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How bad could AD really be? Old Guy Edition


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This is a bit of a follow-up to my WAMC thread from almost 3 years ago. I have a strong package, but I'm old (turn 30 soon).

Pros

  • 99/99/99/99/99 AFOQT and 94 PCSM (soon to be 96)
  • PPL with ~70 hours
  • 8 years of professional leadership experience at a company that I founded with 2 partners and was acquired, as well as leadership experience at the acquiring company
  • extensive experience performing as an individual and as a leader in a fast-paced, high-stress, team-based environment
  • Engineering degree from a highly-ranked university, 3.6 GPA
  • LORs attesting to my leadership skills, grace under pressure, and work ethic from business partners
  • LOR attesting to my natural flying ability and good ADM from my CFI

Cons

  • I turn 30 soon
  • Experimented with marijuana many years ago (I used it ~5 times)

 

Like most here, my dream has always been to fly fighters, but I understand that ship has effectively sailed as far as the ANG is concerned due to my age. Turns out starting a business is a big commitment and forced me to put that dream off for a long time, who knew! Now that the company is no longer in my hands, I feel that I can depart it without screwing over the rest of my team– that was why I wasn't able to pursue this earlier.

 

 

I'm currently weighing two options:

1. Apply for every ANG squadron I'm interested in (long-shot squadrons like fighters, but also 130s and HH-60s)

2. Take my chances with AD

I'd lean towards option 2 if there's a possibility of getting into fighters, but if my chances are similar (read: minuscule) of getting a fighter going either route, I'd lean towards the ANG due to the stability/predictability of the lifestyle. I know what they say– "make them tell you no", but I'm also running into the age limit here pretty quickly so I probably can't afford to delay my AD application for a year applying for ANG squadrons that will toss my application in the round file as soon as they see my age.

If I could boil this all down to two questions, they are:

1. Would my age affect my chances at selecting T-38s out of UPT, or is that entirely based on performance and needs of the AF?

2. How bad could AD *really* be? If I have a chance of getting fighters (and maybe maybe someday going to TPS and maybe maybe maybe applying for an astronaut slot) I'm willing to suffer quite a bit for that dream.

Thanks in advance!

Edited by newtrad
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Airlines are starting to ramp up.  PreCOVID in 2019 my unit sent two guys who were 40 to UPT. 
 

if it’s what you want apply for everything AD/ANG/ARC.

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3 hours ago, newtrad said:

This is a bit of a follow-up to my WAMC thread from almost 3 years ago. I have a strong package, but I'm old (turn 30 soon).

Pros

  • 99/99/99/99/99 AFOQT and 94 PCSM (soon to be 96)
  • PPL with ~70 hours
  • 8 years of professional leadership experience at a company that I founded with 2 partners and was acquired, as well as leadership experience at the acquiring company
  • extensive experience performing as an individual and as a leader in a fast-paced, high-stress, team-based environment
  • Engineering degree from a highly-ranked university, 3.6 GPA
  • LORs attesting to my leadership skills, grace under pressure, and work ethic from business partners
  • LOR attesting to my natural flying ability and good ADM from my CFI

Cons

  • I turn 30 soon
  • Experimented with marijuana many years ago (I used it ~5 times)

 

Like most here, my dream has always been to fly fighters, but I understand that ship has effectively sailed as far as the ANG is concerned due to my age. Turns out starting a business is a big commitment and forced me to put that dream off for a long time, who knew! Now that the company is no longer in my hands, I feel that I can depart it without screwing over the rest of my team– that was why I wasn't able to pursue this earlier.

 

 

I'm currently weighing two options:

1. Apply for every ANG squadron I'm interested in (long-shot squadrons like fighters, but also 130s and HH-60s)

2. Take my chances with AD

I'd lean towards option 2 if there's a possibility of getting into fighters, but if my chances are similar (read: minuscule) of getting a fighter going either route, I'd lean towards the ANG due to the stability/predictability of the lifestyle. I know what they say– "make them tell you no", but I'm also running into the age limit here pretty quickly so I probably can't afford to delay my AD application for a year applying for ANG squadrons that will toss my application in the round file as soon as they see my age.

If I could boil this all down to two questions, they are:

1. Would my age affect my chances at selecting T-38s out of UPT, or is that entirely based on performance and needs of the AF?

2. How bad could AD *really* be? If I have a chance of getting fighters (and maybe maybe someday going to TPS and maybe maybe maybe applying for an astronaut slot) I'm willing to suffer quite a bit for that dream.

Thanks in advance!

Similar boat, question 1 is an interesting question, don't know. Something that plays heavily in my decision...are you squeaky clean medically? If so AD could work, just bust your ass, and you have maturity on your side. If not, really think about how that may play into everything. If you go AD and get some restriction placed on you, are you gunna be grumpy flying heavies with an AD commitment? I think AD is much more forgiving if you do it out of college at the age of 22,23. That is one of the opportunity costs of trying to make the guard route work unfortunately. And I have heard as long as you're "good" and perform well (you seem motivated to me), worst case they FAIP your ass for a little bit till they can get you close to what you want, but don't quote me on how things are lately, this is all through the grapevine from a couple years ago, I have zero first hand credibility. 

With regards to "how bad is AD". Are you single, just dating/working at the 10 minute oil change shop, or have you found your life mate? Can the SO follow you around the country/world? For me AD isn't about me...its about dragging the SO all over. Being in the guard and deploying is fine, but she's gotta career too, and in the end self destructing a solid long term relationship to have a low chance to fly my choice hunk of metal is questionable. Flying an F whatever wherever is a total dream...her getting piped by some other ass clown because shes had enough of my lifestyle...not so much. 

Edit Add: I do plan on looking into the Navy and updating my other thread when I get the chance, especially if the odds of getting a hornet are a lot higher...

Edited by hockeydork
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3 minutes ago, Desk Jobs Suck said:

That's more on her than your career choice lol

She's grade A but its within her rights at this point to say "I want some sort of stability eventually/not going with you just "anywhere/not giving up my career" if I present AD to her as an option. If she says no, after that what'd do you think would happen? I mean.... that doesn't mean I wouldn't start doing damage somewhere else 😃

Derail over: Takeaway is just make sure your SO is onboard if you do pull AD trigger IMO. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Eli said:

Airlines are starting to ramp up.  PreCOVID in 2019 my unit sent two guys who were 40 to UPT. 
 

if it’s what you want apply for everything AD/ANG/ARC.

That's great to know, I appreciate the insight!

 

4 hours ago, hockeydork said:

are you squeaky clean medically?

 

Yep, clean as a whistle!

 

4 hours ago, hockeydork said:

her getting piped by some other ass clown because shes had enough of my lifestyle...not so much.

This cracked me up, you could always pursue a career as a writer if this whole flying thing doesn't work out. To answer your question regarding commitments, I'm free as a bird. I wouldn't be "grumpy" to fly a heavy on AD for sure, I'd just want to make sure I'm putting myself in a position where I'm graded by my performance and not on my age. I'd probably enjoy getting dragged around the world every few years, it's mostly the 237 pages in the "What's wrong with the air force" thread that gives me a little bit of pause. Frankly I'm willing to ignore all of that negativity to pursue the dream, if it means I've still got a shot.

Edited by newtrad
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Go guard. Make the decisions you want and don’t want to regret.

Decide if flying fighters is more important than having an upset SO that you are going after your dream.

For most the choice is easy. Either their SO is more important to them and they choose that path. Or the dream is more important and your SO either realizes this is who they are in a relationship with in the first place or they bail. Being you and choosing what’s important to YOU not others is my choice. If it is more important to you for the family thing then choose it. But don’t choose that because that’s what someone else wants. In 10 years it will leave you with regrets of not choosing the life you want and a greater than 50% chance the SO won’t still be with you.

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Go guard! I'm not saying straight up forget about fighters, but give the heavy units a chance. You'd likely get quite a few interviews. I'd at least give a heavy squadron a visit and see what it's all about. Start shooting out applications if you haven't already. Are there AD rated board dates out already? They cancelled a few this year, so just be aware of that. 

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On 6/28/2021 at 10:26 PM, hockeydork said:

Can the SO follow you around the country/world? For me AD isn't about me...its about dragging the SO all over. Being in the guard and deploying is fine, but she's gotta career too, and in the end self destructing a solid long term relationship to have a low chance to fly my choice hunk of metal is questionable.

@Guardian hit a lot of the positive points of following your heart, but I'm just putting a little different spin on it. 

BLUF: Shitz hard. Doubly if you're in a relationship dragging someone else along who is established where you currently are. Kids can push it into used diaper full of Indian food level of chaos, if you throw that in the mix. Thousands have done it and continue to do it, so it's 100% not prohibitive; just my experience. I'm still 100% glad I did it and would do it again, but it was harder on my better half than we both thought it would be going into it. Even for Guard/Reserve.

First off, you'll PCS to your UPT base in the middle of BFE. Sure, your sig other can come with, but they're not exactly in garden spots of professional employment opportunity and social stimulation, so hopefully he/she/they can work remotely and don't mind being in personal/professional Antartica. If they stay back while you're at UPT, cue up the concerns of time apart/relationship stagnation or degradation/new wrestling partner potential. Could be totally fine, of course, but that's personal to each individual and relationship. 

Training pipeline, especially pointies, is going to take a lot of your time (studying, chair flying, practice sims, planning, eventually missions, etc.). You might be living in the same place as your spouse, but thinking you're gonna have a lot of time to spend fostering a relationship with a he/she stuck in the middle of nowhere/alone might be a bit of a pipe dream. Again, YMMV and you may have 8lb 6oz newborn baby Jesus' brain and believe that fundamentals are the crutch of the talentless, but that's not the case I saw from most folks I was in training with.

I wrote a lot more because I'm verbose, but I deleted a bunch for brevity's sake and to not seem overly negative. In the end, it all depends on the individuals and you will likely be just fine. But, just trying to give a little caution that even going for the G/R route, you aren't out of the woods and free of big asks of your significant other/big hurdles that are outside of agreeing you get to go fly fun airplanes. 

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3 hours ago, FDNYOldGuy said:

@Guardian hit a lot of the positive points of following your heart, but I'm just putting a little different spin on it. 

...

I definitely understand that– I'm recently unencumbered, in no small part because of my desire to pursue this path. I'm no stranger to chasing life-consuming goals, so the time commitment isn't a problem for me. Thank you for putting this into perspective!

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I'd add this:  Why do you think you want to fly fighters?  What do you know about the lifestyle?  If you go into flying fighters with another goal in mind (astronaut) you will likely be a Sh!tty fighter pilot.  TPS guys are typically not the killers in the squadron; they are normally the huge nerds.  There's always an exception but you know yourself.  Are you a linebacker or a punter?  Going in late to the game with very specific (and hard to get) goals is a tough road.   

 

Realize there's a decent chance that if you go AD, you are going to end up with multiple years not touching an airplane and doing a job that pilots don't think of as "fun".  Then you'll have to take a year off to go to school (probably twice) and start all over on your upgrades.  

 

Your 30's should be fun, being a wingman is *kinda* fun at the time but it's a thrash.  

 

All that being said, yes typically if you are the top of the class in AD, you get what you want.  Age doesn't really matter last I checked.  

 

Good luck

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2 hours ago, EvilEagle said:

Your 30's should be fun, being a wingman is *kinda* fun at the time but it's a thrash.  

“I'm just an old worn-out Major
I can't count the places I've been
And I can still tell a good story
But the truth is somehow wearing thin

And this drink in my hand, it is fadin'
And there is no chance I can stay
So I'll bid you adieu
And wish I was you
Back in the LPA”

Oh those were the days 😂

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, EvilEagle said:

I'd add this:  Why do you think you want to fly fighters?  What do you know about the lifestyle?  If you go into flying fighters with another goal in mind (astronaut) you will likely be a Sh!tty fighter pilot.  TPS guys are typically not the killers in the squadron; they are normally the huge nerds.  There's always an exception but you know yourself.  Are you a linebacker or a punter?  Going in late to the game with very specific (and hard to get) goals is a tough road.   

 

Realize there's a decent chance that if you go AD, you are going to end up with multiple years not touching an airplane and doing a job that pilots don't think of as "fun".  Then you'll have to take a year off to go to school (probably twice) and start all over on your upgrades.  

 

Your 30's should be fun, being a wingman is *kinda* fun at the time but it's a thrash.  

 

All that being said, yes typically if you are the top of the class in AD, you get what you want.  Age doesn't really matter last I checked.  

 

Good luck

I don't have any first-hand experience of the lifestyle, but I want to fly fighters because I love a fast-paced, competitive environment where I can challenge myself mentally and physically. I've always gravitated towards demanding, high-stakes activities (big wall rock climbing, entrepreneurship, etc), so I'm confident I can handle that element of the job.

TPS/astronaut are distant, secondary goals. I'd be extremely grateful to find myself in a fighter, and if that happened my priorities would be to excel in the job and be a good teammate.

I understand that AD comes with a lot more non-flying "baggage", so to speak, and enjoying my 30's would be fun, but I just can't bring myself to give up on the fighter dream yet...

Thanks for weighing in, it's incredibly helpful to get feedback from someone with your depth of experience. Congrats on the retirement!

Edited by newtrad
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