Jump to content

Reality check or words of encouragement?


Recommended Posts

GPA: non-stem 3.7 from a brand name school

AFOQT: 95+ in all categories except quant (78)

PCSM: ***Now 92***60, including the points added for my 20 flight hours. (considering TBAS retake)

 

Leadership: team leader in the Army, including during a 12 month combat tour. Volunteer with veterans about 2 hours a week.

About me: 24 years old. 6 years in the Army as a linguist. I am really passionate about the ISR missions, but don't think I could pass up a fighter slot if offered. I am applying to reserve units all over the east coast, as well as to active duty. 

Thoughts: I feel like I've done a lot of things right and have good scores, but trying to get in contact with reserve units is demoralizing after having emails ignored about a dozen times and many units just not having contact info listed anywhere. Active duty recruiters are proving slightly better, but I'm looking at about one board a year with an 8% pilot pick-up rate... I don't want a break in service once my army reserve time is up, so I have contemplated enlisting into one of the reserve units I'm most interested in, but I'm worried that will bar me from commissioning for a couple of years due to service obligations/ waiting on tech school dates. 

Questions for you all:

1) Am I on the right track and I should just finish my PPL, work my normal 9-5 and apply to/visit every reserve unit I'm interested in until they give me a shot?

2) I don't want a break in service, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. Should I enlist air force reserve or will that slow me down by years? 

3) Similar to enlisting, but could it be a good idea to take a CSO/EWO spot and hope to switch before or after the pipeline?

 

 

 

Edited by bs98
updated score
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few thoughts: 

GPA and AFOQT are good. PCSM is low - what's the 200 hour score? If below 80/90, definitely retake to be competitive for fighters. 

Everything else - age, experience, etc. is good, with one exception: PPL. You really want to get that to be competitive for fighters, and really to be competitive for anything Guard/Reserve. 

Specifically, here's one dude's opinions on your questions.

1) Yes. 

2) Don't enlist in the reserves/Guard unless you want to enlist in the reserves/Guard. There's nothing wrong with it (and many things good with it), but you don't go to UPT by enlisting (directly, at least). 

3) No. Take a CSO/EWO spot if you want to be a CSO/EWO. Don't do it just because you think it's a path to being a pilot. 

A few questions I would ask/you should ask of yourself:

1) why are you only talking about reserve units and only east coast? Especially if you're also considering active duty? I'd be looking at every Guard/Reserve unit out there. 

2) check out bogidope for contact info, introduce yourself to people, go to rush weekends, etc. (unless you're completely illiterate, which I don't think is the case, folks should respond if you're contacting the right folks - i.e. they're having a board soon, looking for people, etc.)

3) what's your life timeline? If it were me, I'd be applying to my dream units for another year or two, then I'd apply for everything under the sun. But, if you're worried about getting started, I'd apply for everything now.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

@Tarawa565 Thanks, I appreciate the well thought out second opinion.

I am going to remedy my PPL and TBAS issues ASAP, once I return from being out of the country. Once I have undeniable test scores, I am planning to pick a top 5 or so dream units to visit as often as they will allow. 

You're definitely right that I should expand my search nationwide. My only hesitancy with the Guard side of the house is how limiting the Guard can be for big Air Force programs (e.g. it would be one admin step harder to get released for Pilot Physician or U2 programs down the road).

In the meantime I'll keep chugging along at my Master's degree and racking up flight hours while applying and visiting units. Part of me is worried I would "settle" for something other than my #1 air frame, but in a process where nothing is ever easy or guaranteed, I think there will be some element of sucking it up and being happy with what I get. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I applied to 10+ units over the last two years and never got an interview, but just got picked up active duty. I am also a current (AF) linguist stationed OCONUS so was never able to actually visit any units, had similar AFOQT scores with all above 95 except quant (82). PCSM was an 89 with like 18 hours. I think the major factor holding me back was probably lack of PPL and visiting units. I think Active Duty with your scores is definitely something to consider. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
43 minutes ago, Nate B said:

I applied to 10+ units over the last two years and never got an interview, but just got picked up active duty. I am also a current (AF) linguist stationed OCONUS so was never able to actually visit any units, had similar AFOQT scores with all above 95 except quant (82). PCSM was an 89 with like 18 hours. I think the major factor holding me back was probably lack of PPL and visiting units. I think Active Duty with your scores is definitely something to consider. 

congrats on getting picked up! I'll be applying to the one FY23 board I'll be stateside for. Honestly, I think there's a lot more flexibility in active duty careers. Just has the uncertainty up front.

 

Out of curiosity, what type of units were you applying to on the reserve component side? Your scores seems great.

Edited by bs98
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, bs98 said:

congrats on getting picked up! I'll be applying to the one FY23 board I'll be stateside for. Honestly, I think there's a lot more flexibility in active duty careers. Just has the uncertainty up front.

 

Out of curiosity, what type of units were you applying to on the reserve component side? Your scores seems great.

I applied to fighters, tankers, C-17, and C-130s. Good luck in this board! Reach out if you need any help with the package. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"The world is your oyster my friend, until you stop believing in yourself." - (Biff_T, 22)

There are going to be several paths to go down.  Pick what works best for you.

I did the enlisted first OTS route.  I don't recommend that path, especially, if you have your degree.

A few recommendations:

1. Get your CFI or CFII.  Get hours teaching.  Apply to OTS for pilot slot.  You will do better than most in your class.  My friend did this and he flew F-15Cs and F-22s.  

2. Get your CFI or CFII.  Get hours.  Apply to airlines.  While flying for the airlines, apply to OTS (if you really want to 😄.  But in all seriousness, I had a friend who did this and flew C-17s.  

3. Apply to an airline with a cadet program.  They will make you a regional pilot.  Fly and apply.  This is a trend on purpose.  

4. There are way more options than these but I know for a fact these guys made it.  Regardless what you do, keep applying to guard and reserve units.  They don't know you're there if you don't tell them.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/3/2022 at 11:26 PM, Biff_T said:

"The world is your oyster my friend, until you stop believing in yourself." - (Biff_T, 22)

There are going to be several paths to go down.  Pick what works best for you.

I did the enlisted first OTS route.  I don't recommend that path, especially, if you have your degree.

A few recommendations:

1. Get your CFI or CFII.  Get hours teaching.  Apply to OTS for pilot slot.  You will do better than most in your class.  My friend did this and he flew F-15Cs and F-22s.  

2. Get your CFI or CFII.  Get hours.  Apply to airlines.  While flying for the airlines, apply to OTS (if you really want to 😄.  But in all seriousness, I had a friend who did this and flew C-17s.  

3. Apply to an airline with a cadet program.  They will make you a regional pilot.  Fly and apply.  This is a trend on purpose.  

4. There are way more options than these but I know for a fact these guys made it.  Regardless what you do, keep applying to guard and reserve units.  They don't know you're there if you don't tell them.

 

Thanks for the response… I never really thought about going all the way to CFI to boost the application process (and learn along the way), but I do have 4 months or so before my graduate school starts and this sounds like a good use of time.

As soon as I can stomach the thought of spending $xx,000, I’ll heed the advice 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, bs98 said:

Thanks for the response… I never really thought about going all the way to CFI to boost the application process (and learn along the way), but I do have 4 months or so before my graduate school starts and this sounds like a good use of time.

As soon as I can stomach the thought of spending $xx,000, I’ll heed the advice 

Yeah, it's a little pricey to go the CFI route.  If you can't do that, just keep working towards your PPL and keep applying.  Most of the guys in my class had barely any hours prior to UPT and did fine.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally wouldn’t spend money you don’t really have to go anywhere past your PPL. PPL is good enough to show you actually enjoy flying and are teachable. We’ve hired several people with single digit flying hours. 

Apply everywhere and don’t enlist in the ANG, too old to start playing that game. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/24/2022 at 10:50 AM, brabus said:

I personally wouldn’t spend money you don’t really have to go anywhere past your PPL. PPL is good enough to show you actually enjoy flying and are teachable. We’ve hired several people with single digit flying hours. 

Apply everywhere and don’t enlist in the ANG, too old to start playing that game. 

This is good advice for anyone reading.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally wouldn’t spend money you don’t really have to go anywhere past your PPL. PPL is good enough to show you actually enjoy flying and are teachable. We’ve hired several people with single digit flying hours. 
Apply everywhere and don’t enlist in the ANG, too old to start playing that game. 

For what type of airframe did you hire people into? Fighters, bombers, tanker, cargo, etc?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think we do pretty well at “whole person concept.” Of course high scores, GPA (degree type factored in), etc. matter. But also the interview is huge - I’ll take the 29 yr old hockey player with a 2.9 GPA who’s a volunteer EMT over the 4.2 GPA/99s, works at LM, awkward 23 yr old. Scores aren’t everything - demo you can handle hard work, have faced adversity and not quit, are a team player and a dude we want to go to war (and the bar) with. There are also incredibly smart people who are gifted academically, but you can just tell they’re not the “get into the fray” type. That’s OK, just fighters aren’t for that person. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

@brabus @Biff_T @Tarawa565 @Nate B

First off, a big thanks to everyone who replied. I truly did take the advice to heart and am actioning just about all of it. New updates, so I'll just post a summary since I'm excited and don't have too many pilot mentors in real life yet:

3.7 GPA, 95 Pilot score, 92 PCSM (new), 22 hours (more scheduled), 24 years old

Plan: This website and the commenters have been invaluable in helping me figure out this process. Now that I have a good PCSM, I feel like a lot of options have opened up. I'm now outprocessed from the Army (non aviation job) and working on my master's while doing some EMT work in the evenings. 

My first choice might be active duty until someone can talk me out of it; it just seems there are more opportunities for a single, unmarried guy whose imagination gets captured by U2/B2/AFSOC roles and the Pilot Physician Program. Obviously I'm not assuming I'd get any of those, but the opportunities seem more prevalent in AD world than in AFRC or NG. Getting a recruiter to deal with me as a prior enlisted guy has proven to be a pain in the ass...

So I am still finding a few AFRC and NG units that promise really unique opportunities e.g. CSAR, AFSOC, fighters and applying to every one in the country. 

Question for you all:

1) Am I correct in thinking that a lot of the AF's niche programs would be an uphill battle to apply for from NG/AFRC? It seems like a tough conversation to have with a unit that invested in someone at such a personalized level.

2) Any anecdotes about NG/AFRC pilots who have broken the mold of flying one week a month and working on the airlines? 

Edited by bs98
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're definitely on the right track to get picked up by someone, whether it's and active duty OTS slot or one in the ANG/AFRC.   

1.  I flew Hueys (all active duty) as a pilot.   That being said, there were a few non prior and prior enlisted guys who were going to fly in the ANG/AFRC doing CSAR.  You appear to be a sharp dude.   If they can do it, I bet you can as well.  

2.  There are definitely more than a few dudes who have broken that mold.   

Keep applying.  Maybe you can fly one of these?  

 

 

SDKMLLYI6JAXVHY2PZXYHB62ZY.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Biff_T said:

You're definitely on the right track to get picked up by someone, whether it's and active duty OTS slot or one in the ANG/AFRC.   

1.  I flew Hueys (all active duty) as a pilot.   That being said, there were a few non prior and prior enlisted guys who were going to fly in the ANG/AFRC doing CSAR.  You appear to be a sharp dude.   If they can do it, I bet you can as well.  

2.  There are definitely more than a few dudes who have broken that mold.   

Keep applying.  Maybe you can fly one of these?  

 

 

SDKMLLYI6JAXVHY2PZXYHB62ZY.jpg

Thanks for the encouragement and beautiful plane. My first thought was something AFSOC? U28’s and C12’s we’re my first love

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, bs98 said:

My first choice might be active duty until someone can talk me out of it

I had a blast in my 11 years of AD, but I had a lot of good timing and luck with assignments and commanders. The guard has been phenomenal and much better than AD, even considering my admittedly good run in the AD. There is so much less BS in the guard, you know what you’re flying (vs. hoping it works out and you don’t have poor luck on assignment night), and it’s probably in a location you enjoy living.

My opinion is go guard until your age puts you at a disadvantage (late 20s), then go AD. 

21 hours ago, bs98 said:

Question for you all:

1) You’re correct, it’s going to be harder to do non-standard things in the ARC, but a common misconception is you’re “stuck” for a full career at one squadron doing the same thing.  There are absolutely opportunities to go do test, live in Europe, go back to UPT, change airframes/units, do a staff job, go to Weapons School, teach at Weapons School, etc. There’s a reserve B-2 squadron and I think there’s at least one or two U-2 reservist (someone correct me if I’m wrong on that). Point is a hell of a lot more “change it up” opportunity in the ARC than people think. 

2) That’s not the mold, just some people. Tons of dudes fly their ass off in the guard and don’t work for an airline. At least in the fighter world, you will be expected to give 5-7 days a month as a part timer. Most guys live local, so I’ve seen many part timers flying 10+ sorties a month. I can’t speak for other communities, but we are very far from the “one weekend a month” side of the guard. There’s also plenty of opportunity to stay full time if you don’t want another civ job - you can’t plan on it of course, but I’ve never seen a guy who wanted to be full time not be kept full time through one of many avenues.
 

 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, brabus said:

I had a blast in my 11 years of AD, but I had a lot of good timing and luck with assignments and commanders. The guard has been phenomenal and much better than AD, even considering my admittedly good run in the AD. There is so much less BS in the guard, you know what you’re flying (vs. hoping it works out and you don’t have poor luck on assignment night), and it’s probably in a location you enjoy living.

My opinion is go guard until your age puts you at a disadvantage (late 20s), then go AD. 

1) You’re correct, it’s going to be harder to do non-standard things in the ARC, but a common misconception is you’re “stuck” for a full career at one squadron doing the same thing.  There are absolutely opportunities to go do test, live in Europe, go back to UPT, change airframes/units, do a staff job, go to Weapons School, teach at Weapons School, etc. There’s a reserve B-2 squadron and I think there’s at least one or two U-2 reservist (someone correct me if I’m wrong on that). Point is a hell of a lot more “change it up” opportunity in the ARC than people think. 

2) That’s not the mold, just some people. Tons of dudes fly their ass off in the guard and don’t work for an airline. At least in the fighter world, you will be expected to give 5-7 days a month as a part timer. Most guys live local, so I’ve seen many part timers flying 10+ sorties a month. I can’t speak for other communities, but we are very far from the “one weekend a month” side of the guard. There’s also plenty of opportunity to stay full time if you don’t want another civ job - you can’t plan on it of course, but I’ve never seen a guy who wanted to be full time not be kept full time through one of many avenues.
 

 

Thank you, this gives me a lot to think about. I just finished six years as an Army guardsman / guard bum and have seen the benefits of flexibility, but my previous experience for any request to do something in another state / component was “well you can send up your transfer packet to the general and see if they’ll let you go despite massive retention problems and your contractual obligation”…

granted, I could see that conversation going easier for a CPT than it did for enlisted me. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...