Aircrew Frequently Asked Questions Page


Listed below are commonly asked questions I am often asked.

"What is aircrew? What do they do?"

Aircrew are people who do jobs on an aircraft both on the ground, and during flight, and complete a mission. Here is an example of just a few of the jobs....

Crew Chiefs, or Flight Engineers, are on-board airplane mechanics. They often sit in the cockpit, or flight station, for takeoff's and landings. They perform maintenance as needed, and monitor and check instruments and systems, before, during, and after a flight.
Some aircrew load the airplanes with cargo, mail, people, or hospital patients. They keep track of the things being loaded and off loaded. They are known as Loadmasters.
Second Loadmasters, or Transport Safety Specialists, provide safety and comfort for passengers onboard. They are trained in emergency procedures in the event they are necessary, and they assist the Loadmaster, and other aircrewmen.

Here is a list of all of the Aircrew jobs available. (Details are listed further down on this page):

"Are all of the aircrew you are discussing on this page in the military?"

Yes. All are members of the Navy or Naval Reserve. They are enlisted servicemembers.

"What is the Naval Reserve?"

The Naval Reserve is made of part-time Naval service members. Many they are called...have full time jobs. Some are teachers, students, business owners, the list is endless. They perform their reserve duties in their spare time.
They are required to work only one weekend a month, and 2 weeks of duty per year. The 2 week requirement is scheduled at a time requested by the reservist.

"What do you mean by "enlisted"?

There are two ways of joining the service. One is to join as an officer, and the other is as an enlisted member. Some services classify this as an NCO or Non-Commissioned Officer.
Enlisted members work in a variety of jobs throughout the Navy that they specialize in. Some of these include hospital workers, journalists, photographers, mechanics, builders, draftsmen, computer specialists, etc. These jobs are known as "rates" or "ratings". They are given short titles for ease of use.
Let's look at an example: HM2 Jones
HM is an acronym for Hospital Corpsman...his job or rating.
The number 2 stands for his rank...which I will explain in the following question....

"What are 'ranks' defined as in the service?"

"Rank" defines your level of responsibility in the service. For enlisted members these begin at E-1, or Recruit, to E-9, which is a Master Chief.
In the Navy the ranks go from recruit (E-1), to Seaman or Airman (E-3), to Petty Officer Third Class (E-4), Petty Officer Second Class (E-5), Petty Officer First Class (E-6), Chief Petty Officer (E-7), Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8), and Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9).
Anyone E-3 and above are eligible for Aircrew jobs or positions.

"What sort of uniform does an aircrewman wear?"

Aircrew members wear green flight suits. They have long sleezes which can be rolled up. They have patches which are attached with velcro. We do wear hats when off base and in our flight suits. These are a ball cap type of hat. Chiefs and Officers wear a tan garrison cap.
Tan flight suits are worn in desert areas.

"What age do I need to be to join the Naval Reserves?"

Right now the Naval Reserve is accepting applicants from members between the ages of 18 to 38. Waivers may be applied for. Some waivers are granted for 39 year olds.
Prior service members, or those who have served in the military before, have their service years deducted from their current age.
For example, if David King is joining and he was in the Army for 4 years, and his current age is 38, the 4 years he served is deducted from his current age to give the recruiter his enlistment age...which would be 34.

"How old can I be and still become a Naval Aircrewman?"

For current service members, the age to join as an aircrewman is 30 years, but can be waived, and nearly always is. This should in no way stop you from asking about the program.

"What do I have to do to get started?"

The first thing is to get all the information you can on the program. Ask every question that you can think of. You can write them to me, or call me and I will answer them for you.
The next step would be to get you to a Naval Reserve recruiter if you are a civilian. If you are qualified to join, I can contact the recruiter for you so he or she will know what you are trying to qualify for.

"What do the aviation squadrons actually do in the Navy? Do they fly overseas?"

Some commands have aircraft that fly people and cargo all over the world. They have flown Senators, Representatives, teachers, troops, foreign nationals...anyone that needs transportation for a government related reason. They do cryptologic work, camera work, and surveillance.
They also fly necessary cargo to where it is needed too. This includes just about anything you can think of. Yes...they will fly it to where it needs to go.
Some squadrons fly all over the world. At any given moment there is a squadron overseas, either in Europe, the middle east, or in the Western theatre (Japan and that area).

Some squadrons do not fly missions overseas, but they may train in an overseas area.

"Would I be allowed to fly overseas and how long are the trips? And where exactly do they fly to? Do they fly into dangerous places? War Zones?"

As an aircrew member you would be allowed to fly overseas. The trips are from 12 to 17 days long....usually 14 days as a normal in the reserve squadrons. This is because a reservist needs to perform a 2-week period of active duty per year. And many of our reserve members do their 2 weeks on overseas trips.
Commands fly to Italy, Germany, France, England, Portugal, Greece, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Middle East, Hungary, Pakistan,...just about any country you can think of in the European area adjoining countries.
On the western theatre they fly to Hawaii, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Guam, and the surrounding countries there as well.
They also fly south to areas in South America as well.
Some squadrons have aircraft that do not fly into dangerous areas. They are not combat aircraft. They do not have weapons and/or bombs attached to them. They are support aircraft only. They are not designed as fighting machines.

"Are the commands currently helping in the War Against Terrorism?"

Yes they are. They are flying supplies, cargo, personnel to overseas units. They are performing cryptologic, photographic, and other tasks overseas as well.

"Do you get to sight-see while overseas?"

Yes. The time varies, but there are times when you will have days off, or when the flights get into the area early, and you can go see the sights.

"Are Navy aircrew just like civilians, but in green flight suits?"

No. For one Navy aircrew do not have the problem of dealing with rude passengers like the civilian Flight Attendants deal with on a daily or weekly basis. In fact, this is never an issue.
The emphasis is on safety with the Navy. Safety and emergency procedures are stressed over everything else.
Also Naval aircrew help the other crewmembers when they need it. They may help the Loadmaster with cargo, or stand fire watch when the Crew Chief is fueling, for example.
Navy aircrew do provide some customer service, and monitor the cabin area where the passengers sit in those type of aircraft. They are trained to handle emergencies and administer First Aid as necessary.
We do have some civilians that fly with the Navy as reservists when they are not working with their civilian airlines, as well as just about any other type of job you can think of.
Also, flights and assignments vary. There is no set schedule. It varies according to the needs of the Navy.

"Do Aircrewmen get additional money for flying, and how much do they get?"

The starting rate for Aircrew, regardless of the aircraft, is $150. Pay for aircrewmen goes up as you accumulate months of flight time.
So, if you fly for a year, you would have accumulated 12 months of Flight Time.
Pay is raised once you have flown for more than 4 years. At that time it goes up to $190. After 8 years, pay raises to $250, and at 14 years or more, pay is given at $400/month.

"How often would I have to fly as a Reservist?"

For the C-130 aircraft commands, "currency", or the minimum amount of flight time per month is only 4 hours flight time.
Other commands set currency minimums at 5 hours/month.
Remember this is only the 'minimum'. If you can, and want to, fly more than one flight a month, that is more than appreciated. There are so many flights, and so few aircrew, that the flight schedule is your's to pick from.

"If I do fly with a squadron, how are flights given out? I mean do they tell me which ones I can fly, or do I have a choice?"

You have the choice. As a Reservist, you can tell the scheduling office, known as Operations, which days you can fly. They will normally let you know what trips, overseas Detachments, or one day flights, they have coming up. If you can make the dates, you can fly. Active duty members are also asked to take flights, but if there are limited aircrewmen to fly, they may be assigned.

"I am currently serving in the Navy and would like to understand the Aircrew positions better. Can you detail them for me?"

"I am currently in the Navy. What ratings can participate in Aircrew duties and/or attend Aircrew Candidate School?"


"If I am not in one of these ratings can I still apply?"

Applications and waivers are administered through the aircrew detailer and/or your ultimate command. The best answer here is to call the aircrew detailer and ask.

"I am a Naval Reservist. Do I have to attend the formal Naval Aircrew Candidate School?"

No. Naval Reservists attend a short 3/4 day course in Aviation Physiology, Swim, and Aircrew procedures to become Naval Aircrew Candidates.

"I am an active duty Navy enlisted member. If I want to become an aircrewman what is my first step and what school do I need to attend?"

Your first step is to talk to your Command Career Counselor on transferring from your current billet (rating job) to an aircrew billet. Your CCC will have you fill out a 1306 Form. Both your rating detailer and the Aircrew detailer are contacted. Your rating detailer must release you for the Aircrew detailer to then assign you to flight training.
You will attend Naval Aircrew Candidate School in Pensacola, FL. This is currently a 4-week school with emphasis on conditioning, safety, procedures in flight, and swimming.

"What if I have more questions?"

Write to me at
I will be happy to answer any and all email.

And....Finally For Fun...

Who has the record for the most flying hours?

John Edward Long between 1 May 1933 and 17 September 1991 logged 56,400 hours flight time, as a pilot. That equates to more than 6 years airborne!!

Who has the record for the most planes flown?

James B. Taylor (1897-1942) flew 461 different types of powered aircraft during his 25 years as an active experimental test and demonstration pilot for the Navy and a number of American aircraft manufacturing companies.

LAST UPDATED:27 May 2013

For inputs, comments, or questions please contact:
AZC(AW/NAC) Kimberly King

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