Is it possible to get waivers on fitness part of the Basic Training for joining to Air Force Reserve? If not, is there a way to join Air Force Reserves without Basic Training?

Are there alternative paths that would skip Basic Training, for example: Civil Air Patrol (CAP) allows senior members and does not have fitness requirements as I know it, is there any way to transition to Air Force from there?

This does not need to just focus on flying. Although the pilot in question is already a commercial pilot, and has first class medical, just has some injuries to prevent extreme sports activities. (Like running 1.5 miles in 12 mins) So being able to fly would be very desirable (while not necessary).

  • $\begingroup$ Which fitness requirements exactly? Pilots are highly coveted positions, most are taken through military academies or ROTC programs. There is no transition from CAP to pilot program, and almost no waivers are allowed (I speak from great experience). $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    May 24, 2020 at 1:24
  • $\begingroup$ CAP and the military are two different things. CAP, Eagle Scouts, and ROTC might give you a leg up on being promoted from a private upon enlistment. But, it’s not going to give you much of an advantage past that. If you want to be a pilot in the military, you have 2 routes. Either get a degree and become an officer. Or, join as enlisted in any capacity. Then, earn the opportunity (after a few years) to apply to warrant officer training for a rotary wing component. Either way, get your PT squared away now. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    May 24, 2020 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ If you have a physical or mental issue that might keep you out of the military, your other option is to go to a flight school or collegiate flight program. Earning your flight certificate will give you a little credit toward OCS or WOCS. If not, at least you can be a civilian pilot. If you can not at least get a third class medical certificate on the civilian side, kiss your military flight dreams goodbye. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    May 24, 2020 at 1:45
  • $\begingroup$ I updated the question. Question is not about how to become a pilot but more about how to join Air Force Reserves and serve (in any position) without fitness requirements. (Although being pilot would be great too) $\endgroup$
    – chickens
    May 24, 2020 at 3:08
  • $\begingroup$ Willingness to grant waivers depends entirely on the needs of the service, and this varies depending on factors like budget, retention, etc. Only a recruiter will have the latest information. Talk to the USAF, not random internet keyboard jockeys like us. $\endgroup$ May 24, 2020 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


If you happen to be an expert in some particular field that the military thinks it has a critical need for, you are more likely to get a waiver. I've seen this happen with certain doctors who were specialists that the military had a critical shortage of for whatever reason. These were not people just out of med school though. They were senior specialists who needed waivers for age at the very least. I'm not sure such a situation would ever occur for a pilot though since there are plenty of pilots out there who figure that they could "fly the box the plane came in", regardless of the type of plane.

  • $\begingroup$ Good point, Grumpy. I have seen the military give entry waivers to high level, uniquely skilled experts in a much needed field. In recent times, the military has been going the civilian consultant or contractor route to fill these positions. This keeps the individual out of the military leadership career tract. I’ve seen this with doctors, cyber security, & drone pilots. More often, I see waivers for higher ranking enlisted & officers (E-8, O-5 & above) regardless of their specialty. I would not count on any waivers below E-5 unless you have a mid to high six figure civilian salary specialty. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    May 24, 2020 at 17:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .