US Air Force Capt Hunter Barnhill is an instructor pilot with the 37th FTS in Columbus, Mississippi. Last year, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor:
[Barnhill] went to the flight doctor who sent him to Baptist Memorial Hospital for a MRI where the doctors found a brain tumor…
The intense nature of the surgery caused him to suffer from post-operative Supplementary Motor Area Syndrome.
SMA hit hard, rendering him unable to speak and paralyzed his right side. He participated in physical and speech therapy for three months and worked to gain his abilities to sit up, walk, run and speak as he had done only weeks ago.
While shocking and traumatic, the notable theme throughout the official Air Force article is the role of Barnhill’s faith, and the impact it had on both him and those around him: Read more
In a word, no, it is not required. However, having flight time or even a complete private pilot’s license could improve your chances of being selected in an otherwise very competitive process. For one thing, it could be viewed as a demonstration of both your desire and ability to succeed in flight training. Private pilot training does begin to develop your “air sense,” and this can be an advantage in the early days of pilot training. However, it is very likely that by the end of training, everyone’s performance will look largely the same.
It is also worth mentioning that the FAA recognizes military pilot training. That means that after you complete your military pilot training, you can go to the local FAA office, take a test or two, and get several FAA qualifications (including commercial and instrument tickets)–free of charge.
In general, new pilots are placed on “formal release.” This means they have to show up at a specific time everyday and can’t leave until given permission by their instructors; it is unlikely they get such permission prior to the expiration of their 12 hour day. Student pilots show up for a formal brief and accomplish at least one scheduled training event like a sortie, simulator, or academics. Sorties are approximately 1 to 1.5 hours long.
A reasonably good description of this and other details surrounding UPT can be found at the military pilot section of BaseOps.net. While the website has some educational information, it also has questionable content. We neither endorse nor sanction the content of that site.
The US Air Force announced the timing of its 2015 Undergraduate Flying Training (UFT) selection board. This board gives active duty officers the opportunity to transition to the flying field (which is more than just pilots):
Eligible active-duty officers interested in undergraduate flying training must apply by Dec. 19 to be considered by the UFT selection board for 2015/2016 training requirements in the pilot, remotely piloted aircraft, combat systems officer and air battle manager categories.
The requirements include age, time in service, medical and other limitations, though some may be waiverable.
Read the full release. Read more
The Air Force Academy published a release saying they have “typically” filled their pilot slots, but they had trouble filling non-pilot rated career fields — CSOs, ABMs, and UAVs. The issue is that all rated career fields are volunteer only. Many cadets would volunteer only for a pilot slot, and the others were going unfilled.
USAFA’s solution? If you volunteer for a pilot slot, you’re volunteering for any rated field — including UAVs:
“They cannot volunteer for just one. By volunteering Read more
As was noted here years ago, Air Force student pilots are often “tempted” to quit their training (or encouraged to continue, depending how you think about it) with the placement of truck driving school ads in conspicuous places. The ads hanging on pilot training walls are only half-joking.
Now it seems a federal grant has enabled Soldiers from Fort Bragg — many of whom were transpo drivers in the Army — to get a commercial drivers license as they transition to civilian life: Read more
Active duty officers who are eligible and interested in becoming aicrew have until November 29th to submit applications for the “UFT Selection Board:”
The board will review candidates for fiscal year 2014/2015 training requirements in the pilot, remotely piloted aircraft, combat systems officer and air battle manager categories.
Applicants must meet age and commission date criteria – born April 1, 1984 or later and total federal service commissioned date after April 1, 2009 – and must have squadron commander or equivalent endorsement, said Maj. Andrew Larson, AFPC assignments officer.
One of the age-old questions is whether someone who wants to be a pilot can increase his chances of selection by saying he’ll also volunteer for RPAs Read more
Vance Air Force Base has posted an ongoing pilot training journal written by 2Lt S. Tucker Browne. Lt Browne started his training in August of last year, first flying T-6A Texan IIs and then T-38C Talons. His graduation from the year-long course should be soon.
His journal should have some interesting tidbits, including a look into some ongoing pilot traditions, like the solo dunk tank (recounted by another pilot here, and copied here):
On Monday, our class had the privilege of sending one of our own up into the pattern alone. The pilot, 2nd Lt. Latessa Bortner, said it was a really fun experience…
When she landed, we were ready for the age-old tradition of Read more