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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Naval Flight Officers (NFO) and Navigators (CSO)

    Are there still opportunities for NFOs in the Navy and Navigators in the Air Force? I thought these positions were mainly for those who wanted to pilots , but did not have the eyesight requirements. However, wouldn't most aspiring pilots now simply undergo laser corrections surgery? I think the service academies even offer it nowadays.

    Besides, as the single seat F-18 proves, are rear seaters even necessary, especially with increased technology?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    This is coming from an enlisted Navy guy who knows a bunch of enlisted Aircrewman and a few who commissioned successfully. Don't know anything about the Air Force.

    The Student Naval Aviator positions will always be more "prestigious" in the eyes of Midshipmen through USNA and the ROTC units, but both do most of the same basic flight training through the T-6 or T-34 phase. I think more SNA's end up in jets, specifically the F/A-18 and F-35 replacements eventually, but NFOs will always have a place on EP-3s, EA-6B's, EA-18s, and other electronic warfare platforms where they're needed not just for weapons but for primary mission related equipment that can't be operated solely by enlisted flyers. Not sure if they are prevalent in the P-8 community, but the old prop P-3s certainly created a demand, too.

    As regards "increased technology", on those non-fighter platforms the increases and advances in technology in fact spur greater demand for non-SNA input as the equipment is quite specialized and would be a bear for one guy to handle; I think your assumptions about one fellow handling weapons and flight on the F/A-18 in particular are correct specifically on that platform, though.

    For enlisted-to-O applicants, very often we'll take NFO even if we wanted SNA originally because we may have learned about some cool mission performed as NFOs on a given platform we've worked with, or it could be a matter of OCS slots for SNA's being "sold out" for years at a time and not wanting to wait for them to open. As both are Unrestricted Line and offer mostly the same career opportunities, we tend not to worry as much as a USNA Midshipman might because we're never making stars anyway.

    Do you know someone trying to enter the Naval Aviation community presently? If so, feel free to get in touch and I'll do my best to put him/her in contact with the right people.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011



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