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Home Page Version 2 Forums Air Force Active Duty USAF Pilot w/ Family Lifestyle

  • Active Duty USAF Pilot w/ Family Lifestyle

    Posted by darrell-marlow on September 15, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Hello, my name is D.L., I am 28 years old, married with 2 kids, and am currently in process for applying to an OTS Board for a Pilot slot. I wanted to know if there were anyone who is married with a family that could give an Idea of what the balance between work and family life looks like for an Active-Duty USAF Pilot?

    Some things I was curious about are:

    1.) What time do you start and end your day on a typical day? (When are you home?)

    2.) Do you have Weekends off during a typical week?

    3.) What are some big Annual/Bi-Annual things to be prepared for?

    4.) What are the benefits and/or drawbacks for being a Pilot with a family?

    5.) What do you do to help your family life succeed?

    Hope all is well with everyone and I have really appreciated all that the BogiDope community has had to offer! Please feel free to answer any one question or just comment as you see fit.

    Yoshi replied 7 months, 1 week ago 4 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • bryangros2020gmail-com

    September 17, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    I can’t attest to USAF but I can say what we tell people signing up for the flight school I work at that offers an intense full time program somewhat similar to UPT: It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You will need to commit your entire life to it. From dawn to dusk, you will be committed to studying and being a pilot. You won’t have time to pick your kids up from school. You should be able to tuck them into bed but you won’t be there when they wake up nor attend school events too much. Weekends you’ll have off for the most part but not guaranteed (UPT may vary)

    You must expect that your wife will be like a single parent in a way because they’re the one maintaining the household while you’re away.

    If this is something your family is willing to commit to, then go for it!

  • bryangros2020gmail-com

    September 17, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    Also, other tips I got from UPT instructors: on the weekends, forget about UPT and have fun and spend time with family. That is what recharges your battery. Friday night, Saturdays and some of Sunday spend time with family doing something you love. Sunday afternoon, get back to studying!

    • darrell-marlow

      September 17, 2023 at 7:17 pm
      255 BogiPoints

      Thank you for taking time to respond! Yes, I have read up on some very similar things about UPT that you just mentioned.

  • Husky

    September 18, 2023 at 7:02 pm
    3515 BogiPoints


    Brother, I’m flying the F-16, married, 3 kids. It’s a blast. I was on active duty for 12 years and I’ve served in the guard in both full-time and part-time status.

    I think the biggest factor is your spouse’s employment. Active duty is going to move you every 2-3 years; that can be a struggle for your SO’s career.

    I can’t speak to the big-wing lifestyle but in the fighter biz, we talked about deploy to dwell. According to this link below it’s 3:1. That means you’ll be home for 18 months; then deploy for 6 months; then be home for 18 months again.

    During your 18 months at home, you should expect to hit the road for 2-3 short training trips. Three weeks at Red Flag is the most common.

    Hours…whatever it takes! Right? Well…I’d say 45 hour weeks is the norm. When you’re in an upgrade…50-60 hours a week is common. UPT will be that 60ish hours.

    You’ll certainly put in some hours. But most of the pilots I fly with are happily married with kids. It’s an even mix of single-income and dual professionals.

    Hit my smoke!


    • darrell-marlow

      September 18, 2023 at 7:12 pm
      255 BogiPoints

      Man! I really appreciate that thorough response. My wife and I reading through it and discussing together now.

      Probably will end up setting up a call with you through BogiDope some time to hear more of your experience hopefully!


      • Husky

        September 18, 2023 at 7:31 pm
        3515 BogiPoints


  • Yoshi

    October 8, 2023 at 11:33 am

    As someone has already mentioned, the AF has adopted the “AFFORGEN” model which is 4 distinct 6 month phases. You can plan on a deployed window 6 months out of every two years and expect to be gone more than that if AFFORGEN breaks down, world events occur, and the occasional good deal TDY.

    As for days, I have found that 9-12 hours on a non-flying day is fairly normal and on flying days you can quickly exceed 12. Many days will be longer than 12, so you leave “early” when you can to try and give a little back to the fam.

    Weekends are uncommon…but it occasionally happens.

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