Time away from home as USAF pilot

jrguyette

New Member
I'm currently enlisted in the Air Force, working on submitting an OTS package, with the hopes of getting picked up for a pilot spot. My wife, however, is under the impression that our pilots are away from their families considerably more than non-rated officers. Does anybody know whether this is true?

Thanks,
J
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
Probably depends on what platform you are assigned. My friends in AWACS, JSTARS, and Rivet Joint are gone all the time. But then again, the number of those platforms are very limited, so they are in high demand.
 

ShoreFly

Well-Known Member
If you're looking to stay away from TDY's, don't even think about tankers (KC-10, KC-135). Before 9-11, most crewmembers in my squadron were TDY an average of 120+days/year, but since then, an average of 200+days/year. These were not fun trips either, mostly long deployments in tents in the Mid-east.

The only "TDY havens" that I know of are OSA (Operational Support Aircraft) assignments (C-21's), and stateside helicopter assignments (UH-1). You may be good enough to get a FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot) slot at UPT, but nothing's guaranteed.

Before you go all the way with this active duty thing, go talk to your in-service recruiter and a local AFRES/ANG flying unit about pilot opportunities. Active Duty "E" to Reserve pilot "O" is a very good deal, it may be a better option for you.

From experience - Bottom line "Stay away from (Active-duty) tankers!"
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
Even prior to September 11th, my tanker friends were also away from home all the time, although the new AEF concept was supposed to take care of all that.

(However, when I separated, most people I spoke with in the operational commands said that AEF was a bunch of crap...)

Yes, tanker guys are also gone alot.

Don't know of many 135 qual guys who haven't been TDY at least 180 days a year...
 

CRW

Well-Known Member
Hello, just had a question for ya'll. Are these tanker pilots living in tents on an airfield, or do they have other assignment?
What kind of flight time do the tanker pilots recieve?

Also, what about cargo (C-17/C-130/C-5/C-141) pilots? I take it that their not much different than cargo pilots.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Hello, just had a question for ya'll. Are these tanker pilots living in tents on an airfield, or do they have other assignment?
What kind of flight time do the tanker pilots recieve?

Also, what about cargo (C-17/C-130/C-5/C-141) pilots? I take it that their not much different than cargo pilots.

[/ QUOTE ]

Ops-tempo wise, cargo planes are as bad as tankers. Depending on where you get sent to, you'll probably live in a tent; in fact, since the US Military rarely deploys to anywhere remotely nice, you most likely will be living in crappy conditions. But that's the nature of today's deployment military; do more with less and less. Be prepared to be gone from home for @120-180 days a year. Simple as that.
 

eodfe

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
since the US Military rarely deploys to anywhere remotely nice,

[/ QUOTE ]

Thailand....need I say more!
 

jrguyette

New Member
OK, so tankers and cargos are gone a fair bit...what about the other track -- bombers/fighters?
Also, what makes you say I should want to go AFRES/ANG? Mind you, I'm not trying to avoid TDY, I am just trying to get more info about how the AD side is run, to answer my wife's question.
Thanks,
J
 

ShoreFly

Well-Known Member
I suggested the Air Reseve or Guard, because after your initial Active Duty training period (~2 years) is over, you can persue a job with a commercial carrier while still serving in the military. Active duty guys are forced to go on TDY, come home, and we end up right back TDY again.

Here at McGuire AFB we have many Reserve KC-10 (military DC-10) pilots that started out that way, and except for those that were activated during Iraqi Freedom, they have uninterrupted careers with the majors.

I do not recommend becoming an Active Duty pilot at this time. Following the events of 9-11, the majority of aircrew members' quality of life has gone way down along with morale, and unfortunately the War on Terror is far from over, so there is no end in sight. Many of us are trying to move on or out of the cockpit, and I feel sorry for those pilots only half way through their 8-10 year commitments.
 
Top