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| | |-+  Up and Coming Pilot Needs Some Advice.
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Author Topic: Up and Coming Pilot Needs Some Advice.  (Read 12425 times)
Chewyy
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« on: March 11, 2009, 12:58:27 AM »

Hello, my names Brandon and I am 17 and a Junior in High school.  I am signing up for the USMC this May and most likely going to bootcamp around July-August 2010.  I am going in the Marine Core to become a Pilot, I would love to fly Jets but due to my eye sight problem and the chances of a lasik patient being accepted in the Jet Program being slim, I might need to go into Helicopter's, both are fine with me, as long as I am in the air.  I know I need to be an Officer before I plan on going to any military flight schools and I know without college I am going to need to wait 4-5 years before being offered to go to OTC.  I was wondering if any current or past USMC Pilot's could give me some pointer's, maybe tell me what to do while I wait to become a Pilot, any insight is appreciated.

Main things I would like to know

--> What should I do while waiting to become an Officer?

--> What are my chances of flying Jets if I do get Lasik?

-->  If I do go with Helicopter's should I even get Lasik being that they allow contacts?

-->  If you'd like to add anything, please do.
Also I'd like to note that going to college before I join the Marines is not an option due to financial burdens and no one to co sign for a loan. 
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2009, 09:14:32 AM »

Hello, my names Brandon and I am 17 and a Junior in High school.  I am signing up for the USMC this May and most likely going to bootcamp around July-August 2010. 

I can't help you with your questions but I just wanted to hop in here and thank you sincerely for volunteering for service to our country.   Good luck to you and I hope you are able to secure a slot as a pilot.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
pgarside
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2009, 12:37:44 PM »

while i dont know very much about the logistics of these programs, i can tell you that i have a good friend in a similar situation.  he also had poor vision when he signed up with the navy.  apparently, he got free lasik surgery through the navy and is currently in a program to become an f-16 pilot for the navy.  another thing to think about would be joining some sort of rotc program, to become an officer and increase your chances while in whatever flight program you decide to take part in.
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madHATR
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2009, 01:52:37 PM »

I'm an Air Traffic Controller for the USAF. I've had plenty of friends who've "gone to the dark side" so-to-speak, and even one who had lasik. Generally, and I can't speak specifically for the marines, as long as it's corrected to 20/20 you'll be okay.

Once again, if the process is anything like ours, it will help your application to get some hours under your belt while earning your degree. This will be difficult having an MOS to take care of at the same time. Honestly, the earlier suggestion to hit college and get into an ROTC program is probably the best.

A USMC Major I work with tells me that the lasik thing is waiverable... and if you really do want to enlist first, you can knock out some college and then apply for the ECP. (Enlisted Commissioning Program.) They'll send you to knock out your last two years of college or so and then give you a commission.

Don't forget to get a class 1 flight physical in there somewhere too. A little pricey, but better to discover if there's some kind of hindering issue before you go through the pipeline.

Best of luck!
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Chewyy
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2009, 09:18:14 PM »

Thank you KSYR for saying that, not alot of people think like you do and feel I am wasting my life.

Pgar and madHATR, thanks for your opinions and thanks for putting forth your current knowledge.

I was planning on going to college at first, since I could do ROTC and get my four years to become an Officer out of the way in one twack, but the truth is I cant afford it.  Thus why I have to take the difficult road
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 10:41:01 PM »

Thank you KSYR for saying that, not alot of people think like you do and feel I am wasting my life.

Wasting your life?  Absolutely not!  I made a feeble attempt to get into the Air Force to be a pilot back in the mid '80s but without proper guidance and support along the way I didn't have a chance at actually succeeding.  

Putting aside for a moment the honorable decision you are making to devote the next several years of your life to serve this country, consider that you will accumulate incredible experiences (both good and bad), the likes of which a high percentage of average US citizens will never experience during a lifetime of living.  That, my friend, is not my definition of wasting one's life.  

If I had it to do all over again I would only change one thing:  Make a more determined effort to become a military aviator, regardless whether it were flying fighters or "a cargo plane full of rubber dog $hit outta Hong Kong."

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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
RustyTX
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2009, 05:40:56 PM »

Chewyy:

Good luck and God's speed! 

I entered the Corps at 17 as you did thinking thinking along the same lines.  For whatever reason, I didn't follow through with the flying goal...I was having too much fun just being a Marine.  I finally had to call it quits after nearly 22 years but I never never felt like I was wasting my life or time.  I am reasonably sure that whoever told you that never had the gumption you have. 

During my time, I was, among other things, a recruiter and career planner.  When you get out of boot camp and finish your training, never give up your goal.  I saw quite a number of Marines carry through with their dreams and some that got side tracked...very easy to do in the current world environment

But I do wish I would have become a Naval Aviator.  As it turned out, I ended up jumping out of these perfectly good aircraft.

Semper Fi!

Rusty
Master Gunnery Sergeant, USMC, Retired
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Hollis
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2009, 11:09:13 PM »

Chewyy:
Go for it! Firstly, you should talk to the recruiter regarding your aspirations and work out a program for yourself to get there, although it will be a long range one. And just a hint - while in HS, keep your grades as high as possible. It'll pay off.
On a personal note, I spent 3 years in the USAF as an Air Traffic Controller and was then offered a chance to go to OCS and go through flight training to become a jet pilot. Unfortunately I had already applied for, and been accepted to enter college shortly after my discharge. But from that, I became an aeronautical engineer and spent many thousands of hours flight testing  airplanes and helicopters.
 
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waldos313
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2009, 06:07:25 PM »

I think you've already gotten all the good goal-oriented advice you need so I won't add to it. 
I'm in Navy flight school right now about to start flying helicopters.  All the Marines are here too (Pensacola, FL) since we all train at the same place at Whiting Field so that's where you would eventually be as well. 
Concerning the eye sight, DO NOT get LASIK.  It is NOT approved by the Dept. of the Navy yet and will void any chance you have of being a pilot in the Navy or Marine Corps.  The only approved procedure is PRK as of 2 weeks ago.   What sort of eyesight issues do you have?  I have a friend flying helos right now that has about 20/100 vision and wears glasses. 
Good luck and don't lose sight of your goals!
Brandon Oswald
Ensign US Navy
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Eagle 1
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2009, 11:13:03 PM »

Brandon, I just want to pop in here and say thank you to you and everyone else who is now serving or who has served our nation. I'm also a Junior in high school (and 17 next Wednesday) and plan on doing AFROTC. I want to be a pilot too (fighters specifically), and so far things have been going well (C/2d Lt in the Civil Air Patrol, relatively good chance of getting into a CAP Flight Academy this summer, and definitely going to college), but my main concern has been eyesight too.

I currently use contacts, but to my knowledge, that won't cut it in the military.
There has been one thing that's been bugging me for a long time:

From AFROTC Website:
Pilot:
Distant vision: Uncorrected 20/70, but corrected to 20/20
Near vision: Uncorrected 20/30, but corrected to 20/20

The wording on this has always mixed me up. Does uncorrected mean that I can fly with 20/70 vision, or does it mean that the worst it can be before I get corrective surgery (whichever one the Air Force allows) is 20/70? I wouldn't understand why the latter would be true since it could be corrected to 20/20, but it's just always been something that's been eating at me - particularly since my eyesight is actually a lot worse than 20/70.

Also, are there any other things I should be aware of concerning eyesight and the U.S. Air Force?

There isn't a way in hell the military won't be in my future, but obviously being a pilot is my number one goal, and my overall dream, and having vision hanging over me is a big deal.

By the way, sorry for diverting the topic my way Brandon, but I figured since it's pretty much the same thing I should give it a shot. Again, thanks for your future service.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2009, 11:18:43 PM by Eagle 1 » Logged
mkop
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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2009, 04:11:49 PM »

From AFROTC Website:
Pilot:
Distant vision: Uncorrected 20/70, but corrected to 20/20
Near vision: Uncorrected 20/30, but corrected to 20/20

The wording on this has always mixed me up. Does uncorrected mean that I can fly with 20/70 vision, or does it mean that the worst it can be before I get corrective surgery (whichever one the Air Force allows) is 20/70? I wouldn't understand why the latter would be true since it could be corrected to 20/20, but it's just always been something that's been eating at me - particularly since my eyesight is actually a lot worse than 20/70.


It sounds to me like this isn't talking about corrected with surgery, but corrected with glasses or contacts. If your vision is normally 20/70, but with glasses it's 20/20, then you're good to go. Otherwise, you're in trouble. I don't think this paragraph is talking about pre- and post-surgery.
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lancer84
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2009, 03:44:19 AM »

Hey man, thanks for future service. I not too long ago got out of the army. To help you with some of your questions, and yes even though I was army, they all really still apply. I know quite a few friends in the marine core and from what i remember, not sure they take contactlens as an option. If ur recruiter told you this, you might wanna double check, recruiters all lie, no matter wat they tell you they lie. Whiles you wait all that time to go through OTC, i highly recommend you do college while's you're in the core. This will help you greatly with anything in the military. I also recommend you look into the Warrant officer program. Not too sure if they have it set up the same way as the army does, where you don't need to have college to be a pilot. Just have to take a few test here and there, and get accepted. Alot easier than having to wait 4-5 yrs. I recommend you do go to college while's in the core and have them pay for it, this way you dont have to touch ur GI bill and can keep that for when you get out. With that said, best of luck and HOORAH! SemperFI!
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rstory
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 05:06:06 PM »

I am not sure about the Marine policy, but the Air Force considers eye surgery waiverable within certain tolerances. The tolerances have been changing as they come out with new techniques and such. Check out www.baseops.net , it is a very useful resource. It's not a Marine oriented site, but it is a good starting point for your questions.
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supersonikatc
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2009, 04:55:24 PM »

Hi! Sorry for my English grin,i proud of people that fight for dream to the end,so believe in yourself & you will reached any fl levels in your life.if u want don't waste your gold time,first of all u need learn theory of control some type of aircraft(there r many game simulators with original cabin structure)& try to find videolesson & u will be ready to practice,so 3 hour per day to extend for 3 year & any help on this site... grin
 P.S.   I think if your parents =the best friends,they could help and find medical specialist to realize your aim(there are many technologies to make your sight better,but advice about eye lens is looking not reliable,maybe at first time) .The main rule=don't stop & bless u God!   
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scottykp07
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2009, 07:34:35 PM »

Chewyy,
I just ran across your post.  I am currently a student in flight school down in Pensacola, FL.  I am in the Coast Guard, but it is all the same.  Everyone (excluding the Army, but including the Air Force) trains here.  We all train side-by-side, flying the same exact flights, and are held to the same standard.  We often forget we're in different services.  My class currently has two Marines in it.  I hope you are still pursuing, and that I'm not too late posting this.

You would be surprised as to how common lasik/PRK has become.  It seems like nearly half my flight class has had it done.  And the other half wears glasses even!!  The standards are set by the Navy, and run across the board no matter the service.  They have been relaxed in the past few years.  If you don't have 20/20, it's okay.  They hand out glasses like candy, and they just make you wear them when you fly.  If your vision is really bad, then that's where the PRK would come into play.

This is how it reads in my Coast Guard Aviation Medicine Manual: Near Visual Acuity. Uncorrected near vision (both eyes) shall be not worse than 20/200 correctable to 20/20, with correction worn in multivision lenses while flying if uncorrected near vision is worse than 20/40 in either eye."

Also, a good thing to know is that flying jets vs. helos is not based on your physical condition, or any disabilities.  You are either "up" or "down" as we call it with your flight status.  If you're "up", you're just as qualified as everyone else.  Your platform (jets/rotary/heavies/etc) comes solely based on your performance in flight training.  At the end of "Primary", you "select" and a board meets to see if you are worthy of your top pick(s). [and remember: "needs of the service!"...you'll hear that every day.] 

You'll be fine.  If you need more info, just give a FLIGHT surgeon a call at your nearest Naval base, and they'd help you out with any questions you have.

Best of luck!

--Scotty
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