Colonel Church, "the Silver Fox", had served with VFMA 115 during the Vietnam War and he and his pilot Captain James "Rebel" Denton were shot down. While there’s certainly no shortage of potential pilot candidates, the biggest issue plaguing both branches comes down to one thing: retention. Until 1966, their duties were performed by both commissioned officer and senior enlisted naval aviation observers (NAO). In a two-seat aircraft, the other officer (who navigates and operates the weapon systems) is called an "N.F.O." NFOs have also served as instructors in the twin-seat F-5F Tiger II at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (now part of the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center (NAWDC)) and as instructors in twin-seat F/A-18Bs in USN and USMC F/A-18 fleet replacement squadrons and the Navy Fighter Weapons School. However, given that there is a current shortage of pilots in both the Navy and Air Force, there has never been a better time to consider enlisting. You don’t have to be a pilot to fly in the cockpit of an aircraft. For example, did you know that some AF bases throughout the world have added luxuries like swimming pools and golf courses? Like their naval aviator counterparts, NFOs in both the Navy and Marine Corps have commanded aviation squadrons, carrier air wings, shore-based functional air wings and air groups, marine aircraft groups, air facilities, air stations, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, carrier strike groups, expeditionary strike groups, Marine aircraft wings, Marine expeditionary forces, numbered fleets, and component commands of unified combatant commands. For example, NFOs only serve aboard multi-crew naval aircraft and as certain multi-crew aircraft are retired from the active inventory, NFOs can become displaced, as happened with the withdrawal of the A-6, EA-6B, F-4, F-14 and S-3 from active service. There is a six-week introductory course conducted at the Naval Aviation Schools Command in Florida. While there are overall some subtle differences, the truth is that both Navy pilots and Air Force pilots are highly respected and equally skilled. The biggest difference between the Air Force and Navy pilot training is that Navy pilots also need to learn the extra skill of landing on aircraft carriers. As a 3-star vice admiral, he was the first NFO to command a numbered fleet, the U.S. 2nd Fleet. A naval flight officer (NFO) is a commissioned officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps who specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems. Related Article – Air Force Aerospace & Operational Physiology (4M0X1): Career Details. While it is important that Navy pilots remain skilled at dog-fighting and other air-to-air roles, the list of possibilities is nearly endless. Both SNAs and SNFOs go through the same introductory flight screening and aviation preflight indoctrination together before splitting off into different primary training tracks. He retired in 2005. How To Choose The Right Military Branch For You, 25 percent short of fighter pilots needed in critical areas, Air Force Aerospace & Operational Physiology (4M0X1): Career Details, current shortage of 800 active-duty pilots, How To Get Into The US Naval Academy: 5 Challenging Steps, Which Branch Of The Military Should I Join? Some of the most prominent stationary Naval bases for pilots include: Air Force pilots and Navy pilots both operate some incredible aircraft. IFS consists of 2 phases: ground school and flight training. The Navy maintains and operates more than 4,000 aircraft including carrier-based jets, land-based patrol and reconnaissance aircraft , transport planes and sea and land-based helicopters. Related Article – How To Get Into The US Naval Academy: 5 Challenging Steps. The stick and rudder skills, along with the intense focus and training that makes landing on an aircraft carrier an impressive feat to watch. All training in VT-10 is done in the Beechcraft T-6A Texan II and consists of 3 phases (all phases consist of ground school, simulator events, and flight events): After graduating from Primary 1, SNFOs will select between maritime land-based aviation or tailhook carrier aviation. It generally takes less than two years to go from indoc to winging in the Air Force. Primary 2 training is also done through VT-10. The United States Coast Guard had a short-lived NFO community in the 1980s and 1990s when it temporarily operated E-2C Hawkeye aircraft on loan from the Navy. Some current and recently retired naval aircraft with side-by-side seating are also authorized to operate under dual-piloted … NFOs are not pilots (naval aviators), but they may perform many "co-pilot" functions, depending on the type of aircraft. After winging, students conduct follow-on training at their respective fleet replacement squadron (FRS).[4]. In his first posting following promotion to Flag rank, he became the first NFO and first carrier aviator to command the Iceland Defense Force in Keflavik, Iceland in 1994. Upon graduation from their respective advanced squadron, students receive their "wings of gold" and are designated as naval flight officers. In the E-6B Mercury, NFOs are initially designated as airborne communications officers (ACOs), then upgrade to combat systems officers (CSOs), and finally to mission commanders (CSO/MC). NFOs also flew in these retired aircraft, including as mission commander: NFOs have also served as instructors/mission commanders in since retired training aircraft such as the UC-45 Expeditor, T-29 Flying Classroom, several variants of the T-39 Sabreliner, the TC-4C Academe, T-47A Citation II and the USAF T-43A Bobcat. See our advertising policy here. Naval Test Pilot School and/or the U.S. He was the first NFO to command the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, the second NFO to command a numbered fleet, the U.S. 5th Fleet, and was later deputy commander of U.S. Central Command. Three NFOs have reached four star rank, one as a Marine Corps general having served as the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the other two as Navy admirals, one having served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations before commanding U.S. Fleet Forces Command & U.S. Atlantic Fleet, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) and U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM), and the other having commanded U.S. Pacific Command, having previously commanded U.S. Pacific Fleet. Navy pilots get to see the world by sea and the experience is difficult to match elsewhere. Copyright © 2021 www.OperationMilitaryKids.org. Here are a few fast facts about Air Force pilots: Related Article – How To Get Into The Air Force Academy. For example, becoming a fighter pilot is earned by being one of the top performers in the classroom where you get the rare opportunity of specializing in aircraft like the T-38 and T-1. Those selected will attend Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and will initially be commissioned as a Student Naval Flight Officer, designator 1370, and after commissioning they will attend t… A naval flight officer (NFO) is a commissioned officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps who specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems. Although NFOs in the Navy's E-2 Hawkeye aircraft perform functions similar to the USAF air battle manager in the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft, their NFO training track is more closely aligned with that of USAF combat systems officers. Students complete approximately 14 hours of flight training in a single engine aircraft, including a solo flight. For example, the aircraft pilot could be the junior member of a flight crew such as a first lieutenant or captain, and the weapon systems officer could be a senior officer such as a major, lieutenant colonel, or colonel; regardless of rank, the WSO would be the mission commander if … Marine SNFOs can only select carrier aviation. Naval Academy on July 23, 2014. Duty stations are places that service members report to during service. Students advance to one of four training tracks based on class standing. Prospective pilots get tested on the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB) and must pass with a qualifying score. Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., was the last Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) prior to its re-designation as U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). General William L. Nyland, USMC was the first Marine Corps NFO to achieve 4-star rank as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. Their choices are: E-6B Mercury, P-3C Orion, EP-3E Aries II, and P-8A Poseidon. Related Article: Coast Guard Pilot Requirements. Commander William P. Driscoll was the first NFO to become a flying ace, having achieved five aerial kills of VPAF fighter aircraft during the Vietnam War. API is the introduction of flight basics to the SNA. The new rank insignia was nicknamed "the blue pickle". Deciding which branch to join based on aircraft is extremely difficult given the impressive arsenals: Air Force fighter pilots get assigned the F-15C Eagle or F-22 Raptor. It’s just very difficult to compete with the airlines, which offer competitive pay, benefits, and a relaxed flying schedule. He previously flew the F-4 Phantom II and the F/A-18 Hornet. Similarly, Marine Corps NFOs are also considered eligible for command at sea and ashore within Marine aviation, and are also eligible to hold senior general officer positions, such as command of Marine aircraft wings, Marine air-ground task forces (MAGTFs), joint task forces, Marine expeditionary forces, Marine Corps component commands and unified combatant commands. Some current and recently retired naval aircraft with side-by-side seating are also authorized to operate under dual-piloted weather minimums with one pilot and one NFO. Until 1966, their duties were performed by both commissioned officer and senior enlisted naval aviation observers (NAO).[1]. AF pilots also specialize in radar and intercept work as part of their air-to-air duties. In the F/A-18F Super Hornet and F/A-18D Hornet, the NFO position is known as the weapon systems officer (WSO) and may also be mission commander qualified. The fifth-generation single-seat jet is much more modern as it made its debut in 2005. Navy duty stations for pilots are unique because most of them are mobile. General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether … Rob V. is the founder of OperationMilitaryKids.org. He was the first NFO appointed to the position of Deputy Commander (then DCINC), Naval Forces Europe and retired from that position in 2001. He previously flew the F-14 Tomcat. They can serve as aircraft mission commanders, although in accordance with the OPNAVINST 3710 series of instructions, the pilot in command, regardless of rank, is always responsible for the safe piloting of the aircraft. Captain Dale Gardner was the first NFO to qualify and fly as a NASA Mission Specialist Astronaut aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-8. SNFOs begin MC2 training in the "core" syllabus. Naval Flight Officers are commissioned officers in either the Navy or Marine Corps. MC2 training has two phases: Core and Strand. He was the first NFO from the land-based maritime patrol aviation community to command a numbered fleet, the U.S. 6th Fleet, and later commanded the U.S. Pacific Fleet. While both fly fighters, Navy pilots use smaller aircraft for use on aircraft carriers. [Note 1] Students selected for land-based platforms (e.g., P-3 Orion, P-8 Poseidon, EP-3 Aries II, E-6 Mercury) will continue on to the advanced maritime command and control curriculum at VT-4. Students get their first hands-on experience piloting a Beechcraft T-6B Texan II or T-34C Turbo Mentor. He accumulated 6,150 flight hours in F-4, F-14, and F/A-18 aircraft during his career and safely completed 2,016 carrier-arrested landings, the record among all active and retired U.S. All Rights Reserved. He graduated from the U.S. Salary estimates are based on 35 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Naval Flight Officer employees. The Super Hornet made its debut in the mid-90s and has been utilized by the U.S. Navy since 2001. 7 Things To Consider, 3 Steps For Visiting An Army Recruiter Near You. The F-22 Raptor is primarily used for air attacks as well as ground attacks, electronic warfare, and signal intelligence. b. Upon graduation of Navy flight school, pilots receive either silver or gold wings. Read the full article below to learn more about the requirements, training, duty stations, aircraft, and more of each military flight program. Fighter pilots in the Navy and USAF are paid according to rank and time in service. And I think I'm the only one in my unit that actually wanted to be an NFO at one point in time! The training includes introductory flight training as well as specialized undergraduate pilot training. Navy pilots traditionally serve on aircraft carriers at sea, or military bases on shores like the East and West Coast. Currently, the Air Force has 12,500 pilots on active duty, while the Navy maintains a force of 7,000 active duty pilots. The F-15C Eagle is a twin-engine jet that originates from the early 1970s and is still used heavily in the Air Force. A Naval Flight Officer (NFO) is an aeronautically designated commissioned officer in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps that specializes in airborne weapons and sensor systems. Later in his career, he was promoted to rear admiral and vice admiral, and was the first NFO to hold the since disestablished position of Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare (OP-05). Related Article:  41 Questions To Ask A Military Recruiter. NFOs are not trained to pilot the aircraft, although they do train in some dual-control aircraft and are given the opportunity to practice "hands on controls" basic airmanship techniques. Naval Aviation designators.[5]. A 10-year captain makes $6,633 base pay a month. (3) Remove from flight status. Those that select carrier aviation will continue to Primary 2 training and remain at VT-10. There is currently a shortage of qualified pilots in both branches. The Thunderbirds fly F-16s and many pilots aspire to one day become a member of this incredible team. Those entering aviation programs must first attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, RI, and then complete a six-week air indoctrination course at Naval Aviation Schools Command, in Pensacola, FL. An air-to-air role is defined as military combat where there is a battle between aircraft where bullets or rockets are fired. You need to master the additional training of landing on aircraft carriers yet serving on one is a once in a lifetime experience. The Super Hornet has tremendous capabilities as it can carry air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface weapons. Navy fighter pilots generally get assigned a one or two-seat version of the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet. While he never actually served in the US Military, he has a passion for writing about military related topics. The Air Force also has an esteem flight demonstration team known as the Thunderbirds. Navy pilot training continues with Training Air Wing Five at NAS Whiting Field (Florida) or Training Air Wing Four at NAS Corpus Christi (Texas). Learn how and when to remove this template message, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center, A-5A (formerly A3J-1), A-5B (formerly A3J-2) and RA-5C (formerly A3J-3P) Vigilante, EC-121 (formerly WV-2 and WV-3) Warning Star, SP-2E/H (formerly P2V-5 and P2V-7) Neptune, List of United States Navy aircraft squadrons, List of United States Marine Corps aircraft squadrons, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq_-Kd98axE, http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioID=535, http://www.goefoundation.org/eagles/biographies/d/358/Driscoll-William-P, https://library.sdsu.edu/sites/default/files/DriscollTranscriptPt1.pdf, http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio_ret.asp?bioID=109, https://115marinereunion.com/115_Commanding_Officers.pdf, https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/the-navy-has-retired-the-ea-6b-prowler-after-45-years-o-1715596340, http://www.seaforces.org/usnair/VAQ/Electronic-Attack-Squadron-33, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Naval_flight_officer&oldid=997647895, Articles needing additional references from February 2014, All articles needing additional references, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Contact phase (aircraft systems, emergency procedures, basic communication, take-off/landing, ELPs, spins, precision aerobatics, course rules), Instrument phase (instrument flight procedures, flight planning, voice communication), Visual navigation phase (visual flight procedures, tactical route construction, precision aerobatics), Instrument phase (simulators and flights flown at a faster airspeed and used to bolster instrument procedures), Formation phase (ground school and flights used to introduce formation flying, tactical maneuvers, parade sequence, etc. He has landed on 19 different aircraft carriers, to include all 10 of the Nimitz class carriers. Naval Postgraduate School with advanced academic degrees in aerospace engineering or similar disciplines. Rear Admiral Stanley W. Bryant was the first NFO selected for the Navy's Nuclear Power Program as a Commander in 1986. Rear Admiral Benjamin Thurman Hacker was the first NFO flag officer, having been selected in 1980. Candidates also need to have a Bachelor’s degree in science from an accredited college or university. All Student NFOs begin primary training at Training Squadron TEN (VT-10), flying the T-6A Texan II trainer, eventually moving on to advanced training at Training Squadron 4 (VT-4) or Training Squadron 86 (VT-86). Training consists of four phases: After primary, students who have selected E-2s or land-based maritime aviation (P-3, P-8, EP-3, E-6) check into VT-4 for advanced maritime command and control (MC2) training. The only real distinction is in physical requirements: SNFOs may have less than 20/40 uncorrected distance vision. Naval flight officers operate some of the advanced systems on board most multi-crew naval aircraft, and some may also act as the overall tactical mission commanders of single or multiple aircraft assets during a given mission. Introductory training may take place at Columbus AFB (Mississippi), Vance AFB (Oklahoma), or Laughlin AFB (Texas). Afterwards, every student enrolls in one of several civilian flight schools located near NAS Pensacola. In an F-18 (or any other Navy aircraft), the pilot is called "a Navy Pilot." Today, SNFOs train under the Undergraduate Military Flight Officer (UMFO) program at Training Air Wing 6 at NAS Pensacola, alongside foreign students from various NATO, Allied and Coalition navies and air forces. Often, a senior NFO is paired with a junior pilot (and vice versa). Air Force pilots are officers with at least a rank of Second Lieutenant (O-1). NFO astronauts have also flown aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station as mission specialists and wear NFO-astronaut wings. Specialized undergraduate pilot training takes a year and is a combination of classroom learning, simulator training, and actual flying. What Was Your Primary Reason For Joining The Military? Regardless, both military branches are currently facing a shortage in qualified pilots which means now has never been a better time to consider becoming one. Meanwhile, the F-22 Raptor looks as cool as its name. The following are options specifically with regard to naval aviators: (1) Restrict to flight duties of next lower service group. It was one of the most impressive things I have ever witnessed and can see why countless Navy pilots strive to become Blue Angels one day. A current shortage of qualified pilots in both branches air-to-air role the prominent. Was nicknamed `` the blue pickle '' it also has an esteem flight demonstration known. 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