My latest article on BogiDope explains the Merit Assignment Selection System (MASS) that determines assignments for every USAF UPT student. I think this is a cornerstone article for anyone aspiring to become a military pilot.
We almost don’t go a day without a future UPT student asking us how to get the assignment he or she wants. BogiDope exists to help you make that happen!
The easiest way to do this is to sign up with a Guard or Reserve unit in the first place. However, for those of you on the Active Duty path, your final aircraft assignment depends entirely on your performance in UPT. We wrote a 3-part series on Winning UPT that covers what you really need to know and do. We truly believe that if you work as hard as you can, and follow that advice, you’ll be happy with your outcome on graduation day.
That said, some people still want to know all of the details. Today we’re going to look at the Merit Assignment Selection System, or MASS. This is like the Google search algorithm for your UPT scores. It’s a mathematical formula that the Air Force uses to summarize months of your blood, sweat, and tears at UPT into a single number.
You get one MASS score for your efforts during Phase I and Phase II, and that is what determines your class rank for Track Select. You get a completely new and separate MASS score for your work during Phase III, which is what determines your class rank for post-UPT aircraft and base assignments.
Google’s algorithm is a tightly held secret, and it’s constantly changing. A lot of companies make a lot of money by guessing how the algorithm works and selling that knowledge to website owners and advertisers. Thankfully, the MASS isn’t so secret. While some of the details are tough to come by, you can go read AETC Instruction 36-2605V4 and learn exactly what math the US Air Force uses to compute the MASS.
For the sake of simplicity, we’re only going to dig into the specifics of the MASS score for flying T-6s in Phase II today. No matter what you fly in Phase III, the MASS works the same way. The only differences are the inputs. Here’s how we’re going to work through this: