Have you watched the most recent Top Gun film or any of the fighter aircraft movies more times than you are ready to admit? Do you fantasize about traveling at twice the speed of sound, pulling Gs, and piloting the world’s fastest and most modern aircraft? If you are reading this, it is likely that the appeal of flying as a fighter pilot while also safeguarding the nation drew you here. However, becoming a fighter pilot is not simple; if it were, more people would pursue it. In this article, we’ll teach you on how to become one yourself and join the ranks of our elite warriors in the sky.
The Philippine Air Force Flying School
The Philippine Air Force Flying School is the “Air Force Academy of the Philippines”. Located at the pine-tree-clad Fernando Air Base in Lipa City Batangas province, it is responsible for the training of all the future pilots of the Philippine Air Force.
In the past, you can directly join the Philippine Air Force Flying School (PAFFS) right after college through the Aviation Cadet Program (ACP) and start your Military Pilot Training (MPT) as a DODO Cadet in the Philippine Air Force Flying School. But since the Philippine Air Force discontinued the Aviation Cadet Program of the PAFFS, the only way to take the Military Pilot Training is to become an officer in the PAF with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant or higher. There are two ways to accomplish this. The first is to join the Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School (PAFOCS) or the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
Becoming a pilot in the Air Force is a long and rigorous process. It is no easy task, but if you make it, you will be among the elite warriors of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Here’s what you need to do if you’re going to try to earn your wings:
You must be an officer in the Air Force
If you are between 17 to 21 years old, you can join the PMA and become a cadet of the most prestigious military school in the country today. Choose the Air Force as your branch of service. After graduation, you’ll be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant (2Lt) in the Philippine Air Force. To join the PMA, follow our guide on PMA Cadet Application Process.
The other way is to join the Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School (PAFOCS) to become an officer in the PAF. If you are 20-25 years of age and a holder of a Baccalaureate Degree, you can try entering the PAF through PAFOCS. Any 4 or 5-year course is accepted, but the Air Force prefers “scientific” degrees, such as engineering, physics, computer science, and chemistry. PAFOCS candidates with civilian flight training, such as a private pilot’s license, also tend to fare better with the selection board than those with no flying experience.
Keep in mind that the safest age for you to qualify for the Military Pilot Training in the PAFFS is between the ages of 22 and 26 with a 2Lt rank on your shoulders.
Must be recommended by your Commander
Well, this is self-explanatory. It means you must have the approval and recommendation of your unit commander before entering the PAFFS to take the Military Pilot Training.
You must be physically and mentally fit
Entering the PAF Flying School requires another examination, the Military Pilot Aptitude Test (MPAT). It is the qualifying exam prior to flight training. You must pass this exam along with a series of interviews, a battery of physical, psychological, and background tests, and medical examinations. You must be at least 5’4″ but no more than 6 feet 5 inches tall and not overweight. Your seated height must be between 34 and 40 inches. Make sure to have a 20/20 vision and not color blind. If you have problems with depth perception or have had laser eye surgery, you will be disqualified. Other disqualifications include a history of hay fever, asthma, or allergies after the age of 12.
After passing the medical exam, interview, and aptitude test, you will be selected to be one of the Student Officers and the chances of joining will depend on your standing after the series of examinations and interviews had been finished.
Becoming a pilot in the Philippine Air Force is a very rewarding career. Once you got your wings, you can fly choppers, fixed-wing aircraft, turboprops, or jets. After your service in the military, you can join the civilian aviation industry as a commercial pilot. The Air Force is your cheap but longer route to your future aviation career. Take the challenge and soar high!
Credits to Pinoy Aviator