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Hello all,

 

It’s been a dream of mine to fly and serve my country. Both my parents were special ops in the Air Force, one retired. I’ve grown up around the military lifestyle and have learned a lot through that time. I’m wanting to serve in any branch that will take me for a pilot slot preferably fixed wing, no helos. Here’s where I’m at.

 

- 24 years old with a B.S degree in business administration with a focus in logistics, 3.7 gpa.

 

- ~18hrs towards my PPL with a solo. About to do my cross country. Hours will go up weekly, every two weeks money depending.

 

- 3 LOR’s, retired AF pilot, Store director (work), and executive (work).

 

- No test scores yet. Been studying for the Navy and AF tests. What scores should I aim for, obviously higher the better?

 

- 6 years with a large corporation. Started out as a standard employee to a Sr. Manager in logistics. Currently with 3 years management experience.

 

Money is tight so obtaining my PPL is getting more and more difficult. I know some units for guard and AFR will take candidates with just a solo and competitive AFOQT & TBAS scores. I know my chances as of right now are 0 based off having no scores. I’m just not sure which route to take AD, Reserve, Navy, Marines, or ANG? Which branch is looking for more pilots? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. What should I study, books, sites, etc?

 

I will update this thread as soon as I get my scores.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

If you don't want to fly helos, I would recommend focusing on the ANG, AFRES, and active duty USAF. A significant percentage of student naval aviators track to helos (this includes USN and USMC), whereas in the Air Force, a student typically has to request them specifically and there may/may not be a slot available.

In the Air Force, your options are plentiful. This is nice as a T-6 student when you realize that either A.) the rigors of high performance flying is awesome and you want to take it to the next step in the T-38, or B.) you realize that throttling back a bit and flying a heavy around the world with a crew is your cup of tea. Both are great lifestyles, and the Air Force is going to let you stay in the cockpit the longest (probably for most of your career, if you want it that way). From talking to USN/USMC bros, it's far more difficult to stay in flying assignments as your career progresses.

Good luck!

Edited by CPE1704TKS
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AFOQT scores are percentile-based. You can almost treat them like letter-grades. You'll want to get >90s in Pilot, Quantitative, and Academic Aptitude with an average score overall of >80. Those are numbers just pulled out of my @$$, but they're not too far off if you want to be really competitive with AFOQT scores. Essentially anything >90 is great, anything 80-90 is good, anything 70-80 is acceptable, anything 60-70 is looked at with a discerning eye, and anything <60 is a concern. Less emphasis is put on verbal and navigator scores IIRC, but best to have everything as high as you can get it. I used the Trivium AFOQT study guide and kicked the test's butt. Now I've just gotta figure out how to kick an interview's butt.

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AFOQT scores are percentile-based. You can almost treat them like letter-grades. You'll want to get >90s in Pilot, Quantitative, and Academic Aptitude with an average score overall of >80. Those are numbers just pulled out of my @$$, but they're not too far off if you want to be really competitive with AFOQT scores. Essentially anything >90 is great, anything 80-90 is good, anything 70-80 is acceptable, anything 60-70 is looked at with a discerning eye, and anything


I take that I can probably find the Trivium AFOQT study guide on Amazon? Would it be “easier” to be selected for a pilot slot going active versus reserve? I just want to fly something.


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I take that I can probably find the Trivium AFOQT study guide on Amazon? Would it be “easier” to be selected for a pilot slot going active versus reserve? I just want to fly something.


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Any highly rated AFOQT study guide should be good. I used Barons and scored really well.

Getting picked up for AD is easier than getting hired at most ANG or Reserve units, but I’m not sure how it compares to an unsponsored reserve spot.

Ignoring the lifestyle and culture differences between AD and the Reserves, the next biggest difference is that going AD gives you more control over your airframe than unsponsored reserve. In AD your performance determines airframe and you’re open to both T-38 and T-1 tracks. With reserve unsponsored, 99% track T-1s since there are so few Reserve fighter and bomber squadrons.

If you just want to fly, which is an awesome attitude to have, I’d apply to guard and reserve units for a while and then consider either AD or unsponsored Reserves.


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Any highly rated AFOQT study guide should be good. I used Barons and scored really well.

Getting picked up for AD is easier than getting hired at most ANG or Reserve units, but I’m not sure how it compares to an unsponsored reserve spot.

Ignoring the lifestyle and culture differences between AD and the Reserves, the next biggest difference is that going AD gives you more control over your airframe than unsponsored reserve. In AD your performance determines airframe and you’re open to both T-38 and T-1 tracks. With reserve unsponsored, 99% track T-1s since there are so few Reserve fighter and bomber squadrons.

If you just want to fly, which is an awesome attitude to have, I’d apply to guard and reserve units for a while and then consider either AD or unsponsored Reserves.


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I’ve never heard of unsponsored reserve, what does that mean? I thought you had less control over your airframe in AD considering you could be placed in any airframe based off performance where as in Guard or Reserve you select units based off preference of airframe, heavy or jets etc.


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I’ve never heard of unsponsored reserve, what does that mean? I thought you had less control over your airframe in AD considering you could be placed in any airframe based off performance where as in Guard or Reserve you select units based off preference of airframe, heavy or jets etc.


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When a reserve squadron hires you, they “sponsor” you when your package meets the reserve hiring board. The reserves also have an unsponsored board, so you can get picked up without being hired by a unit. Then you have until you graduate UPT to find a reserve unit to “sponsor” you. And if you don’t, the Reserves will assign you to a squadron.

You are correct when talking about being hired by a specific unit. Although, I’ll add that you still have to make the grades a perform. They normally won’t shove a guy that at the very bottom of his class through to T-38s even if he’s hired by a fighter squadron.

Why I say you have more control in AD than unsponsored Reserves is because in AD, your performance is the main determining factor. Unsponsored Reserve students are automatically tracked T-1s unless the student finds a fighter or bomber squadron to sponsor them before track night. And since there are only 3-4 of fighter or bomber squadrons in the reserves that send people to UPT, their spots are normally filled.


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When a reserve squadron hires you, they “sponsor” you when your package meets the reserve hiring board. The reserves also have an unsponsored board, so you can get picked up without being hired by a unit. Then you have until you graduate UPT to find a reserve unit to “sponsor” you. And if you don’t, the Reserves will assign you to a squadron.

You are correct when talking about being hired by a specific unit. Although, I’ll add that you still have to make the grades a perform. They normally won’t shove a guy that at the very bottom of his class through to T-38s even if he’s hired by a fighter squadron.

Why I say you have more control in AD than unsponsored Reserves is because in AD, your performance is the main determining factor. Unsponsored Reserve students are automatically tracked T-1s unless the student finds a fighter or bomber squadron to sponsor them before track night. And since there are only 3-4 of fighter or bomber squadrons in the reserves that send people to UPT, their spots are normally filled.


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I had no idea they had an unsponsored route. So either way even if I don’t get picked up by a unit through applying Ill get placed somewhere. Which ultimately, is my goal to just get with a unit and start flying. I was leaning towards more AD because the reserve and guard units are very selective and right now obtaining my PPL is getting difficult due to lack of funds, which is generally a requirement for most units.

Let’s say a guy does finish at the bottom of his class in AD or Reserve does that mean he won’t ever get to fly?


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10 minutes ago, tkownedu5 said:

I had no idea they had an unsponsored route. So either way even if I don’t get picked up by a unit through applying Ill get placed somewhere. Which ultimately, is my goal to just get with a unit and start flying. I was leaning towards more AD because the reserve and guard units are very selective and right now obtaining my PPL is getting difficult due to lack of funds, which is generally a requirement for most units.

 

It depends on the person and the squadron. I know of a few guys that have been hired at both fighter and heavy units without and PPL. It's not BS when they say they look at the whole person. But not having a PPL makes it harder for sure.

11 minutes ago, tkownedu5 said:

Let’s say a guy does finish at the bottom of his class in AD or Reserve does that mean he won’t ever get to fly?

 

This is a little beyond me, as I have been hired, but haven't made it to OTS or UPT yet. But someone finishes at the bottom of their class in every class. The key word is "finish". If you graduate UPT and get your wings, you're going to fly.

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This is a little beyond me, as I have been hired, but haven't made it to OTS or UPT yet. But someone finishes at the bottom of their class in every class. The key word is "finish". If you graduate UPT and get your wings, you're going to fly.


Sir, you’ve been a great help, thank you. Congrats on getting hired, I can only hope for the same. Time to hit the books hard and take the tests asap. I’m doing my cross country flight this week and that will put me at 20 hrs flight time.

I have some thinking to do. Reserves sounds more appealing to me right now considering I can still go through upt and get my wings without actually being sponsored by a unit. I’ve been told by many pilots in the civilian world to go guard or Reserve due to good work/life balance and if I’d like to fly outside of the military.


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I recently followed up with couple of guys trying to go the unsponsored route. The regulation has recently changed and the AFR no longer allows candidates to attend UPT without sponsorship from a squadron. 

From what I understand, squadron chief pilots complaint to the AFRC board that not knowing what type of candidate they would get frustrated seasoning and overall progression process. Whatever that means, many squadrons are selective as to whether or not your a the right fit, not so much on where you can fly or not. Anyway, that was my experience.

you can still present yourself to the AFRC board as a unsponsored candidate. They can grant you a pre approval to attend UPT But can’t actually send you until a unit can sponsored you. 

Theres another topic here about the unsponsored route. Read it, get some gauge about it. 

Good luck.

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