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Nuke pipeline vs. NFO/Pilot pipeline

Sarpedon

ET2(SS/DV)
Hey guys, I'm currently a nuke ET on a sub and I'm considering being a pilot in a few years (I'm only 20 and I just showed up to the boat in June so I have a while to think about it).

I read the gouge on API (http://www.airwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14323) and the description of the curriculum and exams sounds a lot like power school to me. As I was going through the pipeline (And I'm sure a lot of you prior nukes heard this too) they told us that the nuclear pipeline was one of the hardest programs around.

My question is, how do both pipelines compare, difficulty wise? Obviously the nuke pipeline required very little physical strength, but it was still pretty tough. Obviously everyone's different and anything could happen, but I've made it through the nuke pipeline. Is it safe to say I'll probably make it through the pilot program? When I was going through, there was an approx. 90% pass rate throughout the entire pipeline. What percentage of student aviators make it through and become pilots/NFOs? I've only heard rumors about those numbers...

Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Keep in mind that you are comparing the enlisted nuke program with the NFO/Pilot pipeline. Perhaps a more reasonable comparison, if there is one, would be to compare the officer nuke program, to include prototype, with flight school. In that comparison, I would say that the nuke program is probably a little harder. I am thinking mostly about prototype where the watches can be very draining and come one after another with little relief. Flight school can run very sporadicly. There is often plenty of down time to prepare for flights and study for exams or briefs. Keep in mind that that is my experience. Some guys just happen to enjoy the nuke type of program so they would find it more enjoyable and perhaps easier then flight school. There are a couple former enlisted nukes on AW. They will probably have a more recent and informed point of view then me. I am sure everyone here will tell you to not give up on your dream of getting a commission and going aviation. It might seem like you have a lot of time, but it flies by. Stay focused. Qualify rapidly on the boat and get outstanding evals. Start which ever commissioning program you will qualify for as soon as you can. Good luck.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
RetreadRand said:
silver: Your post has no relevance to what the thread is asking.
You are not even in the Navy right now.

Sarpedon: It is a different type of difficulty. Book smarts are needed in aviation, but if there is one thing I have learned, it is that you need to be able to think and calculate things quickly...Groundspeeds/fuel flows in minutes...rates of descent required in order to make an altitude restriction, rate of climb required in order to clear an obstacle etc etc...

I am sure the studying aspect would not be a problem for a nuke, but the execution is something totally different...but studying the books and acting out the procedures will allow better execution....
Along these lines, in the nuke world every procedure (as I recall) is read from a book or check list. Virtually nothing is done from memory, even though a nuke's head is filled with all sorts of useless data and plenty of brain power. In aviation we respond to all kinds of emergencies and perform procedures from memory under time constraints and other pressures.
 
You can be the smartest, fastest thinking guy around but you also need the monkey skills too. I've seen some very bright people wash out of pilot training and it wasn't because they didn't study, they just didn't have the hands on skills it takes to fly a military aircraft.
You can spit out EP's, limits, procedures, ect all day long but the trouble for some is when they have to do that and fly a plane....

I'm sure if you can get though Nuke school you shouldn't have too much trouble in API, ground school or memorzing procedures but it's impossible to tell what kind of difficulty you'll have actually flying an airplane. For some it comes easy for others it never comes....good luck.
 

Thisguy

Pain-in-the-dick
Sarpedon said:
Also, I came up with another question regarding the pilot/NFO pipeline... what happens when you fail out? Can you request for a different community (i.e. nuke officer)?
I think they're letting people lat transfer to other communities, but I doubt that Nuke officer would be one of them, mainly because of the screening process. You need to be invited to the interview in DC, then go through the technical interviews, then sit in front of the 4-star that's in charge of the Nuclear program.
 

illinijoe05

Nachos
pilot
Go for it man. Dont worry about how hard it is or isnt going to be. Know this, if a person wants it bad enough (and are medically qualified), anyone can make it through flight school. Good luck.
 

Steve Wilkins

Teaching pigs to dance, one pig at a time.
None
Site Admin
Contributor
Hey guys, I'm currently a nuke ET on a sub and I'm considering being a pilot in a few years (I'm only 20 and I just showed up to the boat in June so I have a while to think about it).

I read the gouge on API (http://www.airwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14323) and the description of the curriculum and exams sounds a lot like power school to me. As I was going through the pipeline (And I'm sure a lot of you prior nukes heard this too) they told us that the nuclear pipeline was one of the hardest programs around.

My question is, how do both pipelines compare, difficulty wise? Obviously the nuke pipeline required very little physical strength, but it was still pretty tough. Obviously everyone's different and anything could happen, but I've made it through the nuke pipeline. Is it safe to say I'll probably make it through the pilot program? When I was going through, there was an approx. 90% pass rate throughout the entire pipeline. What percentage of student aviators make it through and become pilots/NFOs? I've only heard rumors about those numbers...

Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch!
I was a nuke EM and can probably give you a pretty good picture for a comparison. I went through A LOT of formal training in the navy in my 13+ years of active duty (nuke power/sub related, aviation, and surface warfare). For me, the nuke power pipeline ranks #1 in academic difficulty level with aviation coming in #2. Don't sweat API. It doesn't even compare to the difficulty of nuke land, not even close. Whether it's safe to say that you'll make it through is anyone's guess. I didn't make it through. I DOR'd even though I was doing great in the program. People don't make it through for various reasons.

If you're worried that you won't make it through because it might be too academically rigorous for you, put that worry to bed right now. There WILL be times when you'll have flashbacks to 'Nam....ooops, I mean power school, but those periods pass fairly quickly.

Wink said:
Along these lines, in the nuke world every procedure (as I recall) is read from a book or check list. Virtually nothing is done from memory, even though a nuke's head is filled with all sorts of useless data and plenty of brain power. In aviation we respond to all kinds of emergencies and perform procedures from memory under time constraints and other pressures.
In Engineering (ship propulsion), we have EP's just like aviators do, except there is no ejection handle. :icon_rage Immediate Action procedures are not read from a book or checklist. They are memorized just as EP's are and are done under time constraints and other pressures as well, just as EP's are.
 

Pcola04/30

Professional Michigan Hater
pilot
Sar,
Prior nuke MM here, most of your questions have already been answered but I would second that academically, Nuke school enlisted and especially officer versions, are head and shoulders above aviation training in difficulty. Nuke school is alot more structured than aviation ground training, especially once you are past API. You will for the most part be on the big boy program.

As for attrition rates.....my personal experiences YMMV. Nuke school maybe 10%. Flight training..... 50% of my primary class, and I saw a crap load of people attrite from various portions of flight training. It is alot more common to see someone getting the boot from flight training than from nuke school.

Best of luck.....focus on the positive and bet on success not failure.
 

TrunkMonkey

Spy Navy
Sarpedon said:
Also, I came up with another question regarding the pilot/NFO pipeline... what happens when you fail out? Can you request for a different community (i.e. nuke officer)?
When I was kicked out of NFO flight school, I was initally told that I could redesignate to "any other officer community I wanted". After attempting to redesignate as a SNA, that was quickly amended to any officer community *except* pilot/NFO, nuke, or medical that would agree to take me.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Officer
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
When I was kicked out of NFO flight school, I was initally told that I could redesignate to "any other officer community I wanted". After attempting to redesignate as a SNA, that was quickly amended to any officer community *except* pilot/NFO, nuke, or medical that would agree to take me.

I suppose they could have been more clear. Maybe they didn't think someone that didn't make the NFO cut would have the balls to apply for SNA, where basic NFO skills are required of a pilot as well. The fact is the big book of This Is The Way It Is, LIve With It states that anyone that fails to complete any (read pilot/NFO/NAV from any service) flight training program is ineligible for SNFO or SNA. As many guys that came after you were sent home, you are fortunate to be making a good career for yourself. Glad it worked out.
 
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