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JohnClark

Should My Mentality Be Pilot Or Nothing?

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I finally graduated college in May at 28 years old. I wasn't able to go to college until 24 and my mentality for doing well, studying hard, everything has been a pilot slot in the Guard but also the Reserve, Active Duty and even further back up plans with the Army or Coast Guard.

I've have several people tell me over the years that I should have a more open mind and not be focused on pilot slot. I should also consider other potential careers in the Air Force. Of course they brought up the you're an officer first (which is true) and that you will be flying a desk 90% of the time like every officer position in the Air Force (which is true) but I always bring up that only pilots still get to fly.

I've also had guys tell me that either most pilots hate being pilots (I call bullshit) or they would be more than happy to have another non-flying job in the Air Force (I'm skeptical).

I guess I'm just really competitive and hate being told I can't do something. When people tell me I should be focused on becoming a pilot, it makes me just want to become one even more.

I did terrible in school as a kid and my parents, teachers and other peers never thought I could go to college or actually make something of my life. I graduated in May with a 3.6 GPA, was accepted into an honor society in the fall 2019 and I am going to Grad School at my Alma Mater in Fall 2020.

I guess now I feel like I've worked my ass off in school, I was taking Flying Lessons until COVID-19 happened (hopefully can resume soon) and was still able to play intramural/development club hockey with a bunch of 18-22 years at school, play adult travel baseball and am now racing BMX again (haven't done it since I was 18) all while working full time. The only things left to do are take the AFOQT and TBAS both were canceled due to COVID and I might be able to take them in August.

That I don't want to settle for anything less than a pilot slot. Whether it's flying fighters or heavies in the Air Force, Helicopters in the Army, or Heavies or Choppers in the Coast Guard I want to fly.

Should I keep up this mentality?

 

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Anyone who tells you they would rather not be a pilot in the Air Force, but is in fact a pilot in the Air Force can go f*ck right off.

 

I might bitch about shit constantly, but I love flying.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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20 minutes ago, the g-man said:

Anyone who tells you they would rather not be a pilot in the Air Force, but is in fact a pilot in the Air Force can go f*ck right off.

 

I might bitch about shit constantly, but I love flying.

 

 

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I don't think any of them were pilots. Probably non-flying officers. But hell yeah man. Every officer may fly a desk but at the end of the day only pilots still fly real aircraft!

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Posted (edited)

Sounds like a bunch of nonners validating their life. Nothing wrong with not flying if it doesn’t work out, but it’s the best job in the AF if it does.

Edited by MCO
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With anything in life there are downsides and sacrifices, but from the time we walk out to the flight line to the time we shut the plane down it’s absolutely awesome, only thing in the world I would trade it for is my family, they always come first. 
I didn’t do great in high school, mainly a motivation issue. Keep busting your ass, don’t take no for a answer, and never give up. If flying is your passion and military flying just isn’t possible there are lots of other flying options. 

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Posted (edited)

Recognize that when people feel compelled to say “officer first” they usually mean “aspire to be a leader,” and don’t understand how that works in the flying world.

Also realize that the type of leadership that happens in combat aviation is inaccessible to those who haven’t spent years studying combat aviation. A non-rated Captain with many subordinates may see a rated Captain with none and assume that the rated captain isn’t a leader. They don’t see the briefs with hundreds of pages worth of information conveyed in 65 plus or minus five minutes. They don’t see the planning process in which the mission commander coordinates for every domain, service, and discipline of physics to achieve a goal handed to him by the Army four star. They don’t see the split second decision-making that will drive success or failure. They don’t see the meaningful eye contact when you go over something one last time because ing it up will be a disaster. They see a tired Captain with messy hair, who’s never officially supervised anybody and therefore can’t possibly be a leader. That’s not the non-rated officer’s fault; their exposure is movies about aerial combat that’s portrayed more like boxing than war. Give them time, and they’ll get it eventually... or they won’t, and they’ll be sent to tell you that aircrew aren’t leaders.
 

Be a leader; scoff the people who want you to prove it in a silly way. 
 

Fly, fight, and win. Don’t apologize for it. 

Edited by jice
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When I was applying to OTS, my recruiter asked what other positions I'd like to put on my application.  My words to him were "you can just put pilot down 3 times".  He responded with "well putting other positions down shows the board that you're willing to do anything to join" and my response was "I'm not joining to be a nav.  If I can't be a pilot, I don't want to be in the AF."  I was selected for my pilot slot a few weeks later.

Bottom line, don't put something down that you are not prepared to be doing for the next 6-9 years.  You'll realize quickly that no one will look out for you but you. 

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4 minutes ago, jice said:

Recognize things. 

And also don’t be a dickhead. We’re equally guilty of being ignorant and often more guilty of believing that we’ve earned that right.  

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, jice said:

And also don’t be a dickhead. We’re equally guilty of being ignorant and often more guilty of believing that we’ve earned that right.  

Too true, but why do I keep having to do some shoe clerks job for them? If I do their work, can I at least get their pay as well?

Edited by Sprkt69
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Pilot or bust... that's one of the benefits of applying for OTS or the guard/reserves.

 

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Pictured below: me, an AFRC CSO, reading this thread.

But seriously, no shame in only putting down what you want. The AF is a giant machine that will use you as another cog in the wheel... You don't owe it X number of years doing something you don't want to do like it's your wife or something. The process of joining is where you have max leverage over your own fate. 

2 on everything jice said, and 2 on going Reserve or Guard...

two button meme.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Go all in with pilot. It’s a bunch of nonners telling you this BS. If you’re not a DO or CC, you are a pilot first, not an officer. I don’t give a shit how well you write an MFR, I care how well you can kill the enemy that’s threatening the dudes on the ground, how efficiently you can AR the assets that need to get back to the fight, etc. If you’re not spending at least 50% of your work day on becoming a better pilot you are wrong. The nonners are officers first, your job is to actively participate in the fight, not manage those who do. 

Edited by Hawg15
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Dude absolutely go all in if it's what you want to do. I've been exposed to other AF jobs while doing staff and they certainly have their appeals but I LOVE being a pilot. I love calling myself a pilot. I love that I get five free points of credibility when I walk into a room simply because I'm wearing a flight suit. The AF was built by flyers. Our heritage is flying. Our future is flying.... Well maybe for a short time longer, damn drones. Anyway, being a pilot in the AF is incredible. I've gone more places, met more people and have seen more things than 99% of Americans. 

You will see a lot of bitching and moaning and people getting out as soon as possible. They are NOT getting out because they hate flying. They are getting out because other aspects of the job degrade their life. All careers in the AF have that issue. As a pilot you are better off because you have a transferable skill set that actually gives you a promising option to get out. 

 

Last note, it's possible some people advising you were just trying to manage your expectations, and they are not wrong. Pilot slots are extraordinarily competitive. You should be prepared for a path in life should it happen that you can't get one or qualify for one physically. That said, definitely go all in until that point where you are told it's never going to happen. 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, JohnClark said:

I finally graduated college in May at 28 years old. I wasn't able to go to college until 24 and my mentality for doing well, studying hard, everything has been a pilot slot in the Guard but also the Reserve, Active Duty and even further back up plans with the Army or Coast Guard.

I've have several people tell me over the years that I should have a more open mind and not be focused on pilot slot. I should also consider other potential careers in the Air Force. Of course they brought up the you're an officer first (which is true) and that you will be flying a desk 90% of the time like every officer position in the Air Force (which is true) but I always bring up that only pilots still get to fly.

I've also had guys tell me that either most pilots hate being pilots (I call bullshit) or they would be more than happy to have another non-flying job in the Air Force (I'm skeptical).

I guess I'm just really competitive and hate being told I can't do something. When people tell me I should be focused on becoming a pilot, it makes me just want to become one even more.

I did terrible in school as a kid and my parents, teachers and other peers never thought I could go to college or actually make something of my life. I graduated in May with a 3.6 GPA, was accepted into an honor society in the fall 2019 and I am going to Grad School at my Alma Mater in Fall 2020.

I guess now I feel like I've worked my ass off in school, I was taking Flying Lessons until COVID-19 happened (hopefully can resume soon) and was still able to play intramural/development club hockey with a bunch of 18-22 years at school, play adult travel baseball and am now racing BMX again (haven't done it since I was 18) all while working full time. The only things left to do are take the AFOQT and TBAS both were canceled due to COVID and I might be able to take them in August.

That I don't want to settle for anything less than a pilot slot. Whether it's flying fighters or heavies in the Air Force, Helicopters in the Army, or Heavies or Choppers in the Coast Guard I want to fly.

Should I keep up this mentality?

 

Sounds like you’re an aggressive, competitive dude who is questioning your goals based on those around you.

This is where BO.net excels, a mechanism for like-minded individuals to support and encourage each other.

**Alibi** My conclusions are based on the limited information provided.  But it appears you are not like the people giving you advice.  You want action, they can live without it.  You thrive on challenges, they exist never exerting over 50% of their potential. 

Life is uncertain.  Maybe you leave it all on the field at UPT but fall short of standards and fail.  Or maybe you fly first then chase another challenge (commanding a Mx squadron, etc.).  Maybe you get your wings, master your craft, but get worn out and separate.  Ok.  All of those things could happen and life could still work out just fine.  But if you don’t try your hardest for what you really want, the experience will become a mental stumbling block the rest of your life.

Don’t let people with incompatible personalities advise you.  Their advice will be irrelevant and distracting. 

Edited by tac airlifter
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9 hours ago, BADFNZ said:

When I was applying to OTS, my recruiter asked what other positions I'd like to put on my application.  My words to him were "you can just put pilot down 3 times".  He responded with "well putting other positions down shows the board that you're willing to do anything to join" and my response was "I'm not joining to be a nav.  If I can't be a pilot, I don't want to be in the AF."  I was selected for my pilot slot a few weeks later.

Bottom line, don't put something down that you are not prepared to be doing for the next 6-9 years.  You'll realize quickly that no one will look out for you but you. 

I LIKE THAT! If I can't get a guard slot and do go active, that's what I am saying.

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Do NOT get talked out of your dream.  Pilot or bust dude!  You won’t regret it.  But you will if you allow anyone to talk you out of it.  Best job on the planet.

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Guard is hiring pilots. Do that. 

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Posted (edited)

I appreciate the “Never Give Up” attitude more then most and just understand timing is everything despite the best laid plans. My late 80s/early 90s story among many other great stories out there.


1. Planned to join Air Force ROTC work hard/stay focused and earn a Pilot Slot.

2. Several of us in the running for a pilot slot in a non-normal environment. Graduating Class before us multiple pilot slots awarded, our class a total of 0. It was Post Gulf War 1 drawdown and ROTC dropped from 1200 slots to 100 slots annually. Try applying several years after Top Gun came out and a Reduction In Force Impact - nothing was tougher. Haven’t seen anything like it since. Banked Pilots, no fly just working other jobs awaiting a seat in aircraft that didn’t exist.

3. Next focused attempt. Give it my all to earn the Commandant/Vice Commandant Award at Basic(Camp) since all previous award winners were given the choice of either a Full Scholarship or Pilot Slot (Rated Position). Finished Basic and received the Vice Commandants Award. Finalized paperwork for Pilot Slot opportunity vs Scholarship and missed the writing on the wall. Due to continuing cut backs we regret to inform you we have canceled all Pilot Slot awardees via the Top 4% Award Winners program and I was unable to go back and receive the Full Ride Scholarship to further kick sand in our face. 2nd Upset, Timing is everything.

4. Elected to enter/serve the USAF as a Maintenance (MX) Officer and continue to compete for slots while young enough. Applied every other year for a total of 2 more times while banked pilots continued to roam the base in alternative positions. 27.5 years old was the cut off and that ended the Active Duty pursuit. That’s 4 legitimate full force attempts where I crashed and burned. 

5. Sent to the Air National Guard Headquarters as an Active Duty Staff MX Officer. Worked hard as always, especially taking care of my assigned ANG units. Saw the light with the Guard and while many were offering the opportunity for me to transfer to their units as an MX Officer, several of my preferred locations did not have those positions and asked if I was interested in becoming a pilot? Imagine that, someone working on your behalf which was new. Told them I was too old and they never batted an eye as they had the political gusto to cut red tape and make it happen. Offered amazing opportunities by three units and one other Great unit officially hiring me as B-1 WSO (Now JSTARS) just in case my age waiver was torpedoed by the USAF Chief of Staff. Turns out the Director of the Guard had Gen Ryan at the time personally endorse the waiver, especially after the UPT age limit just rose to 30. 
 

I entered Pilot Training after nearly seven years of Active Duty at the ripe age of 31 as a senior Capt. Just happy to be there. While pushing for Pilot I broke myself physically and paying for it now while doing CCT/STS Team tryouts annually. Much easier life now and I probably would have been dead on a mountain in Afghanistan or at least divorced so someone up there is looking out for me.

Overall, it’s not necessarily what you but who you know, the work effort and trust you will build with those above below and around you and once again timing is everything. Let your work speak for you! You never make the shot you never take! 
 

Fully retired now, C-141s, C-17s, too much Staff Work , but I am making up for it here in Korea resting up for my flight to Australia flying a 747. Some senior officer (New OG at Columbus AFB) once told me during pilot training - “You shouldn’t be here!” He was one of the AD Staff O-6s holding back my application packages at the Pentagon, but our General swiped it from him. Look at me now: Multiple incomes, flying The Whale and loving every minute of it. Even if doesn’t last, it has been an amazing opportunity. Hard work eventually pays off, but it was those below and above that raised me up and pushed me up to the front of the line. You only have “ONElife”....

 

 

Edited by AirGuardianC141747
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Pilot or bust.

 

When I applied to OTS, the Air Force was producing far fewer pilots annually. I was told by the first recruiter that I wouldn’t be looked at for a pilot slot with less than 200 hours and multiple civilian ratings. When I finally was able to submit my package to the board, I only put pilot. I was told the same line about the selection board valuing me being willing to do other jobs, but I wasn’t buying it. I got selected for pilot on my first board with only 30 flight hours and I got the chance to live my dream. I had to put up with a lot on active duty, but the years I spent hacking the mission with some of the greatest people you’ll ever know will always be some of the best of my life.

 

The Air Force is much more in need of pilots today than when I was selected. Go for it.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

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As a retired WSO/EWO I suggest pilot or bust.  It is really tiring to have to work with people who are eaten up with sadness and jealously towards the guy in the front seat.

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3 minutes ago, JimNtexas said:

As a retired WSO/EWO I suggest pilot or bust.  It is really tiring to have to work with people who are eaten up with sadness and jealously towards the guy in the front seat.

Very knowledgeable statement. While in my first Guard unit (in a couple) we were fortunate there were limited folks in this position. Most had their shot, some not - but overall I enjoyed having a Nav and Engineer on board C141 days vs C17s. Extra eyes, extra safety and bigger party of friends roaming the world. Most of our Engineers became Loadmasters. Imagine this: 2 of my super smart engineers became Loadmasters, meanwhile they were already 747 engineers at their civilian gig. Their company (mine as well) allowed them get their civilian tickets on their own in a special program and eventually move up front to the right seat. Now they are Whale Captains a tad senior to me. (One is a Line Check Airman) SNCOs with vision and grit, can’t beat it. I actually rib them into buying drinks = priceless!!!

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, MooseAg03 said:

Pilot or bust.

The Air Force is much more in need of pilots today than when I was selected. Go for it!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Totally, AF started draining significantly almost 10 years ago and hadn’t stopped until the cyclic airline dumpster 🔥 fire. Always seems to be something and you had better have some intestinal fortitude to weather this game. Not for the faint of heart. While not pressure driven like military pilot paralysis (Combat Zone, PME, CBT, ROE, PT, etc), AD was pretty much a safe income source comparably speaking outside of RIFs and Passover’s. With greater security comes vast amounts of responsibility and we salute you.

Edited by AirGuardianC141747

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As a very happy former CSO (first half of career) and current RPA pilot (second half of career), I wouldn't totally discount other ops/flying AFSCs because I've personally had a great time in both of mine, BUT...it seems like you just really want to be a manned pilot. In that case, go for your dream and don't let anyone tell you "no" until your last appeal is exhausted.

I was told I wouldn't be able to commission due to some medical issues and that flying was completely out of the question by the chief of flight medicine at Andrews my senior year of ROTC. Well the joke's on you Doc, because I commissioned 2 months later, flew manned airplanes as a CSO, did 8 combat deployments, and now am a pilot on a second platform.

BL: Don't give up and oh yea also go Guard! I learned that second lesson a bit late.

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