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FAQs Minimize
Does selection as an Air National Guard pilot come with a commitment?
How hard is it, if you have a degree, to get an Air National Guard pilot slot without enlisting in that unit?
How hard is it to be commissioned through ROTC into an Air National Guard pilot slot?
How tough is it to Palace Chase from Active Duty into an Air National Guard pilot slot?
What does it take to get a full-time Air National Guard pilot slot (where you retire at 20 years and get paid retirement immediately)?

Yes, the Guard service commitment is the same as active duty and Air Force Reserve. It is now set at 10 years after you earn your wings. Of course, the important difference is that with an active duty pilot slot, the commitment is a 10-year active duty service commitment - with the Guard, it is a 10-year service commitment in the Guard (part time).

You will get mixed answers on this question. A lot of ANG units like to have guys who are prior enlisted (especially guys from their unit) because the unit knows the person, knows they're committed to the unit/area, and knows that the applicant has an understanding of the work. Each unit is different, however and you definitely DO NOT have to be prior enlisted to get an air national guard pilot spot. It is all about selling yourself to the interviewing board. Just go and be yourself. The board is looking to pick someone who not only will succeed at training, but also someone who will stay with the unit for many years and who really fits in well with the members and the overall mission. The interview is your opportunity to convince them you are such a person. Finally, even if you think you don't have a chance, you will not know for sure unless you APPLY!

It depends. In any given year, if AF ROTC has "over-produced" graduates above and beyond what they active force needs, they may open up the opportunity for ROTC cadets to commission directly into the Reserve component (AF Reserve or ANG). Typically this is a voluntary program whereby cadets have to find an open Reserve component job in order to participate. This could just as easily be a pilot slot as any other job, as long as the timing of the Air National Guard pilot hiring fits within the timelines of the ROTC program. (Typically you have to find a Reserve component job by a specified time or continue with your active duty commissioning). It depends on the year, but the program will typically be closed to certain graduates with majors in critical skills. Usually, if you have an active duty pilot slot, you lose that categorization when you commission into the Reserve component, so you would have to be hired by an Air National Guard pilot hiring board to get to UPT. This program only exists in certain years and cannot be counted on - the program was closed as of the end of FY06.

Palace Chase is a voluntary separation program for officer and enlisted members. It affords you an opportunity to separate early and serve the remaining portion of your commitment (actually two or three times the remaining commitment) in an Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard component. This program is based on the needs of the Air Force, so it might be difficult, depending on whether or not your active duty career field is undermanned.

This would be very difficult - if not impossible - directly from UPT. Most full-time jobs in Air National Guard units are filled by individuals already serving part-time in the unit. In rare circumstances they might go directly to a fully-qualified rated pilot coming from active duty. No Air National Guard UPT slot that we've ever heard of is full-time (although, of course, you'll spend 1-2 years on active duty completing training before you transition to part-time status). Recent changes to the law, however, mean that you can get your reserve retirement pay earlier than ever - as early as age 50, depending on the amount of time you serve on active duty - check out our Reserve and Guard hiring page for more information on those changes and on full-time reserve jobs.


How to get an Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) slot with the Air National Guard

 (written by an actual applicant)


Pilot training slots in the Air Force are getting harder to come by. As a civilian, our options are many, and those who want to fly will get there by any means necessary.

A civilian can apply for a pilot slot with the Active Duty Air Force and go through OTS, apply to the Air Force Reserves, or apply to the Air National Guard. This document will focus on the Air National Guard side of the house, but may also be applied in part to the Reserves as their process is similar.

The regs currently state you must enter UPT before your 30th birthday. Know that the Guard usually hires a year in advance (if hired tomorrow, you probably won’t be attending UPT for another year). Plan accordingly. Get started now – don’t let this time go by. Be in good physical condition. Don’t have any skeletons in your closet.


Typically, Air National Guard units across the country are allotted one to two UPT slots per fiscal year (FY). The process is almost exactly the same across every unit.


Guard units have a window of time where they accept pilot training application packets (often simplified to “packets” or “packages”). This window is usually open from 6 months before until 2 months before the interviews. More people apply than are accepted to interview. The breakdown is typically 10% of applicants will be asked to interview. From this interview, 1 or 2 applicants are selected to attend UPT and 1 or 2 alternates will be chosen should any problems occur with the primary selects.

While every pilot slot is a challenge to achieve, some units have higher competition than others due to 1) airframe, 2) location, and/or 3) mission.

You need to start NOW on this process. It typically takes over a year from start to finish (getting hired).


As a civilian, the first thing that you need to do is take the required tests. All units require you to have scores from the tests at the time of the application. The Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT) is a test similar to the SAT. Some sections are geared more towards aeronautics and technical areas. Check out our AFOQT page for more information on how to study for this exam, as it is quite important to getting an interview and succeeding in obtaining a pilot slot. ARCO is a company that makes the best test prep book. Amazon.com should have this book available. Sufficient time should be taken to study for this test. At least a month of studying should be used. This test can only be taken twice and only the last one counts. You must wait 180 days before retake. (Waivers are available to take it more than twice, but you shouldn’t have to).

The next test that needs to be taken is the Basic Attributes Test (BAT). This test can not be studied for, and the best advice is to get a good night’s rest and eat a good breakfast before taking it. The test is done on a computer with two joy sticks. Not much can be said about this test, but it is much like a video game. At the end, a series of questions are asked. Some information can be found about this test online, but because of the rules, not much information is available. This test can only be taken twice and only the last one counts. You must wait 180 days before retake. (Waivers are available to take it more than twice, but you shouldn’t have to). NOTE: The BAT has been replaced by the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS), but it is still essentially a joystick-based, computer-game-like test. Read more about the TBAS here.

After you have taken these two tests, you will be issued a Pilot Candidate Selection Method (PCSM) number. This number is a percentile that is supposed to predict how well one will do in pilot training. The pilot portion of your AFOQT along with your BAT score and flying hours go into an algorithm that gives this number. Nobody knows what this algorithm is as the Air Force keeps that information secret. Your PCSM score can go up as you accrue flight hours.

Contact your local ANG recruiter to set these tests up.

Finding a Unit

Check out our ANG unit pages for information on each guard unit. www.goang.com and www.ang.af.mil have units listed by state and airframe. Get to know the units in your local area and units you would like to apply to. Get in contact with recruiters there, UPT Selection Board Officials, pilots... anybody. You need to get your foot in the door.


When is your next UPT Selection Board?



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