Photo Credit: Skyalyne (via skyalyne.ca)
With the recent release of the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie, the internet and many social media platforms have been swarmed with content about both the film and its actors. It has gained particular attention on TikTok, with many gushing over Miles Teller and his portrayal of Bradley’ Rooster’ Bradshaw.
But let’s not get too distracted by the cast’s incredible acting chops (and good looks)! While it’s clear that a lot of time and effort went into the preparation of this film, it’s nonetheless VERY different from the years of training that goes into becoming a real fighter jet pilot.
Here in Canada, we have what is called ‘The Royal Canadian Air Force Academy’ for anyone looking to train to become a military pilot. However, this isn’t something you can apply for freshly out of high school. To even be considered, you have to get a degree first. That’s right, to become a highly decorated pilot, you still have to get that undergrad!
This is where the Royal Military College of Canada comes in. Technically speaking, once you’ve completed the degree of your choosing from any university across Canada, you can then apply to the Air Force Academy. But if you want to get a headstart, then RMC is the way to go.
The Royal Military College is just like any ordinary college, except you have to wear a military uniform and follow strict rules and regulations that will prepare you for your future military endeavours.
The main difference is that each summer, you spend six weeks doing basic training. This is where they throw you head first into the military lifestyle. Then, you must complete a physical fitness test after your first year to determine whether you’ve got what it takes to stay for the second year. So it’s pretty safe to say that RMC is slightly more intense and physically demanding than your average college.
Lily Dubrowski, a Prince of Wales Collegiate (PWC) graduate and previous MUN concurrent studies student, has decided to join RMC. After talking with her about the program, it became clear that RMC is only a stepping stone to becoming a recognized fighter jet pilot in Canada if that is your goal.
Photo Credit: Lily Dubrowski (via Facebook)
Having top-of-the-class intelligence and being physically fit are extremely important. However, there are inevitable minor setbacks that can prove detrimental to your aspirations of becoming a highly decorated fighter pilot.
Take Lily, for example. She is knowledgeable and was accepted into RMC with no hesitation. She is the perfect candidate for any program based on both her mind and physical ability. However, her eyesight (or her lack thereof) unfortunately set her back.
She explains that joining the Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC) after completing her undergraduate degree at RMC would easily be one of her top choices if her eyesight hadn’t let her down.
“It sucks that something I have no control over is what’s inhibiting me from ever becoming a pilot,” she says. “But it just goes to show how high the standards are for fighter pilots in Canada,” said Dubrowski.
On top of completing your undergrad, when applying to the FWIC program, you have to score extremely high on your CPT (Combat fitness test). The FWIC program requirements state that,
“If you already have a university degree, the CAF will decide if your academic program matches the criteria for this job and may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.”
Through RMC, both the basic training and military officer qualification requirements are completed, giving you that little edge to becoming a Canadian fighter pilot and choosing your call sign.
The takeaway here is that the standards set out for this particular career within the Canadian military are incredibly high, and rightfully so. Only the best of the best are considered for a job of this calibre and responsibility, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t be you.
So what would your call sign be?