Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Becoming a pilot


Hello, I am a 15 year old currently looking into becoming a pilot. I have always dreamed of flying the C5 Galaxy due to the fact that when I use to live in San Antonio my father and I would watch them land and takeoff at various military bases in the area. I was hoping you could tell me what I would have to do to become a C5 Galaxy pilot and what college degree I should major in. All help is appreciated and thank you for taking the time to reply if you do!

Gardner -

My area of expertise is ENLISTED aircrew careers (boom operator, flight engineer, loadmaster), so I can't quote you chapter and verse on what you need, however, having been in close proximity to pilots for my entire career, I can tell you some of the basics.  You can also go to and chat live with a recruiter.  They will be able to give you the specifics on what is needed.

A 4-year college degree.  The type of degree isn't important, it just needs to be from an accredited four-year university.

You must have 20/20 vision with no color blindness and good depth perception, and good hearing in both ears.  These are the minimum physical requirements.  There are others as well, but these are usually the ones that eliminate most people.

You need to be enrolled into an ROTC program or something that leads to a commission in the U.S. Air Force.  Getting accepted into pilot training is yet another hurdle in itself.

I hope I helped a bit.  As I said above, talking to a recuiter would be the definitive answer, as they have the current requirements so you have a specific list of tasts to accomplish.

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

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James Bell


I am a retired MSgt (2004) with 24 years experience in the aircrew career field, both as a loadmaster (AFSC 1A2x1) and flight engineer (AFSC 1A1x1). I have been to every continent at one time or another, and regularly flew 300 to 500 hours a year. I have been involved in the operations in Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. I can answer most questions you may have about enlisted Air Force life in general, assignments, benefits, and enlisted aircrew operations. NOTE: If you have specific recruiting and/or medical questions about how to get into this career field as a civilian, they have changed since my time, so that is best answered by a recruiter or MEPS. I can answer questions about military personnel wanting to RETRAIN. If you are asking about being an Air Force pilot, please be advised my area of expertise is ENLISTED aircrew operations, NOT OFFICERS.


Loadmaster (AFSC 1A2x1): 7 years - 2,000 hours - C-5A Galaxy cargo plane. Flight Engineer (AFSC 1A1x1C): 7 years - 2,500 hours - C-141B Starlifter cargo plane, 10 years - 3,800 hours - KC-10A Extender aerial tanker. Served as aircrew Flight Instructor, Flight Evaluator and Training Manager

Aircraft Loadmaster Initial Qualification - 1980. Mission Qualification (C-5A) - 1981. Fixed Wing Aircraft Performance Course - 1987. Initial Flight Engineer Qualification (C-141B) - 1987. Mission Qualification (KC-10A) - 1988. KC-10 Initial Qualification Course - 1994. Mission Qualification (KC-10A) - 1995. Instructor Qualficiation (KC-10A) - 1997. Evaluator Qualification (KC-10A) - 2000.

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