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FDNYOldGuy

What are my chances? Civ to UPT: the old-guy edition

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Hey, all. Thanks for the great community to help spin up on info about a career in military aviation! I've spent a lot of hours on here reading and lurking, but this is my first post. Might as well make it a big one, right?

First, pardon me for any ignorance in information. Although I have spoken with a recruiter (just spoke while typing this, actually, and working on scheduling MEPS), I did a lot of the work thus far myself outside of filling out the application docs. An awful lot of the stuff is foreign to me coming from the civilian world and not having someone guiding me through the process, so I'm sure a lot of it is simple or I've done it out of order.

I'm looking for some input and opinions on my chances. I'm a 36 year old FDNY fireman that just obtained my PPL a few months ago. Talking with a fireman buddy that's also in the Reserves about having recently gotten my license, he pointed me back toward military aviation due to the pilot shortage. I had been very interested in it back when I finished my undergrad back in 2004, but the AF AD recruiter I spoke with then told me there was about zero chance for me to get a pilot slot without a STEM degree. So, I thought I was finished until he let me know they were hurting.

Here's where I'm at:

AFOQT: 89 Pilot; 90 Navigator

PCSM: 82, with ability to bump it to 86 with 14 more hours of flying (easily obtainable; in a club and could get it in a few weeks, if necessary). I also think I can bring that TBAS up with the second round now that I know what to expect.

Degree: Undergrad in Entrepreneurship from Florida State (3.01) and a Master's in Real Estate Investment from Baruch (3.41) 

LoRs: Have some decent ones: a retired Colonel that was an A-10 pilot, a Battalion Chief in the FDNY, my direct supervisor (a Captain), my flight instructor (former military and FDNY), and another AD Army Captain I work with.

Medical: I haven't gone to MEPS yet, but I just spoke with a recruiter that said he is going to work on schedule me. I've got no current or past health issues/surgeries, I'm within height/weight, excellent vision (no LASIK or glasses) with no depth/color issues, good hearing, etc. I get extensive annuals with the FDNY that cover this stuff, so I'm not just hoping all is okay.

Career Goals: I plan on staying the full 20 (or more, honestly) to fly as long as I can. I have no interest in going to the airlines or quitting the FDNY, which I plan on doing another 20 years with, as well. The FDNY is also VERY good with military leave and would, in no way, cause any issues with UPT, seasoning, or drills/deployments. Of course, being a reasonable distance from NYC is preferred, but I'm willing to try units all across the US. I've been told that once you're in, you can transfer, but I don't plan on going in with that as a goal, by any means, and I've got no issues being loyal to a unit and commuting from NYC, as long as they're okay with it. Especially if it's somewhere warm. Haha. And I know that during UPT and seasoning I'll be away from NYC for awhile training, which is also not a big deal. The wife is pretty flexible and understanding, as is the FDNY with paid and unpaid military leave, so there shouldn't be any issues there. Again, warm helps with my wife and I'd love to get a unit somewhere in the South/West, but I/we wouldn't exclude an opportunity just because it's a colder climate.

Flying Goals: I'll honestly fly anything I'll actually be flying (not interested in UAVs, ABM, or other non-pilot options) and I'm willing to apply just about anywhere that will give me a shot with my age. 

That's probably a longer-than-wanted gist of where I stand. I think I can check a lot of the "whole person concept" boxes and will interview well, but I know I'm up there in age and time is working heavily against me, so it's more about having the opportunity at all over worrying about too many of the details. I'm completely willing to get put through the ringer and get told "No," so I'll apply wherever and however many places I can that I have a chance at getting. Flying military has always been a dream; one that I didn't think was possible after getting told no without a STEM degree. I know time is running out, so I want to give it my all and, at the end of the day, if it doesn't happen, know I gave it a solid effort and it just wasn't meant to be.  

Thanks for reading. I really appreciate your input and time. Stay safe out there. 

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36 is definitely within the range to get an age waiver these days, and the rest of your info looks good enough. Luckily for you there's a ton of units within a reasonable commute to NY, though many are going to want you to be full-time for a while (if you show up the interview acting like you'll finish training then immediately go to one weekend a month, two weeks a year, it might not be received positively). I wonder if you might have luck with the Guard HH-60 squadron in Long Island. Start putting in applications everywhere you'd reasonably want to work, though, because you aren't getting any younger.

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48 minutes ago, Stoker said:

36 is definitely within the range to get an age waiver these days, and the rest of your info looks good enough. Luckily for you there's a ton of units within a reasonable commute to NY, though many are going to want you to be full-time for a while (if you show up the interview acting like you'll finish training then immediately go to one weekend a month, two weeks a year, it might not be received positively). I wonder if you might have luck with the Guard HH-60 squadron in Long Island. Start putting in applications everywhere you'd reasonably want to work, though, because you aren't getting any younger.

Thanks for the info, Stoker. I definitely wouldn't say, nor do I expect, to leave UPT and think I'll be at the one weekend/two weeks level. Asking for time off and not wanting to prove yourself/learn more when just starting is never a good move. 

How the "seasoning" time works once finished with UPT and training in unit is one of the things I'm very unclear about. I've seen posts that talk of a couple years on orders training in unit and others that talked about doing partial years on orders, so I'm not sure what to expect. How does it usually pan out, or does it vary wildly unit to unit? Is it a show up 5 days a week 8-5 kinda thing, or more flexible than that? I guess I'm pretty unsure how the training works in the unit and would certainly appreciate any input or points in the right direction to learn more.

Either way, I definitely figured there would be time devoted to the unit after UPT, planned on having to devote that time, and would do what needed to be done. We have the same in the FD; you come out of academy, but you're still on probation while being company trained with extra training, testing, and limitations. 

Thanks for the point in the direction to the Guard at Westhampton. I actually have a few contacts out there through the FD and work nearby to one of the guys lost in the accident in Iraq a couple weeks ago. I was looking mostly at fixed-wing options since I have my ASEL PPL and not a Rotary license, but I guess it's just as open. 

Anyway, thank you again for the input. 

EDIT TO ADD: When you mention applying to everywhere I would consider working, do you think it's worth applying to places that mention not entertaining age waivers or giving a waiver age below my own age? For example, looking at open/upcoming interviews the 144th FW is accepting UPT slots, but their info on the website mentions (and bolds/underlines) candidates over 29 cannot be considered. Are these hard and fast "NO" options, or is it always worth applying? I know persistence is key and they can always just decline after sending the packet, but I also feel like there's a "not following instructions" aspect by sending an application when they specifically state I'd be too old.

Edited by FDNYOldGuy
Added question about applying even if they aren't entertaining waivers.

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Doesn't hurt to apply, but my guess is that fighter units are going to be more stringent on age waivers than transport/tanker squadrons. They have a ton of candidates already, so why go through the work? But hey, what are they gonna do, not hire you?

For seasoning days, right now the Reserves have ~6 months of active orders once you get to your squadron, full time, and then at that point they'll offer you a GS-9 Air Reserve Technician position (grade increasing as you gain hours). Depending on where you live this can be a good deal, but for the NYC area it's like a $10k paycut from O-1 pay. I'm thinking of not taking the ART position and just volunteering for as many deployments/trips as I can once qualified, then enjoying the "vacations" in between orders.

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Keep at it man.  Start applying now and make sure you check out Bogidope.com.  It is a great resource for finding units. 

Make a ton of cold calls even squadrons are not currently hiring.  I got two interviews with squadrons that did not advertise their hiring boards.  I was making cold calls at the right time and was able to get applications in just in time and got interviews with both.

If they advertise as "no age waivers etc."  apply anyways and make them tell you no.  Plan on visiting the squadrons you want to be in and even make multiple visits if you can afford it.

Hope these tips help!  Good luck and I hope to share the airspace with you in the future!

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@Stoker, thanks for the info. I kinda figured the same and I don't have any particular bug to chase only fighters. That level of competition does seem like an added elevation to climb and heavies seem like they could be a lot of fun, so I'm content just about anywhere and flying anything. 

@JustHangingOut, thank you for the input, as well. I wasn't sure if I should be applying to units that are not openly hiring or not, but it is great to hear that it might still be worth a shot. Hell, could be nice to run out to squadrons now that I've got my PPL; could be a way to build more hours and up my PCSM score.

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1 hour ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

@Stoker, thanks for the info. I kinda figured the same and I don't have any particular bug to chase only fighters. That level of competition does seem like an added elevation to climb and heavies seem like they could be a lot of fun, so I'm content just about anywhere and flying anything. 

@JustHangingOut, thank you for the input, as well. I wasn't sure if I should be applying to units that are not openly hiring or not, but it is great to hear that it might still be worth a shot. Hell, could be nice to run out to squadrons now that I've got my PPL; could be a way to build more hours and up my PCSM score.

Yeah man, there are plenty of guys getting looks even needing age waivers...myself included (paperwork still in the widgets though) so hop on it and go get hired!

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1 hour ago, JustHangingOut said:

Yeah man, there are plenty of guys getting looks even needing age waivers...myself included (paperwork still in the widgets though) so hop on it and go get hired!

@JustHangingOut, I appreciate the support, bro! Sounds like you’re deeper in the process and it’s going well, which is awesome! Hope it keeps doing well!

I fired off my first foray to a heavy unit and need to buckle down. There are a couple more open application periods, but all have brakes (no age waivers and distance from base requirements, mainly) applied. I need to beat the bushes on some close units and hit them up, regardless of open application periods or not, to make inroads. 

Actually, that’s another question: how does rushing a squadron work? I know some that are open now give dates, but what do you do if no dates?

And, more importantly, what does an applicant do at the squadron when rushing? I know letting the guys get to know you is key, but what are you doing at the rush? Bringing cakes/cigars/refreshments, mopping floors, approaching everyone you see? How the hell do you get let on base or know where to go?

I guess there have probably been posts about it and I’ll certainly search, but I just haven’t run across much info about it in my travels here yet, but I’ll search more, too. 

Thanks again!

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2 hours ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

Actually, that’s another question: how does rushing a squadron work? I know some that are open now give dates, but what do you do if no dates?

And, more importantly, what does an applicant do at the squadron when rushing? I know letting the guys get to know you is key, but what are you doing at the rush? Bringing cakes/cigars/refreshments, mopping floors, approaching everyone you see? How the hell do you get let on base or know where to go?

I guess there have probably been posts about it and I’ll certainly search, but I just haven’t run across much info about it in my travels here yet, but I’ll search more, too. 

Thanks again!

It's just an open-house of sorts for applicants. Some units allow drop ins by anyone on drill weekends, others formally invite guys on a particular weekend. Regardless it usually goes something like this. Bunch of people who want to fly in the Guard (a bunch of people like you) are in a room, holding a beer/drink/eating corn and walking around to chat with the pilots. Sometimes the unit will take you to the flight line or a jet that's getting worked on. Basically, it's nothing more than a chance to feel each other out. They're watching you, and you're watching them kind of thing.

As for what to bring? Standard so far has been some sort of liquor, usually Jack Daniels. When they ask you to introduce yourself, say a few words and set a bottle on the bar as a thanks to them showing you around. 

Edit: Missed your question about getting on base. The pilot(s) in charge of coordinating the meet and greet, or a junior pilot in charge of showing you around (if you're visiting on a random drill) will meet you at the gate and escort you on. No need to fret, they'll take care of that stuff.

Edited by Kiloalpha

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No one can stop you from applying of course, but I'd say it's not worth spending the time putting together and visiting a place that's not interested in age waivers.  Fighter units don't hire folks that don't visit; and most don't do age waivers.  Probably not worth your time visiting if they say they aren't doing age waivers and if you don't visit you won't get an interview anyway... see where I'm going here?  

Like the other guys said, you need to get the ball rolling asap so concentrate on places that aren't already telling you 'no".  Much better way to spend your time IMHO.  

Good luck.

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Hey man!  Best of luck to you in your UPT hunt!  One route that you may not have known about is the Air Force Reserve unsponsored route.  I weYou can submit an application to the AFRC and get a UPT slot that way.  If you get picked up, you go to OTS and UPT, and you have until the end of training to find an AFRC unit to sponsor you.  This will eliminate your “age waiver” question when you rush units if you already got the green light from AFRC.  You’ll still need an age waiver, but getting set up with a solid recruiter who will route your paperwork well can hook you up.  

The board meets every other month and it looks like the unsponsored route is getting scarcer and only every other board is accepting unsponsored applicants.  The upcoming May Board is accepting a limited amount, and the deadline is end of April.  You’ll have results within a few weeks of the board meeting date.

After you get selected (with your scores etc I’m sure you will). Then you’ll start rushing units as a guy who’s already got all the admin complete and has a for sure UPT slot.  It is a way better position to be in when rushing units.  Also, this could open you up to all the fighter units because you’ll have the age waiver sorted out via AFRC before even rushing.  

Beware: the default route for a typical unsponsored dude is to track T-1’s in UPT unless you get sponsored by a fighter.  So your timer for fighters runs out at the end of T-6 land. 

Additionally, after the selections come out, you’ll get phone calls from various heavy units that are interested in sponsoring you.  Some of these may be invites for interview boards, meet and greets, or just flat out job offers pending a squadron visit.

If you are highly motivated to just get your ass in the cockpit and sort out the location and airframe later, go this route.  I just confirmed with a recruiter that they’ll do age waivers for unsponsored applicants.

One final note:  this will restrict your options to AFRC units only, so all ANG is off the table once you get to UPT unfortunately.  That being said, there are tons of units to go around, but fighters are very very few, and heavies are the majority.

Hit me up if you have any questions. These forums have been so helpful to me, so I’m happy to pay it forward.

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11 hours ago, Kiloalpha said:

It's just an open-house of sorts for applicants. Some units allow drop ins by anyone on drill weekends, others formally invite guys on a particular weekend. Regardless it usually goes something like this. Bunch of people who want to fly in the Guard (a bunch of people like you) are in a room, holding a beer/drink/eating corn and walking around to chat with the pilots. Sometimes the unit will take you to the flight line or a jet that's getting worked on. Basically, it's nothing more than a chance to feel each other out. They're watching you, and you're watching them kind of thing.

As for what to bring? Standard so far has been some sort of liquor, usually Jack Daniels. When they ask you to introduce yourself, say a few words and set a bottle on the bar as a thanks to them showing you around. 

Edit: Missed your question about getting on base. The pilot(s) in charge of coordinating the meet and greet, or a junior pilot in charge of showing you around (if you're visiting on a random drill) will meet you at the gate and escort you on. No need to fret, they'll take care of that stuff.

@Kiloalpha, thank you for that info! I guess just going from zero to figuring out where to go and how to set up the meet is the next step. Is there someone in particular whose number I should be hounding out to touch base with at a unit about drop-ins, or will most usually point you in the right direction calling the switchboard? It seems that most of the units advertising for open slots will give dates for visits, but I wasn't sure how to go about the cold call.

 

4 hours ago, EvilEagle said:

No one can stop you from applying of course, but I'd say it's not worth spending the time putting together and visiting a place that's not interested in age waivers.  Fighter units don't hire folks that don't visit; and most don't do age waivers.  Probably not worth your time visiting if they say they aren't doing age waivers and if you don't visit you won't get an interview anyway... see where I'm going here?  

Like the other guys said, you need to get the ball rolling asap so concentrate on places that aren't already telling you 'no".  Much better way to spend your time IMHO.  

Good luck.

@EvilEagle, I appreciate you chiming in about that. I've seen quite a few of your posts and had figured I should ask your thoughts (one of the other squadrons I saw with an age cap was also F-15s), but I'd obviously yet to do so and appreciate your input on this post. Your view makes 100% sense with focusing on places that won't mind me bringing my cane and eating dinner at 4:30, over the ones that aren't interested in and oldie. Thank you for posting. 

8 minutes ago, Brudog13 said:

Hey man!  Best of luck to you in your UPT hunt!  One route that you may not have known about is the Air Force Reserve unsponsored route.  I weYou can submit an application to the AFRC and get a UPT slot that way.  If you get picked up, you go to OTS and UPT, and you have until the end of training to find an AFRC unit to sponsor you.  This will eliminate your “age waiver” question when you rush units if you already got the green light from AFRC.  You’ll still need an age waiver, but getting set up with a solid recruiter who will route your paperwork well can hook you up.  

The board meets every other month and it looks like the unsponsored route is getting scarcer and only every other board is accepting unsponsored applicants.  The upcoming May Board is accepting a limited amount, and the deadline is end of April.  You’ll have results within a few weeks of the board meeting date.

After you get selected (with your scores etc I’m sure you will). Then you’ll start rushing units as a guy who’s already got all the admin complete and has a for sure UPT slot.  It is a way better position to be in when rushing units.  Also, this could open you up to all the fighter units because you’ll have the age waiver sorted out via AFRC before even rushing.  

Beware: the default route for a typical unsponsored dude is to track T-1’s in UPT unless you get sponsored by a fighter.  So your timer for fighters runs out at the end of T-6 land. 

Additionally, after the selections come out, you’ll get phone calls from various heavy units that are interested in sponsoring you.  Some of these may be invites for interview boards, meet and greets, or just flat out job offers pending a squadron visit.

If you are highly motivated to just get your ass in the cockpit and sort out the location and airframe later, go this route.  I just confirmed with a recruiter that they’ll do age waivers for unsponsored applicants.

One final note:  this will restrict your options to AFRC units only, so all ANG is off the table once you get to UPT unfortunately.  That being said, there are tons of units to go around, but fighters are very very few, and heavies are the majority.

Hit me up if you have any questions. These forums have been so helpful to me, so I’m happy to pay it forward.

@Brudog13, awesome! You inspired some confidence in me saying you think I've got a decent shot with my scores! Honestly, I'd not heard (or more likely, not understood) about going unsponsored UPT. I've been going through most of this myself and kinda piecing it together as I'm going along. I've spoken with a recruiter, but we were waiting for me to get all my scores back (I guess to make sure that there was a snowball's chance in hell someone would pick me up) and he seems super swamped, so some stuff has taken awhile or fallen through the cracks. I have a decent idea of the speed of bureaucracy with the FD, but military is new territory for me, so I'm not really sure what to expect. I do know that time is of the essence, so I am getting a little hotter under the seat to get the ball rolling, but I am still not totally sure the order I should be going after this stuff with and what takes priority.

That said, I'm definitely highly motivated to just get my ass in a seat. I have no qualms flying a heavy and would be more than delighted to get a seat in one. How do I get started with applying for the upcoming unsponsored spot? 

Thank you so much for the help!

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4 minutes ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

 

@Brudog13, awesome! You inspired some confidence in me saying you think I've got a decent shot with my scores! Honestly, I'd not heard (or more likely, not understood) about going unsponsored UPT. I've been going through most of this myself and kinda piecing it together as I'm going along. I've spoken with a recruiter, but we were waiting for me to get all my scores back (I guess to make sure that there was a snowball's chance in hell someone would pick me up) and he seems super swamped, so some stuff has taken awhile or fallen through the cracks. I have a decent idea of the speed of bureaucracy with the FD, but military is new territory for me, so I'm not really sure what to expect. I do know that time is of the essence, so I am getting a little hotter under the seat to get the ball rolling, but I am still not totally sure the order I should be going after this stuff with and what takes priority.

That said, I'm definitely highly motivated to just get my ass in a seat. I have no qualms flying a heavy and would be more than delighted to get a seat in one. How do I get started with applying for the upcoming unsponsored spot? 

Thank you so much for the help!

I can send you the average scores for guys who got picked up on the January board with me.  March didn’t accept unsponsored but I got those averages from a buddy who got picked up.  

From my experience, recruiters are extremely hit or miss in terms of getting your stuff in.  At the end of the day it’s your career here, so the diligence comes from you.  Once I decided to go full throttle in reaching the January board I was calling my recruiter every other day to make sure things were tracking and that all the paperwork from me was complete.  I let a week go by and I fell through the cracks with my recruiter, he “thought I wanted the March board” and had nothing submitted the day before the deadline.  We got it done just in time and I’d have been ed if I didn’t check up on it.  I mean don’t be an asshole to the recruiter, but just treat the application like your dog that likes to run away when you don’t pay enough attention.  

Talk to your recruiter and ask what the next steps are and relay your motivation to meet the May Board with the April deadline.  You should be okay time-wise considering 90% of mine was done the day before.

If you truly hit a brick wall with your recruiter I can get you the info for mine, but try in your local area first.

Pro tip:  invest in Adobe Acrobat Pro, it’s an amazing tool for putting massive amounts of paperwork together electronically, filling and signing without the shitty print-scan-email dickdance.

 

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2 hours ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

@Kiloalpha, thank you for that info! I guess just going from zero to figuring out where to go and how to set up the meet is the next step. Is there someone in particular whose number I should be hounding out to touch base with at a unit about drop-ins, or will most usually point you in the right direction calling the switchboard? It seems that most of the units advertising for open slots will give dates for visits, but I wasn't sure how to go about the cold call.

No problem. Finding a # is purely about research and diligence. Sometimes, you'll google the unit, find their website and there's a number to call. Other times you have to dig for recruiting or try a base switchboard. It could be as simple as finding a base directory floating around on the internet. There's also facebook recruitment pages for some units, try those. Persistence is key. 

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On 3/30/2018 at 8:45 PM, Brudog13 said:

I can send you the average scores for guys who got picked up on the January board with me.  March didn’t accept unsponsored but I got those averages from a buddy who got picked up.  

From my experience, recruiters are extremely hit or miss in terms of getting your stuff in.  At the end of the day it’s your career here, so the diligence comes from you.  Once I decided to go full throttle in reaching the January board I was calling my recruiter every other day to make sure things were tracking and that all the paperwork from me was complete.  I let a week go by and I fell through the cracks with my recruiter, he “thought I wanted the March board” and had nothing submitted the day before the deadline.  We got it done just in time and I’d have been ed if I didn’t check up on it.  I mean don’t be an asshole to the recruiter, but just treat the application like your dog that likes to run away when you don’t pay enough attention.  

Talk to your recruiter and ask what the next steps are and relay your motivation to meet the May Board with the April deadline.  You should be okay time-wise considering 90% of mine was done the day before.

If you truly hit a brick wall with your recruiter I can get you the info for mine, but try in your local area first.

Pro tip:  invest in Adobe Acrobat Pro, it’s an amazing tool for putting massive amounts of paperwork together electronically, filling and signing without the shitty print-scan-email dickdance.

 

I'd love to see those averages to help get a better idea. I think I'll certainly be able to get to the 86 PCSM score with more flight hours by mid-May, which will help. Again, I'm not set on one airframe and willing to look into most locations that aren't overly restrictive on residency requirements, so I'm hoping my "whole person concept" and flexibility will help get over the age hump. I will certainly look into the unsponsored route when I call the recruiter on Monday and be a little more assertive on my push to get to boards. I have most of the application paperwork completed, so I think MEPS and maybe a few forms that fell through the cracks are all I have left to be completely "spun up" and ready to go. 

On 3/30/2018 at 10:41 PM, Kiloalpha said:

No problem. Finding a # is purely about research and diligence. Sometimes, you'll google the unit, find their website and there's a number to call. Other times you have to dig for recruiting or try a base switchboard. It could be as simple as finding a base directory floating around on the internet. There's also facebook recruitment pages for some units, try those. Persistence is key. 

You're 100% right. I need to kick up my game. It's just been a little tough because I'm not clear on which direction I should be focusing on next and which boxes need to be checked in which order/done before approaching squadrons. I figured it would be best to be able to present being complete as possible over going to units and having them say, "Well, you need to do this first before we can consider you." Chicken or the egg, I guess. But, it seems like I should just be going at it from all angles to just get the ball moving. 

Thanks again!

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5 hours ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

You're 100% right. I need to kick up my game. It's just been a little tough because I'm not clear on which direction I should be focusing on next and which boxes need to be checked in which order/done before approaching squadrons. I figured it would be best to be able to present being complete as possible over going to units and having them say, "Well, you need to do this first before we can consider you." Chicken or the egg, I guess. But, it seems like I should just be going at it from all angles to just get the ball moving. 

Thanks again!

Well, as long as you have an AFOQT and PCSM, you’re officially in the hunt... and should keep the airwaves/internet hot with searching and calling. 

Do you have a pilot’s license? Current medical? Those are things that’ll help you stand out and make your case for the waiver.

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3 hours ago, Kiloalpha said:

Well, as long as you have an AFOQT and PCSM, you’re officially in the hunt... and should keep the airwaves/internet hot with searching and calling. 

Do you have a pilot’s license? Current medical? Those are things that’ll help you stand out and make your case for the waiver.

Yes. I have my PPL (passed 11/30/2017, 67 hours total, and working on IR, too) and Class 3 medical that comes with that; done less than a year ago. I also get pretty in-depth annual work ups through the fire department, so I have a pretty solid idea that I’m physically fine for MEPS; no weird EKGs, within height/weight parameters (74” and ~203lbs), and no issues with vision or color/depth perception.

I have a lot of the recruiter paperwork done already (app, history, 2807, and other misc info/forms) and I’m working on getting my MEPS appointment locked in. I’ll lean on him this coming week to lock that in  

I guess now it’s getting in touch with the right people at units to start finding out about boards. I know you said to just start putting in the legwork to reach out to contacts, but what title should I be searching for when reaching out to about applying? Not being “in” already, I’m not sure of the structure and what position/rank I need to be aiming to get in touch with to apply.  

Edited by FDNYOldGuy
Forgot date

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Just an update and a big question. I've been moving forward, been cleared through MEPS and starting to make contact with squadrons/send out application packets. I've definitely been shot down due to my age by a few squadrons (Reserves and Guard both) that say they flat out aren't doing ETP/waivers or that they're not interested above 32/33. Maybe it's their way of saying they don't like my packet enough to put the extra leg work in, but that's what I got. 

On the flip side, I've had a great convo with a couple POCs at a Reserve squadron I'd love to be a part of and been told that I have a very strong packet/they would interview me, which was certainly great to hear. However, they said there is another issue that's stopping me: that there's an actual AF regulation stating that ETPs/waivers for age can't be given to non-prior service members. I have heard this exact same thing from two squadrons under the same wing. The POCs ran it all the way up to the wing commander and the same response was given. 

Being as though the wing commander said that there was a reg, and did not seem to tell either POC in either squadron that the wing specifically isn't doing waivers, I'm very confused. I'd figure that they'd just tell me they aren't entertaining ETP/waivers, or that they just didn't like my packet, if they didn't want to put in the leg work. This was more that, even if they did hire me, they couldn't push my packet up the chain for approval because it would get kicked back due to this reg.

If it was something written in AF policy, I'd have figured I'd have been shot down much earlier by a recruiter, other units, or seen it here in the forums/heard it out in my talking to others in the process that I wouldn't stand a chance as a civilian at my age. 

I've also made a solid contact at AFRC and he said the waiver shouldn't be an issue if I could get squadron sponsorship and a proper push up the chain.

So, I'm unsure where the roadblock is and who I need to bug incessantly to see if I can overcome this hurdle. The squadron said they're willing to do it (if I did well enough meeting the squadron/during the interview and got the offered the spot, of course) and the contact at AFRC said they didn't see an issue, as long as I had sponsorship.

Any ideas of where I may be getting hung up, or if the regulation/way forward is just being misread in there somewhere? Or should I just get the hint that they are just being reeeeeaaaaalllly nice about telling me that I'm too old for them to want to mess with instead of just saying no? 

Thanks for the help. Hope all had a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.

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AFI 36-2205 is your source for UPT age waivers/ETPs info. The link seems to be broken currently (I keep getting a "file not found" message) on the air force pubs website here: http://www.e-publishing.af.mil but check back and maybe you can find a copy. I'm sure you can find other copies elsewhere on the webs. 

Here's a clip from an old version of 36-2205 regarding ETPs..not sure if the current version is the same, but I believe it is.

Exceptions to Policy.

A2.4. If a member exceeds the age and/or TFCSD limits and does not meet the above criteria to be considered for a waiver, he or she may request an exception to policy (ETP) through their MAJCOM or ANG chain of command as directed in A2.3. Age and TFCSD limits exist to protect the interests of the total rated force and should not be taken lightly. Exceptions to policy will normally be granted only in rare circumstances when a commander can document sustained, exceptional performance and the deviation from policy is minor. Further, commanders must specifically and explicitly justify why supporting an ETP for an individual, considering a large pool of fully qualified applicants, is in the best interests of the Air Force, Air National Guard, or Air Force Reserve. Each ETP imposes potential increased risk to operational safety and effectiveness. Only the rare, truly exceptional individual should be endorsed and forwarded through the chain of command for ETP consideration.

 

Note: You don't have to be prior service, but you'll have to document "sustained exceptional performance." Maybe they think that's easier to do for prior service guys who have a documented history in the unit. But the unit that hired me also hired some non-prior service guys who needed age ETPs. 

Good luck.

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Thank you so much for the point in the right direction, @FlyArmy! Once I knew what I was looking for, I poked around a bit more and found this updated (published 5 days ago) policy on the site you linked. Looks like it might be AFI 36-2105 now. I just gave it a quick skim, but I didn't see anything that precluded me and it was exactly what you said; they just have to prove that I'm worth the risk. 

As you said, too, maybe it's just because I don't have the "documented" history because I'm not prior service, although I could show quite a bit from the FD and it's where I've been for 10 years. 

It seems like a lot of the power, discretion, and decision making lies with the Wing Commander/CC. I'll go back to my contacts and see if maybe it's just that the Wing Commander doesn't want to put in the paperwork, but I'll certainly do whatever I can to make it as painless as possible. 

Thank you again for your help and housing that out. I greatly appreciate it. 

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Interesting change...they took out the part I pasted above.  Looks like the corresponding AFRCI hasn't changed yet to mirror it, despite the new one you linked saying it is applicable for guard and reserves as well. I wonder if they made that change because they are doing so many ETPs these days? Here's the AFRCI. My age ETP cites AFRCI 36-2602 A2.2  http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/afrc/publication/afrci36-2602/afrci36-2602.pdf

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I’m not sure I’m reading it right, but does it seem to you like they made it less strenuous on the burden of proof to give the ETP and laid most of the policy decision on the Wing Commander? Or am I missing the gist and it actually got worse? 

If I’m not crazy, then that might give me more than the small glimmer of hope I had before and give me a better shot. I’ll certainly reach back out to the hiring Captain and give another push. I’ve made good headway with a place I’d love to call home, if I were fortunate enough, if I can get over this hurdle. 

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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!

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49 minutes ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

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!

Dude, congrats! Seeing your posts on here and your good attitude make me happy you made it, all that hard work. Keep us updated, I've been enjoying your journey and want to keep hearing about it. Good work you made it! 

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