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  • KGQ

    January 4, 2024 at 9:32 am

    Hello All!

    My name is Lars Osell and I am currently a Senior (1/C Midshipman) at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. I have been accepted to the Naval Pilot Program with upon my commissioning this Spring however I am chiefly seeking opportunities in the Air National Guard or AFR to become a fighter pilot. U.S.M.M.A. is unique amongst the service academies as you may commission into any branch upon graduation either active duty or reserve.

    During my free time I enjoy working out, racing sailboats, hunting and skiing. While at the academy I have been the captain of the sailing team for three years. I have additionally served as the Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Regimental Professional Development Officer, and as a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee.

    Currently I am completing applications to various squadron and am now trying to accrue flight time in order to maximize my PCSM score. I have 0 flight hours right now. AFOQT 99 PCSM Score 77 and Max PCSM with 41-60 hrs is 97.

    • SLAP

      January 8, 2024 at 11:51 am

      @KGQ Congrats on the Navy pilot slot! Not a bad backup option if the Guard/Reserve gig doesn’t pan out quickly enough.

      What’s your deadline for being selected before you’re committed to the Navy? Your resume and test scores are great, but you definitely need a least some flight time to display an aptitude/interest in flying. Apply to as many squadrons as you can, regardless of flight time, since you’re on a tight timeline, but see if you can get to at least solo (ideally a PPL) as quickly as possible. Worst case scenario, it’ll help prepare you for Navy flight school.

      Also, if there’s any info on the Merchant Marine Academy pipeline you can provide in a different thread someday, that would be great. As you know, it’s an often overlooked option for many.

      Welcome to BogiDope!

      • KGQ

        January 8, 2024 at 12:58 pm

        Thank you for the reply! I am trying to work in flight hours ASAP, looking at booking some lessons this weekend if possible..

        I would be more than happy to talk about the process from the USMMA side of things and will happily be of service to anyone trying to follow that path. Of the 5 federal service academies, we have the greatest accession to military aviation by percentage of applicants which is definitely noteworthy for those starting their journey.

  • jared-johnson

    January 6, 2024 at 9:49 am

    Hey everyone, my name is Jared and I’m currently an active-duty Army officer in command of an Engineer Dive Detachment at Langley-Eustis, Virginia. I graduated from ERAU with a BS in Aerospace Engineering and from UF with a MS in Aerospace Engineering. Like a lot of us, I earned my PPL a few years ago and have been building hours in preparation of applying for a UPT slot in the Air National Guard, (just got to 100 hours!). PCSM – 99, AFOQT (Pilot) – 96.

    Recreationally, I am a habitual tinkerer. Most of my time is spent in the garage working on motorcycles, cars, electronics, or around the house on projects. What is left of my personal and professional time is spent underwater around the world, so please reach out if you’re interested in learning more about the diving community!

    I have just started the application process but my goal is to fly Fighters in the Air National Guard.

    • SLAP

      January 8, 2024 at 11:58 am

      @jared-johnson Impressive background minus one major red flag – you went to UF 🤮 (I’m an FSU guy)!

      What kind of missions do you do as an Army diver?

      Welcome to BogiDope!

      • jared-johnson

        January 10, 2024 at 5:46 pm

        @SLAP thanks for the reply! It’s inspiring to read your accomplishments and accolades despite coming from FSU (a true underdog).

        We perform reconnaissance, body recovery, and underwater construction primarily, although we get utilized for almost anything that involves water.

  • Jag

    January 7, 2024 at 8:05 pm

    Hi everyone, I’m Jag! I’m early into my PPL and AFOQT study journey and aspire to serve in the AF Reserve or Air National Guard. Military service and aviation are a new path for me; I have my MBA and currently work in consulting. I’ve had the dream of becoming a pilot in the back of my head for years now and recently have felt compelled to just go for it. I’m looking forward to the road ahead and am very grateful for all the resources and community here. Good luck all!

    • SLAP

      January 8, 2024 at 12:01 pm

      @Jag Welcome to BogiDope! I got bit by the aviation bug a little later than some too, so it’s definitely not too late to make that dream into a reality.

      Let us know how we can help. Good luck!

  • TStephens34

    January 8, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks for the reply! It’s always a fight between students and CFIs on who will get to do the interior preflight during the winter months. Lol.

    I’m open to both fighters and heavies. My goal has always been to fly the A-10 but I’m interested in F-35 at Fort Worth and F-16 at Homestead as well. On the heavy side I’m interested in C-17, C-5 and C-130. Looking at Charleston, McGuire, Dover and Patrick.

  • Smallzz

    January 8, 2024 at 10:30 pm

    Hi my name is Carson Small, most just call me “Smallzz”

    I am currently on track to qualify for the airlines even before I turn 21. I’ve always wanted to be a military pilot but never explored the “how” behind it. I have about 200hrs with a multi-engine instrument rating, soon to get commercial. I’ve looked into the process in trying to apply for a pilot slot at a guard base street hire, I know it is very competitive, and many have just said take the money at the airlines but that is not what truly matters to myself. While I am a CFI building hours and experience I will complete an online bachelors qualifying me as an officer.

    I’m 18 and have already made it much farther than most double my age and enjoy the challenge. I hope to gain a lot of experience and information from the forums, hopefully enough to impress a local wing looking for a young a determined airman wanting to make a difference.

    • SLAP

      January 18, 2024 at 1:27 pm

      @Smallzz Impressive amount of flight experience at such a young age! We’ve worked with a few people who were able to build their flight time quickly enough to get hired at a major airline before starting UPT. Then their seniority grows at the airlines as they get to spend several years focusing on the military. When they eventually go part-time after training, they’ll go back to the airlines with way better pay, schedule, flexibility, etc. Might be something worth shooting for if you’re interested in both careers.

      Are you in school? You can get hired at an airline these days without a college degree, but the Air Force will still require one. An Army Warrant Officer would be your only option to fly in the military without a degree that I’m aware of.

      • Smallzz

        January 18, 2024 at 5:21 pm

        I am currently in Flight School, should be an instructor in the next couple months. I have been exploring my options to pursue both civil and military aviation at the same time. I’ve found 2 options that I am very torn between:

        1. Continue as a CFI while also gaining a bachelors hoping to get a UPT slot from street hire. Low probability on getting picked up from a unit without any experience however.

        2. Continue as a CFI, but sacrifice 9 months to become a crew chief at my guard base then return as a CFI and have the bachelors paid for. By the time I finish the bachelors I’ll be at an airline at 21-22, then step away to train until I go part time. I already have the mechanic scores it’s just about the time.

        I am 18 so I have plenty of time, I am just a very time conscious person and everything I do I think about well before a make a final decision.

  • FuzzyBear

    January 10, 2024 at 6:52 am

    Good Morning, Afternoon, & Evening From The 🇬🇧

    I’m Nick, late 40’s shall we say and Ex UK Armed Forces ( RAF ) former Air Loadmaster On The C130J.

    Currently Awaiting To Start New Role As An Aircraft Mechanic Technician With British Airways.

    Also Serving As An RAFAC Instructor, Glider Pilot And Giving Back To The Youngsters What They Gave Me That Led To An Outstanding Career.

    I Can See This Is Based In The US 🇺🇸, But I Enjoy Listening To All Aviator’s Stories, Achievements And Goals. Hope You Don’t Mind Me Joining And Interacting.

    Good Luck In All That You Do. Keep Safe.

    • SLAP

      January 18, 2024 at 1:46 pm

      @FuzzyBear Welcome to BogiDope! I’m sure there are a few people on here interested in flying gliders, so you can be our resident glider expert.

  • load

    January 12, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    My name is August. I’m a reserve c-17 loadmaster and an A&P mechanic in the major airlines. I am 24 have 2 ppls working on my instrument. I have a 99 pilot afoqt and an 88 PCSM. I am currently trying to get hired by my own unit but have also been applying everywhere because I just want to be a pilot so badly. I have been chasing the dream since I was 17 and it’s been a long road.

    • SLAP

      January 18, 2024 at 1:50 pm

      @load It sounds like you’re checking a lot of boxes for most squadrons (flight time, military experience, good scores, etc). What do you think has been your biggest obstacle to getting hired up to this point?

  • Fog

    January 13, 2024 at 9:50 am

    Hi all! It’s so awesome reading everyone’s backgrounds and stories about serving and aviation in this discussion. My name is Erik and I am currently a Personnelist with the CA ANG. I am currently enrolled at Embry-Riddle Worldwide pursing a BS in Aeronautics and I am also a student pilot with about 33.5 hours of flight training and have soloed in the Tomahawk. My goal is to finish my private pilot training, earn my degree next year, and apply to UPT positions to fly either Tankers or Fighters. I wish everyone the best on their journey on pursing their goals!

    • SLAP

      January 18, 2024 at 1:56 pm

      @Fog Congrats on your solo, and good luck wrapping up your PPL!

      Most squadrons will accept UPT applications within 6-12 months of graduation, so you don’t need to wait to apply until you actually have a degree in hand. The point is, if you’re inside a year until graduation, start sending those apps in ASAP. Good luck and welcome to BogiDope!

  • WAZ

    January 15, 2024 at 2:05 pm

    Howdy all,

    My name is Zach Wusk. I am a 24 y/o working at NASA in Houston, Texas. I am originally from Yorktown, VA, where I grew up with F-22s roaring overhead. I have degrees in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, and most of my background is human performance research. Working closely with astronauts and hearing their stories has encouraged me to chase my dream of being a fighter pilot.

    I come from a family of pilots (Grandpa flew F-4s and F-106s, Uncle flew F-16s, and Dad flew for NASA), and I have done a fair amount of GA flights with my dad, but no official work towards my PPL. I enjoy fitness of all sorts (CrossFit/HIIT workouts, Olympic lifting, half marathons, triathlons) and I have always been a very competitive person.

    As someone with little prior knowledge of the ANG, this website has been extremely helpful. I am currently working towards getting my AFOQT/TBAS scheduled, but running into some issues with the local recruiter. He said I could not schedule the assessments until I was listed as a potential candidate for an officer position (but I need to scores to apply to the open UPT slots?). I am working on getting a POC for the local ANG wing to see if there is someone else I can talk to (If others have had trouble with this and know a better solution, please let me know). Hopefully I can get this sorted out and start applying.

    I would love to connect with others on here, especially if there are any in my boat or who have successfully come from a similar background.



    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  WAZ. Reason: Formatting issues
    • SLAP

      January 18, 2024 at 2:27 pm

      @WAZ What type of flying did/does your dad do for NASA?

      As impressive as your engineering/NASA backgroud is, realize that your lack of PPL will hurt you with your PCSM score as well as your general competitiveness against other applicants for Guard/Reserve fighter slots. I recommend knocking that out ASAP.

      Don’t feel obligated to go through a recruiter to get your AFOQT/TBAS scheduled. Call any local Air Force Base’s (Guard, Reserve, or Active Duty) education/testing/training departments (they have different names based on the base). If you can’t find a direct number, look up the base’s “Command Post” and they can transfer you. The other option would be to call any AFROTC detachments at colleges in your area.

      It’s amazing how difficult the Air Force can sometimes make tracking these test taking opportunities down, but until something changes (don’t hold your breath) it’s on you to make as many calls as needed to find someone in your local area who can help. Good luck and welcome to BogiDope!

      • WAZ

        February 11, 2024 at 11:30 am

        Hey @SLAP ,

        Thanks for the response. I am aware that the lack of my PPL makes it more difficult; I have started studying for ground school and plan to keep working towards my PPL while I get all the other pieces together.

        I reached out to the local AFROTC group. They gave me a POC to help schedule the AFOQT, but it has been 2 weeks and no response. The local joint reserve base doesn’t answer their phone, so my next step is to just show up to talk to someone (since the local recruiter was not helpful).

        My dad retired last year, but flew King Airs. He also got to be backseat in T-38s for a few different projects as a flight test engineer.

  • Ckai

    January 16, 2024 at 5:31 pm

    Hey y’all – I’m Tyler Turriff, 24yrs old. Looking to apply to a pilot spot in the reserves. Currently a software engineer on the F35 displays with Lockheed. MS Electrical Engineering. PPL 100+ hrs of recreation flying.

    Used to work with CAE on the F18 sims and while working with many USAF/USN pilots, it inspired me to go for a pilot spot!

    Free time I like to fly different aircrafts when I can, gliders, aerobatics, ect.

    I’ve taken AFOQT and TBAS once, but will also go for it a second time in the near future.

    It’s nice reading all of your backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge in this forum! Thanks!

    • SLAP

      January 18, 2024 at 2:33 pm

      @Ckai Good luck with your upcoming AFOQT/TBAS retakes! As you probably already know, the Air Force recently changed the scoring system for both tests to a “super score” method, meaning your score can only increase, never decrease. So, find the specific sections that you need to improve and really concentrate on those instead of worrying about the whole thing again. Let us know how it goes!

  • Fish

    January 19, 2024 at 12:49 pm

    Hey, I’m Grace. I’m a Civil Air Patrol cadet and student pilot looking to go into the Air Force or Air National Guard. I’m still figuring things out for next year as a senior in high school. Whether I enlist or attend college first, I’m super excited to keep moving in the field of military aviation!

    • SLAP

      February 1, 2024 at 3:38 pm

      @Fish Welcome to BogiDope! It sounds like you’re already way ahead of the game, but I would recommend that IF you decide to enlist, you do it in the Guard or Reserve WHILE going to college instead of active duty. You can typically get your tuition paid for, and it maximizes your ability to finish college and flight training on a normal(ish) timeline. Active duty will be considerably more demanding of your time which will likely delay your ability to complete the requirements to apply for UPT (if that’s your goal). Just my $.02.

  • Brian-Ellis

    January 23, 2024 at 12:28 pm

    Hello All, my name is Brian Ellis. I am a retiring Army Warrant Officer after serving for 23+ years as a Black Hawk pilot. Most of my career was spent as an Instructor Pilot with the last couple of years as a Maintenance Test Pilot. I also served in the capacity of a Senior Warrant Officer Advisor, and have helped several folks forge their path to the US Army’s Initial Entry Rotary Wing Course and the more advanced training courses throughout their career. I am happy to help provide any insight or help make a connection for someone interested in the career path of flying for the Army. Please don’t hesitate to reach out! Good luck in your journey to getting in the front seat of whatever aircraft it is you want to fly!

    • SLAP

      February 1, 2024 at 3:42 pm

      @Brian-Ellis Welcome to BogiDope and thanks for sharing your wisdom with the community!

      For anyone interested in becoming a Warrant Officer in the Army and/or flying for Army Spec Ops, Brian is a very valuable resource!🍻

  • IHC_Nole

    January 30, 2024 at 12:41 pm

    Hey folks,

    My name is Ray. I’m 26 years old living in the southeast, and I’m just in the beginning stages of this whole process, looking to apply for C-130 and C-17 units on the east coast.

    My background is in wildland fire and emergency management. If we’re being candid, I always thought planes were cool but never had a serious interest in aviation or the military until working around pilots and various aviation resources throughout my career. Since then something clicked and here we are.

    I’d like to thank SLAP and all the other admins here for making this website hum and helping people chase their dreams. I look forward working with this community more in the future!

    • SLAP

      February 5, 2024 at 3:48 pm

      @IHC_Nole Thanks for the kind words and welcome to BogiDope! Does the “Nole” in your username represent FSU??

      • IHC_Nole

        February 6, 2024 at 1:56 pm

        Yessir, graduated from FSU in 2019. Pretty rabid Seminole football fan, I try to go to a couple games a year, and will be in Ireland for this years kickoff

  • Legs

    January 30, 2024 at 2:33 pm

    My name is Brad, AD AF 2T1 at lackland afb.

    I’m 20 y/o and am married with no kids. I’m looking to start school here soon probably this summer. I joined the AF because I needed out of my home town. I was going to go play football and had various offers to schools but hurt my knee my senior year and decided not to. I took a year off to figure out if that’s what I wanted to do. I weighed 330 pounds and got down to 205 to be able to join. I really want to commission and become a pilot. I know the odds are very slim but i have hope for sure. I was looking to see what degrees yall have that you used to commission. Being a 2T1 I drive the air crews and they have given me different options. I know psychology is a huge one but a lot say getting a degree in aviation as well. I also was looking at getting started at a flying school here to obtain some hours to have when I apply for it but being AD it will be very tough. I still plan on looking into it though because I know it’s a huge help in the long run. If yall have any suggestions or tips or anything please reach comment or however that works on this I’m not sure. I really will take any info provided and knowledge about the subject. With that being said the reason I put my call sign as legs is because my rater made a joke about me hitting legs 3 days a week and ever since then I have been called that haha.

    • SLAP

      February 5, 2024 at 4:10 pm

      @Legs Use this as a general hieracrchy for chosing which degree to choose for maximizing your pilot applications:

      1. Whichever gets you the highest GPA (generally speaking, it looks better on an application to have a 3.5GPA in business than a 2.5GPA in Mechanical Engineering — that might not be fair, but it’s the truth).
      2. What gets you done the quickest? You can’t be an Air Force pilot without a degree, so the longer it takes, the less competitive you become.
      3. Something that gives you flight time. Why? Because it directly increases your chances of success at UPT and will directly help you with several other sections of your application.
      4. What do you want to do if you’re not selected? Even if you do get selected, the Guard/Reserve is traditionally a part-time gig, so what other career field interests you?

      Hope that helps! Let us know what you choose.

  • goonie

    January 31, 2024 at 6:41 pm

    Hello! I am currently a junior in highschool and am on track to earn my associates upon graduation. I have wanted to go to USAFA for years, but recently found out about the guard/reserves. It sounds more appealing to me because I feel like I can further my chances at specifically a fighter slot, and not get stuck with a tanker (no offense to any taker guys out there). I am a C/CMSgt in the Civil Air Patrol, a licensed glider pilot and am currently training for my powered PPL.

    • SLAP

      February 5, 2024 at 4:33 pm

      @goonie It sounds like you discovered what many USAFA grads won’t understand until day one of UPT — the Guard/Reserve provides significantly more control over your career (location, aircraft, civilian opportunities, etc). The Academy provides a world-class education, but it won’t be easy finding many advantages to going the USAFA route vs Guard/Reserve if you want to fly fighters.

      That’s how BogiDope started. Guard/Reserve flying gigs were the best kept secret in military aviation, so we wanted more people to know it was a better path to arrive at the same destination.

      Welcome to BogiDope!

      • Khaleesa

        February 9, 2024 at 11:07 am

        Very true. I love the way you framed it.

        Good luck, @goonie!

  • siouxplt

    February 2, 2024 at 10:02 am

    Good morning,

    My name is Gavin and I am a current FO for Delta Air Lines on the A320 fleet. I am 25 years old and grew up and got my private on a grass strip in Minnesota. After high school, I went to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND and have since graduated with a degree in commercial aviation. I have been flying in the 121 environment for about 3.5 years now and I do enjoy the job a lot, but recently have been getting the itch to look into flying in the military. I just recently learned about the UPT programs that the ANG offers and have been researching those programs, so we will see what the future holds!

    I recently discovered this website and cannot believe I had no idea it existed earlier.. lots of good information. Thanks for letting me introduce myself!

    • SLAP

      February 5, 2024 at 4:56 pm

      @siouxplt 25 yr old at Delta? Man, how times have changed!

      Going on Military Leave for a few years early in your Delta career to do some tactical flying in the Guard/Reserve while your seniority continues to grow is a brilliant way to maximize the benefits of both careers. If we could outline the perfect path to take for everyone that came to BogiDope, this would be it!

      Good luck and let us know how we can help.

  • Jupiter

    February 6, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Hey everyone,

    My name is Brad and I am in the very beginning stages of applying to OCS. I am 26 and graduated from Salisbury University (Go Gulls!) with two Bachelors Degrees (Information Systems, Management). I inquired about the process back in 2020 when I graduated but things got a little complicated with COVID. Fast forward to now and I’m serious about going for a pilot slot as aviation is my passion. My Grandfather was a retired Naval Aviator and flew the P2V Neptune. Unfortunately, he passed away well before he would’ve been able to see me fly, but I know he would be proud to see me pursuing my dream. Glad to be a part of this community and wish everyone the best in their ventures!

  • Hayden

    February 7, 2024 at 8:56 am

    Hi all,

    My name is Hayden. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2010. I started my career as a Rifleman, became a Scout Sniper and then transitioned to Special Operations when the opportunity arose. I finished my degree while active and have been everything from an assaulter to a JTAC and I want to take on the challenge of flying. I’ll be done with this contract as a 35 year old veteran with 15 years active time, so getting a call back from recruiters is a challenge and I’m looking for any input if this plan is feasible or if my age will be a hard no. Thanks all,


  • Kimchi

    February 22, 2024 at 2:22 am

    Hey everyone!

    I’m Kim, from a small town in Southern Ohio where my biggest adventures were working at Wendy’s and McDonald’s to fuel my dream of flying. At 15, I managed to scrape together $50 for my first flight lesson and, honestly, I’ve been obsessed ever since. Paying for my PPL was a hustle, working those fast-food gigs till I was 18, but every bit felt worth it.

    College was a blur of warehouse shifts and self-taught coding sessions that somehow landed me in a tech job with a comfy salary. Right now, I’m putting my skills to use by building an app to make aviation education free for everyone.

    But here’s the thing: I’m about to turn 34 and my dream to fly commercially and maybe even for the military hasn’t faded a bit. I’m all in on getting back in shape, grabbing that Class 1 medical, finishing my PPL, and throwing my hat in the ring for military flying gigs.

    Sure, I know my age might seem like a big deal, but I’m not about to let that stop me. I’ve got my own little gym setup at home (the “Kimnasium”) and I’m hitting the books hard. My goal is to circle back here someday, hopefully with some tips on how to ace being a military officer.

    I’m here to soak up all the advice I can get, share a bit of my journey, and keep pushing towards that dream.

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