Author Topic: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.  (Read 57852 times)

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Offline J_Muir

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Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« on: July 26, 2006, 09:34:38 »
Hey guys, i'm a newbie to this forum , although I've be scowering through various threads for the past little while trying to gather as much information as I can before I start my own thread. Please don't simply tell me to search...I might be new to this forum, but I've got about 3000 posts on another on, so I know how annoying it is when an ignorant newb asks basic questions....but bare with me :)

Basically, I have 2 years of university left and have my heart set on joining the Air Force upon finishing my degree. I've decided against ROTP for reasons not worth getting in to, so Direct Entry is the route for me.

Some of the following questions I have already recieved answers for (although sugar-coated by recruiters I'm sure). I'm now looking for some people who have experienced the road from recruitment to Officer Training to Second Language Training all the way up to getting their wings, to help me gather more info.

Firstly, is time frame. What is the realistic time frame from the time you begin Officer Training to the time you recieve your wings? I've heard that there are a lot of breaks in between stages too - how long do those last?

Best case scenario, I'll be flying F-18's (bet you've heard that before). Can anyone with experience or knowledge take me through the steps which you took (or are taking) to reach your goal? ie...Went here to do my 'x' training for 'y' years and then got selected for 'z' ..etc etc.

Finally, does anyone know what the demand for Pilots in the Air Force is right now, or what it will be? For instance, some of my firends are firefighters and tell me how they are by far the youngest guys there. Literally every other firefighter is 40+. So the demand for new guys is huge. Sort of related to that, does anyone know if the addition of some JSF's (if/when it happens) will create more fighter pilot slots?

Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate ANY help I get.

-Jeff
« Last Edit: July 26, 2006, 23:08:14 by Bruce Monkhouse »

Offline Inch

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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2006, 11:04:55 »
Your first two questions have been answered before, by me. I don't really feel like retyping it for the 3rd time so have a read through my posts, or just search my posts for pilot or something like that.

As for the 3rd question, demand is always there, there is a continuous flow of pilots into and out of the CF.

JSFs? Ha, not for at least 15 years, are you planning on waiting that long?
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Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2006, 11:11:13 »
Thanks a lot, I'll check out your posts.

Ha, not at all! I was just wondering if anyone thought that JSF's would increase the number of slots - unless the F-18's are taken out of service by then.

Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2006, 12:22:05 »
Anyone else care to share experiences or stories? Hearing he real deal means a lot more than just reading something on the Defence.gov website.

Offline Ditch

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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2006, 14:42:29 »
Hearing he real deal means a lot more than just reading something on the Defence.gov website.

Stop looking there for one thing...  www.dnd.ca is the place to look, unless you are thinking about going South for employment.

Finish your schooling - in your last year start your application early to CFRC.  Timeline could be as short as 2 years to wings or more probably 3-4 years.  I started BOTC in Oct '99 and received my Wings in Jan'04.

Fighters are cool to look at, fun to fly, but the Helo world has the coolest flying and the Multi-stream pilots see the world.
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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2006, 17:12:01 »
Here it is... LOTS of my friends are going through the different courses right now.  I asked them some questions on your behalf and here are the answers (mixed with my experience)

First of all, you do your Basic Officer Training, in St-Jean for approximately 3 months.  After that, you are given a "number" to Moose Jaw, which is basically your number in the sequence to Basic Flying Training.  While you wait for this, you have to to Second Language Training (St-Jean), Land Survival (Winnipeg), Sea Survival (Comox), Aeromedical Training (Winnipeg) and Primary Flying Training (Portage La Prairie).  Those are the prerequisites for Basic Flying Training (Phase IIA) (In Moose Jaw).  BFT last for 9-12 months, depending on a whole lots of factors.  After this course, you are selected to fly eighter Jets, Multi-Engine aircrafts or Helos. 

Jets
  If you are selected to fly jets, you stay in Moose Jaw for phase IIB, still on the Harvard II.  This is a 3-4 months course.  After that, still in Moose Jaw, you fly the Hawk on the phase III for approximately 6-8 months.  After this course, you are selected to eighter stay in Moose Jaw to become an Instructor or you go to Cold Lake, at 419 Sqn to fly the Hawk on Phase IV (Flighter Lead In Training or FLIT).  I don't know how long this phase is exactly.  After 419 Sqn, you have to go to 410 Sqn (Operational Training Unit or OTU) to convert to the CF-18.  I THINK this is about 6-8 months long.  So, if you are going fighters, you can expect 2.5-3 years of training

Multi-Engine
  If you are selected to fly Multi-Engines, you have to go back to Portage where you are going to fly the King Air for 3-4 months. After your course, you go to your Operational Training Unit to get your qualifications on the airframe you have been selected to fly.  You can expect 1.5-2 years of training if you go Multi.

Helos
  If you are selected to go Helos, you have to go back to Portage where you are going to fly the Jet Ranger for 3-4 months. After your course, you go to your Operational Training Unit to get your qualifications on the airframe you have been selected to fly.  You can expect 1.5-2 years of training if you go Helos.

Now, for the wait... Right now, the wait to go to Moose Jaw is 14-18 months.  I'm number 119 and I'm scheduled to go in August 2007 (I graduated in May 2006).  After Moose Jaw, if you go fighters, there is not much of a wait.  If you go Multi, I've seen people waiting 6-8 months to get in Portage but usualy the wait is approximately 2-3 months.  The reason of the recent huge waiting time was the contract in Portage beeing transfered to Allied Wings.

Hope this helps,

Max

Edited to reflect Zoomie's comment.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2006, 20:55:42 by SupersonicMax »

Offline Ditch

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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2006, 18:51:28 »
Pretty close Max - your estimates for the advanced wings training in Portage are about double what it really is.  Expect 3-4 months in Portage.
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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2006, 20:56:32 »
Thanks.  It took 6 months to the last Helo course to complete, probably because of the Allied Wings contract taking over during that time...

Max

Offline Inch

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Re: Becomming a pilot in the CF.
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2006, 21:52:17 »
My helo course was 6 months and we finished on schedule. It depends on the time of year you go through, winter courses are always longer due to the weather. Both in MJ and Portage. My course in MJ was 7 1/2 months and I was maybe 6th or so finished of 18, the rest finished anywhere up to 8 months. We started 01 Dec 02 and I finished 16 Jul 03.  Summer courses in MJ are around the 6 month mark, never have I heard of a MJ course lasting longer than 9 months. Portage is 4-6 months. My course started 06 Oct 03 and we got our wings on 02 Apr 04, 4 days short of 6 months. There was Xmas in there so the course was really only about 5 1/2 months long with a 2 week break for the holidays.

In total including my 20 month wait for Moose Jaw, it took just under 5 years for me to get my wings. I was only in College for 8 months of that time. The other 48 or so months was either waiting for courses or on course. Then your OTU could take up to a year to get loaded on and finished.

Realistically, plan for 5 years before you're operational as a DEO entry.
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Offline pipstah

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2006, 11:14:42 »
Little heads up from MooseJaw:
New courses will arrive in group of 18... it will be challenging for the school. If you want to go Jets you are really lucky because right now they trying to push people into that community. Looks like that the Top Gun effect is getting weaker. On my course and the other two before mine, people want in majority multi and helo... Usually there's now two or three asking for jets on the whole group. They gave a motivation ride on the F-18 and we got a couples of jets pilots talking about their jobs and try to recruit some guys. I guess the waiting for Moose Jaw will drop pretty fast with the increase of student per course... it is now the double of what the winter course was... Lets hope that Portage gonna be able to handle big group on PFT.
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Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2006, 11:38:48 »
Little heads up from MooseJaw:
New courses will arrive in group of 18... it will be challenging for the school. If you want to go Jets you are really lucky because right now they trying to push people into that community. Looks like that the Top Gun effect is getting weaker. On my course and the other two before mine, people want in majority multi and helo... Usually there's now two or three asking for jets on the whole group. They gave a motivation ride on the F-18 and we got a couples of jets pilots talking about their jobs and try to recruit some guys. I guess the waiting for Moose Jaw will drop pretty fast with the increase of student per course... it is now the double of what the winter course was... Lets hope that Portage gonna be able to handle big group on PFT.

So you think that the demand for F-18 pilots is pretty high right now? crap, I wish I could fast-forward my life a couple of years and get right into it.

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2006, 12:48:31 »
Here's my experience to date:

Enrolled last September (DEO) and finished BOTC in time for Christmas ... SLT to June (finished early) ... OPME residential Sept-Oct this year (already loaded).

As for future training, I was given this ballpark timeframe (by 1 CAD around a month ago): AMT & Sea Survival this winter, Portage starting March or April next year and Moose Jaw in August ... BSERE (Land Survival) some time next fiscal year as well ... none of that is official or written in stone, of course.

Hopefully that helps give you a bit of an idea where things stand right now.
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Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2006, 13:01:55 »
Here's my experience to date:

Enrolled last September (DEO) and finished BOTC in time for Christmas ... SLT to June (finished early) ... OPME residential Sept-Oct this year (already loaded).

As for future training, I was given this ballpark timeframe (by 1 CAD around a month ago): AMT & Sea Survival this winter, Portage starting March or April next year and Moose Jaw in August ... BSERE (Land Survival) some time next fiscal year as well ... none of that is official or written in stone, of course.

Hopefully that helps give you a bit of an idea where things stand right now.

Thanks for the info. So when you're waiting around for various courses to begin, what exactly do you do? Do you come home? Stay and work on a base? If so, where do you live? This is one of my main concerns - what do you do during 'wait time'

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2006, 13:12:11 »
OJT (On the Job Training) ... usually at a base or 1 CAD ... the forms of OJT are really varied: I am working in the recruiting office in Vancouver, mostly doing clerk-type stuff, but there's lots of more interesting things to do as well.  Living in the old apartment right now, but moving to the PMQs in a few weeks.
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Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2006, 13:23:30 »
OJT (On the Job Training) ... usually at a base or 1 CAD ... the forms of OJT are really varied: I am working in the recruiting office in Vancouver, mostly doing clerk-type stuff, but there's lots of more interesting things to do as well.  Living in the old apartment right now, but moving to the PMQs in a few weeks.

Again, thanks for the info man.

Excuse my ignorance, but what is 1 CAD and PMQ? Do you get much of a choice with OJT (ie, maybe something that relates to what you want to do), or do they send you wherever they want?

Out of curiosity, what would you like to fly when all is said and done?

Offline Aden_Gatling

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2006, 13:43:57 »
1 CAD = Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg ... Air Force HQ
PMQ = Personal Married Quarters ... DND owns housing at various locales around the country which serving members can rent http://www.cfha-alfc.forces.gc.ca/info/aboutcfha_e.asp

During SLT we were each given a form on which to write our top - 3 choices for OJT, as well as other factors (i.e., family status, eduction, etc.) ... it sounded like most people were pretty happy with what they got (I am!) ... there are also OJT opportunities at the Canadian Space Agency in St. Hubert, but most required an Engineering degree (or similar): I went on the information tour just for the hell of it, and it looked like some pretty interesting stuff.

I really want to fly Jets, or Multi, or Helos ... Jets will be (I think) my first choice, but I'll be damned happy flying just about anything for a living ...
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Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2006, 15:11:26 »
I really want to fly Jets, or Multi, or Helos ... Jets will be (I think) my first choice, but I'll be damned happy flying just about anything for a living ...

Right on man! Jets will absolutely be my first pick, but to fly anything for a career is a dream come true.

What were some of the choices for OJT that you can remember?

Offline Ditch

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2006, 16:12:55 »
J_Muir - OJT choices are varied and really up to you as the OJTer.   What city do you live in?  Do you want to stay at home?  Are your married?  If you want to fly Hornets, you can get an OJT at an operational fighter squadron.  You will be La Reine du Photocopier - but at least you will be able to fly in a Bravo.
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Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2006, 16:22:48 »
J_Muir - OJT choices are varied and really up to you as the OJTer.   What city do you live in?  Do you want to stay at home?  Are your married?  If you want to fly Hornets, you can get an OJT at an operational fighter squadron.  You will be La Reine du Photocopier - but at least you will be able to fly in a Bravo.

I live in Calgary at the moment...2 more years  of university left....i'll be 24 when I'm done, so probably not married. I would love to stay at home, but I would love even more to fly hornets....big time. I would not only photcopy, I'd also staple and stamp anything they threw at me if it meant being around F-18's....gives me shivers just thinking about it.

Thats good to know though..thanks for the info.

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2006, 17:03:33 »
Once you fly in one you realize it's just an other plane except it is very small, you can't stop sweating, it goes fast but you can't realize it unless you are doing low level supersonic flights, and then you realize pilots only get 180 hrs a year and a LOT of paperwork.  ;)

Max

Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2006, 13:43:13 »
Once you fly in one you realize it's just an other plane except it is very small, you can't stop sweating, it goes fast but you can't realize it unless you are doing low level supersonic flights, and then you realize pilots only get 180 hrs a year and a LOT of paperwork.  ;)

Max

Are you for real? 180 hrs/year? Can anyone else shed some light on this?

I want to fly commercial some day down the road, so maybe jets aren't the best way to log a lot of hours...

Offline TheCheez

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #21 on: July 28, 2006, 15:35:36 »
The figure varies from year to year but that's a decent estimate. Consider than with jets your usual training mission is ~1.5 hours.  Next consider that you're at work 170-175 days a year or so. Add in various deployments, weather days, maintenance probs, QRA duty and most importantly ground duties its hard to rack up huge hours. Its not like the civy world where you do the milk run for 7 hours a day on autopilot. If you're looking to fly 1000 hours per year, honestly you're barking up the wrong tree with the CF. I would recommend doing a little more investigating to the real life of the various communities you might find yourself in and the type of flying and lifestyle you're getting into.

EDIT: Sorry I'm having a math issue today. You can expect to work ~210 days not 170 assuming you actually stay away during leave/weekends. Also I cant speculate accurately on the other communities as I really dont know. The instructors in MJ rack em up pretty quick though.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2006, 16:09:29 by TheCheez »

Offline J_Muir

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2006, 15:47:36 »
The figure varies from year to year but that's a decent estimate. Consider than with jets your usual training mission is ~1.5 hours.  Next consider that you're at work 170-175 days a year or so. Add in various deployments, weather days, maintenance probs, QRA duty and most importantly ground duties its hard to rack up huge hours. Its not like the civy world where you do the milk run for 7 hours a day on autopilot. If you're looking to fly 1000 hours per year, honestly you're barking up the wrong tree with the CF. I would recommend doing a little more investigating to the real life of the various communities you might find yourself in and the type of flying and lifestyle you're getting into.

I'm not looking to get that many hours per year. Just that most airlines require a minimum of 1000 hours - minimum being the key word. How many hours do pilots in the CF log on other aircraft?

Thanks for the info by the way

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2006, 17:41:49 »
If you want hours - don't even think of fighters.  Think more along the lines of Maritime Patrol (aka CP-140 Aurora) or Tactical Airlift (aka CC-130 Hercules).

Irregardless - even if you average only 300 hrs/year and owe the CF 7 years after Wings, simple math shows  you should amass close to 2100 hrs.
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Offline Astrodog

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Re: Becoming a Pilot in the CF.
« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2006, 12:29:41 »
Just from my speakings with a hornet driver who is currently on the FWIC... the average hop for a hornet driver is roughly 0.8 to 1.0.. but as he told me they are 'quality hours'! Though there is also a downside to that, as the pilot who was doing OJT at CFRC London told me, you are pretty much living an MJ style life year round, the flying, planning and academics are absolutely hair on fire intense (She also told me that 5 of 11 slots on MJ were jets... i wanted to 'fast forward my life as well), and as the hornet driver told me you have to have an undying passion for flying fighters or you will be miserable... I'm in the same boat as you J_Muir, currently in the recruitment process dying to fly Jets, hit me up with a PM...
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