Sandworm

KSP just helped me pass an important test | Updated with work pics

Recommended Posts

Long story short: I just passed eight hours of testing for the AirForce pilot intake.  (8 hours at the machines over two days, not including breaks.)  They handed me a poorly-photocopied blank form (no deficiencies) with a tick on 'pilot' and the tester's signature.  I'm going to frame it.  Twenty people in the room and three passed as pilots.  This doesn't mean we will be selected, just that we have passed the biggest hurdle.*  Of the three, two were avid KSP players in recent years.   I'm not allowed to discuss details, but safe to say that skills needed to fly and dock in KSP are exactly the types of skills they tested.

So thank you Squad and KSP.  I have taken some time off from KSP this year but the game seems to have done me very well.

*All this testing comes only after general aptitude tests, background checks, education verification, two medicals, eye exams and a host of interviews.  I've been in this process for over a year.  You have to be committed long before they send you for the pilot tests because they aren't cheap.  They probably spend $5000 per person on a test that 90% fail.

LjDFuB9m.jpg

Edited by Sandworm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoorah and congratulations.
No doubt you'll soon be too busy for KSP.  Remember the Six Words while you're training.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Pecan said:

No doubt you'll soon be too busy for KSP.

I wish.  I have to go back to work on monday.  It could be months before I hear anything about the next steps.  It's not winning the lottery, but I understand the feeling winners must get when their perspective on work changes.  If I were to be selected as pilot everything I've done previously, my degrees, my license, the hundred or so courses and exams, means absolutely nothing.

Edited by Sandworm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No way. There is no such thing as useless knowledge and experience. You never know when something you learned earlier might come in handy. Would you expect a year ago that knowledge gained thanks to a computer game will help you pass pilot exams one day? :) Anyways, congratulations and good luck in your new career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your service to the Free World, and congrats on your success! Hope you get to fly the planes you want to fly!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congrats!  I always wanted to be a jet pilot as a kid, but that was before I realized how awful my eyes are lol

Good luck!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Slam_Jones said:

Congrats!  I always wanted to be a jet pilot as a kid, but that was before I realized how awful my eyes are lol

Good luck!!

Same here, so I ended up enlisting and loading bombs on F-111Ds and F-111Fs for seven years (1984-1991).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, MaxxQ said:

Same here, so I ended up enlisting and loading bombs on F-111Ds and F-111Fs for seven years (1984-1991).

5 hours ago, Slam_Jones said:

Congrats!  I always wanted to be a jet pilot as a kid, but that was before I realized how awful my eyes are lol

Good luck!!

I don't use glasses, but my eyes are nowhere near perfect and for distance vision glasses would certainly help.  But armed forces don't care today as they did in the past.  Insisting on 20-20 means lots of good candidates are missed.  They also realize that if you eyes are 20-20 in your 20s, by the time you're done all the training (5+ years) they won't be 20-20.  I'm old enough that they have already degraded and now are more stable.  What really matters seems to be eye health.

China is all over this.  Their armed forces are facing 95+ of male candidates wearing glasses.  They realize that they must accommodate.  NASA, on the other hand, is still wanting 20-20 even though a few months at the space station can destroy your vision.

Edited by Sandworm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Diche Bach said:

... your service to the Free World ...

Are you sure?  There's nothing in this thread to suggest he's not in North Korea.  Er, apart from the fact it's here at all, of course ... [I am kidding]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heh, heh . . . well he did say "USAF" so I assumed he was referring to the organization based in the United States and commanded by El Presidente :wink:

Hopefully at some point we'll ALL (even Dear Leader) be members of the "Free World;" things have progressed reasonably well these past 100 years or so . . . I like to think that consumerism is unstoppable and consumerism inevitably leads to democratic reforms, albeit slow and unevenly in many cases.

16 hours ago, Sandworm said:

I don't use glasses, but my eyes are nowhere near perfect and for distance vision glasses would certainly help.  But armed forces don't care today as they did in the past.  Insisting on 20-20 means lots of good candidates are missed.  They also realize that if you eyes are 20-20 in your 20s, by the time you're done all the training (5+ years) they won't be 20-20.  I'm old enough that they have already degraded and now are more stable.  What really matters seems to be eye health.

China is all over this.  Their armed forces are facing 95+ of male candidates wearing glasses.  They realize that they must accommodate.  NASA, on the other hand, is still wanting 20-20 even though a few months at the space station can destroy your vision.

I just wish the U.S. armed forces were desperate enough to take middle-aged early-retired professors. They wouldn't even take me when I was 35 for Crimney Sake! I seriously checked in to it, and every recruiter I spoke to said pretty much the same thing: "Too old, and frankly too educated. You'd have little chance to get into Officer Candidacy, despite the Ph.D., and so your best prospect would be to climb the ranks to Warrant Officer . . ."

Some of the finest soldiers in world history were over 50, though granted the Ph.D. part is perhaps a bit unprecedented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Diche Bach said:

Heh, heh . . . well he did say "USAF" so I assumed he was referring to the organization based in the United States and commanded by El Presidente :wink:

Hopefully at some point we'll ALL (even Dear Leader) be members of the "Free World;" things have progressed reasonably well these past 100 years or so . . . I like to think that consumerism is unstoppable and consumerism inevitably leads to democratic reforms, albeit slow and unevenly in many cases.

Who said anything about the USAF?  There are other countries in the world with an "Air Force".  It was actually the RCAF, not the USAF.  But the testing is very much the same.    There are probably no two air forces more integrated than the USAF and the RCAF.  The whole world sends jet pilots to train in Canada.  Our training area for low-level flying is larger than western europe, without anyone to complain about noise.  Conversely, about 1/3 of the officers inside Cheyenne Mountain are RCAF.

Edited by Sandworm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Sandworm said:

Who said anything about the USAF?  There are other countries in the world with an "Air Force".  It was actually the RCAF, not the USAF.  But the testing is very much the same. 

LOL, yeah I noticed that right after I posted! :D

Well, in any event, I think Cameroon is still part of the Free World!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Diche Bach said:

Heh, heh . . . well he did say "USAF" so I assumed he was referring to the organization based in the United States and commanded by El Presidente :wink:

Hopefully at some point we'll ALL (even Dear Leader) be members of the "Free World;" things have progressed reasonably well these past 100 years or so . . . I like to think that consumerism is unstoppable and consumerism inevitably leads to democratic reforms, albeit slow and unevenly in many cases.

I just wish the U.S. armed forces were desperate enough to take middle-aged early-retired professors. They wouldn't even take me when I was 35 for Crimney Sake! I seriously checked in to it, and every recruiter I spoke to said pretty much the same thing: "Too old, and frankly too educated. You'd have little chance to get into Officer Candidacy, despite the Ph.D., and so your best prospect would be to climb the ranks to Warrant Officer . . ."

Some of the finest soldiers in world history were over 50, though granted the Ph.D. part is perhaps a bit unprecedented.

For any canadians reading this, there is no fixed age limit in the canadian forces.  The limit is whether or not you can complete your commitment prior to mandatory retirement at 60.  Pilots have to commit to a 9-year term, so the theoretical limit is 51.  (If you wash out of the pilot program you can then leave after 2-years).  I do know of people going through boot camp in their mid-to-late forties, but they were enlisted who were becoming officers (you have do boot camp again).  And there are upsides to being a little older.  As officers you are expected to have a degree and for senior positions they expect a masters or better.  If you already have a masters, you won't be taking time off to complete one.  That's a real plus. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some posts have been removed from this thread. Can't we please just be happy for Sandworm without getting into politics and ideologies? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, numerobis said:

@Sandworm will you be flying helicopters, jet fighters, or transport planes? Or do you know that yet?

No idea atm.  I haven't been selected.  I've just passed the big test.  The splits between aircraft come in stages once you finish the various flight schools.  If I were selected today then everything is a possibility, except the Sea Kings which will be out of service very soon.  Plus the 35 might be here in a couple years.  Forget bridges and hospitals.  Who cares that they cost more than ships.  I'm now totally in support of canada acquiring dozens of f-35s.  Either I'll fly them or they will draw the top students, clearing the way for me to do what I want.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_Canadian_military_aircraft

I've taken the weekend off to decompress, but I'm itching for monday when I can confirm my entry wishes with the recruiter.  I'm not posting here for congrats.  Rather I think many don't realize how much of modern pilot selection is a computer game.  Google around and you will find the selection guides with some screenshots of the tests I took.  And you don't need to be a star athlete or noble prize winner.  I was initially interested in joining as an attorney, it was a local recruiter who suggested pilot.  I'll certainly keep the ksp community up to date if/when I am selected.  I'll probably disappear after that for a year or two.

Edited by Sandworm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Best of luck!

I just hope you don't get stuck in an air-conditioned room in Tampa bombing Yemeni civilians -- for which I hear video game skills are particularly needed. Those pilots apparently suffer PTSD a lot more than pilots who actually end up in theatre.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Updates: The airforce medical people just approved my basic medical information (done by my local docs)  My next step is specific an "air crew" medical at an air force facility.  That will be sometime next month or two.  I had been worried about my eyesight (far from perfect) but they have seen the report from my optometrist.  If my eyes were too much of a problem they would have rejected me long ago.

Fyi, for pilot applicants they run your eyes through EVERY test.  It took an entire afternoon.  I'd never done any of them before.  None were horrible, but by the end my eyes really hurt.  I called in sick the next day.  Much of what they are looking for is eye health, not just visual ability.

Anyone reading this and thinking of a life in an air force, be very careful about laser eye surgery.  Talk to a medical officer, not just a recruiter.  Some laser procedures are acceptable, others are not.  And some might restrict which aircraft you can fly (ie no jets due to G worries).  They will scan your eyes to detect evidence of surgery.  If you are caught in a lie, they will show you the door and tell you to never come back.  If the air force wants you they will spend time discussing laser eye surgery.  They don't want to reject a good candidate for something that can be fixed.  Getting a restriction because of prior eye surgery isn't a big deal unless you have your heart set on fighters.  Most AF pilots fly either helicopters or transport aircraft where g-forces aren't a big deal.

Edited by Sandworm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck!

I'm fortunate to have extremely good eyesight ( although my very near vision is just starting to go :S ), unfortunately the RAF said "migraines? nope!" and that was the end of any chance of fast jets ( or anything non-civil ) for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fighter pilots have this fame and glamour associated with them, but if it were me I'd pick the A-10 and get way more action!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Xavven said:

Fighter pilots have this fame and glamour associated with them, but if it were me I'd pick the A-10 and get way more action!

The A-10 has serious problems.  Most are flown by the national guard.  So they don't see action unless the guard is called up, and that only happens if US ground forces are deployed.  From a pilot training perspective, it's a multi-engine jet fighter like any other.  It pulls 4-5g rather regularly.  You have to do 90% of the same training.  What it doesn't have is all the modern communications gear, limiting its use in anything other than CAS.  And it is never allowed to fly anywhere enemy radar systems might operate.  For all it's rep, the A-10 would be cut in half by any modern radar-directed gun or missile.  Even if it were an option, I'm not sure would be a good career choice. 

On the other hand, the a-10's possible replacement looks amazing:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Textron_AirLand_Scorpion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus, IIRC and if the RCAF is like the USAF and USN - you don't actually get to pick.  Based on all the exams and workups, the results of your training, and the current needs of the Service - you'll be assigned somewhere.  Could be a fighter pilot, could be flying a transport.   And heaven forbid you manage to wash out, you still have a service commitment and you'll end up JOOD on a tin can somewhere.  Had a Division Officer like that, washed out, went to an oiler, and volunteered subs to get off the oiler.  He was lucky, they closed the boats to non nuke officers about a year later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

Plus, IIRC and if the RCAF is like the USAF and USN - you don't actually get to pick.  Based on all the exams and workups, the results of your training, and the current needs of the Service - you'll be assigned somewhere.  Could be a fighter pilot, could be flying a transport.   And heaven forbid you manage to wash out, you still have a service commitment and you'll end up JOOD on a tin can somewhere.  Had a Division Officer like that, washed out, went to an oiler, and volunteered subs to get off the oiler.  He was lucky, they closed the boats to non nuke officers about a year later.

The am I glad I'm not an American.  The policy as told to me is that needs of the service dictate how many open positions are available at each point in the training path.  The RCAF isn't very big, so that can change radically from year to year depending on who is retiring.  But we then get to choose our path based on our class rank.  Being top of the class doesn't make you a fighter pilot.  It gives you first choice of assignments.  Lots of people actually want to fly transport because you can then go on to make big bucks flying 747s for a major airline.  Others want to fly helicopters for similar reasons, and because they want to do search and rescue operations.  That's a really big thing in Canada given the distances involved.  The "fast jets" aren't everyone's first choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.