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Becoming an Airforce Pilot

Kundan Pandey
Joining the US Air Force to become an airforce pilot is a dream for many youngsters. The way to plan their career has been discussed in the content further.
If you dream of serving the United States Air Force (USAF) as a pilot, then you have set a very ambitious goal for yourself, which is certainly praiseworthy.
To become an airforce pilot is a dream that is conjured by many, however, sadly, not everyone is able to fly those multi-billion dollar aircraft. Roughly said, only 4% of the air force work strength is of pilots, and others serve the US Air Force by working in different designations, all of which are equally valuable.
Being among the crème de la crème of the US armed services is certainly a matter of prestige and pride.
While the odds of getting to fly the airplanes can't be calculated with mathematical precision, statistics show that it is difficult to get into the air force, especially when it comes to make a career as an airforce pilot. With the realization that being an airforce pilot is an extremely challenging job, your efforts must be focused on your goal.
You got to give a very great fight to become an airforce pilot. Remember, it is difficult, but not impossible.

Steps to Be an Airforce Pilot

Officially, you must start gearing up for becoming an airforce pilot right from your high school. A mere choice of the subjects in high school can create a difference in your prospects of understanding the skills of flying in the later years of your life.
Study sciences, geography, mathematics and English properly, as these will be vital in your career as a pilot. Even in various airline jobs, you'll require a good command in these subjects.

Step #1: Seek Education

It is vital for a candidate to complete a bachelor's degree program (generally 4 years program) preferably in hard sciences like mathematics and physics. If you have studied subjects related to aeronautical engineering, aerospace and similar related fields, then it is always a bonus.

Step#2: Become a Commission Officer

After having completed a four-year degree program, you should go for earning a commission. There are 3 ways to do so
  • Air Force Academy (AFA): Being among the lucky 900 candidates chosen to be trained in the famed AFA, in itself, is an honor that proves your ability to be a world-class air force pilot. Situated in Colorado Springs, California, AFA is known for amazing competition. 
At the end of the year, students earn a commission and nearly half of them, who prove their competency are send to Undergraduate Pilot Training Program.
Candidates who are selected for Undergraduate Pilot Training program are judged on various parameters like, GPA, Class Standing (for those joining AFA and ROTC), Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) scores, Pilot Composite Selection Method (PCSM) scores and Recommendations. Becoming an airforce pilot is quite possible if you have entered the AFA.
  • Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC): This is fairly easier than joining the AFA, but only in the initial process. Through the ROTC programs, you can attend normal college but you have to study some military subjects over the course of your semesters.
  •  Every authentic college has a separate ROTC department. At the end of the year, a ROTC commander will judge if you should be shortlisted for flight slots. This is the hardest phase of ROTC program and if you clear this, you gain lateral entry into the flight training slots.
  • Officer Training School (OTS): To earn a commission through the OTS, that is based in Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama you must have a college graduate degree. Owing to very less number of pilot slots given to the OTS, it is a tough fight to enter into it.

Step #3: Go Through UPT

If you earn a commission, you have crossed a major path for becoming an airforce pilot. Now, you're one step (or rather one year) away from your dream of flying. 
In the undergraduate pilot training (UPT), that is a rigorous training program lasting for nearly 50 or more weeks, you're trained nearly 12 hours a day and after that you're also required to study. Not only you'll be trained in basic flying skills, you'll be given classroom training besides training under simulators.
In case you're able to complete this program, which is hailed to be one of the most challenging programs, enough to test your physical and mental build up, you're finally sent to attend an advanced training in any one specialty of flying.
The aircraft you'll fly will primarily depend on all your credentials and performance, and will be determined by the Air Force.
Given the intricacies of selection as a Airforce pilot, you must have many queries. It is advisable for you to read a lot of literature on becoming an airline pilot from the AFA website and seek career counseling. Ensure that you're in top physical and mental health, and you have good academic scores throughout your studies.
It is also imperative that you take a lot of private training under licensed pilot schools, as that will add to your profile and it is for sure, preferred. But remember, private training is expensive and you need to talk to your parents for financing your training.
We hope, through this article, your query on how to become an airforce pilot must have been solved, to quite a large extent. When we start comparing the pilot salary range, it can be seen that an air force pilot salary is amongst the highest in the aviation profession, so you can be assured to have a financially secured life.
Moreover, various benefits of joining the air force through government sponsored funds, perks and pension schemes, are there to give you a great life ahead. If flying aircraft planes has been your ultimate dream, you should get to work on it and give your best shot! We wish you all the best for a becoming a successful airforce pilot! May victory be yours!