What is the Cut-Off Age to Be a Pilot in the Air Force?

There are several requirements involved in the application process for joining the air force. These can include, height, weight and age limitations. This is the case for all career paths from, officers, to enlisted, to fighter pilots.

The minimum and maximum age you can join the air force depends on which path you take.

If you are enlisted the minimum age required to join is 17 and the maximum age is 39. If you want to become an officer you must be at least 18 and cannot be over the age of 39. 

However, exceptions can be made for those with previous military enlistment, those with healthcare experience, members of the clergy and attorneys. In cases where exceptions are made, the maximum age is 48.

The minimum age for pilots is 18, although it isn’t often you see pilots that young in the air force.

On average, those starting flight school with the intent to join the Air Force is around 23-years-old. In order to join the UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) you have to meet with a selection board that will decide if you are eligible for a place. This meeting must take place before your 29th birthday.

Once offered a place you must be enrolled in the UPT before your 33rd birthday. Age waivers could be offered to potential pilots up to the age of 35.

Can I become a fighter pilot at 35?

For the average applicant with no prior experience or knowledge, the cut-off age for becoming a fighter pilot is 33.

However, age waivers are available for those with special experience up to the age of 35. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

In order to become a fighter pilot, the U.S. Air force guidelines state an applicant must have:

  • Begun pilot training between the ages of 19 and 33
  • Prior knowledge of the theory of flight, meteorology, air navigation, aircraft operating procedures, flying directives, and mission tactics
  • Completion of a SSBI (Single Scope Background Investigation)
  • The successful completion of the Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training
  • Depending on chosen specialty, they also require to have completed OTS (Officer Training School), AFA (Air Force Academy, or AFROTC (Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps)
  • Depending on the aircraft, pilot positions will require specific height specifications. Applicants who are shorter or taller than average may require special screening to ensure that they can safely carry out pilot duties

Do fighter pilots get hemorrhoids?

Fighter pilots often get hemorrhoids resulting from gravity and fighting against G-forces.

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal or rectal area resulting from an increase in pressure in the lower rectal area. Some occupations can actually increase the likelihood of someone developing hemorrhoids.

For example, jobs that require sitting for very long periods such as office jobs and driving jobs. This is because it causes blood to sit inactive in the lower limbs.

It is also more likely in those who work a job that requires them to stand still uninterruptedly for long periods of time, such as retail and hospitality jobs. This is because, much like with sitting, standing for a long period of time can also cause the lower limbs to struggle to circulate blood properly.

Additionally, jobs that require any weight lifting or intense physical activities can also make a person more likely to suffer with hemorrhoids because sudden or intense physical activities can increase the pressure on the rectum’s blood vessels.

This can also explain why fighter pilots may suffer with hemorrhoids as they spend lots of the job sitting in a plane.

How old is the average fighter pilot?

The average fighter pilot will be aged between 23 and 40. The age range is quite broad because fighter pilots can work up to 60 years old.

However, many will decide to retire in their 40s to early 50s because of the strain working in the Military often puts on their bodies. After spending 20+ years in combat, fighter pilots will either retire or move to a different position.

While fighter pilots are typically portrayed in the media as fit, young people in their 20s and early 30s, someone in their 50s can just as easily be a fighter pilot today.

In fact, older fighter pilots will have much more experience and possibly better judgement in combat and so would make better pilots in some circumstances.

But, despite the years of impressive experience, perhaps age does come into consideration. Someone whose body can withstand the abuse that comes with flying through combat would probably be better.

It is for this reason that the average age of a fighter pilot is probably around 30. Moreover, pilots must begin training between the ages of 19 and 33.

What is the age limit for a Navy pilot?

The age limit to becoming a Navy pilot is between 19 and 26 at the point of entering flight training.

Waivers can be offered for those up to 1 year older if they have served prior. Waivers of up to 2 years could be made for those already members of the military at the time of application.

Applicants must meet with the selection committee before they reach the age of 28 ½ and must enter UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training)by the time they turn 30.

In order to become a Navy pilot though, you will need to pass a number of tests and medical assessments such as the ASTB (Aviation Selection Test Battery) which will test your verbal skills and math skills, spatial perception, aviation and nautical knowledge, mechanical comprehension, and your interest in aviation.

What age do fighter pilots retire?

In the U.S., airline pilots must retire at the age of 60 but, for fighter pilots there is no specific age at which they must retire, so long as they can keep up the required qualifications and pass the medical requirements.

However, the mandatory age to retire from the Military is also 60-years-of-age. But there are age waivers available for the Generals and Admirals. This will be decided on a case by case basis.

Most pilots tend to retire after around 20 years of service. So, depending on what age they started their career this could be in their mid-40s to early 50s. After all, working in the Air Force will take its toll on the body after so many years of service, so fighter pilots will be ready to retire after this period of time.

Alternatively they may just change positions and work a desk job or command positions until they reach the mandatory retirement age.

You will often come across mature pilots in their 50s and still flying combat. The Guard will also have older members because the role requires them to stay at one base throughout their careers, rather than move around a lot like those in Active Duty.

It may also depend on rank. If a fighter pilot fails to rank they will no longer be able to be a pilot.

But, typically, as they get older fighter pilots will move on to command positions but still keep up the flying to stay ranked.