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I am in 9th grade, and I am interested in many career choices. The one that has me the most intrigued is an Air Force Pilot. My question is, what would a day in the life of a fighter pilot be like?

In school, I am most interested in Math, Science, and Language Arts. Some of my hobbies include, sports, playing guitar, hunting, fishing, and playing video games. A topic that I am passionate about is that of Aviation, and Aeronautical Engineering. I have an idea of what I want to do ( USAF fighter pilot) and I was wondering what it would be like to go through the Air Force Academy route to becoming a pilot. #pilot #aviation #airplane

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Robert’s Answer

Hi Brady, I am a retired fighter pilot and thought it was the best job in the world. First you will have to be commissioned as an officer and that can be done by attending a military academy or through an ROTC program while you are in a regular college or by attending Officer Training School after graduating from college. You will have to compete with others so make sure you get good grades and show your leadership abilities through extra-curricular activities.
A day-in-the-life is mostly spent training to deploy for combat. You will be in a squadron with close friends, flying the best jets in the world and challenging yourself mentally and physically to learn the tactics of dog-fighting other aircraft and dropping bombs in support of ground troops. You will study enemy aircraft and surface-to-air threat systems. You will be home most nights and fly about 3 or 4 times a week. You’ll also spend several hours flight planning and briefing before each flight then de-briefing afterwards to identify and correct your mistakes. You will deploy out of the country for several months every few years for combat or large exercises with other nations. Additionally, several times a year you will go to other areas of the U.S. for a week or two to train with different military units.
Overall, it’s a great adventure with lots of variety and excitement that challenges you mentally and physically. You’ll see new places and make great friends. I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit.

Robert recommends the following next steps:

Next-step is to get top grades in high school and participate in sports and clubs to develop leadership potential
After that apply to the Academy or ROTC programs at the college of your choice.
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Dennis’s Answer

Hello Brady, I am glad to hear that you like math and science. I think that gives you an advantage as you pursue this career.
Disclaimer: I am not a pilot, and I have not attended any of the military schools. But, here goes:
So if you are really keen to become a pilot, don't wait. Get your private pilot's license as soon as you can. Flying a private aircraft is not exactly the same as flying a military aircraft, but it is a good place to start.
You will need to explore the path(s) to get into the Air Force (or Navy or Army academy). Competition is very intense, so you will need good grades, And, participation in extra-curricular activities - sports, music, etc. will be viewed favorably. .
Part of the application/acceptance process is to be nominated by one of your state's senators or congressman.
Some private colleges and state universities have aircraft technology programs. Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana) has an excellent program. You should search for other schools that offer the opportunities you are seeking.
Try to connect with someone currently in the military - who is a pilot or not. That person may be able to connect you with someone that would be willing to have that dialogue with you. Check your local newspaper for news items about local students who are at different colleges- maybe there is somebody now attending one of the academies that you can meet or contact via email, etc.
Good luck, Brady!


Dennis recommends the following next steps:

Pursue getting your private pilot's rating
Try to make a connection with appropriate people in the military or the aircraft industry.
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Josh’s Answer

Hi Brady. I am a pilot, but never was in the military. I do have very close friends who were and are fighter pilots. I’m sure there is nothing like it in the world. If you know the military is the direction you want to go, talk to a local recruiter. My advice to you would also be to get a college degree. You can then join the military as an officer and have a much easier go at it. There are programs that the military offers to help with this as well. It’s a great way to go. If you have a college degree and a Private Pilot Certificate, you can fast track to a pilot slot in the military pretty quickly (provided you do well on the standardized military test). It’s great that you are looking into this at such a young age. Best of luck!
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