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stephanie123

No Longer Want to Be a Pilot

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I am along the pilot track, and have been stuck waiting for IFT/UPT dates for some time after finishing up OTS. I was lucky enough to receive a reserve slot to be a pilot, and in the beginning was really excited to start the pipeline and the journey. It's almost been three years now since I first took the TBAS/AFOQT, and while I am very happy I decided to become an officer in the Air Force, the long journey ahead as a pilot no longer excites me and is no longer the path I want to take. Part of it was hearing about all the other awesome AFSC at OTS, the other part was not thinking about the commitment to become a pilot when I was first starting out. I look back on what made me want to become a pilot and all those reasons don't help me anymore, and I always look at the negatives, and downsides to continuing. 

I'm at a point where I can either, keep chugging along, unhappy, and if it isn't meant to be I will probably fail out, or I can drop out now. Dropping out now is harder because I'd be quitting, but it seems that it would be the better thing to do, so I don't waste Air Force resources in something I don't want to do. If I keep going and fail out down the line, I am just setting myself, classmates, instructors, and unit back more than I already have. I know that I took somebody's slot and was selected for a reason, and that is what makes me want to continue. Anyone have any advice?

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do you have any civilian flying experience?  If not, maybe go out and take a discovery flight.  If that experience doesn't solidify the desire to fly, then it's time to graciously bow out.  Flying is something that you either love, or your don't.  If it's not for you, then it's better to make that decision before stepping into a program like UPT.

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Those are good fields that can help boost your civilian career as well.  I am guessing you are reserve or guard based on talking about having to balance two careers?  

After having served in multiple MOSs (AFCS) in the Army, my two cents are as follows:

Nearly everyone in every other AFCS wants to be a pilot.  No pilot I know wants to be something else.  Yes becoming a pilot has some harder schools, and yes people fail out.  That is a plus: there is at least a minimum bar to entry that doesn't truly exist in other AFSCs as the graduation rates for their schooling are near 100%.  You have the potential to work with a lot of incompetent people that get filtered out in UPT and follow on training.  Not to say I haven't run into pilot types that need to find new lines of work, but overall it's better.  There are still top 10% officers in other AFCSs, it's just the bottom n% that gets culled in pilots. 

I've found Guard/Reserve pilots as a whole to take their jobs more seriously than other AFCSs.  If it comes time to do the job for real, I want to do it with people who know what they are doing.  Again, broad generalizations and I am sure there are plenty of clerks in the Guard/Reserve that really know their job, love it, and do a great job.  The downside is that means you need to take your job seriously, and you will have to do more than a weekend a month / two weeks a year at your base.  In addition, you will need to do studying even when not at your base.

On failing out: my experience in Army flight training and what I have read about UPT.  If you dedicate yourself to studying and apply yourself during training -- it's pretty hard to fail out if you are a solid person.  Some people's minds aren't wired right to be a pilot, but these are fringe cases.  Most of the issues I have seen are people that don't know what they need to know, or don't know it well enough.  Their flight busts are usually based on their lack of knowledge/chair flying causing them to end up behind the airplane.

Finally: flying is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.   I'll second what JHO says above, go take a discovery flight, especially in something like a Citabria that can do some aerobatics.   If after all that you don't want to be a pilot, then the smart thing to do would be to bow out.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

 

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What AFSCs interest you?  Have you talked to people doing those jobs and seen how happy they are in them?  I haven't met anyone happier than a pilot that gets to do pilot stuff. 

What about the commitment scares you?  Is it the time spent studying and difficulty?  Or the service commitment on the backside?  Something else? 

"Nothing that's worth anything is ever easy"

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On 8/30/2018 at 12:32 PM, Yoda said:

What AFSCs interest you?  Have you talked to people doing those jobs and seen how happy they are in them?  I haven't met anyone happier than a pilot that gets to do pilot stuff. 

What about the commitment scares you?  Is it the time spent studying and difficulty?  Or the service commitment on the backside?  Something else? 

"Nothing that's worth anything is ever easy"

Civil Engineering, Intel. It's more I've come to terms with the reality that the military isn't for everyone and might not be for me. There is certainly a lot of pressure from my family to stay in, and that is what got my through Officer training school, but I don't think that it will carry me along through UPT, if my own personal desire isn't there.

All those things you mentioned about commitment worry me. Being deployed and serving initially excited me, but having my next 10 years filled with uncertainty and out of my control scare me. I'm worried about having to PCS for UPT and the constant changing of locations for training bases along the way. I was proud for sometime after finishing officer training, but then I was already worrying about where I would live in the meantime between training, and how I would manage my civilian job. This is one of the reasons Active duty might be better, once you're in, you're in and you don't need to attempt to manage two careers. I'm at the point where I want to settle down and work the civilian job I've had, something I would not have thought before. Where the comfort and stability of that take priority over both the upsides and downsides that come with the Air Force. 

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