Discussion in 'Naval Flight Officer (NFO)' started by bobcat2006, Nov 3, 2005.
I'm a bigger man than that....but not much.
I think the thread got off track from orignal question. Not that that's a bad thing, but even though I haven't been a JO for just about two decades...ouch! (old guys are wont to say they'd trade stripes, jobs, fortunes, etc. to be a JO again). one rite of passage as a JO is to stand the duty....regardless of type aircraft. When everyone else is going flying, you wear your khakis when everyone else is in a bag and you've got the mission (primary priority over all else regardless of whatever is going on) to get in first so the coffee pot gets started and keeping it filled until last flight is over. Chances are that either the CO. XO or one of the hingeheads will decide to be your Huckleberry and find every opportunity to torment you throughout your watch. At sea (on carrier, that is) you also get to stand IWO after flight hours (hopefully handler has a no smoking policy) and tower flower when aircraft are launching and recovering. Overall, life as a JO can be like nothing else, but it is not without its rite of passage....did I forget to mention Boat O Duty in port...like you're going to save a UBoat from a calamity and you're just the ticket to control 60 individuals returning tot he ship in early AM hours with way too much happy juices in their systems...quarters are deluxe at sea.....remember how much fly sleepovers were with friends when you were little and how much you liked bunkbeds....your dream will com true...sleepovers every night wth 6-8 of your newest, bestest friends. Ah, the life of a JO!
A few NFO questions
Hello, I'm currently in the application process and I am trying to decide whether to put pilot or NFO as my first choice.
Because my vision is borderline for SNA (acquity is fine, but refractive limits are iffy), I'm thinking it is probably best to put NFO for first choice (no point in wasting a billet just to be NPQd, right?). I could start wearing contact lenses, and possibly transition one day.
However, I'm expecting that if I put NFO first, I'll stick with it, and not try to transition unless I really don't like the job. So I had a few questions about the quality of life of NFOs. I know a lot has been posted on this, and I realize that the duties vary GREATLY depending on the pipelines, so I'll try to be specific:
1) It's hard for someone like me (with no navy experience) to distinguish between the little fun jabs that NFOs and pilots take at each other, and what the job is really like. ARE NFOs treated at all like 2nd class citizens? I think I could be very happy with the job as long as I felt that what I was doing was important, and that pilots / other crewmembers respected my contributions and input. I don't really want to be a rock star, but I don't want to be a flight attendant either.
2) Have most NFOs in the fleet found their job to be rewarding and challenging? I know there is an NFO to pilot transition program...is that mostly for people who never wanted to be NFOs in the first place and are bitter, or does the job make people want to become pilots?
3) Again, I know this really depends on which pipeline, but how much responsibility is generally placed on an NFO. I mean, is the NFO generally doing enough to stay busy for most of the flight? Or does he kind of go, OK that's done, wake me up in 2 hours?
4) I assume ground duties are about the same as pilot (and as important).
Thanks in advance
I can only speak to my community(VFA), but I would be willing to bet that you would/will hear the same things from guys in every community. NFO's are not treated as second class citizens. Both crew members have responsibilities and if either person is not doing their job, then the jet is not being utilized as a weapon appropriately. There is good natured ribbing that goes along with having both pilots and NFO's in the same squadron, but it is all in good fun and fairly minimal to be honest. There are plenty of other things you can do to make fun of guys in your squadron without insulting there career choice.
The work you do depends on the platform, but both aircrew are always busy, and the work is rewarding. You are equally responsible for the success or failure of the mission. There is a transition program, but it is very competitive, and I can assure you that those slots do not go to the people that are bitter and don't enjoy and excell at their jobs. Responsibilities are similar. Obviously the NFO is not going to be the aircraft commander, but they will be mission commanders and strike leads.
Ground jobs are equal opportunity.
Hope this helps.
Here's some insight from an SNFO that wanted to be a pilot, but is perfectly happy as an SNFO and wouldn't want it any other way.
Put SNA down as your first choice if that's what you want. If they haven't told you that you are NPQ, then as far as you're concerned, you're PQ. Don't put down SNFO as your first choice if you want SNA. You'll kick yourself in the arse for it for the rest of your life. Go for what you want.
That a great attitude to have going into it all. Most people I know, even the ones that wanted pilot, love being NFOs and are glad they got the opportunity.
From my VERY LIMITED experiences, no they aren't. NFO's are valuable, contributing members of the crew. In multiplace aircraft, everycrewmember contributes to the sucess of the mission. If the NFO can't employ the weapons and sensors, mission doesn't get accomplished. If the pilot can't get the aircraft in the air and to where it needs to be, mission doesn't get accomplished. Team effort. I'll let some of the winged guys go deeper into that.
Only thing I'll touch on here is to say that even though my first choice was pilot, I'm quite happy as an SNFO, and feel that i will be as a winged NFO when that time comes (sometime this coming summer, God willing). I know some NFO's who've made the switch to pilot, and some pilots who've made the switch to NFO.
If you're banking on a transfer either way, its a long shot. I'd say not to put any eggs in that basket. Thats something else the winged guys can elaborate on.
I can only touch this from a flight school point of view. As a student, you'll be busy most of the flight. Most of my instructors have let us know that the work load in the aircraft depends on the type of mission and the rest of the crew.
Another thing I'll let the winged guys touch on.
Hope it helps. I'm still a student, so alot of what I said is incomplete and such. The winged guys will be able to eloborate on what I've said as well as give you stuff I've left out.
In the end, it comes down to what you want to do. If you want to be a pilot first, put it down first. If you think you may be able to handle being in the aircraft but not actually manipulating the flight controls, put NFO down 2nd. I think you'll enjoy flying whether you're trying to earn single anchor wings or double anchor wings.
Even though I'm an NFO and happy with it, I'm glad I put pilot down first b/c now I'm not wondering "Could I have gotten pilot if I'd tried?". I know the answer to that, and I'm happy where I am.
Bset of luck,
If you get picked up for pilot, then you know exactly what you'll be doing after you make it through flight school: flying an aircraft. It might be any of a number of aircraft that the Navy operates, but flying is what you'll do.
If you get picked up for NFO, you really don't know what you'll be doing, and won't until you're more advanced in the pipeline. But you won't be flying the plane. Whether your primary role is hunting subs in a P-3, electronic warfare in a Prowler, or managing air combat in an E-2...you're not behind the controls. Of course, you might help with the operation of the aircraft (nav or comms), but your job is not to be an aviator. Me personally, I like that. I didn't join the Navy wanting to be a pilot. If you want to be a pilot, then apply for that and take that, because there aren't going to be a lot of chances to switch once you're in. And on top of that, you'll work every day with people who are living YOUR dream.
Bubba hit on most of the rest of your questions...But don't become an NFO thinking that you're "almost an aviator." In many roles, you're a passenger with an important job to do.
I definintely don't see it that way.
Nor do I. Strike that word from your vocabulary when talking about NFOs.
If you go into NFO with an attitude like that you might end up killing yourself and your crew......
You just earned negative rep for that one.....:icon_rage
It used to be if a SNA got NPQ in Pensacola it was an automatic transfer to SNFO if they were PQ for that program. Has this changed?
If you really want to be a pilot, apply for SNA and see what happens. NFO is a great job and if you go NFO because you were NPQ for pilot or because the NFO job is what really interest you, you will find satisfaction and you will be happy. If are PQ for pilot and you go NFO when you really want to be a pilot, there is a real good chance you will be miserable.
Whoa, okay...let me see if I can get out from under this dogpile.
The biggest reason that I wrote what I did (which admittedly was a gross oversimplification) is that I have several friends who are SNFOs that meant to be pilots...i.e. they were physically qualified for pilot and some have pilot's licenses with all kinds of ratings and experience, but they weren't picked up for pilot (at least not immediately) and signed on for NFO, thinking that either 1) they'd be able to easily transition to pilot, or 2) pilots and NFOs undergo the same training (true to a limited point), have the same quals, and essentially do the same job.
To the original questioner: as an NFO, you're not going to take the stick. You're not going to make the emergency landing on the carrier if the pilot becomes incapacitated. You're not going to log thousands of hours of PIC time that you can take to the airlines later.
Again, this is all for the sake of simplification. If an ECMO wants to tell an API class that he flies Prowlers, that's fine--because everyone in the room already knows that that plane isn't going anywhere without a pilot. For someone looking into Naval career paths, I think it's better to clarify that the pilot flies the plane and the NFOs have various missions which definitely include assisting with the aircraft's operations--and that there's only one stick on a Prowler. NFO is NOT a backdoor into being a pilot.
Anyway, for the NFOs on the board--no offense intended...if you feel the need, flame on. The little red rep dots along with the green ones make the screen look kind of Christmasy.
A passengers job is to STFU and enjoy the scenery, an NFO's job is to help accomplish the mission. Thats what was chafing your fellow Air Warriors
Why some of the senior NFO leadership chooses to appear so offended by what was obviously a mis-understanding and mis-assignment of terms (aviator, passenger, etc. warranting a correction surely) is what confuses me.
If anything, it looks (to the youngsters) like an inferiority complex, snap-reaction, which I know, isn't the case.
Just my perspective...
I don't believe it is still automatic, but very common at least.
About this NFO as passenger/near aviator/non flying officer. IRfly has fine tuned his statement, but there is more to consider. In some missions on some aircraft the NFO certainly has down time in between, or in transit to/from station. All that time the pilot is indeed "flying" the aircraft. But if that means the NFO is just a passenger then does it follow that the copilot or 3p is just a passenger? How about the flight engineer? None of them are passengers. They are trained airmen/aviators (note the samll case A) assigned to a crew. If the sh!t hits the fan the 3p and FE will be on the flight deck asap making valuable contributiions, likewise, the NFOs in the crew will be up on ICS at their stations and in the check list. I agree with the above comments. The minute a NFO starts to consider himself a passenger he is putting the rest of the crew at risk.
Only real difference in ground jobs and additional responsiblities between pilots and NFOs is that only pilots are LSOs and the NFOs usually spend more time in mission/strike plannning and weaponeering.
It chafes b/c its not recognizing what we are trained to do/training to become.
Absolutely not. We are responsible for making sure the impression left with members and visitors to this site are accurate. And if it was misunderstood by the few that have responded here then it could be misunderstood by many with far less knowledge of NAVIR. The postings are to set the record straight, not slam the indidvual who made the initial comments (well, maybe Brett did ). After all, he has yet to experience the fleet as a NFO. Those of us you think have some kind of inferiority complex have been in the fleet and know better. You should be so lucky!!
For the record, I completely understand and agree that all members of the aircrew are valuable contributors to the mission of the aircraft. Each member, though, also has his/her more specific function (the reason that person is in the aircraft to begin with). Flying the plane (hands on the stick and throttle, feet on the rudder) is not what NFOs do. If you want to fly the plane, do not become an NFO. If you are considering going into Naval aviation, and someone tells you that NFOs "fly the plane," or "are just like pilots," you are getting bad gouge. You will be contributing to the mission in any number of important ways, but you will not be flying the plane.
For your information, it has taken me years of work to make my inferiority as complex as it is.
^ I dunno ... I let my B/N's fly the bounce pattern. Auto-throttles on ... they lean over the center counsel, grab the stick .... good time for me to take a nap.
"Roger B/N Ball" ...
^^^ I just spit coke on my keyboard!
EXCELLENT ..... well done.
Who do you know who made the switch from pilot to NFO? Just curious. Also, to any Marine NFOs, how many NFOs per year generally get picked up for the NFO to pilot transition? Because we've got 3 of them in our squadron right now, and that seems like a lot, but I don't know.
Hmm, if thats what you want to call it.
Thank you, thank you. :sly_125:
Now for my next trick, I will actually pull the entire MMA project......out of my ass. ropeller
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