How to Become a Pilot in the Air Force

by | Mar 20, 2023 | Career Advice

Becoming a pilot in the Air Force comes with immense responsibility, dedication, and hard work. It is a dream for many individuals who aspire to serve their country while flying high in the sky. However, pursuing this career requires careful planning, preparation, and commitment.

In this article titled “How to Become a Pilot in the Air Force,” we will guide you through the necessary steps that can help you achieve your goal of becoming an Air Force pilot. From meeting eligibility requirements to completing training programs and advancing through your career path, we will provide comprehensive information to help you succeed in one of the most challenging but rewarding professions. So let’s get started on this exciting journey together!

What is an Air Force pilot? 

An Air Force pilot is a member of the Air Force who is trained and certified to operate military aircraft. They are responsible for flying and maintaining aircraft to ensure safe and effective operations in all conditions.

How to Become a Pilot in the Air Force

The United States Air Force is one of the most advanced and respected military forces in the world. Being a pilot in the Air Force is a highly sought-after and rewarding career path. However, becoming an Air Force pilot requires hard work, dedication, and a commitment to serving your country. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to become a pilot in the Air Force.

Requirements to Become a Pilot in the Air Force

The minimum requirements to become an Air Force pilot in the United States include:

Citizenship: You must be a citizen of the United States or any other state where you live.

Age: You must be between 18 and 39 years old.

Education: You must have a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent.

Health: You must meet the physical and mental requirements of the Air Force.

Vision: You must have correctable vision to 20/20 and normal color vision.

Height: You must be between 5’4″ and 6’5″ in height.

Officer Training School: You must complete Officer Training School (OTS) and be commissioned as an officer in the Air Force.

Pilot Training: You must successfully complete the Air Force’s Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) program, which includes both ground and flight training.

Note that meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the Air Force pilot training program. Competition for pilot slots is intense, and the Air Force may also consider additional factors such as aptitude, leadership abilities, and performance on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT).

Steps to Become a Pilot in the Air Force

Join the AirForce: The first step in becoming a pilot in the Air Force is to enlist in the Air Force. You can do this through the Air Force ROTC program, the United States Air Force Academy, or by enlisting directly into the Air Force.

Complete Officer Training: After you have enlisted, you will need to complete Officer Training School (OTS). This is a 9-week program that teaches the necessary leadership skills for becoming an officer in the Air Force.

Pass the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test: You’ll have to pass the Federal Aviation Administration Academy Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT). This test evaluates your knowledge and skills in math, verbal, and quantitative reasoning, and other areas relevant to the Air Force.

Complete Flight Training: Once you have completed OTS and passed the AFOQT, you will need to complete flight training. The Air Force has several flight training programs, including the Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) program and the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT) program.

Earn Your Wings: After completing flight training, you will receive your wings and become a certified pilot in the Air Force.

Significant Skills for Air Force Aviators

Here are some significant skills for Air Force Aviators:

Strong communication skills: Pilots must communicate effectively with other members of the crew, air traffic control, and ground support personnel.

Situational awareness: Pilots must be able to assess their surroundings and respond appropriately to changing conditions.

Decision-making: Pilots must make decisions quickly and accurately in high-pressure situations.

Attention to detail: Pilots must pay close attention to details such as aircraft performance, weather conditions, and mission objectives.

Physical fitness: Pilots must be physically fit to withstand the physical demands of flight and handle emergency situations.

Leadership: Pilots often lead a crew and must have strong leadership skills to effectively manage and coordinate their team.

Critical thinking: Even an expert pilot must be able to quickly interpret and analyze complex pieces of information and make an effective decision.

Technical expertise: Pilots must have a thorough understanding of aircraft systems, flight operations, and navigation.

Adaptability: Pilots must be able to adapt to new situations and work effectively in a constantly changing environment.

Emotional resilience: Pilots must be able to cope with the stress of their job and handle difficult situations with composure.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Air Force Pilot

Stay Physically Fit: As an Air Force pilot, you will be required to maintain a high level of physical fitness. Staying in shape will help you perform your duties safely and effectively.

Study Hard: Becoming a pilot in the Air Force requires a lot of hard work and dedication. You will need to study hard and stay committed to your training.

Learn from Experienced Pilots: Take the time to learn from experienced pilots. They can offer valuable insights and tips on how to become a successful Air Force pilot.

Be a Team Player: As an Air Force pilot, you will be part of a team. Give priority to teamwork and work together with other.


Becoming a pilot in the Air Force is a challenging but rewarding career path. To become an Air Force pilot, you must meet certain requirements, including having a college degree, being physically fit, and passing a rigorous physical examination. You will also need to complete Officer Training School, pass the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, and complete flight training. By following these steps and tips for success, you can achieve your goal of becoming an Air Force pilot and serving your country with honor and pride.


Is It Difficult to Become a Pilot in the Air Force?

It is a challenge to become a pilot in the Air Force. It requires significant dedication, physical and mental preparation, and a commitment to hard work and excellent performance. However, with proper planning and commitment, it is possible to achieve success.

What is Officer Training School?

Officer Training School is a nine-week program that teaches the fundamentals of military leadership and prepares you for a career as an officer in the Air Force.

How Long is Pilot Training in the Air Force?

Pilot training in the Air Force takes approximately 12-18 months, depending on the type of aircraft you will be flying.

What Types of Aircraft Can Air Force Pilots Fly?

Air Force pilots can fly a variety of aircraft, including fighter jets, bombers, transport planes, and helicopters.

Is There a service Commitment After Pilot Training?

Yes, there is typically a service commitment of at least 10 years after completing pilot training in the Air Force.

How Competitive is it to Become an Air Force Pilot?

Competition for pilot slots is intense, and the Air Force selects only the most qualified candidates for pilot training. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Secondary factors such as intelligence, leadership skills, and performance on the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) also may be taken into account.

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