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Some questions for the THT "Brain Trust"

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Some questions for the THT "Brain Trust"

Old 01-08-2017, 06:50 PM
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Default Some questions for the THT "Brain Trust"

Gentlemen:

I am in need of some very specialized counseling.

My situation is this: In the last 60 days, my youngest son has expressed an interest in going into the military. His interest centers in becoming a military pilot.

My son is 17 years old, is extremely smart (he is a straight A student), and until about 60 days ago was planning to go to either Clemson, South Carolina or similar schools to get a four year degree in chemical or mechanical engineering.

My background (many moons ago) was similar. I had worked my way through college in CA teaching people how to fly airplanes. I built up over 1800 hours of single/multi engine/sailplane flight time trying to get in the USAF reserves flying C141's. Although it didn't work out for me, I know there must be a path for my son to accomplish the same goal.

Is there an AF-ROTC? What if there is not one at his high school?

Should my son go to college and then attempt to get in the Air Force as a pilot?

Civilian flight time is not affordable for him or me right now. Nevertheless any ideas, suggestions or experiences you may be able to recommend would be appreciated.

I know some of you have experience in this area.

Please advise.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:00 PM
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How about the Air Force academy?
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:26 PM
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Is he specifically looking at the Air Force? I ask because other branches have pilots.

I believe I read something recently about the Air Force in need of pilots and drone "pilots".
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:32 PM
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Check your are for BSA Explorer programs. There may be military or civilian aviation Explorer opportunities.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PXMAN View Post
How about the Air Force academy?
He might not have the right "skill set" the Air Force Academy seems to look for. Haven't ruled it out though.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:44 PM
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I believe there are military programs where your son can sign up but attend and graduate school first, then go in as an officer, which is a whole lot better experience than joining as a grunt. The military may even pay some school expense. Make some calls to a recruiter and the colleges he's looking at and ask all the questions.

BTW Congrats on raising a great kid!!!
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:58 PM
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I cant offer any info on the educational part, but congrats on your son. Seems like a young man that will be a real benefit to our society. Good luck to you and him
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:06 PM
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Clemson has army and air force rotc. Also has a flying club. Good friend of mine has an engineering degree from Clemson, and flys big jets for Delta, with no military service. He is in his early 30's and stacked up quite a few hours as a student, and flew charters, and then for a regional delta contractor for a few years before getting on with the actual airline.

My understanding is to be a pilot being an officer with a 4 year degree is basically mandatory. May as well go to a good school (not USuC).
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Old 01-09-2017, 03:08 AM
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Talk to a recruiter. Probably get an ROTC scholarship then go to flight training in service of choice. There are lots of avenues to become a military pilot with out having to go to a service academy.
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Old 01-09-2017, 04:53 AM
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Default Thanks for your comments!

Yes, my "youngest" has astonished me on more than one occasion. We talk about a topic, he listens VERY, carefully, then comes back later with questions that show (to me anyway) how deeply he thinks about a topic.

Based on your feedback, we'll visit an AF recruiter this week.

If anyone else has some comments about this topic - keep 'em coming.



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Old 01-09-2017, 05:03 AM
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Unless things have changed (they may have) you need to graduate from college before attending flying school in the USAF. Recruiter will be able to go over all details.
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:09 AM
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Visit all branch recruiters...they all have needs for pilots.
Good for you for raising him right.
And Autobaun70...I see what you did there...
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Old 01-09-2017, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Wolakrab View Post
And Autobaun70...I see what you did there...
Cant ever miss an opportunity.

Then again, 5 points in COLA may be good for urban warfare training.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:10 AM
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Sounds like your son is a fine young man. I encourage you to promote his interest. High-school ROTC is absolutley NOT a prerequisite, so don't discourage him on that account.

My father and brother were career military aviators, and my son is a college senior on an ROTC scholarship and has been selected for Army Flight School. So while I myself am not military, I have a fair amount of understanding of the process, including recently navigating it with my son.

This is pretty lengthy, so apologies if I'm covering ground that you're already familiar with.

Generally speaking, to become a military pilot you usually must be a commissioned officer (I will mention some exceptions in a minute.) There are multiple ways to become a commissioned officer, but they all require completing a four-year (in rare cases, 2-year) college degree. The most common paths to becoming an officer:

- Federal Service Academies: Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Military (Army) Academy, USCG Academy, Merchant Marine Academy. These are all 4-year degree programs which require maximum commitment and full-time uniformed participation. Cadets attend for free (full tuition plus room and board) and receive a monthly stipend.

-Private Service Academies and "Corps of Cadets" Experince: e.g. VMI, The Citadel, VA Tech, etc. The private service academies are institutions that specialize in training students to become future military officers. It is a full-time uniform experience similar to the Federal Service Academies. Since these schools fully meet the instructional requirements of an ROTC program, many students attend on ROTC scholarships. Another variation is the "Corps of Cadets" programs found at some universities that are not soley military stidies programs.

-ROTC: Army, Navy, and Air Force branches all offer ROTC programs at various colleges/universities across the country. ROTC is a part-time military studies and training program that students pursue while simultaneously attending their respective university. Many but not all particpants receive 1-, 2-, 3-, or 4-year scholarships that cover tuition and provide a stipend (but generally not room and board). Uniforms are worn a couple times a week, the rest of the tme the student is a "civilian."

-OCS: Officer Candidate Schools are available for those who have completed 4-year degrees but did not particpate in ROTC. This is a second chance to become an officer through what is a relativley brief but intensive crash course. It's a good opportunity for those who didn't realize they wanted to pursue a career in the military until the tail end of college or so. Unfortuantely, this path does not provide a means to help pay for college, so that is a downside.

So that covers most of the traditional paths to becoming an officer.

Becoming an aviator is another step. As officer candidates near completion of their training and approach "commissioning" (this usually takes place more-or-less simultaneous with graduation from the degree program, except for OCS candidates), they must compete for the branch or job that they hope to perform. Aviation is very competitive. In addition to needing to have a good class rank (or order of service #), there are extra physical/medical clearances required (including vision.)

All services (Army, Navy Air Force, CG) have pilots and flight schools (CG attends Navy flight school at Pensacola.) Beleive it or not, the Army has the most pilots due to their huge helo fleet. That is one of the reasons that the Army allows an exception to the "commissioned officer" rule for pilots. The Army allows "warrant officers" to become helo pilots. Warrant Officers may or may not have 4-year college degrees, and do not go through the formal training for a commissioned officer. In some (rare, but possible) cases, they may even come straght from high-school directly into the aviator warrant officer program to be trained as helo pilots at Fort Rucker.

So that is a little bit (okay a lot) of general background which hopefully brings the process into focus. If your son is not interested in a service academy experience, then ROTC is a very good alternative because the scholarship opportunities are attractive (However, you do not have to have a scholarship to participate in ROTC.)

If he is interested in additional info on ROTC programs, ask away and I will flesh out some of the details on options that are available there. Some of the programs availale are less well known even to recruiters and guidance counselors.

Last edited by The Spit; 01-09-2017 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:21 AM
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I also wanted to be a pilot. I signed up for Air Force ROTC at my college. Unfortunately these were the anti war years so the ROTC got removed from my school after I did a year of ROTC. So I didn't continue on the pilot career path (my dad flew 747s for Pan Am).

If the recruiter agrees I would consider a college with Air Force ROTC.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Bottom Scratcher View Post
Gentlemen:

I am in need of some very specialized counseling.

My situation is this: In the last 60 days, my youngest son has expressed an interest in going into the military. His interest centers in becoming a military pilot.

My son is 17 years old, is extremely smart (he is a straight A student), and until about 60 days ago was planning to go to either Clemson, South Carolina or similar schools to get a four year degree in chemical or mechanical engineering.

My background (many moons ago) was similar. I had worked my way through college in CA teaching people how to fly airplanes. I built up over 1800 hours of single/multi engine/sailplane flight time trying to get in the USAF reserves flying C141's. Although it didn't work out for me, I know there must be a path for my son to accomplish the same goal.

Is there an AF-ROTC? What if there is not one at his high school?

Should my son go to college and then attempt to get in the Air Force as a pilot?

Civilian flight time is not affordable for him or me right now. Nevertheless any ideas, suggestions or experiences you may be able to recommend would be appreciated.

I know some of you have experience in this area.

Please advise.
What was his AFQT score?
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by PXMAN View Post
How about the Air Force academy?

This, that is the path my father took and was a career fighter pilot.
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Old 01-09-2017, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by The Spit View Post
...Some of the programs availale are less well known even to recruiters and guidance counselors.
This statement cannot be emphasized strongly enough.
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Old 01-09-2017, 08:24 AM
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https://www.afrotc.com

I spent 25 years as a USAF pilot via a ROTC scholarship. The above website has a lot of information.

A recruiting office is interested in getting kids to enlist. Probably not the best place to go looking for information about officer programs. Set up an appointment with the AFROTC detachment at Clemson and go for a visit.

If your son wants to be a pilot, a Service Academy or ROTC is the best choice. The Air Force has the most opportunity for fixed wing pilots, followed by the Navy. If your son has thought far enough ahead as to what he might want to do after the military such as being an airline pilot, Army rotor wing service will not be as competitive as military fixed wing service.

The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve also have pilot training opportunities. You have to be qualified for commissioning with a four year degree before you will be sent to training.

Good Luck
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by stringle View Post
This statement cannot be emphasized strongly enough.



Originally Posted by cdrhoek View Post
... If your son has thought far enough ahead as to what he might want to do after the military such as being an airline pilot, Army rotor wing service will not be as competitive as military fixed wing service....
This is good advice. If the OP's son is on an airline pilot track, targeting a larger airframe in the Air Force (C-130s, C-17s, C-5, E-3, E-6, etc) is his best bet followed by the Navy (C-130, P-8, etc) and then the CG (C-130s, etc).

On the other hand, if he hopes to pursue an engineering degree and work in that field, the flying aspect may only be a second vocation for him. In my son's case, he will fly helos for the Army Nat'l Guard on weekends, but will also have a full-time civilian engineering job in the private sector (this is one of those lesser known programs that I was alluding to above.)

So it depends on his objectives and inclinations. There are a lot of programs out there so he should be able to find a good fit.


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