Unfortunately, this isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” question.
There are a lot of factors an aspiring fighter pilot needs to consider before they go into their desired work field.
- Do you really want to be a fighter pilot?
- Why do you want to be a fighter pilot?
- Are you prepared for dangerous situations?
- Are you comfortable with being the cause of dangerous situations?
- Do you have what it takes to be a fighter pilot?
It’s no secret that fighter pilots own the skies. There’s nothing quite like flying, after all, and it’s hardly something that everyone can say they have done.
The thrill of flying alone can be, to some, enough to say being a fighter pilot is worth it.
It takes a lot of strength, intelligence, health, courage, and physical ability to be a fighter pilot.
The beginning of the journey only starts with a medical examination to see whether your eyesight and physical health meets the minimum standard requirements.
It is a grueling and intense job that cannot be taken lightly, even if you just fancy the idea of flying around in a little plane.
As you can see, answering the question “is being a fighter pilot worth it?” is difficult because it’s all subjective.
For the most part, if you are completely prepared, being a fighter pilot can be definitely worth it.
Do fighter pilots choose their aircraft?
Generally speaking, fighter pilots don’t choose their aircraft. Like most aspects of the military, fully trained fighter pilots are required to fly whatever they are told to fly.
The aircraft is usually distributed depending on strengths and weaknesses, such as whether someone is a better team player than others.
Some team players may be asked to lead the crew, where others may benefit from solo flying with fast jets.
After completing the training, pilots are often asked to submit their preference of which aircraft they would like to be assigned.
There is a ranking system amongst new recruits that will also determine who gets what aircraft they want.
Those in the top ranks will usually get their first pick, but only from the aircraft available at the time.
The short answer is that it depends, but for the most part, fighter pilots don’t tend to choose their aircraft. They can submit their preferred aircraft in hopes to be assigned to, but it comes down to the military branch.
They will choose who gets to fly what aircraft depending on their ranking system, skills, and weaknesses.
Do fighter pilots get weekends off?
It’s not easy to say whether fighter pilots get weekends off. Due to the nature of the military, it is highly unlikely that anyone signs a contract for an average 9 to 5 working week with weekends off.
It is most difficult to find out the work schedule of fighter pilots because of the safety and privacy issues surrounding their job.
If it was openly stated that fighter pilots get weekends off, then that would give the enemy of the mission a heads up about the flying patterns.
After all, wars don’t take the weekends off, so why would fighter pilots?
Fighter pilots work in the same way as police officers. It’s not a regular job where you can relax in the evening to prepare for the next day. These are intense, service-based jobs that require an awful lot of responsibility.
It is difficult to say when fighter pilots get their days off. It all depends on the individual and where they are based because they aren’t likely to spend the weekend in Kabul, Afghanistan with the locals before hopping into their aircraft on Monday morning.
Do fighter pilots take speed?
Interestingly, fighter pilots do take amphetamines - a prescribed drug otherwise known as speed. They are a standard prescribed issued drug to fighter pilots who need to stay awake on long missions.
This is because regular caffeine pills aren’t enough to keep someone awake and alert enough to fly and control aircraft.
The Air Force calls the amphetamines “go pills” to keep them going. There was a ban up until 1992, where the speed pills were slowly reintroduced to help the fighter pilots function during long missions.
Unfortunately, there have been cases of psychological addictions to the speed pills during the Gulf War and other wars, so they are carried more as a last resort than anything else.
They aren’t required to take amphetamines due to the addictive value, however, some missions do require “go pills” to be taken. This is because some pilots might not be fit enough to work for up to 9 hours at once.
In short, fighter pilots do take speed if they are taking part in long and intense missions and need to stay alert.
However, this is not for recreational purposes and must be taken seriously due to the risk of addiction and psychological problems.
Is being a fighter pilot dangerous?
One of the biggest factors to be a fighter pilot is the danger levels.
Fighter pilots have an immense amount of responsibility, which means they have to come to terms with the possibility of harm or even death.
This isn’t exclusive to the death of the individual fighter pilot, as others around you could also die - potentially even because of your own actions. What if you crash on a street or into someone’s house, and what about your weapons?
The reality is that being a fighter pilot is dangerous. After all, you are responsible for flying aircraft thousands of feet above the ground, where a multitude of problems can occur.
Of course, the risk of danger is the reason why there is so much extensive testing, examinations, and studying.
A fighter pilot is responsible for so many people, so it only makes sense that they are completely prepared.
It’s the training and studying that fighter pilots must go through that makes the career somewhat safe in some aspects.
Every single potential danger is drilled into their heads to be prepared for any kind of harm - whether it’s a problem with the aircraft or weapon.