley? I am not young but am starting to get close to get close to the cut off age if I considered enlisting. I would imagine I would be near 26 when all is said and done. How much greater of a chance would I get by enlisting? Anyone know if they hire more from within or on the street? 

Hey bud, I will give you my two cents as my PERSONAL opinion.  To my knowledge and experience with all of this, many would love to be in your shoes to be able to apply to places at your age.  There are folks that are not that young anymore and are unable to apply to units without having to worry about an age waiver.  I would SUGGEST, just my personal opinion, that you apply to as many places as possible.  Time will fly over you, literally.  DO NOT enlist hoping to work a perfect plan such as; enlisting, going to basic training, technical training, and making it back just in time to apply for their pilot board, it may only delay you more.  Enlisting helps you because of time in service but in your case you may not have that much time.  If truly wanting Buckley then keep an eye out, reach out to them, and get information for when the next board would take place.  If you don't make it this time then ask for feedback as to what you can improve for next time around.  I understand your concern that they may not have it every year and that tells you how competitive they may be, ie, how many other competitive candidates you will be going against. 
 

If you are dead-set into fighters than weigh-out your options such as maybe applying to another fighter unit or so, if not then...many have already suggested several options. 

 

I am not trying to discourage you, just giving you the advice that I give many that have asked me about the process.  Make sure you are looking at all of your options before being dead-set on ONE airframe and/or unit but by all means GO FOR IT.  I have heard of many folks going through several interviews before being accepted.  Determination and persistence is key, go strong!

 

TL; DR - Don't enlist, meet and greet Buckley, review other options to be completely sure of what you want.

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I personally think enlisting with the specific intent of getting a UPT slot is a waste of time. Either enlist because you believe in the mission, or broaden your application scope. Don't let your dead-set fighter attitude cause you to miss the boat altogether.

Edited by GDAL
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When age becomes a factor, don't enlist. I only enlisted in my unit because we only hire from within and I was only 21 at the time, otherwise might've just finished college and applied around. Basically what Cobra said, be the best you can be to Buckley but if you truly want to fly I'd say look around at other options, and come back as rated. Get that slot anywhere before the time limit runs out. 

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Yeah. Slept on this one and I definitely will not enlist. Though, I am going to keep my eyes dead set on fighters. Always been a dream of mine and I am not bagging on heavies but I don't want to fly those. Going to try my best with Buckley but looks like I have to have a solid contingency plan.

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