Air Force pilot requirements

I’m currently a senior in high school and should have my private in the next month or so. I’m sure some of you served as a pilot in the military before you got to the airlines. My question is would it be ideal to go right into the Air Force after high school? I’m not sure of the requirements to become a pilot in the Air Force. But my plan would be to serve my time and then hopefully go to the airlines after.


You need to be an officer from what I was told when I considered the option. Meaning you’d need a college degree.


To be a pilot in the Air Force you will need to be an officer, which means having a college degree. They do not give hundred million dollar jets to people that haven’t completed a degree.

If your goal is to serve, I would suggest applying to the Academy.


If your plan is to be an airline pilot then the military route will be a huge disappointment to you, especially since you refer to it as “serving your time” like a prison sentence. As far as requirements for the Air Force, you need to have a 4 year degree and then get selected to be a pilot. The big gamble is you won’t have a choice of airframe so you could get stuck on Remotely Piloted Aircraft, which will do nothing for your progression towards flying manned aircraft.

If you want to serve your country and have a “chance” of flying some of the most advanced aircraft in the world in some extremely stressful environments, then have at it. I would recommend looking into the Air Force Academy to increase your chances of flying manned aircraft, especially if you want to be a fighter pilot. Keep in mind that you will belong to the government and Air Force needs will always dictate what job you’ll have. Also, you will have about a 10 Year commitment to the military, which is a long time if you’re unhappy doing something you hate.

Former naval officer here. If your goal is flying for the military, I recommend the Naval Academy, or better yet, Naval ROTC. The Navy actually has more aircraft than the Air Force, and a relatively smaller applicant pool compared to that service, given the number of midshipmen opting for other warfare specialties. Fewer schools have NROTC battalions, but the experience is totally worth it.

Just make sure medically you can pass a flight physical before committing. I got bounced out of aviation training due to a low back deformity I didn’t even know I had. Still, surface warfare was fun enough to complete my required service time.

Thank you for your response, and of course I did not mean it serving time like a jail sentence. If I do decide to take this route I would do it with honor and enjoy it. I’ve always been interested in flying for the military.

Thanks for responding. I’ll definitely look into it, a couple of my dads friends went to the naval academy. Thank you for your service

I drank the Marine pilot kool-aid long ago, so I would suggest pursuing that. The training is excellent. Airlines LOVE hiring military pilots. First and foremost, whether you choose to serve as AF, Navy, or Marine, go in wanting to be in the military first rather than joining to be a pilot.

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