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How to become a fighter pilot?

Do you have adrenaline and a passion for air in your blood? Join the Air and Space Force and become a fighter pilot! This prestigious profession is reserved for ambitious and talented soldiers.

Fighter pilots carry out intense aerial missions and need to prepare several months in advance. The profession of fighter pilot is accessible via several access routes in the army.

To help you see things more clearly, here is all the information you need to know in order to become a fighter pilot in the French Army!

Discover all the ways to join the French army in our dedicated article!

The specificities of the fighter pilot profession

fighter pilot training

The profession of fighter pilot is only accessible in the French Army . Only the French Navy and the Air and Space Force recruit fighter pilots into their ranks. The conditions for accessing this difficult profession vary depending on the army.

Please note : the two training courses in the Air and Space Force and the National Navy are paid and the students are considered military officer cadets .

Become a fighter pilot in the Air and Space Force

To join the Air and Space Force , any soldier aspiring to become a fighter pilot must comply with the following conditions:

  • Have French nationality
  • Be between 17 and 27 years old, on the date of signing the contract
  • Have a baccalaureate level, a recognized equivalent qualification or a higher education diploma
  • Have good medical and physical fitness conditions required for entry
  • Have excellent eyesight (do not wear glasses)
  • Once the conditions are met, the soldier must receive the approval of the integration commission.

Following a positive opinion from the latter, the candidate signs an initial 10-year contract with the Air and Space Force. Training to become a fighter pilot in the Air and Space Force lasts 4 years and 4 months.

Here is the training course:

  • Initial military training , common to all army cadets, lasting 17 weeks
  • Specific professional fighter pilot training lasting 4 years where the student receives flight training, a common core, specialization training then an operational transformation phase on Mirage or Rafale aircraft

At the end of the training, the student receives the fighter pilot certificate . The majority of training takes place at the Air School in Salon-de-Provence.

Become a fighter pilot in the French Navy

If you want to become a fighter pilot in the French Navy , be aware that this army recruits via an internal competition to join the Naval Academy . Here are the mandatory recruitment conditions:

  • Hold a baccalaureate
  • Be between 17 and 26 years old

The internal competition is aimed at naval aeronautics pilot cadets (EOPAN). Once you have passed the competition, the training lasts 3 years and is structured as follows:

  • Common initial military training for 12-month officer cadets
  • Pilot training lasting 18 months
  • Fighter pilot specialization training lasting 3 months

At the end of his training, the student officer becomes a naval aviation pilot and can work as a fighter pilot, multi-engine pilot, air lookout pilot or helicopter pilot.

Are you interested in joining the French Navy? Discover all the access routes via our article on recruitment for the French Navy !

The skills required to become a fighter pilot

fighter pilot skill

Becoming a fighter pilot is not possible for everyone! This risky profession with high responsibility is a dream for many of us, but only a minority can become one. Here are some mandatory skills to consider becoming a fighter pilot!

Have excellent eyesight

This medical condition is mandatory to join the Air and Space Force and become a pilot. If for other professions in the army, a slight ophthalmic correction can be accepted, this is not the case for fighter pilots. Your visual acuity must be 10/10 , no more, no less. This will be verified during a military medical examination.

Your physical and psychological fitness will also be measured using the SIGYCOP test . The 7 letters correspond to a specific medical field:

  • S: Upper limbs
  • I: Lower limbs
  • G: General condition
  • Y: Eyes
  • C: Color sense (color recognition)
  • O: Hearing
  • P: Psyche

The score must be as low as possible in order to join the French Army. If the score is too high, the soldier may be declared unfit for his post. Please note that fighter pilots must respect specific rules for their body shape: size of the femur, good condition of the back, etc. These rules are mandatory in order to guarantee the good health of the soldier in the event of ejection from the aircraft. The rules are very strict when a soldier is admitted as a fighter pilot, but can become more flexible over the years.

Do you want to know more about the military medical examination? Read our article dedicated to the process of the military medical examination !

Have ambition

Military aviation fighter pilots must demonstrate ambition to achieve their goal. Indeed, the path to becoming a fighter pilot is difficult and recruitment is very selective . Only the most ambitious candidates manage to reach the desired position.

Subsequently, if the fighter pilot wishes to progress and acquire higher military ranks, his ambition will be decisive.

Love adrenaline

The profession of fighter pilot is based on high-risk and heavy-responsibility aerial missions . Working conditions require rigor, passion, but above all a taste for adrenaline ! Soldiers wanting to become fighter pilots absolutely must have an appetite for risk. Likewise, they must demonstrate composure at all times. If you recognize yourself, you will undoubtedly be an excellent fighter pilot!

Know how to be responsive

Naturally, the working conditions of a fighter pilot necessarily require reactivity . Indeed, the military fighter pilot must be prepared for all eventualities during air combat. Without responsiveness, the safety of the pilot and his army is not assured. Being responsive is a mandatory and essential skill for any military candidate who wishes to become a fighter pilot.

The daily life of a fighter pilot

be a fighter pilot

The daily life of a fighter pilot is not the same every day. His schedule and missions constantly vary according to current events or the needs of the army. The fighter pilot is not always in flight, but also carries out missions on land : mission briefing, study of the environment, review of combat techniques, etc.

Typically, when not on a mission, a fighter pilot conducts training flights between three and four times per week . In the French Air and Space Force, fighter pilots fly Mirages or Rafales ! The fighter pilot can go on a mission to countries at war at any time. There, it carries out air combat, deterrence, interception and aerial reconnaissance missions. He is responsible for the air safety of the Air and Space Force.

Discover our article on the most beautiful military aircraft in the world !

Possible developments for a fighter pilot

army fighter pilot

During recruitment and training, the fighter pilot is considered a military cadet . At the end of his training he became an operational combat pilot and obtained the rank of midshipman. Then, the fighter pilot can become leader of two aircraft and become deputy patrol leader. The fighter pilot is then considered a second lieutenant.

Subsequently, the fighter pilot can evolve as a patrol leader by becoming leader of four (or more) aircraft; then head of mission. This high status offers the fighter pilot the possibility of reaching the rank of colonel and being responsible for numerous aircraft.

Discover our article on the different military ranks in France!

The salary of a fighter pilot in the army

fighter pilot remuneration

A fighter pilot's salary begins when he enters school . In fact, training to become a fighter pilot is paid. As a cadet, the future fighter pilot earns €1,328 net. Once qualified, the fighter pilot earns €1,761.47 net at the rank of midshipman. The fighter pilot can progress to second lieutenant after 6 months of experience as an aspirant: he can then claim a salary of €2,636 net.

The salaries indicated concern a single soldier, without children and not housed by the Army. The salary may vary depending on the place of residence (whether or not you are housed by the Army) and the soldier's family situation (single, with or without children, etc.).

The advantages of a fighter pilot in the army

The fighter pilot has access to numerous advantages thanks to his military status. Here are the advantages offered to soldiers joining the French Army as fighter pilots:

  • 45 days of leave per year
  • 75% reduction on SNCF fares for soldiers and up to 50% for their spouse and children
  • Guaranteed equal pay regardless of your gender
  • Housing assistance
  • Accommodation possible on base for new pilots

Are you curious? You don't yet know what profession you want to do to join the army? Here are our articles dedicated to professions in the French army :

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Do you want to become a tank pilot? Discover our article on what you need to know before become a tank pilot !

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Comments

Sifflet - June 4, 2024

Bonjour ,
Mathys 17ans vie en martinique j ai un rêve depuis tout petit d’être dans l armée de l air piloté des avions de chasse.
J aimerais savoir qu’est ce que je dois faire pour intégrer régime je passe le bac .
Vous pouvez me joindre +596696241192 .
Merciii
Cordialement
Mathys Sifflet

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