Requirements to fly Army Helo's

airspeed

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Curious, i want to do something exciting and wanted yo know if anyone knew accuratley the vision, age and if you need a bachelors degree to fly in the Active , guard or reserve part of the Army. Also is it a guaranteed flight slot like the do in the USMC?> Thanks. PS- do they give waivers??
 

Anaconda

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Right now the way things are in the Army, I think the only requirement is to have a pulse!

Seriously, though, having spent ten years there, I could talk for hours about this subject, but you might not want to hear it.

Why would you want to fly for the Army when you could fly for the Air Force or Navy?
 

OviedoBob

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Ananconda is right. I was in the Army for 6 years flying helos. Lots of fun but after having earned my degree at Embry Riddle at Ft Rucker, I left and went to the Navy where I flew fixed wing and stayed there for 17 more years. It was a much better deal.
If you have a degree, go Navy, AF, or USMC.:)
 

jurisj

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flying for the Army

I am currently a WO1 on active duty and almost done with flight school. I've really enjoyed flying with the Army thus far, though there are certainly pitfalls associated with it compared to the other services as the other posters have pointed out. I do like it a lot... I like being in the Army and I like the mission of Army aviation. I've got a college degree as well, so switching to another service is an option, but it's not one I plan to exercise any time soon.

As for your questions...

Vision requirements: no worse than 20/50, correctable to 20/20 and astigmatisms within a certain tolerance. Worse than that you need a waiver. I don't know of any flight student that I've seen have glasses or contacts, though.

Age requirements: I've seen people up to 32 years of age in flight school, though I believe you need a waiver if older than 28 and 1/2.

Bachelor's degree: you don't need it if you plan on going the Warrant Officer route as I have. Commissioned officers are required to have a bachelor's degree. If you want to know the difference between Warrants and Commissioned Officers I can go into that as well.

Let me know if there's any other questions I can answer for you. Good luck!

- Juris
 

Anaconda

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For what it's worth, when I was on active duty I averaged about 150 hours of flight time a year. That's right, about 15 hours of "excitement" a month. The rest of the time was spent doing very non-exciting things, like pulling duty, cleaning weapons, or toilets, folding tents, or counting gas masks...

No offense jurisj, but when I was a young WO1 I loved it too. The novelty quickly wore off however. Most, if not all WO1's I saw arrive at our unit were totally motivated at the start, but quickly burned out after about six months. I sincerely hope you keep the motivation going, I'm sure Army aviation needs more people like that.

The mission is almost a moot point. Peacetime Army has no mission, except maybe special ops and medevac. Other than that, it's prep for JRTC. Missions are much cooler in the other services in my own opinion. The only advantage the Army has is you get to sleep in a tent!!!

While there are MANY differences between warrants and commissioned, here is a big one...PAY!!! After about four years, a warrant makes about A grand less a month, and it doesn't matter if it's Army, Navy, AF, or whatever, so don't bring up how much more responsibility an Army CPT has...why anyone with a B.S. or higher would waste it on being a W.O. I never understood...

Good luck with your choice!
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

To consider:

Definitely consider the Coast Guard!

Consider Guard/Reserve. There are full-time spots in Guard/Reserve. Many even part-time Guard/Reserves fly more than active.

I was active AF and got about 1500 hours in 6.5 years. I often flew 10 hours/month or less. In tankers, at the end, I was down to averaging less than 2 sorties a month. I do think they are flying more now.

Cliff
GB,WI

PS-You can get into a service, and then get tours or switch to another service.

PPS-The AF has helos, and the Coast Guard as fixed-wing also.
 

B-J-J Fighter

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I have a bachelors degree, and Im 25 years old. I dont care if its fixed wing or rotor which branch is easiest to get into and which branch would you fly the most?
 

jurisj

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Anaconda said:
No offense jurisj, but when I was a young WO1 I loved it too. The novelty quickly wore off however. Most, if not all WO1's I saw arrive at our unit were totally motivated at the start, but quickly burned out after about six months. I sincerely hope you keep the motivation going, I'm sure Army aviation needs more people like that.

While there are MANY differences between warrants and commissioned, here is a big one...PAY!!! After about four years, a warrant makes about A grand less a month, and it doesn't matter if it's Army, Navy, AF, or whatever, so don't bring up how much more responsibility an Army CPT has...why anyone with a B.S. or higher would waste it on being a W.O. I never understood...
Well, Anaconda, I have a ton of respect for your experience, but I'm one of those strange people that isn't motivated by money. Don't get me wrong, I like to get paid, but I actually left a high paying software development job in Washington, DC in order to come into the Army to fly helicopters. I gross less than half of my old take home pay.

So why did I come over? I always wanted to serve. I always wanted to wear the uniform. I always wanted to fly. For the first time in my young 27 year old life, I am loving what I do every day and not looking for the next best thing (of course, I'm still looking for my final advanced aircraft assignment and my first post, but that's besides the point). And now, after 9-11, I'm even more proud of doing what I do.

I love being in the Army and I love flying helicopters. Being a Warrant just made sense to me, and I don't regret it at all. Am I going to stay a Warrant for the whole time I serve? Am I going to retire from the military? I don't know, since I've only been in a TRADOC environment so far, but for now this is the right place for me.

Cheers,

- Juris
 

Anaconda

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I would be the first to say it isn't all about money. I was making a reasonably comfortable living as a 10-year warrant and gave it all up on the chance to fly for a regional airline. Like you, I make about 1/2 what I did in my previous job. However, now I know what it's like to finally enjoy the freedom I served for 10 years to protect.

I respect the path you chose and I sincerely hope there are many more like you. I know the Army needs people like that. I came in Jan 91 so I know all about what it's like to serve during a time of national crisis. It was an incredible feeling to take part in something history-making. However, after all of the parties and the parades were over the feeling quickly subsided. We went back to being the under-appreciated, under-trained, under-equipped, and under-paid force that were a mark of the 90's. It will be interesting to see if the current administration can bring about a positive change.

I feel it's my duty to pass along as much info as I can to people that may be seeking to go down the path I took. I apologize if it comes across as one-sided due to the bad taste left in my mouth. Everyone is entitled to hear that facts from both sides of the fence, not just what the recruiter may be trying to sell them.

FYI, the army instituted a stop-loss for pilots on my type of aircraft recently. Appparently this is a typical knee-jerk reaction to the abysimal retention rates they have had. Perhaps if they compensated them in level with their peers and treated them better it wouldn't have come to that.

I wish you the best and hope you always come home to fly the next mission. Don't let "the man" bring you down!
 

ms6073

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Jurisj,

Sounds like you have everything under control! Any insight on what airframe you are going into yet? I might suggest that if you want a really challenging, high tempo unit, when you finish advanced training, take a look at what it takes to assess for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment! As a warrant with this unit you will first learn how to do more things with a helo than you ever thought possible, and then get to travel to far off places on a routine basis, not too mention that you will definitely be flying a lot more than just 15-hours a month!
 

jurisj

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ms6073-

For airframe I'd like to get UH-60's. They're just the most versatile... I could go to air assault units, medevac, utility, VIP, etc. Eventually, of course, 160th is a possibility.

I've got friends in my flight school class that used to be 160th and they've pretty much convinced me and most of my classmates that that's where we should be. Right now our class is full of guys that want 60's and 47's so that eventually we can assess for 160th. I'm not positive, but I think you need quite a few hours. I know they're short on MH-47 drivers so I think they're letting people assess with 500 hours in that airframe, but not sure.

Anyhow, thanks for the tip! Cheers,

- Juris
 

Anaconda

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you hit the nail on the head about hawks...i flew just about every mission possible during my tenure. the variety is definitely a bonus. for me, the greatest satisfaction, personally and professionally, came from flying medevac. i also enjoyed vip missions.

i would second the comments about the 160th. that would be a fulfilling mission to fly, and they have lots of toys. it will probably only get better given the amount of positive press they have been getting from afghanistan, etc.

good luck in your career...seriously!
 

Anaconda

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oh yeah, i forgot. unless the requirements have changed in the past year, it shouldn't matter what airframe you fly to assess for the 160th. you will get the tng regardless of your current airframe. i knew of several guys that had loads of experience in the blackhawk only to end up flying the oh-6 or ch-47
 

jurisj

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Anaconda-

I remember reading a PERSCOM message that pretty much said, "If you fly the AH-64, forget about trying to assess for 160th because we're already too short on Apache drivers." So, if that's still in effect, that would be the only airframe restriction. I'll post the updated info if I can find it for everyone's reference.

Cheers,

- Juris
 

KingAirGuy

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Army Aviation

Good luck in Flight School. Just retired myself. 20 and a wakeup all done. Wait till you get a bit of experience before you decide what you want to do. I have been fortunate and gotten to do a lot of different missions as an Army Aviator. Other than the C-12 work, Scouts have the best mission (in my opinion). Lots of fun to plan ane execute. As a WO1 you can actually get a chance to be the "Man" leading the squadron. As to flight time, it all depends on how bad you want it. I never averaged less than 300 a year as a rotary wing guy and actually had an 800 hour year in fixed wing. I however am a sky whore and will fly any time any day. .5 for a MFT is fine with me on a 4 day weekend on Saturday morning. Or I have no problems with a 1.2 flight that departs Sunday morning .6 to destination, 8 hours of wait time and .6 home. It all depends on what you can stand. The flight time is there if your willing to work it. Again good luck. Glad someone is stepping up to the plate to take my place! Oh and when Garth Rankin offers you the No pass No pay commertial rating, TAKE IT! Its the cheapest rating you will ever buy!

For the Math wizards out there. I only flew the last 9 years.
 
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Sarguy

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Funny that 121 and 135 pilots are exploring the Military now. I just did a trip with a guy (RJ Captain) who is trying to get in. In my opinion, this shows intelligence. You guys (certainly, you helo bubbas) must admit that this airline stuff is a tad on the boring side.

I would like to suggest that you investigate the Coast Guard before you sign papers elsewhere. I did 22 yrs there and have many USN/USMC buddies who spent a great deal of time trying to lateral to the CG. Also, the list of former Army aviators in the CG is extensive. In my entire career, I never heard of a CG aviator going to another Service.

In response to a previous post, there are NO reserve Aviator slots in the CG.
Did you see "TOPGUN"? Well, Maverick would have died along with Goose, had it not been for a Coast Guard HH3f!
 

HueyPilot

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Ah...the Army days!

I flew for the Army Guard for right about 4 years. Prior to that I was an enlisted engineer, so I spent about 8 years in the Army. I loved flying helicopters. It was quite a bit of fun....NOE, landing in remote LZs. I was like juris, very motivated...not at all interested in flying anything but Hueys and Hawks. But it did wear off quickly. Within a couple of years, I was recommended for PIC, but shot down by the commander because 'we are PIC-heavy'. I saw friends who were promised the IP course get the shaft (and of course, to keep them in, they kept dangling the IP course carrot in front of them).

Probably the straw that broke the camel's back was all the 15,000 hour pilots (who flew offshore for PHI and co.) got the 'primary' slots in our unit. Primary slots were allocated more flying hours. All the new guys were put in 'overstrength' slots, and were automatically designated FAC 2 aviators, which gave us about 60 hours a year. A few of us new CW2s and WO1s politely proposed to our SIP that more of us newbies get primary slots so we could get more training. Our SIP agreed, but the commander didn't. Finally, those of us in UH-60 units but not MOS qualified (ie still flying Hueys because the state couldn't fund the AQC slots) were going to become FAC 3 aviators with no flight pay. Fortunately, I was able to get tranferred into the UH-1V-equipped medevac unit, but some guys weren't able to do that. Most of them quit altogether.

In late 1998, I looked into flying HH-60s for the AFRC, but I was notified by the AF recruiter that the program had be terminated for warrant officers. He encouraged me to apply for fixed-wing pilot training, but at the time I was still in love with flying helicopters and didn't want to give it up. Finally, the lure of flying full time, getting more hours and not having to deal with the Army's idiotic management of it's aviation assets lead me to apply. After two years in the AF, I'm now flying Learjets. Sometimes I watch the Hueys from Ft Rucker fly into our field here at Maxwell and wish I could get a ride, but overall, I'm happier because even though I'm not flying NOE, I'm flying.

This month is a slow month due to the holidays, but I'm still going to log about 35 hours. It would have taken me 7 months to log that with the Army Guard. As a side note, once I got accepted to the AF, there were a few changes that took place in my unit. Most, if not all, of the older veteran pilots were retiring. They dangled the IP course/PIC thing in front of me to get me to stay, and I turned 'em down. They did the same for another friend trying to fly C-130s for the Reserves, and he stayed. I called back a few months ago to see how everyone was doing, and to this day (2 years later), my friend has yet to see the IP school at Rucker. He reapplied to get out of his committment and the Army turned him down, so he's stuck. He should have bolted while he had the chance.

Look, if you like flying helicopters, the Army CAN be a great place, however over the past decade, the Army hasn't done so great. Back 'in the day', my dad flew AH-1s and logged 200-300 hours a year. Now you're lucky to get 100. Hopefully the Army will get better, I can only hope that it's at the bottom of the hole right now and things can only get better, but who knows. As a 4th Generation Army aviator, I'm ashamed at what the Army brass has done to Army aviation...they've gutted it.
 

Anaconda

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Good post, HueyPilot! Congratulations on the opportunity to fly Lears.

I can assure you things aren't much different in the Active Army...
 
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