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Job responsibilities/Switching

DA1202

New Member
I'm a senior engineering student from a Maritime Academy, and I'm pursuing Navy Officer slots. Originally I was applying for CEC, but my recruiter told me he had another applicant with a package similar to mine who got rejected, so I need have some back-up options. He was pushing Aviation somewhat hard, especially the NFO. Cool job, and I wouldn't turn it down, but it's on the compete opposite spectrum when compared to CEC. Nonetheless, at 22, I wouldn't really turn having that as a day job down.

I've done some research on NFO, and I'm surprised that there are no videos on it, and was looking for some information if anyone could offer some. I found only one video on Youtube, and it was cut off when it clearly had more footage to show. Any links you might offer? Pretty much any text based site I have found seem to say the same things.

I've read NFO's have a lot of job responsibilities. Is this true, or do they have multiple NFO's on a plane doing individual tasks? I feel like personally, an NFO has a lot more responsibility than the pilot, and a lot more jobs that can transition to civilian careers better than that of a pilot. Maybe it's just me though...

As of now (11/21/13), is the Navy as desperately in need of NA's as my recruiter is telling me? He told me they lowered the GPA qualifications to a 2.5. I always got the impression to be in aviation, you needed to be close to walking on water in terms of your academics, especially in the Navy. I have a 2.82, with a fairly lengthy resume (if you ask me). I'm not going to say it's the best one out there, but I'd like to think I've been more than productive while here at school.

I have a buddy who has an Aviation contract with the USMC, and he told me (at least with them) they are starting to phase out NFOs because the technology is so advanced that a pilot can start to do most of it himself. He also said an NFO is a crappy job, and that I should just pursue pilot instead. What should I take from that? Kinda leads me to my last question...

I just joined this community yesterday, but I was poking around, and I see a lot of people posting about switching from NFO to NP, and not a whole lot posting the other way around. What is the reasoning for this? Just out of curiosity.

Thank you for the answers in advance. I apologize if I may have said things that seem completely untrue, but I just don't have enough knowledge about it yet to make informed statements.
 

BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
....an NFO has a lot more responsibility than the pilot, and a lot more jobs that can transition to civilian careers better than that of a pilot. Maybe it's just me though...
It is "just you"... the Pilot is the Aircraft Commander, responsible for aircraft & crew, the ultimate responsibility. As for transitioning to civilian careers, I don't see where either one has any advantage over the other. That would more depend on their degree major.
I have a 2.82, with a fairly lengthy resume (if you ask me). I'm not going to say it's the best one out there, but I'd like to think I've been more than productive while here at school.
Sorry to pee on your pop tarts... but given your GPA, the rest of your 'resume' had best be stellar, as you'll be competing with most folks (even Engineering majors), rocking >3.o GPAs.:eek:
He also said NFO is a crappy job, and that I should just pursue pilot instead. What should I take from that? Kinda leads me to my last question...
You should take NADA from that ignorant opinion. I think Renegade, and our other resident Superstar NFOs will further opine on his statement.
I just joined this community yesterday, but I was poking around, and I see a lot of people posting about switching from NFO to NP, and not a whole lot posting the other way around. What is the reasoning for this?
I believe that some NFOs after gaining experience in their specialty, decide they would like to transition to Pilot for various reasons. I believe we have, or used to have, several AW members who have made the NFO to NA; and/or the reverse transition:).

As for Pilot to NFO, the majority of these redesignations are due to medical problems arising that become PDQ for NA, but PQ for NFO (normally vision).:(
I apologize if I may have said things that seem completely untrue, but I just don't have enough knowledge about it yet to make informed statements.
True that... but, yours was an intelligent, well thought out and structured post. I'm sure our Pro NFOs will chime in with better info on 'their specialty' than some ol' stick monkey like Da' Bee!:D
BzB
 

CommodoreMid

Whateva! I do what I want!
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Depending on your plane you may have multiple NFOs. On the P-8, for example, we have 2. The tactical coordinator (TACCO) is responsible for taking the inputs of all the sensor operators and directing their efforts, as well as the flight station's positioning of the aircraft, to accomplish whatever mission we're doing that day, be it ASW, ASU, ISR, whatever. The TACCO is also responsible for setting up all ordnance drops, be they sonobuoys or weapons. The co-tactical coordinator (COTAC) is the more junior NFO on the plane, primarily responsible for mission comms, and assisting the TACCO, while basically learning how to be the TACCO one day. That's my job in a nutshell. I'm blind as shit so pilot wasn't an option for me, but I like being a double anchor type and wouldn't go pilot even if I could. I get to nerd out on tactics and focus on the mission, as well as lead the efforts of my crew.

As far as your buddy with the aviation contract, he doesn't know shit. You probably should listen to people who actually have wings. NFOs are definitely here to stay for a loooooooong time (at least in the Navy).
 

cfam

A pilot is a pilot. An NFO is something else.
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
In VAQ (Electronic Attack) land, you'll wear many different hats as the NFO. We're largely a two seat community at this point (flying the E/A-18 Growler), so the NFO (aka: Electronic Warfare Officer/EWO), handles both the copiloting duties (communications, navigation, pilot backup), as well as the mission systems (our jamming systems). The jet presents you with a ton of information, so you'll be constantly working with your pilot to ensure you are putting the jet in the right piece of sky so that you can provide the most effective jamming coverage possible.

I would never say that you have more responsibility as the NFO, but I will say that if you're doing a poor job in the backseat, it will definitely hurt your pilot/the mission.

I'll second CommodoreMid's claim that your Marine buddy doesn't know shit. I'm sure he's heard that the Marine Corps is beginning to phase out their NFOs (which they are eventually), but that's absolutely not the case on the Navy side. There are a ton of seats in brand new aircraft for you (P-8s, F/A-18s, E/A-18s, E-2s, etc...), it just depends on the type of mission/flying you're interested in.

As someone who is considering the NFO to Pilot transition, I will tell you that I absolutely love being an NFO. That being said, becoming a pilot has always been a dream of mine, and applying for the transition is just a continuation of that dream. I know several pilots who transitioned from NFO, and they all loved what they were doing prior to the transition. Let's face it: at the end of the day, you're still wearing a flight suit to work, and getting paid to fly. I consider that a pretty damn good deal, regardless of the seat you sit in.
 
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DA1202

New Member
Thank you all for the replies. As for my buddy, I usually take his advice with a grain of salt, I just happened to go to him because he knows more about aviation than I do. It's also interesting to hear the reasons for switching from NFO to pilot... I think part of my reason for wanting to go NFO is because my grandfather did something similar on the enlisted side back in the day during Korea. Funny how this shit happens...

Does anybody know of any ways to get into the pipeline other than OCS? Again, this is only what I hear, but I heard the average applicant for OCS is like a 4.0 GPA, etc etc...
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
OCS will be the only route for you, as a college senior. Typical applicant does NOT have a 4.0. Yours is low, like mentioned above. But it is in engineering and your chances would depend on lots of other factors both in your application and what the Navy's needs are the day your app comes to the board. You could increase your chances by totally rocking the ASTB (entrance test). If serious about giving it a shot, take advantage of this forum to prepare for the test. BTW, as a retired NFO, and 10K hour airline pilot, I don't think I missed anything being a NFO during my Navy career. Different strokes.
 

BusyBee604

St. Francis/Hugh Hefner Combo!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Does anybody know of any ways to get into the pipeline other than OCS? Again, this is only what I hear, but I heard the average applicant for OCS is like a 4.0 GPA, etc etc...
You must have been given this number by your uninformed buddy... also?:rolleyes:

I would estimate that the applicant average GPA is ~3.2, but applications are accepted from >2.50-4.00. A low range GPA may be competitive IF, the rest of the package rocks. Selection rates, i.e. "my chances", cannot be predicted accurately by GPA alone, because the total strength of the package is also a large factor; as well as the variable "needs of the Navy" (#slots v #applicants), with each selection board!;)
BzB
 
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DA1202

New Member
Good to know. I still have a lot of work to do, but this makes me feel a lot better. I clearly have to stop talking to this kid lol... Thank you for the replies. It has been a great deal of help. Undoubtedly I will have more questions, so this post might stay active for a while. Thank you all again!
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
A few years ago there was an un-filled need for SNFOs which allowed some folks with lower GPA to get into the program from various commissioning sources. I'm certain that NavalOfficerRec might know the current or forcasted OCS NFO "need."

As a former Enlisted Aircrewman and then as an EA-6B NFO, I had a blast throughout my career and there were plenty of times where I was glad I wasn't driving the bus.

Continue to get educated about the different aviation jobs and go for it.
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
A few years ago there was an un-filled need for SNFOs which allowed some folks with lower GPA to get into the program from various commissioning sources. I'm certain that NavalOfficerRec might know the current or forcasted OCS NFO "need."

As a former Enlisted Aircrewman and then as an EA-6B NFO, I had a blast throughout my career and there were plenty of times where I was glad I wasn't driving the bus.

Continue to get educated about the different aviation jobs and go for it.

I have some numbers at home, in general though NFO is usually third on the number of OCS spots behind SNA and SWO, I have seen people with lower GPA's be selected for SNA, I think that is just a numbers thing though as with fewer SNFO spots the competition would be a little more stiff.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
The TACCO is also responsible for setting up all ordnance drops, be they sonobuoys or weapons. The co-tactical coordinator (COTAC) is the more junior NFO on the plane, primarily responsible for mission comms, and assisting the TACCO, while basically learning how to be the TACCO one day.
Really? I object to this hijack of VS heritage. The VS community and Lockheed coined COTAC for NFOs and it meant Copilot/ Tactical Coordinator. It was the NFO that flew in the front right seat. He could accomplish all TACCO duties (a bit more difficult than from in back due to displays and buttons) and provided traditional copilot duties. He wasn't a CO-tactical coordinator. When we flew two sensos in back, the front seat NFO was still a COTAC, not TACCO. When pilots flew in the right seat they were copilots. I guess I can see why the second NFO isn't called a nav/comm in the P-8 these days. Is that true in P-3s as well? In your new job you should recommend a new name/qualification for the second NFO in VP crews that is unique to your community. In keeping with the same convention for pilots, I propose 2T . ;)
 

Renegade One

Well-Known Member
None
In your new job you should recommend a new name/qualification for the second NFO in VP crews that is unique to your community.
Don't you EVEN try "Reconnaissance Integration Officer" or anything like that…RIO is taken as well… ;)
 
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