Air Force academy - choosing an aircraft/likelihood of flying fighters?

Hey everyone!

This is a follow-up post to my previous topic, but I’m thinking about joining the Air Force at the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy.

If I were to be a student there (in the pilot program), do you get to choose which aircraft you fly? Is it a sort of competition to get aircraft? Suppose I wanted to fly the F-16, how would I be able to sign up for that? What steps do I have to take?



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I got a good friend and his job is to train pilots and then they decide what you fly. Typically you get a wish list and then the Air Force either blesses it or says “No we need you go fly these” I just texted him see if he’s awake and get you more detailed info

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I’m a big fan of the F-15, what would the likelihood of that being retired before I’d be able to fly? (Next 15-20 years ish)

Who knows it maybe possible it may not. Look at the A-10 they keep saying it’s going retire soon but the thing still flies, heck the U-2 is still out there flyin!


I wish I could help you out here buddy seeing as though I served in the Air Force but I was not in the pilot program so I can’t. Let me see if I can get in contact with any of my old buddies and get some answers for you


Thank you so much!

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@KindaAngrySliceOfPie I highly recommend going on one of the campus tours if you’re really considering. I went on one last May, and they did a very good job of showing you around and explaining what goes on. Here’s the link for the scheduled tours if your interested:

Hope this helps!

This is from my friend who trains all the Air Force pilots:

" Well youre not guaranteed to go there to fly, first of all
But you dont get assigned an aircraft until well after the academy. Till the end of pilot training, which is after the academy
Pilot training is not part of the USAFA
And while its not really a ”competition”, yes it depends on how well you do in your class in pilot training"


To add on

“They give a list of whats available and the #1 in the class gets top pick, and so on
But not everything is available all the time. Just luck there, But even before that you “track” to the fighter/bomber side or to the cargo/tanker/spec ops side or to the helicopter side"

To add to that, the top 10% of graduates get a say in what they do after the academy.

Bombers and other aircraft aren’t that competitive, it’s the fighters. Fighters are super competitive and the best fighters are awarded to the best students.

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