Enlisting in the Navy is the first step toward being selected to be a member of an elite US Navy Air Crew. The Navy is the world’s best expert in training aviation aircrews. They hold a Navy Air Crew Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, and it is a very physically demanding program. It is a competitive program, one that has several different tasks to complete in order to qualify for. Candidates who try out for the Air Crew training program have to be in top physical shape and able to complete the various equipment and systems required for flight crew operations. The Navy Air crew qualification is one of the more challenging and difficult qualifications to earn in the Navy.
Serving on a Navy Aviation Air Crew is an elite qualification, and they are a proud group of Servicemembers. They wear the gold letters AC on their wings, and this signifies that they are a member of a Navy Air Crew unit. Naval Aircrews face a lot of daunting and difficult challenges on a regular basis. The training for Navy Air crew is a lot like boot camp but even more physical in its overall intensity. Some people think that because Air Crew Training is held in Pensacola Florida that it is somehow a mini vacation, a little surf, and a little sun, maybe a round of sunbathing. Nothing can be further from the truth.
To even qualify to Attend Navy Air Crew School you have to pass an intensive level two swim test, and also pass a number of other physical qualifications. The physical tests must be passed with a medium to excellent, for each and every qualification of a physical nature. Candidates must also pass a physical for flight crews, before they ever are selected to travel to Navy Air Crew Training. Attending Navy Air Crew training school is not of anyone, the candidates are all active Duty Navy, and they are all volunteers. The competition is intense and it starts when trying out for the school in boot camp. After a candidate gains access to the training and starts the school, they can withdraw at any time for any reason. This is similar to the training that special operations SEAL’s undergo, both are volunteer programs and require intense physical, emotional, mental and psychological investment in the programs.
Only the best and the brightest will make it through the program, the rest are quietly weeded out and return to other duty in the Navy. You cannot take just anyone and put them on a Navy flight line or in a Navy operated aircraft, a person has to be qualified and have the right stuff.