The United States Air Force is the aerial and space warfare branch of the US Military.
Their core missions include:
Air And Space Superiority
Global Integrated ISR
Rapid Global Mobility
Command And Control
Requirements To Join
Below is a handy chart on the height and weight requirements to join the United States Air Force.
Height (Inches) Max Weight (lbs)
Min. Weight (lbs.)
58 131 91
59 136 94
60 141 97
61 145 100
62 150 104
63 155 107
64 160 110
65 165 114
66 170 117
67 175 121
68 180 125
69 186 128
70 191 132
71 197 136
72 202 140
73 208 144
74 214 148
75 220 152
76 225 156
77 231 160
78 237 164
79 244 168
80 250 173
Keep in mind that these are the requirements for
everyone joining the Air Force, whether you’re officer or enlisted.
The height and weight requirements are also exactly the same for both men
and women. Pilot Height And Weight Requirements
With that said, specific jobs in the Air Force have their own requirements.
For example, all pilot candidates must meet the following:
Must be no less than 62 inches short, and 77 inches tall when standing.
Must be 34 – 40 inches tall when sitting.
Must weight no less than 160 lbs. and no more than 231 lbs.
There are also specific height and weight requirements for specific air frames, which will be discussed at your pilot training.
Before you visit your local recruiter, be sure you meet the minimum qualifications for serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Like the other branches of the military, the minimum and maximum age you can join the Air Force will depend on which career path you take.
Enlisted: The minimum age to join as an enlisted is 17, and the maximum age is 39.
Officer: The minimum age to join as an officer is 18, and the maximum age is 39.
Exceptions are made for those with healthcare experience and prior military enlistment, and requires a waiver.
In this scenario, the
minimum age is 18 and the maximum age is 48. Pilot Age Requirements
Just like with the height and weight requirements, there are different age limitations for pilots.
minimum age for pilots is 18, it’s very uncommon for a pilot to be that young.
The average age for Air Force pilots entering flight school is around 23 years old.
Before earning a slot at Undergraduate Pilot Training (aka UPT), the candidate must first meet with a selection board.
This board will determine whether or not you’re competitive enough for a slot in UPT, and must be conducted
before you reach 28 1/2 years of age.
You must also be enrolled in UPT
before the age of 30.
With that said, age waivers are available for potential pilots up to the age of 35.
I realize all of this might be a little confusing, so here’s a handy chart which sums it all up in general:
Age (Min. - Max) Weight (Min. - Max) Height (Min. - Max)
Sitting Height (Min. - Max.)
Officer (non-pilot) 18 - 39 yrs. old 91 - 250 lbs. 58 - 80 inches N/A
Enlisted (non-pilot) 17 - 39 yrs. old 91 - 250 lbs. 58 - 80 inches N/A
Pilot / Navigator 18 - 28 1/2 yrs. old * 160 - 231 lbs. 62 - 77 inches 34 - 40 inches
* Age waivers up to 35 years old
Some qualifications are required by all five services, including the Air Force:
You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
You must be at least 17 years old (17-year old applicants require parental consent) to apply and in BMT before your 28th birthday.
You must (with very few exceptions) have a high school diploma or meet the ASVAB qualifications to apply with a GED.
You must pass a physical medical exam.
Must meet specific scoring requirements on the ASVAB
Sign Up Process
The sign up process varies for both enlisted and officers. You can expect the following path with each:
Before you enlist, you must take the ASVAB. Details on what that entails here.
Physical and Mental Screening: After you’ve taken the ASVAB, your recruiter will make an appointment for you at a nearby Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).
Once you’ve been processed through MEPS, you’ll go into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). This means you’ll be waiting for a departure dates for boot camp.
There are actually 3 ways to enter the Air Force as an officer. They include:
Attend Officer Training School (OTS) after getting your college degree
Attend and graduate from the US Air Force Academy
Join ROTC in College (contingent on your university / a nearby university having an ROTC program)
The only other path to becoming an officer in the US Air Force is by enlisting and working towards a path of becoming an officer.
Each process will be explained below:
Officer Route #1: Officer Training School (OTS)
OTS is a 9 1/2 week program that is broken down into 4 phases:
Phase 1 – Indoc
In this phase, you’ll be indoctrinated into the Air Force lifestyle. Course work / Training include things like:
You’ll also learn the Airmans creed, get academically orientated, and learn military customs and courtesies.
Phase 2 – Development
In Phase 2, you’ll develop an understanding the fundamentals of leadership, military management, and arms handling.
You’ll learn things like:
Problem solving skills
Hand to hand combat
M-9 Weapons Qualifications
You’ll also learn how to conduct military briefings, military law, and standards and accountability.
Phase 3 – Practical Application
In this phase, you’ll learn how to put all of the training you received from Phases 1 and 2 together.
Phase 3 is more of a practical application of your skills vs. learning new things.
However, you will learn things like:
Small unit tactics
Base defense field exercises
Preparation for the arrival of the lower class
Some of the academic coursework in Phase 3 includes things like group dynamics, advocacy briefing measurement, and air and space system capabilities.
Phase 4 – Transition
The final phase of OTS is known as Phase 4. It involves transitioning you from the training environment into the active duty Air Force.
Some of the training and academic coursework include things like:
Air Expeditionary Force Exercise
First officer assignment
Oath of office
It all culminates with your successful completion and graduation from the Air Force OTS.
Officer Route #2: Attend The US Air Force Academy
Image credit: www.usafa.af.mil
This route is significantly more difficult than the other methods described on this page.
the nearly 12,000 applicants that the Air Force academy receives each year, only about 1,000 are accepted.
This may sound like a decent ratio / chance to get in, but to even just apply to the academy you have to:
Meet the basic requirements: You must be an Unmarried US Citizen, at least 17 but not past your 23rd birthday by Jul 1 of the year you enter the academy.
Complete and submit a pre-candidate questionnaire.
Get a nomination from a qualified nominating authority. Nominating authorities include Congressional, Vice presidential, and military affiliated.
Here’s a few statistics from 2017 to show you how difficult it can be:
To be considered “competitive”, you should expect the following average academic scores:
Average SAT Scores
642 SAT Math:
Average ACT Scores
30.0 ACT Reading:
30.4 ACT Math:
30.3 ACT Science Reasoning:
To learn more about how to apply to the US Air Force Academy, visit
their official recruiting site here. Officer Route #3: Join ROTC In College
Air Force ROTC is offered at over 1,100 colleges and Universities across the US, and is responsible for graduating the most officers than any other method discussed on this page.
One of the benefits of joining ROTC is that it affords potential candidates numerous financial scholarships and other financial incentives.
In fact, many students can graduate college completely debt free via ROTC programs.
Applying is easy, and finding schools that have an Air Force ROTC program has never been easier.
Visit the official
Air Force ROTC website here to get started on your journey.