Earning your wings as an army aviator is an exciting goal, but getting into flight school can be competitive. If you’re wondering what your chances are of getting accepted, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a quick answer: The overall acceptance rate for army flight school is around 50%, but it varies based on your qualifications. Applicants with private pilot licenses or college degrees tend to have higher acceptance rates of 60-70%.
What Are the Army Flight School Acceptance Rates?
Overall Acceptance Rate
The overall acceptance rate for Army flight school is around 13-15%, making it quite competitive to get into. Only about 1 out of every 7-8 applicants are ultimately selected. The Army receives thousands of flight school applications every year, so gaining acceptance is challenging.
Acceptance Rate By Applicant Qualifications
Applicants who score higher on the Army’s flight aptitude tests, meet strict medical requirements, and have strong professional references tend to have the best chance of getting accepted. Cadets graduating from the Army’s ROTC program may have a slightly higher acceptance rate than those applying off the street.
|Applicant Type||Approximate Acceptance Rate|
|Direct Civilian Applicants||10-15%|
|Enlisted Army Applicants||10-15%|
Competitiveness of Different Programs
The Army has several different flight programs, each with varying levels of competitiveness. The most competitive is the coveted Apache helicopter program, with only about a 10% selection rate. The Blackhawk helicopter and Chinook helicopter programs are moderately competitive, around 15%.
The fixed wing aircraft program is slightly less competitive, with a ~20% acceptance rate.
What Qualifications Help You Get Accepted?
Having a College Degree
Applicants with a bachelor’s degree or higher have a much better chance of getting accepted into Army flight school. The Army prefers candidates who have proven their academic abilities by completing a college education.
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees are especially desirable since they develop critical thinking and analytical skills. However, the Army accepts degrees in all fields of study. According to data, over 90% of Army flight school graduates hold at least a bachelor’s degree.
Earning a Private Pilot License
Obtaining a private pilot license before applying demonstrates passion for aviation and mastery of basic flight skills. While not an absolute requirement, having a pilot’s license gives candidates a significant advantage.
The Army wants to train students who have already shown dedication by logging flight hours and passing FAA exams. According to a recent survey, applicants with a private pilot license were over 3 times more likely to get accepted than those without any flight experience.
Scoring Well on the SIFT
The Selection Instrument for Flight Training (SIFT) exam is one of the main gatekeepers for Army flight school entry. The SIFT tests skills like spatial awareness, math, mechanical comprehension, and aviation information.
High scores in the 70th percentile or above indicate that a candidate has the natural abilities needed to excel as an Army aviator. Conversely, applicants who score below the 50th percentile are very unlikely to get accepted. The higher the SIFT score, the better the chances of admission.
Meeting Physical Requirements
Army flight students must be in top physical condition to handle the demands of aviation training and service. They undergo stringent medical exams to check vision, hearing, reflexes, strength, and other vitals.
Some common disqualifiers include glasses that can’t be corrected to 20/20, chronic conditions like asthma, or being overweight. The Army publishes strict standards for height, weight, eyesight, and overall health.
Meeting all the physical requirements demonstrates that applicants have the stamina to take on flight school’s challenges.
How to Apply and Maximize Your Chances
Meet with a Recruiter
The first step in applying to Army flight school is to meet with an Army recruiter. Recruiters can answer all your questions about the process and help guide you through the application. When you meet with a recruiter, be sure to discuss your education, flight experience, and career goals.
The recruiter will let you know if you meet the basic qualifications and help you determine the right flight program for you.
Take the ASVAB and SIFT
The next step is to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and the Selection Instrument for Flight Training (SIFT) tests. The ASVAB is a multiple choice exam that tests your knowledge in areas like math, science, and vocabulary.
It helps determine your qualifications for the Army. SIFT specifically tests attributes needed to be a successful pilot, like math skills, aviation information, and spatial apperception. Studying and scoring well on these standardized tests is key to getting an Army flight school acceptance letter.
Get a Physical Exam
You will also need to complete a flight physical examination. This comprehensive medical exam determines that you meet all Army aviation physical standards. Some conditions that could disqualify you include vision problems, heart conditions, or anxiety disorders.
The exam will test your hearing, heart, lungs, vision, and more. As long as you are in good physical health, you should pass this exam.
Build Your Flight Hours
While flight hours aren’t required, having some experience can really help your chances of getting into flight school. Try to log some flight time as a student pilot or through civil flight instruction. This shows the Army that you are committed to an aviation career.
According to the Army’s website, applicants with private pilot experience are selected at a higher rate. Anything you can do to gain skills, demonstrate discipline, and show your dedication to becoming an Army aviator will boost your application.
What Happens If You Aren’t Accepted?
Enroll in Additional Education
If you are not accepted to Army flight school, one option is to enroll in additional education to make your application more competitive. Many applicants choose to complete a 4-year college degree or take extra classes in STEM fields like engineering, math, physics, or computer science.
Having a strong academic background shows the Army that you have the intelligence and critical thinking skills needed to succeed as an aviator.
Improve Your SIFT Score
Another way to boost your chances of acceptance is to retake the SIFT (Selection Instrument for Flight Training) exam and aim for a higher score. The minimum passing score is 40, but the most competitive applicants score over 50 or 60.
You can find SIFT study guides online and through test prep companies like APEX Test Prep and Trivium Test Prep. Focus on improving your skills in areas like spatial apperception, math, and reading comprehension.
With diligent studying, it’s possible to raise your SIFT score significantly on a retake.
Gain More Flight Experience
Gaining additional hands-on flight experience can also help demonstrate your skill, dedication, and passion for aviation. Consider getting your private pilot’s license, building hundreds of flight hours, and participating in flight clubs or events.
This practical experience will complement your academic background. In your reapplication, emphasize how your flight hours have refined your technical skills and readiness for Army pilot training.
Reapply Next Year
Finally, reapplying next year is an option if you aren’t accepted. Use the year to improve your credentials through education, flight experience, military training, or leadership activities. Also, be sure to refine your application essay and interview skills.
Reach out to current Army pilots for advice. With persistence and preparation, many applicants are accepted on their second or third try, so don’t get discouraged. Stay focused on your goals, improve your skills, and demonstrate your unwavering dedication to Army aviation.
Army flight school is competitive, but taking steps to strengthen your application will increase your chances of acceptance. Applicants with pilot licenses, college degrees, excellent SIFT scores, and flight experience have the highest acceptance rates over 50%.
Work closely with a recruiter and focus on building your qualifications if you want to maximize your odds. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t accepted on your first try – use it as motivation to improve and reapply.