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Which branch should I try to fly in?


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I keep seeing people advise others on here to not go Army for the street to seat program because of the long contract, lower pay, low rate of promotion, and not many great job options in the civilian world after you get out. My question is, is there another branch where I can apply and if I do not get accepted into a flight program I do not have to join at all, similar to the army street to seat program? Also, is there another branch that I would have as good of a chance getting selected? I'm a 29 year old teacher/football coach with a masters degree. I know I want to fly, but I'm not stuck on rotary or fixed wing. I initially thought army because of the street to seat thing, but after reading everything on here I'm having second thoughts. 

Thanks for any advice.

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5 hours ago, adam32 said:

You're getting awfully close to the age cut-off.

Stick with teaching and fly on the side as a hobby. 

I still have 3 years. The retirement program I’m in sucks, I have to work until I’m social security age where I could retire around 50 in the army. Also, by my calculation I’d bring home about 1k per month more as a W1 than I do as a teacher with a masters. Plus, I hate teaching. If I could only coach football it would be great, but the babysitting teenagers thing has gotten old quick. Not to mention, I’ve wanted to fly my whole life, so I wanna give it a shot before I do get too old. There’s no way I’d ever be able to afford/have time to become a pilot on my own. 

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On 4/12/2021 at 10:22 AM, jwalter56 said:

I keep seeing people advise others on here to not go Army for the street to seat program because of the long contract, lower pay, low rate of promotion, and not many great job options in the civilian world after you get out. My question is, is there another branch where I can apply and if I do not get accepted into a flight program I do not have to join at all, similar to the army street to seat program? Also, is there another branch that I would have as good of a chance getting selected? I'm a 29 year old teacher/football coach with a masters degree. I know I want to fly, but I'm not stuck on rotary or fixed wing. I initially thought army because of the street to seat thing, but after reading everything on here I'm having second thoughts. 

Thanks for any advice.

Another option to consider is law enforcement. Large departments like LAPD, CHP and NYPD have huge air units. 

Full disclosure, I am not an LE pilot, so I am only familiar with that career track in a general sense.

My understanding is with these LE departments, you must start off as a patrol officer, with no guarantee of being a pilot. To be competitive for the air unit, you should have at least a helicopter or fixed wing private pilot certificate (which would cost you about $5-10k). If accepted into the program, the department pays for commercial, instrument and aircraft specific training. However, it could take 3-5 years on patrol before having an opportunity to go into the air unit.

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You say you’ve “wanted to fly your whole life.” Understand; one joins the military to be a solider and then they let you fly. Same holds true for LE, ala, one joins a PD to become a Police Officer and somewhere down the road, they let you fly…… Both career paths require a monumental amount of commitment with no guarantees. Specifically, if your reasons to join the military or a PD is “free” flight training, you better think again….   

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On 4/14/2021 at 8:15 AM, Hand_Grenade_Pilot said:

Another option to consider is law enforcement. 

 

On 4/14/2021 at 8:15 AM, Hand_Grenade_Pilot said:

My understanding is with these LE departments, you must start off as a patrol officer, with no guarantee of being a pilot. 

?

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13 hours ago, helonorth said:

 

?

Very insightful; thank you for yet another highly objective and well-written post.

The guy is burnt out with his career and wants to fly, without taking out loans. If law enforcement is a good fit for his personality, and something he has an interest in, it could be a good career move.

While it’s obviously not a guarantee, there is at least an opportunity to achieve his goal in that scenario. That possibility doesn’t exist at all if he continues his career as a teacher. 

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On 4/17/2021 at 9:36 AM, Hand_Grenade_Pilot said:

Very insightful; thank you for yet another highly objective and well-written post.

The guy is burnt out with his career and wants to fly, without taking out loans. If law enforcement is a good fit for his personality, and something he has an interest in, it could be a good career move.

While it’s obviously not a guarantee, there is at least an opportunity to achieve his goal in that scenario. That possibility doesn’t exist at all if he continues his career as a teacher. 

It's a terrible idea. Just admit it.

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The Army is the only one that has a WOFT program. In other services pilot training is competitive depending upon your commissioning source. For example, you can apply to USAF Officer Training School as a pilot candidate and if you don't get selected, you don't go to OTS and you don't serve. But if you go through AFROTC and don't get selected for pilot training, then you still owe four years of active duty.  

OTS/OCS is one of the most competitive (i.e. hardest) ways get a pilot training slot by the way...it's very variable each year as to how many slots are available and prior enlisted applicants always get first priority...

I also agree with the others that say only join the military if you want to BE in the military...don't join just to finance your pilot training. 

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1 minute ago, AFstepchild said:

The Army is the only one that has a WOFT program. In other services pilot training is competitive depending upon your commissioning source. For example, you can apply to USAF Officer Training School as a pilot candidate and if you don't get selected, you don't go to OTS and you don't serve. But if you go through AFROTC and don't get selected for pilot training, then you still owe four years of active duty.  

OTS/OCS is one of the most competitive (i.e. hardest) ways get a pilot training slot by the way...it's very variable each year as to how many slots are available and prior enlisted applicants always get first priority...

I also agree with the others that say only join the military if you want to BE in the military...don't join just to finance your pilot training. 

Thank for the help! I’m definitely all for being in the military, I’m just 100% positive that being a pilot is the job I want in the military. 

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