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Any FTS bubbas out there?

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webmaster

The Grass is Greener!
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Investigating my options as I approach the expiration of my commitment (still have a couple years)....

Was curious if there are any FTS (Full Time Support) bubbas or knowledgable Reservists out there in the aviation community that have any insight into their application process, and their experiences in the various FTS communities (VR, VP) etc...

I have looked over the package submission requirements and information on the main websites (thanks Falcaner!) :

http://www.persnet.navy.mil/pers9/pers92/pers921/TAR_boards/main_TAR_boards.htm
http://www.persnet.navy.mil/pers4417/PERS-462.htm

Please correct any of my following assumptions:

It seems that historically that there are 4-5 VP guys selected, and maybe one of them gets VR, the rest go to a reserve VP squadron. Looking at the career path/progression chart, it looks like a lot of time is spent flying, or in flying billets, and when you are not flying, you get sent to a Wing of some sort. Also, it seems that you continue to build towards the milestone of OIC (while the reserve CO and XO are gone)? Am I correct in that?

Also, how are the promotions to O4? On the website, says that while entrance is competitive (mediocre officers need not apply) to the FTS community, that promotions (up to O6) are on par with Fleet averages.

I also imagine that C9s and 737s (NI, Fort Worth, Jax) are all locked up exclusively for Helo, Jet and especially S3 sundown? But what about the GVs? Same situation?

I am sure that I have a bunch more questions, but would appreciate any info thats out there. (Wink, 46driver... cough, hint.. :) )

Thanks,

John
 

Falcaner

DCA "Don't give up the ship"
Hey John,
I am not wholly up to speed on the numbers in terms of VR since I am on the black shoe side now. However my understanding is that is the most competitive spot for aviators for obvious reasons. When it comes to application process in general it is very competitive. Selection is essentially based on your record and your recommendations. I can not stress enough how important recommendations are to your selection. A couple glowing recommendations can mean the difference between VR and not getting picked at all.
Once you are in promotions are against your peers in FTS, and not the fleet in general which is nice. However you do compete fleet wide for CO/XO screening boards. In terms of what one can expect with shore billets you can go to a wing, but you can also take a staff job (I don’t know if you will want to go to another one of those?). But you can also be assigned to be the XO/CO of a reserve center, depending on the size.

Sean
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
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Falcaner is right about the promotions and latter a assignments. You can get orders to many active duty commands. You can also command a reserve unit, it doesn't go just to SELRES types. OIC however is FTS only as you pretty much run the show when the CO/XO aren't drilling. Of course, you can expect to deploy with any flying squadron you are in, VP or VR. It ain't all shore duty and 2.0 sorties!
 

26Retro

Recovering COD pilot
John,

I am an ex-VRC/VAW community guy who submitted his package as a first shore tour LT and picked up FTS from the May '03 redesignation board. I left my normal "fleet" career behind last month and am in the process of checking into my first VR billet. Although I may be of more help in a few months once I get into the swing of things, I can at least share my experience of being someone who recently applied for and selected FTS.

My package consisted of the standard application letter (as outlined on the pers 4417 website) and a strong endorsement/recommendation letter from my CO. I had intended to submit an additional recommendation letter or two, but neither arrived in time so I mailed off my package without. I had strong sea duty fitreps and strong (though non-competetive) shore duty fitreps, but know many others had equally strong paper yet did not select. I wish I could tell you what made my package stand out, but to this day I have no idea. My point being, you never know till you try.

It seems that historically that there are 4-5 VP guys selected, and maybe one of them gets VR, the rest go to a reserve VP squadron.
Same with my community. I know at least 8-10 E-2/C-2 pilots who have picked up FTS over the past 4 years and until recently, the vast majority of them ended up in VAW billets or VT (for those who applied out of TRACOM IP tours). However, of the four E-2/C-2 pilots that I know who have picked up FTS within the last few boards, 3 out of 4 went to VR (the 4th to VT). I recently completed C-130 ground school with two VP FTS guys from Willow Grove. One is now headed to a VR job at Andrews, and one is staying in PA and headed to a fifth C-130 outfit supposedly forming out of a soon to be decomissioned reserve VP squadron. Both indicated that they expected quite a few more VP guys headed into VR-land due to the shrinking VP reserves. Not being a VP guy myself, I don't know how true this is, but here are definitely VR spots out there and it's not just the pointy nose guys who get them.

Also, how are the promotions to O4?
I would not expect any problems to the O4 level. Actually, since you can't switch over to FTS until you complete your original winging obligation, you may very likely be an O4 selectee before you even redesignate. In my case (2.5 years to wings + 7 year winging committment) I selected for O4 while nearing the end of my first shore tour so was still in the regular navy screen group. The problem potentially lies in screening for the all important OIC job and/or O-5. With pilot retention so high right now in the FTS community, competition is extremely fierce for relatively few OIC jobs. As explained to me recently, no OIC job = no CO/XO screen, which likely = no chance of picking up O5 and staying in a flying billet. As for picking up FTS O5 and heading off to complete your 20 years at a RESCEN or staff job somewhere? That is a question I need answered as well.

I also imagine that C9s and 737s (NI, Fort Worth, Jax) are all locked up exclusively for Helo, Jet and especially S3 sundown? But what about the GVs? Same situation?
Assuming you get VR, I know several prop guys (P3/E2/C2) who ended up in C-9s or C-40s. From my experience it seemed to be more a matter of timing than anything. When I first spoke with the FTS detailer, I listed the following preferences: C-40s (anywhere), Brunswick, Whidbey Island. He told me that there were no C-40 billets opening up within 8-9 months of my PRD, nothing in Whidbey Island until late 04, but if I agreed to roll at my MSR (May) vice my PRD (Aug), he could plug me into a billet in Brunswick. Had there been a C-9 or C-40 billet available between May-Sept I would have been elligible for it just the same as the C-130 billet I ended up taking. I think Gulfstreams are another story. I know several pilots who went to G5s as second tour FTS pilots, but don't believe it is a viable option for your first tour. I'm sure a quick phone call over to the Gulfstream guys out there in HI could clear that up fo you though.

Sorry for the long-winded response, but hope it helps. Definitely post a followup or PM me if you think of anything else.

Cheers!
 

webmaster

The Grass is Greener!
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Falcaner, once again thanks for pointing me in the right direction, and Wink thanks for providing some overall perspective.

26Retro, wow, what can I say? Thanks for sharing your insight, and passing on some of your own package and selection experiences. I am still undecided on what exactly I want to do for my follow on tour. Currently I am headed off to a (non flying, read "hard fill/quality fill") staff tour, after completing my first VP fleet tour. I think I will stack up well against the FTS competition with respect to the fitreps. For me, though, I made it to winging in 1 year, so O4 will be a little farther off. I am YG+5 right now, so at the end of this next tour is when I will be applying. I take it you applied the 18 months prior to end of winging commitment? Or sooner than that?

Just wanted to get an idea of what my options were. And you definitely filled in some of the missing blanks, I appreciate that.

Beer is on me at the club,

John
 
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