Jump to content
Baseops Forums
Sign in to follow this  
givingitmybest

Civilian to Fighters

Recommended Posts

If someone has the time to give some advice, it will be greatly appreciated. Currently a civilian with no military experience. I started a business at 22 years old and used it as a means to an end for getting my bachelors in mechanical engineering from Auburn. Worked my way through school doing manual labor with my business and my grades aren't the best, but I graduated debt free. No stranger to hard work and perseverance, so this UPT seems the right fit. Currently trying to get my application in for AD and one guard unit before the new year. I take the TBAS Friday and took the AFOQT last month. From what I know I just need a flight physical and all my i's dotted and t's crossed after this test on Friday. My grandfather was a fighter pilot and he raised me over half my life, so to say I've been wired for fighters would be an understatement. He's in the film Thud Pilots if any of you have seen it. After seeing the flyover at his funeral in August, I'm all in to serve this country and hopefully fly fighters someday as well.

I'm 32, so my age is going to be a factor and I had a possession charge for pot (adjudication withheld), but everyone I know in the military tells me to apply because I don't have any felony charges. 

LORs from a retired Brig. Gen., a judge from my hometown, and from one of my professors at Auburn.

Scores:

Pilot 88

Nav 74

Acac Apt 44

Verbal 26

Quantitative 66

Found Bogidope today and found lots of useful information. Is it as useful as it seems, or worth the money to pay for consulting? Don't mind paying for it, but thought I may ask around here first to save money since I'm currently the main caregiver for my grandmother and I am not working to take care of her. 

Time is of the essence and as I mentioned, I am trying to get my application together before the new year. I know I have some strikes against me, but I'm willing to put in the work and give it my best be it either the guard or AD. If any of you are willing to share information, or have some good examples of cover letters, resume, etc., it will be immensely useful. Again, any help is appreciated and thank you ahead of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a civ so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I think is sound:

 

What was your GPA in school? Low GPA is ok if you have a good reason why, which it sounds like you do.

It's functionally impossible to get a military flight physical as a civilian, but you could go get an FAA Class I which while it doesn't carry over at all does help a teensy bit on your resume. 

Your age is going to make getting fighters extremely difficult. While the age limit is technically 33, with the way timelines work it's likely you'll be late 33, 34 years old before starting training which will require a waiver for any aircraft. On top of that, fighters are typically biased heavily towards younger guys. Most fighter units prefer individuals <29. Not a hard and fast rule (most places) but it's a good rule of thumb.

Possession for pot is also going to problematic. I believe it's a Cat 2 moral conduct offense according to 36-2032 which is waiverable but tough. My understanding is there's a big difference between did it vs did it and got caught.

Your LORs look good, biggest thing (so I'm told) is less title and more people that know you well. Having both title and a long personal connection is best.

Your scores are ok. Not great, especially for fighters, but your pilot is good and nav is acceptable. I'd study up and retake asap. Good scores would help offset GPA issues as well. 

Do you have a pilot's license? Flight hours? A license isn't required but it's something most of your competition will have. While possible to get hired anywhere on 0 hours, for fighters you'd have to be an absolute all-star in every other way. 

TL;DR: it doesn't look good for fighters. Heavies are achievable but it's still a bit of an uphill battle.

That's a lot of negative so here's some advice and some good things:

Go for it. If you want to be a fighter pilot, get your package together and apply everywhere. Worst case is they'll say no and then you apply again. Make them tell you no, don't let not trying be the reason you didn't make it.

The good news is you have time for heavies. Age waivers are reasonably common, I believe someone around here got one for 37(?). 

Rush units, being a good guy that everyone likes will beat out black marks on your application. Guard units are hugely concerned with who they're going to be flying with for the next 20 years so showing them you're a good, fun guy goes a long way. 

Retake the AFOQT. Study hard, good scores are very achievable. For reference mine were 99/99/99/97/96. Not a brag, just what happens when you study for a good 2 months. More important than studying, at least to me, is practice. PM for advice.

Bogidope offers a lot of good content with their prep packages. I'd say at least get the resume/cover letter one. If this is what you want, it's worth the money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO you aren't a good candidate for fighters.  If you chase this dream you will likely spend a lot of time, money and effort into going around visiting units and they are all going to tell you no thanks.  Hate to be the dream crusher but you have stacked too many things against yourself.  I highly recommend not putting yourself through the rush process for fighters.  

 

If you still want to serve and fly go rush heavy units, much better chance for them.  

 

Good luck.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, EvilEagle said:

IMO you aren't a good candidate for fighters.  If you chase this dream you will likely spend a lot of time, money and effort into going around visiting units and they are all going to tell you no thanks.  Hate to be the dream crusher but you have stacked too many things against yourself.  I highly recommend not putting yourself through the rush process for fighters.  

 

If you still want to serve and fly go rush heavy units, much better chance for them.  

 

Good luck.  

@EvilEagle I understand, and I appreciate your honesty. Visited one fighter unit and they said my story was unique and to apply, so I'm getting my packet together and giving it my best. Really just want to get to UPT be it AD or guard. Air guard seems like the cat's meow, but either way, if selected I'm willing to bust it to graduate at the top of my class for a chance to fly fighters.

I have seen you respond/referenced in other posts, and you seem interesting enough to have a beer. This may be off topic, but what are you riding? I would assume a crotch rocket likely wouldn't do it for you after flying the eagle, but you know what they say about assuming.

Anyway, thank you for your input and thank you for your service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you've gotten positive words from a unit you definitely want to apply there.  If I were you, I'd be all in on that unit.  

 

I had a long string of street bikes starting with an FZR600 back in the 90's, GSXRs, 7R, 9R, TL1000, 916, 996, Mille R.  All those are gone now and I ride a BMW R1200GSA.  

 

Good luck!

Edited by EvilEagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's exactly what I needed to hear. I will apply and hope for the best. Again, thank you for your input. Any information from a fighter pilot is valuable to me at this point. May ask for more input after I make the video for my application to make sure I get it right.

 

Roger that on the bikes. That's a nice selection you listed. Never ridden an Aprilia, but have ridden some of the others. That TL was a whole lot of fun from 0-120 mph. 

 

Thanks again.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see you said you dont have you're PPL. Have you had any flight training in the past? I would definitely get some in if you haven't. I know the unit that hired me wanted to see that I was flying and making significant progress towards my PPL while I was applying.  You dont want to get far into this and sink a whole lot of money and come to find out you dont actually enjoy flying an airplane. Not saying it'll happen, but its always a possibility. Flying a 172 isn't the same as flying military, but it'll let you know if you have the aptitude and desire to fly. I know its becoming more common to have a PPL be an unwritten requirement. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Some pro tips:

- Wear a flight suit
- Wear a name patch on said flight suit with a cool callsign you gave yourself, something like Reaper or Maverick (can't go wrong with a classic)
- Wear aviator sunglasses
- Film vertically with a cellphone
- Use a green screen to put yourself in a cockpit, or maybe standing in front of a shot of fighters zipping around (makes sure it's something different like a Typhoon or F-111, everyone does F-16s)
- Use as much fighter pilot lingo as possible, wouldn't want people thinking you're cluedo
- They say limit it to 3 minutes but that's just to make sure people don't feel bad that they don't have much to say. Shoot for 10 minutes with a full biography
- Make sure to wrap it up with a cool line like, "I only want to fly grey jets"
- Make the video public on youtube so the hiring board can search for it. No one likes hyperlinks anyways.
- Post a link here so everyone can provide constructive feedback/tell you how good you did

Or, alternatively, dress nicely, do exactly what the prompt tells you to do, make sure the quality is good and the audio is clear, and bring it all home to a logical conclusion. Don't get hung up on the equipment, a cell phone or webcam is fine. If you do use a cellphone, try to stabilize it somehow. There's no hard and fast rules on the video except the ones in the prompt. I saw someone who got hired using a video the filmed in a t-shirt, on a cellphone, a mix of vertically and horizontally, and with 85% of it kind of silly. It did a good job showing personality and was different than most. Whatever you do, it's worth putting at least a little time and effort into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, ryleypav said:

I see you said you dont have you're PPL. Have you had any flight training in the past? I would definitely get some in if you haven't. I know the unit that hired me wanted to see that I was flying and making significant progress towards my PPL while I was applying.  You dont want to get far into this and sink a whole lot of money and come to find out you dont actually enjoy flying an airplane. Not saying it'll happen, but its always a possibility. Flying a 172 isn't the same as flying military, but it'll let you know if you have the aptitude and desire to fly. I know its becoming more common to have a PPL be an unwritten requirement. 

Roger that and thank you for the knowledge. I'm getting my package ready and if I don't get selected for this board I'll be gearing towards getting some hours and a license before the next board. My neighbor had a Stearman when I was younger. He took me up and let me fly it when I was 12, so I've had the bug for a long time. We'll see what happens if I keep my head up and stay determined. I'm optimistic.

 

Congrats on getting hired, that's awesome and good to hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, LNGH said:
 

Some pro tips:

- Wear a flight suit
- Wear a name patch on said flight suit with a cool callsign you gave yourself, something like Reaper or Maverick (can't go wrong with a classic)
- Wear aviator sunglasses
- Film vertically with a cellphone
- Use a green screen to put yourself in a cockpit, or maybe standing in front of a shot of fighters zipping around (makes sure it's something different like a Typhoon or F-111, everyone does F-16s)
- Use as much fighter pilot lingo as possible, wouldn't want people thinking you're cluedo
- They say limit it to 3 minutes but that's just to make sure people don't feel bad that they don't have much to say. Shoot for 10 minutes with a full biography
- Make sure to wrap it up with a cool line like, "I only want to fly grey jets"
- Make the video public on youtube so the hiring board can search for it. No one likes hyperlinks anyways.
- Post a link here so everyone can provide constructive feedback/tell you how good you did

Or, alternatively, dress nicely, do exactly what the prompt tells you to do, make sure the quality is good and the audio is clear, and bring it all home to a logical conclusion. Don't get hung up on the equipment, a cell phone or webcam is fine. If you do use a cellphone, try to stabilize it somehow. There's no hard and fast rules on the video except the ones in the prompt. I saw someone who got hired using a video the filmed in a t-shirt, on a cellphone, a mix of vertically and horizontally, and with 85% of it kind of silly. It did a good job showing personality and was different than most. Whatever you do, it's worth putting at least a little time and effort into.

Again, thank you for your thorough responses. Going through this process with some knowledge dropped on me is better than going it a lone wolf. After TBAS tomorrow, I'll start work on a gameplan for the video. Will post it here as soon as I get something together.

 

Thanks again for everyone's input, I really appreciate your generosity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 37 year-old mentioned above checking in. Let me start by saying I’m certainly not one to listen to being told things are impossible, or else I wouldn’t be where I am now. Even more so, I don’t wanna piss on anyone’s dreams. You never know til you try. 

That said, the advice above is as solid as it gets and you should take a long hard look at what you want. Is flying for the military what’s important, or flying fighters all you want?

You’ve got an extremely high goal and are standing in a less than perfect position. Your age is a huge hurdle for fighters. While you don’t need a waiver this instant being < 33, that timeline of a year or two is solid and the cap is age at UPT start, so you’ll have to get a waiver. Guard/Reserve fighter units are REALLY not likely to do waivers and active duty doesn’t do them at all, AFAIK.

Your AFOQT scores are likely too low for fighters and your TBAS won’t likely be high enough with the lower Pilot/Nav scores and no flight hours. The GPA and possession charge aren’t going to make it any easier, either. @EvilEagle is a legend and his word might as well be gospels. Especially with his love of V-Twins from that bike list...although I’m biased and had a few sport twins in my past; including a TL. 

Again, I’m not one to take or believe “it can’t be done,” but he’s very right in the time, effort, and money it will take to even see if it’s possible. If your goal is to fly mil, time spent chasing fighters and battling 50 other people for 1 slot could be better used working on rushing heavy units.

Anyway, I wish you the best, dude. Nothing is impossible and, if you want it bad enough, put in the work and see what happens. It ain’t over until you’ve heard (and accepted) the last “No.” 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

Guard/Reserve fighter units are REALLY not likely to do waivers

I would guess, and this is purely speculation, that this is accurate with the relatively common exception of they really really like you as a person and it's a relatively simple waiver, allergies for example. Less relavant to this particular situation and more looking to have an assumption confirmed or corrected. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

The 37 year-old mentioned above checking in. Let me start by saying I’m certainly not one to listen to being told things are impossible, or else I wouldn’t be where I am now. Even more so, I don’t wanna piss on anyone’s dreams. You never know til you try. 

That said, the advice above is as solid as it gets and you should take a long hard look at what you want. Is flying for the military what’s important, or flying fighters all you want?

You’ve got an extremely high goal and are standing in a less than perfect position. Your age is a huge hurdle for fighters. While you don’t need a waiver this instant being < 33, that timeline of a year or two is solid and the cap is age at UPT start, so you’ll have to get a waiver. Guard/Reserve fighter units are REALLY not likely to do waivers and active duty doesn’t do them at all, AFAIK.

Your AFOQT scores are likely too low for fighters and your TBAS won’t likely be high enough with the lower Pilot/Nav scores and no flight hours. The GPA and possession charge aren’t going to make it any easier, either. @EvilEagle is a legend and his word might as well be gospels. Especially with his love of V-Twins from that bike list...although I’m biased and had a few sport twins in my past; including a TL. 

Again, I’m not one to take or believe “it can’t be done,” but he’s very right in the time, effort, and money it will take to even see if it’s possible. If your goal is to fly mil, time spent chasing fighters and battling 50 other people for 1 slot could be better used working on rushing heavy units.

Anyway, I wish you the best, dude. Nothing is impossible and, if you want it bad enough, put in the work and see what happens. It ain’t over until you’ve heard (and accepted) the last “No.” 

First of all, congrats on getting picked up as an old guy. It's a pleasure hearing success stories like yours, and I appreciate your input as well.

The aviation community, especially in the military, seems to be  full of really good people. I would love to be part of that kind of camaraderie. Everyone here has taken the time to give some really sound advice and it means the world to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, LNGH said:

I would guess, and this is purely speculation, that this is accurate with the relatively common exception of they really really like you as a person and it's a relatively simple waiver, allergies for example. Less relavant to this particular situation and more looking to have an assumption confirmed or corrected. 

Eh, this is certainly true for a great candidate being able to accomplish anything, but it is even further along to age being a big issue. Having been here now, there is something to the old-dog-new-tricks concerns they have about older folks in UPT; especially in the fighter track. The pressure to perform, put time in, and pick it up quickly is very real in the 38 track and it starts in T6s from day 1. A young candidate is going to be way more moldable, have much more free time to study and focus solely on the program, and just flat out have more brain space available to cram in GK than an older person that has a ton of other life/job/etc. taking up space in there already, in most cases. 

I have quite a few points to that I think back it up, but in the vein of brevity (not my strong suit), UPT is a young person's game. Multiple IPs said the same to me in their teaching experience: The old folks seem to struggle in the beginning, but come on strong later when it all starts to get put together. 

But, that's not conducive to the T38 track. You've gotta hit the ground running in T6s, catch on quick, and be top-performing from the beginning to give them the confidence you're going to succeed down the road. Of course, if you've been picked up by a fighter unit and have a guaranteed 38 slot, the pressure to earn that slot competing with others is removed, but the pressure to perform perfectly isn't. And that continues throughout fighter career which, again, can be harder for older folks to be okay with. 

Again, it's not the case 100% of the time, but it's what .02 is from my short run in this world. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, givingitmybest said:

First of all, congrats on getting picked up as an old guy. It's a pleasure hearing success stories like yours, and I appreciate your input as well.

The aviation community, especially in the military, seems to be  full of really good people. I would love to be part of that kind of camaraderie. Everyone here has taken the time to give some really sound advice and it means the world to me.

Of course, dude! It really is a great community and I strongly recommend giving it a shot. If you just want to be a part of it, no matter the airframe, it certainly isn't an impossible goal. If you're 100% set on "fighters or nothing," then you are going to have quite an uphill battle. Again, nothing is impossible until you've heard the last "No."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/11/2019 at 6:40 PM, givingitmybest said:

Also.. No, I don't have a PPL and my GPA is 2.04.

i don't want to give you more stuff to stress about but i think you need a 2.5 GPA for a Rated commission (2.75 for non Rated), not sure if that's still a rule

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also fellow old dude here, went to UPT at 31!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/12/2019 at 10:24 AM, givingitmybest said:

May ask for more input after I make the video for my application to make sure I get it right.

 

Can I ask what this video for your application is? I'm at the beginning of the process - working on my first application now. But in everything that I have read on forums so far, I hadn't read of a video. Do some applications require you to make a video? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, xwingexplorer said:

Can I ask what this video for your application is? I'm at the beginning of the process - working on my first application now. But in everything that I have read on forums so far, I hadn't read of a video. Do some applications require you to make a video? 

Some do some do not. If the hiring squadron wants you to make an introduction video to go along with your application package it will be specifically stated in the application instructions. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...