Army Helicopter Flying

AHPilot

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Hey Everybody,
I am 17 now and getting ready to graduate from high school. I am thinking of enlisting in the army and going to Warrant Officer Flight Training. I am aware though that I would have to wait to 19 to fly for them. I have looked into all branches and I really want to continue flying (currently I am a private pilot). I don't really wish to wait like with the air force or navy--i would have to pay my dues...with the army though I may be able to into a cockpit faster.
My Questions:
Is it possible to switch branches, say after becoming a helicopter pilot, and flying for some time could I maybe transfering into the air force to fly fixed wing...specifically C-130's or other cargo transports?

I want to also fly for the airlines eventually--once done with the military...how would the helicopter time look?

With my helicopter time and instrument flying, which I would assume I would get some...could the instrument transfer back into fixed wing a/c...or would after in the military flying helicopters, have to begin all over with fixed wing aircraft, get the private, instrument, comm., ect...??

Also--what fixed wing aircraft do they have in the army and how difficult is it to fly fixed wing in the army??

Just looking for a good career path---any advice would be appreciated....thanks in advance.
Thanks,
Langston Theis
 

MDPilot

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> Is it possible to switch branches, say after becoming a helicopter pilot, and flying for some time could I maybe transfering into the air force to fly fixed wing...specifically C-130's or other cargo transports?

No, all flying in the Air Force and Navy, fixed wing as well as helo, is done by officers, which requires a 4 year degree and a commission as an officer

>I want to also fly for the airlines eventually--once done with the military...how would the helicopter time look?

Not particularly good, most airlines don't even count helo time, you will have to get fixed wing time somewhere to count toward the hiring minimums

>With my helicopter time and instrument flying, which I would assume I would get some...could the instrument transfer back into fixed wing a/c...or would after in the military flying helicopters, have to begin all over with fixed wing aircraft, get the private, instrument, comm., ect...??

Hopefully some experienced helo pilot can answer that one.

What it all boils down to, is that there are no shortcuts (or very few). If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!:)
 

Andy Neill

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Langston,

The path I took was through the Army's Warrant Officer Flight Training. Since Vietnam was in session, getting a flight school slot was not nearly as competitive as it is now. I enlisted for 2 years wiith flight school starting right after basic training. At 19, I was a W-1 with a commercial ticket in rotorcraft and on my way to Vietnam where I was given 5 hours dual and 5 hours solo in an aircraft I had never touched before and sent off with their best wishes on my own.

As a warrant, I got more opportunity for flight time, flight schools and training than I would have had as a commissioned officer with one exception. I couldn't get Naval Test Pilot School to save me until I took a commission and then they started asking ME if I wanted it.

I started my fixed wing training about 6 years after flight school at the commercial level (I never held a private pilot certificate). By then, I already had an instrument rating in helicopters so my instrument rating was an add-on taking fewer hours. Later, I got my ASEL CFI and Multi-engine ratings.

On my way to test pilot school, the Army sent me to fixed wing qualification. I didn't add any ratings but did open some doors to some assignments. Currently the Army has C-12 and some bizjet type aircraft. Do they still have OV-1's? Don't know. There are some special aircraft they use for the Golden Knights and for Reserve Component cargo ops (C-23, UV-18). The U-21s I flew have left the services.

Overall, I had some terrific and terrifying experiences as an Army Aviator. I racked up a good amount of flight time. If my goal were to be an airline pilot, I would NOT take this path. I would go with the other services or more traditional CFI/cargo/charter paths, and avoid helicopter flying. There are other paths that are just as good preparation and much more streamlined toward your objective. If you want some fun (interspersed with sleeping in the desert or snow) along the way, you can't beat an Army Warrant career.
 
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AHPilot

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Thanks for the advice.....i guess then this is the hardest part...making the choice
 

pilotyip

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Helo Flying

If you don't get a chance to fly fixed wing in the other services, go for the Amry helo training. We have hired a numberof guys from the army with under 100 hours fixed civilian time and put them in the right seat of our DA-20 Falcons. They do a great job, they are easy to train, they have great control touch, they know how to work in a two-man cockpit. I would hire one of them before I would hire a 1500 hour MEL recip guy, based on the experiences I have had training pilots to fly jets.
 

OPIE01

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Army Helos to Air Force Fighters

I joined the Army as a UH-60 mechanic after High School with intent of going to Warrant Helicopter Pilot training, go to night school and complete my degree, then apply to the Air Force and Navy to fly fixed wing.
This I did, about a year after being in the Army I was selected and went to Ft Rucker where I graduated and went on to fly AH-1Fs. While I was flying Cobras I went to Night School with Embry Riddle. I completed my Degree in one year, because ERAU gave me 45 college credits for being a pilot, I CLEPed out 36 credits, and took 2 to 3 courses a semester at night. I worked my tail off but got it done.
I applied to the Air Force and Navy, both of which love ERAU and former pilots. And now that the Air Force age cutoff is 30, noone should have a problem getting into the Air Force.
I have flown F-16s, F-15Es, T-37s as an IP, and now the T-6.
If you want to know more I would be happy to help you. But my suggestion is to find an Army Guard or Reserve unit near by and do this. Let them pay for your Bachelors at a nearby college and enjoy living a normal life while you are young. You can still make this happen but not have to put up with the BS that Army life entails.
The Guard and Reserves will pay for a large amount of your college and if it works out you can still fly. Let me know what State you are in and I will let you know what Guard and Reserve oppertunities you have.

Good luck,
In Christ's Service,
OPIE
 

AHPilot

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Dear Opie,
Thanks for the advice...really appreciate, tough point in the life right now, just don't wanna make the wrong choice, ya know? I am a resident of the great state of Texas.....by the way, i talked to an AA pilot who said to look into the guard and reserve as well, said that would be the best option....any info you have or if you know where i could get would be great....really appreaciated...

Thanks Again,
Langston
 

jurisj

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Most of your questions have been previously answered, but allow me to toss in my few cents...

AHPilot said:

Is it possible to switch branches, say after becoming a helicopter pilot, and flying for some time could I maybe transfering into the air force to fly fixed wing...specifically C-130's or other cargo transports?
As long as you get your degree, this can be done. I've heard of programs in the Air Force and the Coast Guard where you can go from Warrant direct commission into a flying slot. I don't know the details on it. Typically, you'd have to go through OCS, though.


With my helicopter time and instrument flying, which I would assume I would get some...could the instrument transfer back into fixed wing a/c...or would after in the military flying helicopters, have to begin all over with fixed wing aircraft, get the private, instrument, comm., ect...??
Upon getting your wings and upon taking the equivalency test, you get your commerical rotary wing rating with an instrument ticket. You fly approximately 40 hours of instruments in Army flight school currently... 20 in a UH-1 simulator and 20 in the instrument version of the TH-67 (Bell 206). I'm poretty sure an instrument ticket carries over to fixed wing... the principles are all the same, just slower airspeeds.

If you want additional instrument time once in a unit, you'd have to land a UH-60 or CH-47 slot. The AH-64s and OH-58Ds simply do not fly instruments. The only thing they carry is an ADF... IFR conditions are an emergency procedure in those aircraft. 60's and 47's are instrumented to fly IFR, and do on occasion.


Also--what fixed wing aircraft do they have in the army and how difficult is it to fly fixed wing in the army??
The fixed wing transition is one of the most sought after slots in the Army Aviation community. It is difficult to get. Everyone trains to fly the C-12... typically the RC-12 for Military Intel. The bizjets, if I'm not mistaken, are reserved for more advanced fixed wing pilots later on.

I'm just about to get my wings through this program... finished my Night/NVG checkride on Friday. I've had a great time so far and I've got no desire to fly anything fixed wing at this point. I'm still having a really good time flying low and slow in rotary wing! Good luck to you,

- Juris
 

OPIE01

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Helo Instrument vs Fixed wing inst

:) Don't get hung up on the Instrument stuff. The techniques involved in Flying Instruments is the same in both rotary and fixed wing. But for the FAA, you have to have training in both. If you have a Helo Inst ticket, getting the Fixed wing inst ticket would only be about 5 hours and a checkride.

Flying instruments is not that hard and it is a very small part of flying anyway. In attack helos and Fighters you hardly ever do it anyway.
As for the Army Guard. See this website http://www.txarng.com/
or http://www.1800goguard.com/lines/non_military/car_high.htm

The Texas NG website says FREE COLLEGE TUITION
Members of the Texas Army National Guard that meet the eligibility requirements are entitled to receive up to 12 hours a semester free tuition. This program covers public, private and technical institutions in Texas.

What a deal. There are a at least 6 Aviation units in Texas. One is at Houston.

High School Program

To join the Guard, you must be 17 years old and have a High School diploma or GED equivalent. However, the Guard realizes that individuals who are not yet 17 or high school graduates may be planning ahead for their future.

High School Juniors

If you are 17 and a high school junior, the Guard offers a program which allows you to join prior to your senior year. This program enables you to serve and earn pay all through your senior year. When you enlist in the Army National Guard, you'll typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year (usually in the summer). Your initial training will be broken into two parts. First, you'll get basic instruction on how to be a soldier, like how to salute, march and shoot an M-16. Second, you will learn a special, individual occupational skill. You can accomplish this training all at once or these two parts can be split. You can do Basic Training one summer and your job training the next summer. This program is called Split Option Training. High School Juniors who attend basic training in the summer can earn pay all through their senior year.

Split Training Option

The Split Training Option is offered to qualified high school students. This is available to applicants who are unable to attend a continuous training cycle. You must enlist for a minimum of 6 years. You also must enter Basic Training within 270 days of enlistment. The training will begin following the junior year in High School or as soon as possible for seasonal workers. Upon successful completion of Basic Training the soldier will be released and returned to their unit and begin weekend training. Within one year of completion of Basic Training you will be required to enter into your Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to complete your required training.

For Example:

A high school junior reports to basic training after the end of their junior year in school. That summer they complete basic training and are released back to their unit in a paid drill status. During this time the soldier completes their senior year in high school while attending weekend drills with their unit. After graduating from high school you would be shipped to your Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to complete the initial entry training cycle.
 

AHPilot

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Thanks for the info, about the tx arng, that may be the way to go for me....juris thanks for the helo info, still don't know, but now...all sounds really good, may want to give helo flying a shot...who knows may like it

Again thank yall so much for the info,
Langston
 

OPIE01

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Flying Helos is a lot more fun

Flying Helos is a lot more fun than flying fixed wing. The only problem is there are not to many jobs that pay well on the outside.
The 4 years of flying the Cobra was the best and funest flying I ever did.
 

jurisj

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Re: Flying Helos is a lot more fun

OPIE01 said:
Flying Helos is a lot more fun than flying fixed wing. The only problem is there are not to many jobs that pay well on the outside.
The 4 years of flying the Cobra was the best and funest flying I ever did.
I hear that a lot, OPIE, from people that have flown both. Why do you feel that rotary is "funner"? I've got limited fixed wing experience, but I do know I love flying those **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** whirly birds. Nothing quite like skids in the trees, dark nights, under NVGs!

Cheers,

- Juris
 

OPIE01

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Helos are more fun

Helos are more fun because you have to actually fly it not only to get it off the ground but to keep it in flight.
You give and airplane enought power and airspeed, it will take off on it's own.
My wife will even tell you, "there is nothing like watching your loved one from 6 feet away, pull to a hover and then climb away"
I've been flying military for 19 years now, and any time I hear rotor noise I turn and look in amazement, it never gets old to me to see a helicopter in a hover.
There is nothing like popping over a tree line, pulling to a hover and landing in your front yard the size of a trailer. (I've never actually landed in my front yard, just the back parking lot of a convenience store), but I could have physically don't it if I had the oppertunity.
As you can tell, I miss the thrill of flying attack helos, but I sure do enjoy the benefits of being an Air Force fighter pilot.
I guess the big difference is, in fighters out of a 1 hour mission you have about 15 minutes of challeging fun. Where in helos the whole 1 hour mission is a challenge keeping the bird airborne and not hitting trees.

Have a good day and may God continue to bless you and your family.
 

Nocturnal1

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AHPilot said:
Hey Everybody,
My Questions:
Is it possible to switch branches, say after becoming a helicopter pilot, and flying for some time could I maybe transfering into the air force to fly fixed wing...specifically C-130's or other cargo transports?

I want to also fly for the airlines eventually--once done with the military...how would the helicopter time look?

I chose this path and although lengthy (22 years and some change) it worked for me and was a genuine blast.

I initially went in enlisted and then applied to Rucker a year later. 8 months later I was down there experiencing the joys of being a Warrant Officer Candidate (WOC). After that did 6 years at Ft. Campbell and went the ERAU route. Talked to an OTS recruiter for the Air Force and arranged it so I left the Army 1 day and was in the Air Force the next. Then Officer Training School and Pilot training. Then all kinds of fun in 8 different kinds of aircraft including the LearJet, M/C-130's, and the B-707 among others.

Bottom Line:
If you want to fly for the airlines, I'd go the ROTC route first then OTS second, followed by flight school and an assignment or two in a heavy...C-17, KC-10, C-5, etc. Nothing against the ARMY or my ARMY breathren but helicopter flying won't help that much. If you want to have the time of your life in the cockpit, flying night vision goggles in the mud then have at it in the "Army of One". There is no comparision in the quality of life between the ARMY or Air Force either. Unless you opt for a commando job in the Air Force you'll be bellyachin because you can't find the remote control while laying on the king size bed. In the ARMY, life will be what I like to call austere. Tents, mud, eating out of pouches, and picking critters out of places you don't want them. I loved both for different reasons but try to look down the road and remember you can always defect to another service later like I did.

Good Luck and God Bless
 

OPIE01

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What every you do, have fun

My last post on this subject.
It took me 19 years to figure this out, but I finally did. Don't judge yourself or your accomplishments based on someone elses accomplishments. Make a decision what you want out of life, adjust as the curve balls come at you, and go for it. Never take NO for an answer, there is always a way to make things happen if you really want something bad enough. It might take a few extra years, but if you want it, it is worth the wait.
I have met too many people that either got out after their first tour in the military, or quit trying to get the job they really wanted. Then 10 years later you hear them say, "You know if I would have just stuck it out I would be almost ready to retire, or I would be doing such an such."
Make a decision and stick with it, and don't ever look back and say "Boy I wish I had" or "Man, I should have."

Bottom line: If you want to fly a helo and then try to go fixed wing then try. No one is going to cut your head off for trying. Only you can decide what you want, what is good for someone might not be good for others. God made us different from each other for a reason. Just give 100% in all you do, and last but not least HAVE FUN DOING WHAT EVER YOU DO, NO MATTER HOW BAD THINGS MIGHT LOOK LIKE THEY SUCK. ALWAYS TRY TO TURN LEMONS INTO LEMONADE. ANYONE CAN PUSH A ROCK DOWN HILL(ie complain how bad they have it), BUT IT TAKE SOME REAL DETERMINATION TO PUSH A HEAVY BURDEN UPHILL(ie Work to make things better).

As my Wrestling Coach used to say: LUCK is when Preparation meets Opportunity.

So prepare yourself for Good luck and may God Bless you in all you do.
 
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