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Airborne School Pass Rate

The airborne school pass rate is more than just a statistic; it represents a crucial aspect of military training that determines the success of aspiring paratroopers. In this article, we delve into the significance, factors influencing, and impact of the pass rate on individuals and military operations.

What Is the Airborne School Pass Rate

The Airborne School pass rate is a critical metric for evaluating the effectiveness of the training program and ensuring that only qualified individuals graduate from the Airborne School, ready to contribute to the U.S. Army’s airborne operations. Before delving into the complexities, let’s establish a clear understanding of the airborne school pass rate. We explore its definition, how it is calculated, and its importance in assessing the effectiveness of airborne training programs.

The Airborne School pass rate refers to the percentage of candidates who successfully complete the U.S. Army Airborne School training, which is conducted at Fort Moore, Georgia. The school’s primary objective is to train soldiers in the techniques and procedures of static line parachute jumps. The pass rate is determined by the number of candidates who meet the established criteria for graduation. To successfully complete the course, candidates must demonstrate proficiency in various skills, including proper parachute landing falls, exiting an aircraft, and executing a parachute landing. Additionally, candidates undergo physical fitness assessments and classroom instruction on topics such as the theory of parachute operations and equipment familiarization. The pass rate is influenced by factors such as individual aptitude, physical fitness, and adherence to safety protocols. The school maintains rigorous standards to ensure that only qualified and competent individuals earn the coveted Airborne wings, symbolizing their successful completion of the training.

airborne school pass rate

The Army Airborne School , also known as the Basic Airborne Course, is both physically and mentally demanding, and soldiers must successfully pass a series of grueling challenges to complete the training. The three main phases of the Basic Airborne Course — Ground Week, Tower Week, and Jump Week — in which Airborne instructors subject candidates to intense physical training, teach them the proper techniques for parachute landings, and force them allow them to make several parachute jumps from military aircraft (sometimes even pushing them out of the plane if the need arises).

Instructors at Airborne School are focused on training soldiers to the highest standards of safety and proficiency. The candidates who do not successfully complete the course often fail to meet the physical challenges of the Jump School.

How the Pass Rate is Calculated

It’s just math: The Airborne School pass rate is calculated by dividing the number of candidates who successfully complete the training and earn their Airborne wings by the total number of candidates who started the course. This percentage provides a clear indication of the overall success rate of candidates in the Airborne School. The calculation takes into account various factors such as physical fitness assessments, successful execution of parachute jumps, adherence to safety protocols, and overall mastery of the required skills.

Factors Influencing the Airborne School Pass Rate

The pass rate at the U.S. Army Airborne School is influenced by several factors, some within the applicants’ control and some without, that collectively contribute to the success or failure of the candidates. The single most important factor is the individual physical fitness of the candidates, as applicants must meet complete exacting physical challenges in Airborne School, and endure the demanding nature of parachute training.

Additionally, the initial aptitude and skill levels of the candidate pool, a factor determined by such abstract environmental factors as cultural values related to aggression (for example the years folllowing the Vietnam War), and the presence of a clearly-defined enemy (such as immediately after 9/11).

Additioinally, climate and weather factors, while impossible to predict or alter and therefore realistically resemble the theater of war, can significantly impact training conditions and schedules. Fort Moore, for example, located in the Southern state of Georgia, is increasingly hot and humid, and frequently disrupted by severe tropical storms.

Improving the Airborne School Pass Rate

The U.S. Army Airborne School pass rate improved an incredible 30% after a preparatory orientation program was introduced in 2007. Prior to that program’s introduction, the average pass rate for Airborne School was a disheartening 60%.

For that reason, a preparatory training program was institued in 2007, called the Airborne Orientation Course. This pre-school 🙂 has boosted the pass rate to an astounding 89% from the previous 60% average pass rate. This huge improvement is due to the AOC orientation program’s focus on getting soldiers physically fit enough to meet the intense physical demands of Airborne School. A nine in ten pass rate for soldiers attempting the program isn’t just a huge increase in the efficacy and efficiency of the Airborne training program, it also attracts more interest and optimism from potential candidates.

It’s good to remember that the 89% pass rate is by no means a sign that Airborne School isn’t incredibly demanding. Graduating from Jump School requires incredible dedication to learning the art of Air Assault, an extremely high level of physical fitness, and a heckuva lot of guts.

Airborne School Success Story

There are many inspiring success stories that have come out of candidates who have successfully completed Airborne School to earn their wings. One of them, Joe Scherrer’s, vividly describes the intense and demanding nature of the training, and the invaluable lessons he learned from it.

Joe recounts how he struggled to adapt to structured nature of the program, including the assignment to sticks, where stick leaders are responsible for maintaining appearance and physical condition. There’s an especially humorous encounter with the First Sergeant and the company commander, a Captain with a distinguished background in a rare airborne assault in Vietnam. The lessons Joe learned about determination, resilience, situational awareness, and standing tall for personal beliefs left him a different man afterward.

Passing Airborne School and its Impact on a Military Career

Passing or failing the U.S. Army Airborne School can significantly impact a military career. Successfully completing airborne training and earning the coveted Airborne wings demonstrates an individual’s commitment, physical fitness, and ability to operate effectively in airborne operations. It opens up opportunities for soldiers to be assigned to airborne units, participate in airborne missions, and pursue specialized roles within the military. This qualification can enhance career advancement prospects and increase the individual’s value within the military.

On the contrary, failing to pass the airborne school may limit career options, as individuals may not be eligible for assignments to airborne units or related roles. While it might not necessarily be a career-ending setback, it will certainly influence the trajectory of one’s military career and limit certain professional opportunities within the airborne community. Overall, success at the airborne school plays a crucial role in shaping a military career, affecting assignments, roles, and the potential for advancement within the armed forces.

The Pass Rate Determines Real-world Outcomes

The pass rates at the U.S. Army Airborne School play a pivotal role in determining the overall readiness and effectiveness of airborne units in operational scenarios. High pass rates indicate a consistently well-trained and qualified pool of paratroopers, ensuring that airborne units are staffed with individuals who have mastered the necessary skills and procedures. This, in turn, contributes to the operational success of airborne missions by fostering cohesion, discipline, and confidence among the personnel.

Conversely, lower pass rates mean units could face shortages of qualified paratroopers, potentially impacting mission capabilities and overall operational readiness. Ensuring a high pass rate is crucial for maintaining the proficiency and reliability of airborne units, which are integral to the success of airborne operations in military contexts. The thorough training provided at the Airborne School directly influences the operational effectiveness and mission success of airborne forces.

Two Testimonials from Airborne School Applicants

“I entered the U.S. Army Airborne School with immense enthusiasm, driven by a deep desire to earn my wings and contribute to airborne operations. However, my lack of adequate physical preparation became a significant hurdle, leading to my failure to pass the rigorous training. The intensity of the physical challenges caught me off guard, and despite my determination, I fell short. While it’s disheartening to have not earned my Airborne wings, this experience has served as a valuable lesson. It highlighted the critical importance of thorough physical readiness for such demanding training. Moving forward, I am committed to better preparing myself physically, learning from this setback, and aspiring to reattempt the airborne training. I remain grateful for the opportunity and am more determined than ever to achieve success in my pursuit of becoming an airborne-qualified soldier.”

Jacob G, Monroe MI

“Successfully completing the U.S. Army Airborne School was a transformative achievement that has left an indelible mark on my military journey. The challenges were undeniably tough, both physically and mentally, but overcoming them and earning my Airborne wings has instilled in me a profound sense of accomplishment. The rigorous training pushed me beyond my perceived limits, fostering resilience, discipline, and unwavering determination. The experience not only strengthened my physical prowess but also cultivated a deep camaraderie with fellow paratroopers. The lessons learned at the Airborne School go far beyond the skills of jumping from planes; they have become the foundation of my military ethos. I am honored to wear the wings and proud to contribute to the airborne community, knowing that the resilience developed during this challenging journey will serve me well in future endeavors. The U.S. Army Airborne School has undoubtedly shaped me into a more capable and confident soldier.”

Aaron W, Knoxville TN

Airborne School Pass Rate vs Other Programs

The U.S. Army Airborne School pass, Navy SEAL School, Special Forces Training, and Ranger School are distinct programs within the U.S. military, each with its own set of rigorous standards and unique focus.

The U.S. Army Airborne School specializes in airborne operations, emphasizing parachute jumps and related skills. Candidates undergo physical conditioning, parachute landing falls, and extensive training on static line jumps, distinguishing it from other programs. The Airborne School Pass Rate is 89%

Navy SEAL School is renowned for its demanding training program. It includes intense physical conditioning, water-based operations, and specialized skill development such as diving, small unit tactics, and marksmanship. Navy SEALs are known for their versatility and proficiency in maritime environments. The Navy Seal Pass Rate is 15%

Special Forces Training, or the U.S. Army Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC), is designed for Green Berets. It encompasses a wide range of skills, including unconventional warfare, language training, cultural understanding, and advanced marksmanship. Special Forces operators are experts in unconventional warfare and often work in small, specialized teams.

Ranger School is a leadership-focused program that emphasizes small unit tactics, field craft, and leadership skills. It is open to soldiers from various branches and is considered one of the Army’s most challenging schools. Ranger School graduates are known for their leadership capabilities in high-stress, combat situations. The Ranger School Pass Rate is 49%

While each program has its unique aspects, commonalities include a high level of physical fitness, mental toughness, and specialized skill training. The Airborne School focuses on airborne operations, Navy SEAL School emphasizes maritime skills, Special Forces Training covers a broad spectrum of unconventional warfare, and Ranger School hones leadership in combat environments. Each pass signifies a level of expertise in the respective field, contributing to the overall readiness and effectiveness of the U.S. military.


In conclusion, the airborne school pass rate encapsulates the determination, resilience, and success of individuals aspiring to join the ranks of airborne forces. Beyond the statistics, it symbolizes the gateway to the skies and the mark of accomplished paratroopers. Influential factors determining the pass rate include individual physical fitness, adherence to safety protocols, and mastery of parachute techniques. The pass rate dramatically improved after a program focusing on enhancing physical conditioning was was introduced.

Successfully passing the Airborne School undoubtedly positively impacts a military career, opening opportunities for assignments to airborne units and specialized roles. In terms of military operations, a high pass rate contributes to the readiness and effectiveness of airborne units, ensuring well-trained paratroopers. Compared to other military training programs like Navy SEAL School, and Ranger School, the Airborne School pass rate is highest, though by no means the easiest. Airborne School is a demanding and rewarding program, and has produced many of the Army’s legendary elite warriors.


How many attempts do trainees get to pass airborne school?

The number of attempts allowed varies, but typically, trainees are given multiple chances to succeed.

Do individuals who don’t pass airborne school have alternative career paths?

Yes, individuals not passing airborne school may pursue other military career paths based on their skills and interests.

What role does the pass rate play in the selection of airborne-qualified soldiers for special units?

A higher pass rate may contribute to the selection process for special units, but other factors are also considered.

Can soldiers who previously failed airborne school try again in the future?

Depending on the circumstances, individuals may have the opportunity to reattempt airborne training after addressing specific requirements