How do I get a US Air Force Pilot
How can I prepare for the
and BAT tests?
How do I get into an Air
Guard or Reserve Unit?
These are popular questions and answers from the Baseops.Net
USAF UPT Archive|
We have arranged this archive into 7 Areas of Focus, each with
several questions and answers. Some questions have multiple answers, so
that you may see many different viewpoints. Additional Air Force Officer
Qualifying Test information,
advice, practice tests, and more can be found at our AFOQT
Preparation Website. For additional Basic Attributes Test (BAT)
information, check out our Basic Attributes Test
To ask questions yourself and discuss issues with other students, candidates,
cadets, student pilots, instructor pilots and other officers, please visit the
Aviation Discussion Forum. For specific Aviation Medicine and UPT
medical questions, visit our Aviation Medicine
Check out our new section on
Military Pilot Training - Information on USAF
IFT, UPT, and the
T-6 Texan II
Who is contributing to this material:
-Officers who recently picked up UPT slots from Air National Guard / Air Force
-Active duty officers who have received waivers to attend UPT.
-Current pilots reflecting on their endeavors for a UPT
-Pilots from various units who recount selection processes, or are on selection
Areas of Focus:
1.Supplemental Material - study guides, practice
manuals for AFOQT, Flight Simulators
2.Test Scores - AFOQT, BAT
3.Letter of Recommendation - ANG/AFRES
4.Civilian Flight Time, PCSM scores
5.OTS Interview Preparation
6.Application Packages & Interviews for ANG/AFRES
7.Active Duty searching for ANG/AFRES UPT Slot
8.Selection Criteria (GPA, Flight Hours) for ANG/AFRES UPT Slot
9.UPT / Aviation Medicine Q&A Archive
Did our site help you? Please
email us comments and critiques.
"I just wanted to let you know how helpful
this site was to me. It helped me prepare for both the AFOQT and BATs Test, both
of which I scored high on, and most importantly, prepared me for the most
crucial part of acquiring a Guard pilot slot; the interview. Even though
there were 16 other applicants being interviewed, I was selected as primary to
be their next F-16 pilot. The sample interview questions that your site has were
more or less exactly what I was asked in both of my interviews. I took your
advice and went into the interviews determined to show the Selection Boards that
I wanted the slot more than anyone else, and they obviously saw that I meant it.
Thank you very much for the useful information, and I hope you continue to
provide it to others who are trying to do the same thing I am doing. I know how
tough and competitive USAF pilot positions are, especially Guard spots.
1. Supplemental Material - study guides, practice
manuals for AFOQT, Flight Simulators
Q1. What study materials, study guides can I purchase to help
me prepare for the AFOQT?
A. I would highly recommend the
ARCO book. There is one called "Officer
Candidate Tests" and another called "Military
Flight Aptitude Tests." Get the second one. I studied for about four weeks and did a few full strictly
timed practice tests and ended up making a 98 on Pilot and 95 on Nav when I took
the real one last July. I found that many of the practice problems were more
difficult than those on the test. The book was a great asset to my scores. Good
A. I used the one from ARCO. ASA also has one. Both can be found
here at the Aviation Book Store.
Q2. Anyone know of a way (or formula) to use that would
give me some type of idea on how I would score on the real deal? Not sure if
this is possible but it would be nice! Thanks for the help!
A. Probably not possible. The AFOQT scores are percentiles, which effectively
ranks you against other test-takers. Since AFPC maintains the database, I doubt
there is any way to determine a percentile score without knowing the test scores
of the subject population. When I took the test, there were several areas that I
did not even have time to finish, and I thought I might have a lousy score. I
ended up with a 98 or 99 in my pilot and nav scores, so don't get discouraged if
you run out of time during portions of the test. My strategy was to make the
best balance between speed and accuracy, and it seemed to work. Good Luck.
Q3. I am looking for study and preparation advice for
A.I don't think there is a single better way to
prepare for this than studying with the
Military Flight Aptitude Tests
book. I spent about four weeks with
it, but only two were serious. Every spare chance I got, I studied electrical
mazes, since that was the one I had trouble keeping in the time limit with. I
would do them out of order to kind of mix it up. I even drew my own. Then on the
actual test, I found that they were printed a bit larger and more clearly than
in the ARCO book, and I buzzed right through them with no problem. As others
indicated, I did feel like the math sections kicked my butt, and quantitative
did end up being my weakest score, though still respectable. I bet if you've
studied, taken some timed practice exams seriously, and are well-rested, you
will do great. What blows my mind is when I hear from some of my buddies who
went through ROTC tell me that when they were given the AFOQT, they were pretty
much told "Oh by the way, you're taking the AFOQT on Wednesday, be here at
this time." When I took the test at the Houston MEPS last year, there were
just two of us in the room with a Navy NCO proctor. I did not feel like it was a
stressful situation. My scores were: Pilot 98, Nav 95, A/A 87, Verbal 93, and
A. Study advice: The
Military Flight Aptitude
exam book is good for mazes, mechanical comp, word
knowledge etc. However study the Officer Candidate Tests book,
it is much better /
more challenging in the math and arithmetic knowledge sections (spelling is
obviously not my strength). Study to realistic times ONCE YOU HAVE mastered the problems.
The table reading is much different than the study guide, so do your best. They
have a 8x10 sheet of paper with probably 40 rows vertical and horizontal ( x and
y like the book ) that you match to grid numbers and provide the corresponding
number that appears in the designated block. The type is about 10 pitch, and
straight edges are NOT allowed (nor can you fold your paper in half like I did).
In the exam, don't feel like an idiot - this test is a bear.... and all of us
felt like the math sections kicked our butts. The problems were much harder than
the study guide, though there were similarities.
One "emphasis area" in the aviation knowledge would be to know:
What is the unique characteristic of te Beech BE55 multi engine aircraft?
a) Open Cockpit
b) Flexable wingtips
c) Landing Gear
d) Butterfly tail.
Officer Candidate Tests
If I had to choose from this practice question (hint hint), I would eliminate A,
b, and D. Though no flight instructor, or BE55 pilot at Langley could answer the
question. We all "figure" it must be the landing gear, but apparently
the army and air force forgot to include that info in the Pilot's Operating
Other supplemental materials that may be of interest are Air Force Officer's Guide
- the authority on career success and planning, schooling, promotions, social
life, benefits, retirement; and some of you may be interested in the Air Force Academy Candidate Book
- How to prepare, how to get in, how to survive - this book offers much more
than just an explanation of how candidates succeed in the selection process.
Indoctrination into the school before you even get there.
A. Taking a Practice
AFOQT test can help out too. It is a limited practice test, but
can give you a feel for what the test is all about. This is a good
starting point, after which I bought a few of the study guides
listed here. Find out more about the AFOQT.
Check out the rest
of our books in
in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, you'll need to be
well prepared for your exam to compete for a seat in flight school.
Use this book to get hands-on experience with the same kind of test
material you'll see on exam day, and pass your exam with flying
Find out how to:
Score your best on the AFOQT,
AFAST, or ASTB.
Conquer test anxiety and
Build a study plan and learn
time management techniques.
Practice the same kinds of
questions you'll see on the actual exam.
Use the process of elimination
and make educated guesses to answer tough questions.
- Get career tips to maximize
your promotion potential.
The Complete Preparation Guide for Military Flight Aptitude Tests
includes sample tests for the:
- AFOQT (Air Force Officer
- AFAST (Alternate Flight
Aptitude Selection Test)
- ASTB (Aviation Selection Test
Q4. Is there anything else that I can do to prepare
myself better for Pilot Training?
A. Recently there have been a
study that has
shown that Pilot Training students that used the
Flight Simulator program scored better than their peers that did not. A
Naval pilot training student performed so well in training that the Navy
program into the syllabus and have strongly endorsed students use this program
to practice. Having used this program myself and having been able to
download many military aircraft for the program, I have found it immensely
helpful as a training aid. There is no doubt that a student pilot flying
this flight simulator program will improve his / her skills.You can outfit your own flight simulator in your own home, to
practice civilian flying, or like many today, to practice for USAF or USN Flight
School. Check out our
list of items you should consider buying. Each item listed has been
tested in a complete home flight simulator. Read about how the Military has used
Microsoft's Flight Simulator software.
On your way to UPT? Get the best
flight gear for the IFT pre-UPT flight program.
2. Test Scores - AFOQT, BATQ1. Just wondering what the meaning of the AFOQT scores is - I realize higher is
better, but is it a percentile rank? I blew the minimums away and am curious to
see if my scores are "good" or not. Also, any info on BAT scores? What is considered a "good" score on
that bad boy?
A. Depends on many things. What are you applying for. How are you applying for it
(i.e. AD, ROTC, OTS) It is a percentile based on the bell curve, if you're in
college check out any statistics book. I personally would say that scores 80% or
above are generally considered pretty darn good. For UFT applicants you
definitely want to strive for the highest scores possible, however, other
factors can come into play for UFT. The BAT score is usually not released,
however, to the best of my knowledge it is also based on a percentile basis.
A. The BAT test scores are not released. However, they are used in conjunction
with your civilian pilot ratings and pilot hours to determine a PCSM (Pilot
Candidate Selection Method) score. This score is supposed to reflect how you
will fare in Air Force Pilot Training. The PCSM score is a percentile ranking
from 1 to 99, 99 being the best
Q2. I have read several accounts of how guys have taken the SAME AFOQT practice
test in a study guide three and four times to help prepare them for the real
thing. Can this really be beneficial?
A. I think they definitely helped me. If you know what to expect and have
practiced several times, you will be much more relaxed and will definitely do
A. Do the cost/benefit analysis. Is it worth 8-10 hours of your time studying from
the books to get a 98 or 99 on the Pilot section?
A. In the
Military Flight Aptitude Tests book, there is a "Practice Test" and a "Sample
Test." I think it is extremely beneficial to do that, in retrospect, as I
had some of the same concerns that you do back before I took the exam. Make four
copies of each of the answer sheets, and do them all. Save two Practice Tests to
do under strictly timed conditions. You'll hopefully find that a few of the
answers in the answer key of the ARCO book are wrong. But some of the questions
were the exact same as in the test. I was doing practice electrical mazes (can't
do enough of those) and a few other sections in the hotel room they put us in
the night before we went to the MEPS. As they say, practice makes perfect. I
think you'll find that many of the problems on the test are actually a little
less complex than those in the book...though some are a little harder. Really,
just do the book, study, do it again and repeat, and I bet you'll be fine. It
helps a little too if you are already a pilot.
1) Does it matter what order I take the AFOQT/BAT? Any recommendations?
2) How long does it take to get my AFOQT/BAT results?
1) A: It does not matter what order you take the AFOQT and the BAT. I think
almost everybody takes the AFOQT first simply because of timing, but just know
that you can't study for the BAT. I would really concentrate on studying for the
AFOQT, and worry about the BAT later. My buddy that got picked up by the
Cheyenne, WY unit hadn't taken the BAT (or his FC1) when he got selected.
2) A: For the AFOQT, they'll tell you how long it's going to take, but it will
likely be quicker than they say. Mine took a little over a week. Same thing with
the BAT: they said to call back in ten days or something, and my recruiter had
the scores that afternoon. I took the BAT at Lackland AFB, so I don't know if
that made a difference at all (compared to taking it on a college campus or at a
recruiter's office somewhere).
Thinking further, it might be that you have to take the AFOQT before the BAT.
Not sure but it wouldn't surprise me. You obviously won't get a PCSM composite
until the BAT is complete...
Q4. Does anyone have AFOQT test-taking
A.We simply asked the proctor to provide a halfway, 2 minute, and 30 second
warning. I had a chrono on my stopwatch that I set each time, but never even
looked at it during the test.
The time limits are part of the aptitude equation. They measure accuracy against
speed, knowledge, and dexterity. After taking the exam I can say this: Nobody is
expected to accurately finish every problem in the exam. Remember to guess when
time gets tight, and educated guesses are even better. You get scored on the
number of correct answers, so unfilled blocks are an opportunity lost. Find a
way, and ensure you fill in every block. Don't get "off" a block by
skipping answers, because you can't correct that mistake later (like the Sgt.
behind me did - 3rd retest also!)
Some parts simply take longer than others, and some of it has to do with your
personal abilities. For instance, I zipped through the aviation info section,
checked each answer, and sat around for an eternity while others were hard at
work reading the problems - all the way until the end. A couple other sections
were easy too, but some (mazes) were impossible.
How to Win a
Naval Officer's Guide
Check out the rest of our books in
our Aviation Book Store
3. Letters of Recommendation - ANG/ AFRES
Q1. I am applying to several guard units soon. With my LOR is it okay just to
have the person recommending me to just title it "To whom it may
concern?" Any other suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
A.To whom it may concern" is the most appropriate address, since a)
you will be applying to several different units, and b) the review board within
those units probably changes from time to time. They're concerned with the
content of the letter and not so much whether it says "To whom it may
concern" or what have you. Another good one if you'd like to switch it up
is simply: "Letter of Recommendation for Billy Hopeful (but use your real
name)" across the top and right to the content. I had both addresses in all
Q2. Another question on LORs (letter of
recommendation)...You said to keep it titled To Whom It May Concern
because you'd be applying to several guard units. Does that mean it'd be best to
get the person writing it for you to make several copyie of the letter? I'd
imagine you couldn't send an LOR with the whole thing, signature and all,
photocopied. Any suggestions for getting all the LORs that you'll need to apply
for many units?
A. Sending off photocopies is definitely not a big deal. It's really not a deal
of any kind at all. I am going active duty, but when I was putting this all
together, I decided to apply to a bunch of ANG units as well, just to open a few
more options (which was last June, way before 9/11). I took all my letters to
Kinko's and had 30 copies of each made. I put the originals in the AD
application package, but sent the copy letters and the applications off to 23
different Guard units and heard back from 8 of them. A good friend of mine did
this as well, and eventually got hired by the 153rd AW up in Cheyenne, WY for
pilot training (C-130). I've already decided on going active, but I am
definitely sure that sending photocopy letters of recommendation is a non-issue.
They know that theirs is not the only unit you are applying to, regardless of
how much you say things like "I am very interested in YOUR unit and have
always wanted to live in the Boise, ID area." It works, but they know. Good
4. Civilian Flight Time, PCSM scores,
Q1. I am close to finishing my CFI as a civilian pilot. Should I wait to take the
BAT after I get my CFI to help my PCSM score or won't it make that much
difference as far as my score goes? Any help appreciated!
A.The PCSM score isn't concerned with your ratings but it is with your flight
hours. There are different Flight Hour Codes (0-9), which are part of the
top-secret algorithm, along with your AFOQT Pilot score and actual BAT
"scores." The Flight Hour Codes are the following:
(0) 0 hours
(1) 1-5 hours
(2) 6-10 hours
(3) 11-20 hours
(4) 21-40 hours
(5) 41-60 hours
(6) 61-80 hours
(7) 81-100 hours
(8) 101-200 hours
(9) 201+ hours
And it is upgradeable, so if you were at a Flight Hour Code 6 when you took the
test and got your score (like I was), but are now at a Flight Hour Code 8 (like
I am), you can submit the paperwork and potentially raise your score (like I
did). But I'd imagine you're higher than that if you're going for your CFI. Good
luck to you. Here's a link to the USAF PCSM public website with all the dirt on
the test that they make you swear up and down that you'll never discuss with
anyone. Silly logic, but hey. Check it out the
USAF PCSM Site
A. One thing to note about the PCSM is that it is not a linear scale. If you jump
from a Cat 0 to 3, your PCSM may go up 30 points, whereas if you go from 7 to 8
or 8 to 9, it may only go up 1 or 2 points. The nice thing is that once you take
the AFOQT and BAT, they will list your score and your projected score for each
flying hour bracket. In my case, even if I flew 100 more hours my PCSM would
have only gone up 2 points. Hardly enough to justify spending the money on
I'd really like to go for a
pilot slot at OTS, but I have no flight hours. Now, there is no way I can afford
to get my PPL. However, I think I can save up enough to get about 5 flight
hours. Do you think this is enough to make a difference?
A. As an Air
Force Pilot & OTS interviewer, maybe I can shed some light on the importance of
flying time and some other areas. There are several things I look at when
interviewing an applicant:
1. Competitiveness. (GPA over 3.0; Pilot score mid 80s; Quantitative over 60)
These are what it takes at the board, but it also gives me a guage about how the
person will do. Any of these numbers can be lower & do not rule you out, but
obviously, the higher the better.
2. Interview. Looking for someone who expresses themselves well. In the big
picture, are you someone who I would like to fly a 3-week trip around the orient
with, or do I want to leave you in Korea? Do you look the part of an Air Force
officer, or do I need to spend time at the end of the interview telling you
about the physical requirements of OTS?
3. Motivation. THIS IS THE ONE YOU ASKED ABOUT. I will give a higher
recommendation to a person who has flying time over a person with a higher GPA
almost every time. You are also given a score based on how much flying time you
have as a means to predict your success in pilot training. By being that person
who works pumping gas at the FBO to get the money to pay for your private pilot
ticket speaks volumes about your love of aviation and dedication to succeed. If
you have no flying time, then for all we know, you are someone who thinks it
will be cool & liked watching Top Gun.
4. Well rounded. This also plays into flying time answer. If you are applying to
be an engineer, then yes, a 4.0 from MIT is great. To be a pilot, you need to
show a more varied background: Eagle Scout, Captain of a sports team, put self
through college, volunteer in community. Basically a leader (potential officer)
5. Someone who follows through. An Eagle Scout stuck with things through thick &
thin. Someone who was a Scout, great, but why didn't they finish the program? If
you have your private pilot, great! If you have 5 hours in a C-152, at least you
know you like flying, but where is the dedication? We are looking for someone
who will face the toughest & best year of their life. When at pilot training you
are ALWAYS one week from washing out, and despite that fact, you are getting to
learn from the best instructors on earth...while getting paid! And by the way,
when you graduate, you will fly the most advanced aircraft in the world, no
matter what you are flying.
6. Prior enlisted. If you are prior enlisted, that is one of the biggest things
you can have going for you besides flying time. You already know what the AF is
about & are working to improve yourself & your career. What else could we ask
7. Going to Nav School first. If you truly want to be an AF pilot, then you are
probably better off delaying your application to get more flight time than going
for the nav slot & trying to get into pilot training. I don't have the numbers,
but they aren't very good for switching from nav to pilot.
8. Letters of recommendation. These help. If you have one from a military
officer, all the better.
9. Your paperwork. That is the first impression for the interviewer. I won't
meet the person until I have gone through the entire package. Do yourself a
favor...have someone look over your paperwork first. The recruiters do a good
job, but who would find more errors, the recruiter or your high school Englsh
10. Log book. I am required to validate your log book. I recommend a Master Log,
available on-line or at any good FBO. Make your entries neat, and watch what you
put in there. If you put in that you buzzed your old school & the FAA notices
it, you just bought yourself a violation. Factual, accurate, each page signed.
This was a long answer to a short question. There are probably very few posts on
this site from current AF pilots with over 5000 hours telling you what they
think is important, and you may not agree with everything I say--that's your
choice. Here is the big picture summed up: You are trying to get a job as a
pilot, so GET THE FLYING TIME OR YOU PROBABLY WON'T GET THE JOB. Best of luck to
all of you.
A. A couple
1. A flight simulator may help you with crosscheck, but it will not help your
chances to be selected for UPT. To further explain a post above, the hours
breakdown for jumps in the PCSM scores are as follows 1-5; 6-10; 11-20; 21-40;
41-60; 61-80; 81-100; 101-200; 200+ hours. Use this info to determine if you
should get a few extra hours. If you have 5 hours total, 10 more makes a big
difference; but if you have 150 hours, 10 more does nothing to your score.
PCSM is a predictor of success in UPT. On a "rated" board, it is the #1 factor
considered, so anything you can do to improve it helps.
2. Show up for the interview ready to address holes in your package. OK, your
GPA was so, but you were working 2 jobs & supporting a family. The interviews
are relatively short and you need to give us something to work with when we fill
out the recommendation. A good interviewer will draw that out of you, but a good
interviewee will make sure they don't have to. "Dress for Sucess" There is a
book by that name, but the big picture here is having a suit that fits, well
groomed, and yes, shave off the beard, gote & probably even the mustache. Why?
Because when the interviewer looks at you, you want him to see someone who
belongs in AF blue, not someone who belongs in the surf! Same goes for any
interview, but I realize most reading this probably have limited interview
experience & no military interview experience.
3. Despite what I just said, relax. The more relaxed you are, the better the
chances of the interviewer getting to know you.
4. By the way, when you read my postings, 100% of the people I supported to go
to UPT are either waiting to go, or there.
5. OTS Interview Preparation
These posts mainly deal with OTS, but all can probably benefit. Want to let you
all know what is involved with the interview, some ground rules, and why it is
important to you. Some comments may ruffle feathers. Fine. Hit the "Back" key!
No skin off my back.
1. First of all, the interview is an opportunity for an AF officer to see if we
want you in our ranks. If you are fortunate enough to interview with a pilot,
then it is a chance to see if we want you in that "club." It helps us validate
the information presented by the recruiter.
2. The recruiter's job is to push people forward who he/she thinks meet the
qualifications, or at least come close. For them it is very much a numbers game.
Yes, if you make a good impression, they will work harder for you, but either
way your package should eventually end up going forward.
3. That said, the recruiter really doesn't eliminate people based on things like
personality or ability to communicate effectively. Interviewers do that. It
makes good sense. We are the only gauge the board has to know if you fit the
billet. Interviewers have no quota. INTERVIEWERS HAVE NO QUOTA. Big point. Why?
We can recommend all or none of the people who walk through the door. You are
competing against yourself.
Before going any further, the #1 thing that will blow you out of the water is
attitude. I have seen the posts by a couple of CAP folks, and the interview
would only last 15-20 minutes max before I could see through the unwarranted
arrogance and tell them "Thanks for coming in, that should just about do it."
Not dogging on CAP, just on the folks who made those posts. Being fake will also
Hit the gym & run. Don’t make me have to tell you that the AF has fitness
Start collecting letters of rec.
Order copies of your transcripts.
What to bring:
Briefcase is not needed. If you have a nice one, fine. Usually they are
cumbersome and you probably won’t open it except to pull out your log book.
I recommend having a 1" black binder with you. Inside the binder have extra
copies of everything you gave the recruiter.
Letters of Rec
Social Security card
Copy of last 2 pages of log book
All in plastic sheets
You may not need to pull any of it out, but you are ready.
Bring your Log Book:
Make sure every completed page is signed
Check the totals for accuracy
DO NOT have any comments in there about buzzing a house, joining the mile high
club, or breaking any FAR. Even if the interviewer doesn't see it, a Fed may
someday & you will regret it.
Ground rules at the interview:
Show up at least 10-15 mins early.
Your recruiter will probably escort you to the interview.
No matter what your recruiter says, personal appearance counts.
Buy the book "Dress for Success"
Suit that fits.
Shirt that is ironed.
Good haircut. It does not need to be a military cut, but what job are you
No military member has a beard.
Most officers do not have a mustache.
Almost none part their hair in the middle.
No earrings for men.
Very few officers have tattoos...hide any you have.
Leave the cell phone in the car, nothing is more important at that moment.
"Sir" or "Ma'am"
No cursing at all. Avoid words like "dude." Yes, we are looking for a
well-rounded individual, but we are also looking for a professional military
Do not even think of bad-mouthing the recruiter, MEPS, or the process. You may
be interviewing with the person who hired that recruiter. That recruiter may be
the top recruiter in the command. You don't know.
Dress nice, but not too nice! Skirt is fine. So are slacks. You don't want to
look Amish or be too distracting. And you may end up interviewed by a female
officer who would appreciate flaunting sexuality even less.
Minimal jewelry: post earrings, not hoops. Nothing dangling.
If your hair is long, you may want to pull it back.
Avoid perfume...never know when an interviewer is allergic.
By no means am I saying to hide the fact you are a woman. But you have seen
pictures of women in uniform, and that is the image you want to portray.
This just changed around Oct 04. Used to be able to write comments
on things like appearance, now it is tougher for you the interviewee. The areas
b) confidence, maturity
e) work experience
f) leadership potential
g) mental alertness
h) communications skills
i) potential to complete program and
j) overall evaluation.
Eventually I may break those areas down for you, but it gives you a good idea of
what is required to be graded on the form.
Those areas have blocks to check which are:
below average; fair; average; excellent; & outstanding.
Now, why is the above important to you? What do you think your chances are of
getting a UPT slot if you are rated "Average" in any single area? About the same
as me volunteering to go through SERE again, just in case I missed something the
first time. Probably not happening.
Now another area that can make or break you:
k) Comments and Recommendations. This is a blank field in which the interviewer
can input up to 18 lines of information. This is the best area where your alibis
can be input without sounding like you are making excuses. If you have seen my
other posts, you know that an interviewer can explain away to the board a low
GPA and many other things. IF you give them the ammo & make them want to use it.
Where do we get our comments for section k? Mainly from the interview, but also
from you scores, GPA, resume, letters of rec. Some will use these items, some
Some may even call the references listed. I called one by a 1LT, not to gain
more info, but to thank her for an outstanding letter of recommendation & to let
her know the applicant did great & would almost definitely get a slot--yes, he
is at UPT.
If your interview goes OK, there is probably not enough info to fill up 18 lines
without adding tons of fluff. You want all 18 lines full. You have no direct
control over it, but you can influence it. Because you can have a 2 page resume,
list everything you have done.
*****Want a hint that will put you over the top? (Of course, or you wouldn't
still be reading). I have not seen this yet, but I would highly recommend you
doing this if you are serious about joining our ranks:*****
Make a one page sheet that is a summary of your accomplishments. Just type
"Supplemental Information for Applicant CAVOK", "Summary of Major
Accomplishments for Applicant CAVOK", or whatever you like, at the top. Then
break it down into a few area--
Leadership (at work & play);
Go back and include things from high school too. Do not be verbose, just simple
- Captain of high school soccer team for 2 years
- PADI Advanced SCUBA diver with Nitrox certification
- Sales manager at Dollar Store 3 years while in college
Some of it may be on your resume, but that is OK. Do not give it or show it to
the recruiter because it does not fit the normal mold. Instead, have it in one
of the plastic sheets and at some point near the end of the interview just say
to the interviewer "Sir, I have a summary sheet of some of my accomplishments,
would you like a copy of it?" You have nothing to lose because even if they say
no, it gives you a chance to summarize things you can talk about to strengthen
your interview, and may clue you into weak areas or things that should be on
Believe me, with me putting this on this site; it will probably become the
standard within 1-2 years, and may become required at some point. Luckily for
you, it is a fresh idea.
Things that may be asked:
How did you get interested in the military?
Why the AF?
Did you apply to the other services?
How do you match up with your peers? i.e. What separates you from your hometown
What got you interested in aviation?
Tell me about your flying history?
Did you work while going to college?
Did you earn any scholarships for college?
Why did you pick that major?
Do you still beat your dog?!
Why were your grades so low your Freshman year?
Are you familiar with how frequently you may be required to move?
How does your family feel about you moving every 2-3 years, possibly overseas?
Are you familiar with remote assignments? Do you have a problem with them?
Are you familiar with the AF Core Values?
What are they? What do they mean to you?
Have you researched OTS?
Any concerns with the program?
Are you familiar with the AF fitness standards?
What is your typical workout?
What do you find most appealing about the AF?
What do you find least appealing about the AF?
How did you pay for your flight training?
What will you do if you are not selected?
I see you only want to come in the AF if you can be a pilot, why?
I see you are willing to take a nav slot if you can't get a pilot slot, why?
I see you are starting to sweat profusely, is that normal?
Have you had the opportunity to talk with AF officers and pilots?
If you had your choice out of UPT, what do you currently think it would be?
Tell me about your leadership qualities.
Tell me about your leadership style.
Have you done much volunteer work?
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
... and the list goes on!!!
For those who read this and say "Thanks, sounds great, makes sense" then you
will probably do well on your interview. For those of you who are mentally
arguing with me as you read this, ask yourself a couple more questions. Do I
really want to serve in the AF, or am I just trying to get someone else to pay
for my flying? Is the military a good fit for me?
Some of you are picking your jaw up off the ground right now. Good. Those are
the types of questions I will hit you with. If you handle them well and come
across with honesty & not a canned patriotic answer, then, and only then, will
the interviewer go the extra mile and spend a couple of hours to get those 18
Thanks to CAVOK
Math for Pilots
Being able to easily perform math
calculations in your head is a skill that every pilot strives for. If
(like many!) you struggle a bit with this process, or, if you are
simply looking for a way to improve your math skills in the cockpit,
then 'Mental Math for Pilots' is a must read!
5. Application Packets & Interviews for Guard / Reserve
Just wondering how you compiled your packets for the Guard units you applied to,
(ie did you bind them, paper clip them, make a fancy cover for it etc..) I know
some don't like them to be bound but is there a classier way than to just paper
clip 'em? And with LOR's did you bother to have the person date them? Also, I
know that the Guard looks at the "complete applicant" but can you see
one or two things out there that would really help land a fighter slot (or any
other slot for that matter)?
I am a Guard pilot, who not too long ago was in your position. Now, I am already
in charge of running the board. I do all phone call making, prepare the list of
interviewees, and select the board members and board chief for the year. What my
unit looks for first of all, is the applicant a member of our unit? We are a
unit that hires from within. If we don't have enough applicants from the unit
itself, we then invite off-the-street folks to interview. If we like them, we
encourage them to join and come back for another interview. However, for the
last 8 years there is a waiting list of names from within my unit waiting to
interview. It has become very competitive to say the least. I know not all units
practice this. Keep in mind the units that do practice this are looking for a
level of loyalty to their unit. We want to select folks that are going to stick
around for 20 years. We know that a UPT slot can open doors up to airlines, but
we still want to maintain a high level of experience at our unit. We have
Captains and Majors in our unit with 3 to 5 thousand hours in our airframe.
These guys are able to pass on their experience to the rookies. Since we
typically look from within, my unit does not require a private pilot license,
only that the individual is pursuing a private. We do look highly on that
individual's supervisor recommendation. That way we get an idea of work ethic,
so we can have an idea if the candidate can handle an IP grabbing your oxygen
mask hose while you are in the practice area and shakes the hell out of it
asking if you are stupid. It happens, I know. So if you are not a member of the
unit you want to fly with, consider biting the bullet and join. The only reason
I mention that is a LOR in military terms is a Letter of Reprimand, even though
I think you mean it as recommendation. So, I am only guessing you are not a
military member yet. Also, the folks that have been selected at my unit in the
last few years have had nothing less than a 90 on the "pilot" score of
the AFOQT. As far as packages, it should be put together in a professional
manner. No, you do not have to spend 50 dollars to put it together. A nice cover
letter and resume on nice paper is fine. I will say it should be bound in some
sort of folder. Where I would go one step more is to have copies of your package
for every board member. Basically, present the board with a nice packet for the
board chief and provide a xerox copy for each board member bound with a
"paper clip". Another point, I would have a date on your
recommendations, and if it over 6 months old I would get a new recommendation
letter. Like I said, this all pertains to the pilot hiring in my unit. When I
was enlisted, I interviewed with other units. Each one has different practices.
When it comes to interviewing, just be yourself. Be honest with all your
answers. Remember that even though you might have a private license, you do not
know how to fly the military way. I have seen guys with 2000 civilian hours
washout of UPT. So, maintain a good, "can-do" attitude at your
interview and when you go to UPT and you will go far. GOOD LUCK.
One thing I have seen in the
people I have interviewed is they seem to be looking for a hand out. Getting a
UPT slot is not easy, nor should it be. Part of what boards look for is
"Who wants it the most?" Are you going to TAKE the slot or look for a
hand out? When you finish your
interview and leave the room, you want the pilot board saying "we would be
stupid not to hire Woody". That's when you TAKE it. I guess I did a poor
job of explaining it in the last post. I have had so many sharp people come in
to interview and just bomb. These folks talked a mean game then came to the
interview with terrible AFOQT or PCSM scores or no physical. Of course, we knew
it before they came in, but these people acted like they should still get the
slot anyway. All I am saying is do your best. Yes, I was in the same spot you
are a few years ago. I was hired in 97 to fly the C-130. I interviewed with my
unit twice and once with another unit. I got hired after my second interview
with the unit I am in now. After I got hired, one of the interviewers told me
one of the board members told the board "we would be stupid not to hire
him" when I left the room. Thus, I was the number one hired guy. In reading
some of your posts, you remind me of me in 97. That it is why I answered you
post. And let me tell you what, this is the best gig I have ever had. You will
love it, what ever airframe you get. I have been from Okinawa to Bosnia. I have
flown over the fighting watching mortar rounds blow up in Tetevo, Macedonia. I
have been through Puerto Rico, Gitmo, Jamiaca. I run into guys from my AMS class
and UPT class all over the world. I have been in a dogfight with an F-16 at
Airlift Tactics school. Believe it or not we defeated the F-16 several times. We
broke his radar lock three times and he never could get off a shot. The fighter
dude was pissed at the debrief when he brought in the guncam. However, the first
day we went against the F-16, he blew us out of the sky. You will probably fly
more than your active duty counter part. When my active duty flying partner from
C-130 school cracked 400 hours, I had almost double the time and was approved
for AC school. His jaw dropped.
Q2. I will be going in front of a board for the first time this summer. I was
wondering what kind of questions are usually asked in these boards. I'm sure
that it varies some unit by unit but any ideas or better yet examples would be
much appreciated. I'm really interested in the questions that may have caught
you off guard. Thanks for you time.
A. So your interview is this summer. Okay,
here are some ideas/topics you need to consider. Most Guard units have the same
big picture idea, look at the "overall person". By the time you meet
the board, they have already seen your upt package. They are focused on trying
to find out what kind of person you are. Questions in the back of their mind are
is this person going to function well among a crew or as #3 in a fighter
formation. If I had to put a percentage with interviews, I would have to say my
unit is a 50/50 unit. We take 50% of your accomplishments/test scores and 50%
personality. The personality has to do with trust. Can you be trusted to help
the crew complete a mission rather than hinder it. When you do get hired, I
would develop some thick skin fast. You will need it when you get to your upt
base. UPT is more of a mind game. In the beginning of Tweets, they are trying to
weed out the weak. Although they will not say it, Tweets is still the unofficial
weed out program.
Okay back to the interview stuff. First of all, you need to look at yourself and
your UPT package. You need to look at your weaknesses first. Let's take GPA's,
for example :-) . GPA's do not mean you can not fly an airplane. I have a friend
that barely graduated from Annapolis, he ended up getting an F-18 and is a good
pilot. Think about how the board may trip you up with picking apart a less than
stellar GPA. Here are some bullets on topics to consider:
- College GPA; expect questions if it is not perfect.
- Flight Time; they may look at how often you flew and question that, especially
if your flight training was/is inconsistent. Expect questions regardless.
- Work history; expect questions here. They may even ask questions about you
working at a McDonalds in college. Since you are in the Guard they may ask what
has been the most complicated situation you have had in your squadron and how
you handled it. Expect for the board to call your section supervisor.
- Personal attributes; What are you going to bring to the table for the unit?
- Blanket Open Ended Questions; these are a given. The favorite interview
question is "So tell us about yourself?" or "So what do you want
to do with your life?" There are a couple reasons for simple open ended
questions. One, they want to know a little about you and two, they want to see
you go into the "Gray Area" and make it black and white. Make sure you
include the fact that you have want to be a pilot for a long time. However, do
not come across as a whiner. You have to be smooth. Example; "So Meghan
tell us about yourself?" "Well, I am a recent graduate and a member of
the Guard unit over in the Aerial Port shop. I originally joined the unit with
the intention of becoming a pilot for the flying squdron once I finished
college........" (I started in Aerial Port before I got my pilot slot that
is why I used Port) See how that flowed and you just told them you have wanted
to be a pilot for a long time without begging. If that was not why you joined
the Guard, come up with something else. "I joined the Guard to get through
college. I really did not know what I wanted to do with my life when I first
enlisted. Since I have been in I have become interested in flying. I began
taking flight lessons and decided that becoming a pilot with this unit is what I
want to do with my life......" I think you are getting the idea now.
- Attitude; I cannot stress how far a great attitude can go! This is where the
board determines if you truly want to be a pilot. Are you going into your
interview looking for a hand out or are you going to take it! Believe me, if
they do not see the "That's my slot don't give it to anybody else"
attitude, you may be disapponited at the end of the day. You still need to be
yourself, however, you need that fire in your eyes!
One more piece of info. Wear your BLUES to your interview. My unit generally
interviews on Sunday of drill. Uniform of the Day is a board policy. So we have
people that show up in BDUs. However, there is alot to be said for the person
who wears there blues. And to be honest when people interview in their blues
they seems to be in the "GAME ON" mode.
6. Active Duty searching for an ANG/AFRES UPT Slot
Q1. Lately, I have been reading up on the ANG. It looks like flying for the guard
is a great deal! No PCS, you virtually pick your airframe… So I just set a
long term of getting a slot with the guard. Currently, I am in AFROTC and will commission next spring. Here’s my plan:
Work as a maintenance officer on active duty for 4 years, get some flying hours
for my PCSM, bust my butt at work to get some good letters of rec., separate and
apply for some guard units. What do you think? I’ve always wanted to fly fighters, and I would like to live in the south. I
have it narrowed down to about 10 units that I would love to fly for. I have
heard that it is best to apply for as many units as possible, but I have also
heard that it helps to “get to know” the people in the unit. How do I do
this without joining? I have considered going to a unit that is close to me and
visiting; do you think I may get to talk to a pilot or someone in ops if I do
So you want to fly in the Guard. That is great! It is a great deal. I myself am
a "Guard Bum" right now and I love my job. If you have not heard the
term "Guard Bum", it means I only get paid when I fly or work for the
squadron. Sometimes the well runs dry for a week or two. However, there is a lot
of flying to do, so I love it. As a "bum", I have flown over 900 hours
in 1.5 years of operational flying.
So you are a ROTC cadet. I guess you have passed that mark where you must take
an active duty tour for 4 years. I was going to say if you have not passed that
mark and can get out of your active duty/ROTC commitment, start trying to get a
pilot slot now. Why wait 4 years, try going to UPT now. There is a pilot in my
unit that went through the same thing. He joined a ROTC program while he was
enlisted in a Guard unit. The ROTC commander said he had to give up ROTC or the
Guard. He ask the ROTC commander his opinion and he actually said if you want to
fly "go guard". So the pilot said I'll stay in the guard. He is now an
evaluator pilot with us and flies with one of the largest commercial carriers.
I highly suggest if you are serious about a Guard pilot slot you should go to a
Guard unit and talk to them. Go straight to the flying squadron. Do not go to
the recruiting office. The flying squadrons handle pilot hiring not the
recruiters! Meet as many pilots as you can. Especially meet the hiring pilots
and the Squadron Commander. Every unit generally has a POC for pilot hiring. My
best advice for meeting the pilots in the squadron is to show up during a drill.
Go by during the week, meet the full time technician pilots. Ask if you can come
out and meet the other pilots during drill weekend. After roll call on drill
Saturday most units go socialize. Ask to go with them. Hang out get to know
them. Understand you may go to war with these pilots someday and pilots have to
trust each other whether it is a fighter or crew weapons platform.
If you do have to go active duty, you may want to consider getting an active
duty pilot slot before your four year tour is up. If your long term goal is to
fly, you need to hit it now. Active duty needs pilots. Yeah, you would have to
sign the 10 year commitment but you would be flying. I'm just saying look at all
your options. I'm just being straight forward with you. From your post, you at
least have a plan. I have talked to so many people that want to be a pilot but
have no plan. It's as if they think were hiring for the Boy Scouts. Just
remember to keep your focus on reaching your goal! Take care and good luck!!!
7. Selection Criteria (GPA, Flight Hours) for ANG/AFRES UPT
Q1. How heavily does College GPA weigh in being selected
for a UPT slot?
A. GPA is a factor in selection. However, the weight
of the GPA is up to each individual unit and their hiring practices. I'll have
to get the reg out, but a high AFOQT score can basically overcome a low GPA. I
don't think you could get the 90 hour college waiver, so you will have to finish
your degree before you go to UPT. I'll try and do a little research in the reg
and get back to you. Keep this in mind, Guard UPT slots are highly competitive.
Therefore, if you and another person are the front runners for one UPT slot, GPA
may be the deciding factor. Now, I myself do not look for a 4.0 GPA or 90%
across the board on the AFOQT, mostly because that was not me. I look at the
overall person. Since my unit hires from within the unit only, we look highly at
the supervisor's recommendation. We use this to get an idea of work ethic,
because it takes a solid work ethic to get through UPT. I was enlisted in my
unit for 3.5 years before I went to UPT. The first thing the board did after my
interview was call my supervisor. I was hired 6 months after I graduated
college. Your story is unique. It sounds like you had to bust your @ss to get
through college. You worked 40 hours a week while carrying a full load and you
have not been kicked out of college. That is awesome. So when you go to your
interview and you get that one interviewer that keeps asking college questions
like "you want to go to UPT for us, however, your GPA is terrible, why
should we send you?" There are probably two things they are trying to
address: 1) why are your grades low? 2) How are you going to handle being put on
the spot? Just be honest. "Yes sir/maam I agree my GPA is lower than what
you have probably seen here today, however, I have had to keep a fulltime job
while keeping a full load at college in order to graduate young enough so I do
not go over the age limit to attend UPT." Something like that. Maybe you
had to do that to pay for flight lessons. How you answer it will determine if
you answer questions like this from your USEM during stand up: "You are
rolling down eastside runway at Vance in the T-37, you are 10 knots from refusal
speed and you see a red light, Lt Mehgan you have the aircraft?" Sure
everyone can solve it from a chair, but there is something about standing in
front of your class and IP's trying to solve the problem. Can you see what I'm
getting at. GPA is not the only thing a pilot board looks at in a candidate. Can
you handle yourself well under pressure? Just be yourself and you will do great.
Try and think of answers to diffcult questions a board may ask to pick you
apart? If you anticipate the question and already have a solid answer, you have
taken your first step to becoming a pilot because anticipation, itself,
transfers to the flight deck! Good Luck!!!
Q2. I was wondering if someone could be honest with me and let me know the truth
about how many hours you need for a spot in the Guard? I have a 4 year degree and a minor in Airport management and currently in my
first semester of my masters at Embry-Riddle aeronautical University. I did four years in the Air Force and one year in the Air Guard as a
Jet engine mechanic, I have my A & P License and currently have 35 hours of flight time. My
AFOQT scores were pretty good and my BAT score was 86
and goes to 90 when I recieve 40 hours of flight time. So with my background and everything I've told you what are my chances with
roughly 40 hours?
You have great scores. You have plenty of flight time to get hired. You have
filled the squares for the administrative stuff. I have a couple of questions
Are you in a Guard unit already? Are you sending out packages or making phone calls to units?
Are you visiting units? Can you walk into the squadron you want to fly for and someone know you?
With those questions in mind, you need to network now. What people do not
realize is that getting a Guard UPT slot is like getting a high power job with a
Fortune 500 company. A little networking does help. Yes you have great scores to
go to UPT by the reg. However, the Guard is a unique beast. You will fly with
the same people for 15 to 20 years at your unit. They do not care about scores
or what college you attended. They want to know and trust that you will not
leave your wingman in your fighter during a fight or forget to hit the green
light at the right time to put the Rangers on the DZ in your cargo plane. With scores like that I am surprised you have not been picked up by a unit. Just
keep at it. You are doing great so far. Good Luck!!!
A. Okay, several of you have asked questions about GPA's and AFOQT scores for
Guard slots. The following is straight out of a Guard reg, ANGI36-2005. This is
the minimum qualification to attend UPT for the Guard. This does not take into
consideration the competitive nature of obtaining a slot.
ANGI 36-2005; section 3, page 4
3.13 Education and AFOQT Requirements. A baccalaureate or higher degree from an
educational institution listed in the current Accredited Institutions of Post
Secondary Education is required for all appointments. Education requirements for
specific AFSC's are contained in AFMAN 36-2105 and AFI 36-2005. AFOQT
requirements are contained in Table 3.2. Appointments in professional
specailties are exempt from AFOQT requirements.
Table 3.1 Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirements for Non-College Graduates.
Rule#/If the applicant has completed/ The minimum acceptable GPA is:
1./ 90 but less than 105 semester hours or 135 but less than 157 quarter hours/
2./ 105 but less than 120 semester hours or 157 but less than 180 quarter hours/
3./ 120 or more semester hours or 180 or more quarter hours/ 2.1
Table 3.2. An AFOQT Minimum Score Requirements for Appointment
Rule/ If the applicant has: / and is to be appointed;/ Then the minimum score
1./ a bachelor's degree / to attend UPT /
4./ not completed a bachelor's degree / to attend UPT /
NOTE 1: "Total" is the minimum composite score needed when adding both
"Pilot" and "Nav" scores together. Example: UPT applicant
has a bacholer's degree and scores "35" Pilot and "15" Nav,
the applicant meets the minumum scores required to attend UPT.
3.14. Exceptionally well-qualified initial appointment applicants may request a
waiver of the degree requirement. To be eligible for a degree waiver, applicants
must possess a consolidated transcript from an accredited 4-year degree granting
institution. See Tables 3.1 and 3.2 for minimum requirements.
- The applicant must initiate the education waiver. The waiver request must
outline a degree plan that will result in a four-year degree by the end of the
fifth year of commissioned service.
- The commander must justify the selection of a non-degree candidate Include the
+ Number of candidates considered for the position.
+ Explanation as to why the individual is considered the most qualified.
+ Explanation of other factors which may assist in evaluating the applicant
based on the "whole person" concept.
3.14.1. The Adjutant General or the Assistant Adjutant General for AIR is the
approval authority for education waivers. Further delegation is not authorized.
3.14.2. Officers transferring from another service or from another component of
the Air Force and former officers must possess a baccalaureate or higher from an
accredited educational institution.
Alright, what the above basically says is that if you attend UPT without a
degree, you need to have a GPA above the applicable one in Table 3.1 and a
minimum AFOQT score from Table 3.2. If you have a degree you just need to meet
the AFOQT min scores in Table 3.2. The min numbers from AFOQT score list is
concrete. First of all, you need the min score on the verb and Quant. Second,
you need at least the min score for the Pilot and Nav, plus the combination must
add up to 90 without a degree and 50 with a degree.
Example: Without a degree
You score a 49/Pilot and 41/Nav. (yes the sum equals 90, however, you failed
because your pilot score needed to be a min of 50)
With a degree:
You score a 30/Pilot and 15/Nav (yes you scored above the min of 25 and 10
respectively, however, the sum of these numbers still needed to be a min sum of
50 [no UPT for you].)
If you have a degree, GPA is not a driving factor per the regulation. You just
need to meet the minimum AFOQT score in Table 3.2 rule #1. I will not say that
your GPA will not get looked at during an interview. So keep that in mind.
Furthermore, these are just the minimums to process paperwork to go to UPT. A
hiring board may have higher standards than the mins simply because they CAN! If
you have "min run" the AFOQT, even though the scores qualify you to
attend UPT, you may want to consider taking it again in 6 months. The active
duty may take you but a Guard unit probably won't.
New Archive (as of 18Feb07):
C-17 Deployment FAQs
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