How can I become a fighter pilot? (2023)

How can I become a fighter pilot?

The first thing you must understand is that there is much more to being a fighter pilot than looking cool and making women swoon. (Although those are certainly major bonuses when it comes to Naval Aviators)

The job of a combat aviator is to be technically and tactically proficient with your aircraft in order to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by delivering the weapons at your disposal.

Basically killing bad guys by being smarter, quicker, better equipped and more lethal than they are.

The training is long, tough intellectually, emotionally and physically. So tough that despite the caliber of those selected, it can be the first time in their lives the student pilots face failure or tough criticism. It’s humbling, yet extraordinarily rewarding.

If you’re an SJW, pansy, democrat, or any kind of liberal, “gender bender”, druggie, gun hater, or another sort of troublemaker, THIS IS NOT YOUR PLACE. While you may be physically capable of flying the jet, your mind works counter to the mission, and your presence is disruptive to your peers, making their job needlessly more difficult and risky to their lives.


The act of flying the jet is an individual sport, it takes massive teamwork to get to that point.

Thus, experience in such an environment helps. And it affects which service you choose to fly for.

How can I become a fighter pilot
How can I become a fighter pilot

But back to the original question.

  1. Finish high school with high grades.
  2. DO NOT ENLIST. Pilots have Commissioned Officers with 4-year college degrees. While there are enlisted-to-officer programs, they are infrequent, highly competitive, and if you’re in a critical MOS, you won’t be allowed to leave until enlistment is up. GO TO COLLEGE.
  3. Start thinking about where to go to college early. If you want to go to Annapolis, West Point, Coast Guard, or Air Force, you better be working on it by your sophomore year. ROTC Scholarships, by Junior year. We will discuss service selection later.
  4. involved in extracurricular activities and/or sports.
  5. Be computer savvy. Hate to say it, but video games play a part in warfare today…Flight Simulator is good
  6. Stay fit. This is not a carnival ride. Fighting another jet or CAS when you’re being shot at can be as brutal as a car crash.
  7. If you can afford it, get your private pilot’s license. Learn the airspace, navigation, planning, etc. Don’t worry if you can’t do this, because flying a Cessna is so different than what you’ll be doing unless you’ve become truly proficient, it won’t make much difference. The ground school, however, will.
  8. READ. Read news, history, biography, trade journals. Understand what you’re heading for technically, historically, personally, and politically.
  9. Decide upon a college. If it’s USNA, USMA, USCGA, USAFA, you’re on autopilot for 4 years. Elsewhere, even if no scholarship, get involved in ROTC or the USMC OCC/PLC program immediately.
  10. Get a 4-year degree in something useful and technically oriented…biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, history(with technical electives), mathematics, physics, etc. NOTHING THAT ENDS IN “STUDIES”. While most any major is acceptable, these will make your journey easier because you simply must understand the dynamics of flight, weapons, and warfare.
  11. Get good grades in college. Be involved in previously mentioned commissioning programs. If they offer Aviation Guarantee, take it and don’t screw it up.
  12. Accept your commission. Complete basic officer training. Go to flight school. Do well, and select your pipeline, then your jet.

How can I become a fighter pilot in 2020?

But what if you’re a well-rounded, top achieving, high school graduate who has stayed away from the dark side of temptation, find yourself in college, taking the right courses, but are a “late decider”, not in ROTC or PLC/OCC, and want to fly?

You can still do it.

While I’d suggest applying to all 3 branches that fly fighters (and Coast Guard & Army if you’d fly bombers, transports or helos), consider what branch suits you best.

Understand even in the other branches, you can end up a bomber, transport, or helo pilot too, if your grades are lower, or if you choose those routes.


First and foremost, the United States Marine Corps Naval Aviator is the epitome of fighter pilots and military men. Once out of jet flight school, you will fly F-35Bs, F-35Cs, F-18s, Harriers, or for a couple more years, Prowlers.

You’ll go to the boat and CQ (Carrier Qualify) like the Navy guys, but you’ll also land the VTOL jets on Amphibs, and operate from land bases. (Which makes your duty to the adoring women of the world somewhat more convenient).

Do understand USMC life is more austere than the others, so the camaraderie with your fellow officers is critical. If you loved Fraternity life in College, this is a good fit.

Remember, the entire USMC is in support of Troops on the Ground. You’re a fighter pilot until you clear the airspace, then you’re doing strike, attack, CAS, in support of the Marines on the ground. (Flying low and fast is more fun than flying high and fast anyway…)

Being a Marine Corps Officer is truly different than all others. An honor and a privilege. And it’s the branch least corrupted by political correctness. If you want to be at the tip of the spear, this is where you want to be.

A close second is our brothers and peers in the US NAVY. Both USMC and USN go through the exact same training. They fly pretty much the same jets…but no VTOL…although the mission is different.

It’s carrier-centric, and you deploy at sea for 6 months at a time. Still, Navy and Marines interoperate seamlessly all the time. Navy life is similar to USMC for junior officers, but later on, the Navy is more “buttoned-down” and less tolerant of eccentricities.

Sadly, political correctness has all but destroyed the “Top Gun” ethos in any way visible to the public. But Naval Aviation remains an incredible place for men of honor, skill, confidence, and action. (Even if they aren’t Marine Officers)

How can I become a fighter pilot in 2020?

The USAF. Yep, they have the F-22. They have F-35As. They have F-15A/C/Ds, They have F-16s. But since all students take the same syllabus, unless you are at the top, there’s a LOT of seats to fill in B-52s, KC-135s, KC-10s, C-5s, C-17s, etc.

Great if your goal is to be an airline pilot in 10 years. Sucks if you want to be a fighter pilot. The USAF is the branch most deeply corrupted by political correctness.

Much of this is because the USAF has the fewest combatants in proportion to the overall size of the service, the lowest overall physical standards, and the fewest leaders who have actually faced enemy action.

This breeds a ”corporate” culture where inferior individuals brown-nose their way into positions of authority while their braver, stronger, smarter, more honorable peers are off in harm’s way with the Marines, Navy, and Army.

become a fighter pilot
How can I become a fighter pilot

While this crap is fine in a hippie commune, it’s absolutely toxic to a military organization. Certainly, the USAF Fighter Wings and Squadrons, because of the type of man who is capable of becoming a fighter pilot, have a lifestyle approaching that of the USMC and USN, but they can’t land on Aircraft Carriers, and women will always seek out the Naval Aviators first. Admittedly, the USAF lifestyle is the most comfortable.

How can I become a fighter pilot in 2020?

Their base facilities rival Club Med. Even deployed, comfort comes first. Where the Marines and Army dig a trench to give birth to a liberal, the USAF has air-conditioned tents with running water and flush toilets.

Where the USMC slept on cots in tents on the muddy airfield in Aviano, Italy, the USAF aircrew was coddled in luxury chalets and hotels in the mountains, shuttled back and forth in helicopters like Russian oligarchs.

All joking aside, we’re all on the same team. Regardless of the branch, American aviators are the best in the world.

There are differences between the branches. Figure out what suits you best.

Understand that to become a fighter pilot…USMC, USN, or USAF… you must be one of the best. Tens of thousands dream of doing it, but only a couple hundred guys a year actually make it.

You’re going to end up in a very exclusive club, and the work is just beginning when you earn your wings.

To summarize:

  • Prepare. Morally, mentally, physically.
  • Graduate HS. Top grades, activities.
  • Follow the commissioning path through college.
  • Excel in flight school.
  • Fly fighters.