Think You Could Fly Through the Air Force Academy? Take This Quiz!


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: David Armer

About This Quiz

You don’t get to soar through the heavens on mighty wings unless you manage to first pass Basic Cadet Training. In other words, you’ll crawl through the dirt (and the pages of a lot of textbooks) before you graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. 

It’s one of the nation’s premier educational facilities, with an 8-to-1 teacher-to-student ratio and a reputation for excellence. And only 12% of applicants are accepted. In this Top Gun of a quiz, do you have what it takes to graduate from the academy? You may have mastered Flight Simulator on your PC, but getting through the Air Force Academy will demand a lot more from you, from physical fitness to book learnin'!

You can’t just jump into a cockpit and jet off into the clouds. And most students at the Air Force Academy don’t become pilots, anyway. The bulk of these officers will perform other duties of the service, including a lot of red tape paperwork. But will you even make it to graduation?

In addition to the tough classwork, these young men and women must be very physically fit, emotionally sound, and ready to fight for their country. Hit the afterburners in this Air Force Academy quiz now!

Where is the United States Air Force Academy located?

The Air Force Academy is located in Colorado. It's not far from Colorado Springs, which is where many academy attendees spend their free time.


What are students at the Air Force Academy called?

The young men and women who attend the academy are called cadets. Most people who apply to became cadets are rejected.


What do Air Force Academy cadets learn?

The academy is a lot like any major college — you can study subjects from engineering to basket weaving, although we may be kidding about that last one.


About how much do cadets get paid?

Cadets do receive a stipend to help them with minor expenses. But it isn’t much — only around $1,000 per month.


After graduation, how long must graduates serve in the Air Force?

The academy is a real commitment. Once they leave school, graduates must serve for a minimum of eight years in the service.


How much is tuition for the Air Force Academy?

Tuition for the academy is all paid for by the government. After all, you’re giving them at least eight years of your life. But it’s no easy feat to be accepted.


What’s life like at the academy?

The academy isn’t like your state college. It’s a military facility. And you will be treated like a soldier training for war.


At the academy, you’ll be expected to awaken each day at which time?

By the time you graduate, 7 a.m. will feel like sleeping in. You’ll have to be up at 5:15 a.m., and that’s just to get yourself ready for a very busy day.


Each year, the academy admits about how many new cadets?

The academy is small. Only about 1,200 cadets are admitted each year. Roughly 200 of them won’t make it to graduation.


Which of the following is NOT one of the academy’s four pillars of excellence?

Obviously, the academy is not a party school, so keg stands aren’t really on the agenda. Those cadets who prioritize partying may not see graduation.


What sort of grades do you need in order to be admitted into the academy?

You don’t have to be a 4.0 student to make the academy. But you do need very high grades or you won’t have a real chance.


What happens during summers at the academy?

Summers are typically when college students take a break. Not at the academy. That’s when cadets do the bulk of their hard military training.


How long is Basic Cadet Training?

It’s boot camp for cadets. For six weeks, they undergo Basic Cadet Training (BCT) which is meant to acclimate them to the environment.


What do cadets wear?

Cadets give up their civilian lives for a time. They wear full military uniforms, and men must have their hair closely cropped, per service standards. Women must heed the strict requirements, too.


What rank do graduates receive after graduation?

The men and women who make it through the rigors of the academy are bestowed with the rank of second lieutenant. Then, it’s off to active duty.


What item are new cadets restricted from having in their rooms?

If you’re in your first three years of the academy, you can’t have a TV in your room. That’s a privilege granted only to cadets in their final year.


How many cadets have opportunity to take part in flight experiences?

It is the Air Force, after all. Few cadets become pilots, but all of them have multiple chances for flight experiences.


In order to pass the physical standards of Basic Cadet Training, you should do what each day?

The academy needs fit service personnel ... but not superhumans. Be sure you can perform at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day before you attempt BCT.


How is cadet life structured?

These men and women are training for possible war. Each cadet wing is operated just like an active duty Air Force wing.


All cadets must take part in which activity?

Sports aren’t optional at the academy. Every cadet must participate in athletics in one way or another, and no, ping pong doesn’t count.


How many different academic majors does the academy offer?

New cadets can choose from 27 different majors. That includes everything from engineering to social sciences and a whole lot more.


What are "Doolies"?

In the area of the academy, many civilians called cadets "Doolies." It comes from the Greek word "duolos," which basically means "subject."


During Basic Cadet Training, how many phone calls will you be able to make?

Cadets are strictly isolated from the outside world during BCT. In the first five weeks, they don’t get so much as a single phone call.


What time do cadets go to bed?

Cadets live very regimented lives. They must be up at 5:15 a.m. and they go to bed no later than 11 p.m.


New cadets are not allowed to own what item?

If you’re in your first or seond year of schooling, well, you can’t own a car. If you’re extra good, though, you might be allowed to rent one for a day or two.


What do cadets do with Sundays?

On Sundays, cadets finally get a break, and they can use it for personal time. Rarely do they have to attend training on these days.


What happens if your grades suffer while you’re in the academy?

Grades not up to academy standards? So much for video games, or any free time at all, really. You’ll be on lockdown until you improve.


Graduates must serve at least eight years in the Air Force. How much of that time must be active duty?

You don’t go to the academy unless you’re willing to commit to a serious deployment. At least five of your eight years must go toward active duty service.


Upon graduation, cadets become second lieutenants. How much do they make in basic pay per year?

As fresh officers, graduates don’t make a ton of money, about $35,000 per year. But career officers can make a whole lot more.


How many jumps must a cadet complete in order to earn a Basic Parachutist Badge?

All cadets have the opportunity to jump out of a plane if they want to. If they manage to survive five jumps, they’ll earn the Basic Parachutist Badge.


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