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Airline Pilot to WOFT?

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Hello all, 

Years ago, I wanted to fly helicopters in the army but became discouraged after learning that I have exzema. I remember recruiters telling me that it was disqualifying and they didn’t seem to want to work with me on any waivers, as they kind of gave me the impression that I had a very very slim chance at getting in with that. Needless to say I was discouraged and never tried. I was really young, naive, and didn’t do enough research and basically took “no” for an answer at that time. I didn’t look around and ask people who were in the army as WO’s on how they did it, and how to navigate the process and who to talk to, as well as who to ignore.

The FAA thankfully is very forgiving with something like eczema and had no problem with it. I pursued a civilian flying career, flight instructed for about 2100 hours, then went to the regional airlines. Before I headed off to the regionals I taught army fixed wing pilots as a contractor in Dothan, AL. This was where I got much more of a glimpse into army aviation. Met some great people. Had a blast teaching the students in the grob. The airlines overall have been good to me, it’s not a bad place, and it’s great money overall (for now, we’ll see how much longer they keep paying as much as they are). There’s also downsides and a few gripes I have about it just like any job, but overall it’s a great job. I am very close to upgrading to captain. However, the deeper into my airline career that I get, the more I realize I am not driven by money. The money is great for sure, especially at the regional I’m at. But money isn’t everything I’ve learned. I’ve been looking for something more. I still have that itch to give it a try for Army WOFT, put in a packet and if the army tells me no, then at least I will know and never have any regrets from never trying. 

The other thing that is on my mind, is that I am 35 years old. I understand the cutoff is 33 for AD, and that the army does take age waivers. From what I understand based on the research I’ve done, is that age waivers are a little bit more difficult to come by for AD as opposed to ARNG. I’m not really interested in going guard. I have heard of some people getting in past the cutoff, but didn’t know how common it is. 

Also, regarding the issue with eczema, I would say I have light to mild eczema. It’s on the tops of my hands only. It goes away in the summer when the air is warm and moist, however, as soon as the temperature drops in the winter, it flares up. I initially required a prescription medication (cream) when I first broke out with it in 2012. It was really bad then for some reason, but ever since I applied the prescription cream on it, it went away and the flare ups haven’t been anywhere near as bad since then. Even with using over the counter creams, it’s definitely controllable. I only use creams maybe twice a month for the most part during the winter when it’s cold and dry. Sometimes it does bother me, and sometimes I do find myself itching it until I’m able to get access to the cream, but it’s bearable 99% of the time. 

I had also heard that there is a rare possibility that I could get a massive breakout from the smallpox vaccine and then the flare up would spread all over my body. Can’t remember when or where I read that but it was from a medical journal or something equivalent. Have you guys ever heard of this happening to someone?

Let’s say theoretically, I were to apply, with a medical and age waiver of course, and I was selected. The only issue I would have in the army is during field training exercises and during sere school out in the bush. As I said previously, it’s definitely bearable the vast majority of the times, but during rare moments when it’s nagging at me, it does have me scratching at it for relief. It’s never affect my flying either. It’s mainly when I’m outdoors. 

Have you guys heard of people getting picked up with light to mild exzema?  As well as pushing past age 35? I’m also curious to know how many airline pilots that apply and are selected for WOFT. Looking for insights and guidance. Thanks to all in advance!

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First things first...

Don't self eliminate.  Apply, take the physical, and see what happens.  You have nothing to lose.

Now with that said, as an Army veteran and current airline pilot who is your age: don't do it.  Don't walk away from a great airline career to spend 11+ years in the Army in this day and age.  The "meaning" you are looking for isn't there, and you are in for a culture shock.

If you absolutely must fly something green, do it in the Guard.  I mean seriously that's the best option for you with your current age and life experience.  

But I'm just some guy on the internet who is probably in a very different place in life than you.  So take that for what it's worth.  

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