By Jeff Schogol, Air Force Times
After a delay caused by the government shutdown, new physical fitness test standards that give commanders more authority over test results and offer airmen who fail the waist tape a chance to pass using body fat measurements are in effect as of Oct. 21, according to an Air Force Instruction.
As expected, airmen who fail the the tape test but score 75 out of 80 points on the rest of the test will undergo a Body Mass Index screen, the instruction says. If they fail that, they will have their body fat calculated. The maximum BMI for all airmen is 25, regardless of gender or age.
The body fat limits are 18 percent for men and 26 percent for women, according to the instruction, which includes 32 pages of tables that airmen can use to calculate their body fat percentage based on neck and waist measurements for men, and neck, waist and hip measurements for women.
Also starting Oct. 21, airmen will have up to 42 days after making a permanent change-of-station move to take the PT test, the instruction says. If your current test expires before then, you will have to take the test before your next PCS move.
The new PT standards were originally supposed to go into effect Oct. 1, but there were "a few issues with publishing," Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in an email to commanders.
"We were set to miss the 1 Oct goal by only a couple days, but the furlough put us further behind," Jones said.
The instruction lays out the new procedures for appealing your PT score if you think it is "in error or unjust."
Several airmen have complained to Air Force Times that the process of taping airmen around the waist is subjective, and that it can lead to erroneous results.
To appeal PT scores, the first thing you should do is notify your Unit Fitness Program Manager, who will collect a memorandum for the record that includes the action you want taken, the basis for your request, any references or supporting documentation and your contact information.
The UFPM will take your appeal up the chain of the command to your wing commander or equivalent, who will make a decision. If you want to appeal further, the UFPM will go to the Fitness Assessment Appeals Board. The final deciding authority is the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records.
The instruction also includes a table showing all of the disciplinary actions that can be taken against you, including receiving a letter of reprimand on your first fail, not being allowed to re-enlist or get promoted after your second fail, being demoted after your third fail and finally being administratively separated after the fourth fail.
However, commanders have the "complete discretion" on which actions to take, including using more than one per failure, the instruction says.
New walk test
Under the new rules, the length of the walk test will be increased slightly from 1 mile to 2 kilometers, the instruction says. And gone is the complicated formula used to calculate an airman's performance on the walk test. Now airmen must meet the time limit for their age group to pass, instead of using VO2 max calculation, which measures aerobic fitness with a formula based on a person's weight, age, gender, walk time and heart rate.
Instead of being awarded points for the walk test, airmen will either pass or fail it. Airmen who pass will be marked "exempt" on the aerobic part of the PT test.
While airmen who score 90 or above in all four parts of the PT test will only have to take the test once a year, those airmen who take the walk test have to take the test every six months, the instruction says.
The new standards clarify earlier guidance on how to adjust the walk and run times for airmen at bases higher than 5,250 feet above sea level. The run time adjustments range from 2 seconds for faster run times at lower altitudes to 1 minute and 2 seconds for run times of more than 26 minutes at higher altitudes. For example, an airman who runs 1.5 miles in 13 minutes at an altitude of 6,500 feet would add 16 seconds to his run time. Previously, the Air Force had identified those bases in groups. Group 1 was the Air Force Academy; Group 2 was Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.; Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; and F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; Group 3 was Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. and Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
This grouping did not include detachments and other Air Force personnel not physically located at those bases, said Lt. Col. Ernie Mata, chief, promotions, evaluations and fitness policy.
"To simplify matters, the altitude correction 'groups' are now defined by an altitude range," Mata said in an email. "Now, a location need only compare its altitude to the chart to figure out the required adjustment."
The new rules exempt agents with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations from wearing the PT uniform while taking the test, "due to operational requirements," the instruction says.
"[Agents] must be capable of providing documentation to confirm grooming waiver is in effect," according to the instruction. "AFOSI agents in this status may wear suitable civilian PT clothing."
IF YOU FAIL
Airmen who fail to meet physical fitness standards can be counseled verbally as often as needed, under new Air Force guidelines. They also can be subjected to other administrative and personnel actions:
Options First failure Second failure Third failure Fourth failure
Letter of counseling x x
Letter of admonition x x
Defer or withhold promotion (enlisted) x x x x
Delay promotion (officer) x x x x
Limit supervisory responsibilities x x x x
Letter of reprimand x x x x
Establish unfavorable information file x x x
Re-enlistment ineligibility x x x
No recommendation for promotion (enlisted) x x x
Remove supervisory responsibilities x x
Deny voluntary retraining x x
Deny formal training x x
Placement on control roster x x
Re-enlistment nonselection x x
Remove promotion (officer) x x
Administrative demotion (enlisted) x x
Administrative separation x
Source: Air Force
MAXIMUM BMI: 25
Airmen's Body Mass Index cannot exceed 25.0 if they are to pass a new measure of physical fitness being finalized by the Air Force. This chart shows the maximum allowed weight, at various heights but regardless of age and gender, that gives you a BMI of 25.0:
Height (in inches) Weight (in pounds)