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Subject: Best way to get starting flying.
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BHurt86User is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

02/07/2012 11:05 PM  
I am a 25 year old college graduate who is seriously interested in a career in helicopter aviation.  I am having some trouble getting started however.  It seems that flight school is a touch out of my price range and grants are hard to come by.  So I was going with the military option.  I have just began looking into this option and need a little direction from some guys that know a thing or two about it or have done it before in the past.  What is the process involve with getting into a Army Aviation program and how long does it take?  What are my obligations and commitments going to be like? I currently live in the state of Kentucky and am currently unemployed so that leaves me with a wide open playing field of what I can do, its just a matter of getting the ball rolling.  Recruiters in the military seem to just be interested in having you sign a paper or two and not really filling in all the blanks about any question I ask. I have yet to sign any sort of commitments with the military but as soon and I can get an idea of what qualifications i have to meet and general outline of what the road is going to be like between signing up to climbing into the cockpit, I'll be in a better state of mind in signing a document.

Any thoughts?
skipperUser is Offline
JH - Addicted!
JH - Addicted!

02/09/2012 1:00 AM  
4 other services fly helicopters. How serious are you ? All these services will tell you they want you to be an officer first, a pilot second. Translation, you would be willing to have a military career not including the cockpit. Another possibility is law enforcement rotary aviation, but the same rule applies.
Flying PigUser is Offline
JH Veteran
JH Veteran

02/09/2012 9:36 AM  
Law Enforcement? Sorry, youll have a much better chance flying in military! You dont apply to law enforcement to be a pilot. It took me 8 years to get into aviation in law enforcement and I still had to pay for all of my own ratings. There are some that do your training, but very few agencies sponsor your training from 0 time. Usually because so many people want in, that officers are out getting their ratings to better their chances. I would say for minumum to get into LE your probably looking at about 5 years from the day you decide you want to pursue LE.
In my unit, I know solid qualified guys who have been trying to get in for 10+yrs. My agency requires you to have 5 years minumum patrol experience before you can apply to ASU. Add that on to the 6-12 months to get hired, 6 month academy, 4-6 month field training and you have about 7 yrs invested before you can even try out. In those 5 yrs, hiding under a rock isnt going to cut it. Your competing against experienced cops. I worked Narc, SWAT and was a training officer. And honeslty, I was having so much fun doing that, I wasnt counting the days to get into ASU. It just sorta happened. '
In addition, the biggest hurdle to that is an opening. You dont just apply, someone has to leave. It can be timing. You get into an agency, like mine, where there was a big turn over of retirements you have a good shot. Now? All the pilots and TFOs all have abuot 10-15yrs on. Meaning, they all have about 10yrs left! We had a cop recently who came on, was a CFII-H and his goal was to fly. He failed the field training program and was let go. He never even got a shot at it. So the paths are very different.
BHurt86User is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

02/09/2012 6:38 PM  
I am very serious.  Looking over warrant officer forms already.  I understand the obligations involved with the Army and I'm sure sure other branches of the military will have similar responsibilities.  My question is regarding what path people have taken to getting trained in the military and some miles stones they have accomplished along the way. I am at square one, any advise from those who have signed up for the military and ended up in the cockpit would be helpful.  I'm currently looking at warrant officer school.  Filling out the forms and going through the application process without ever serving in the military can be a little confusing but I can figure out how to apply.  However enlisting, going through basic training, and then going to WO school is another route to take if not selected (start from the bottom type thing).  I understand that's a long road.  However I'm willing to go those miles to get to my goal. How many of you flew for the first time thanks to the service?  What was it like? What are some things you'd do differently?  How long did it take for you to get your wings? Those are the sort of things I'm curious about.
oceancowboyUser is Offline
JH Veteran
JH Veteran

02/29/2012 9:11 AM  
Just my opinion...

In an economy where financing is restrictive (maybe a good thing in this industry), one must seek alternatives. And although seeking the military route may be an option, I'm doubtful that the road would be easy, and somewhat of a risk.

Another option you may wish to consider; instead of busting your balls for little money in the military, put 12 mths of your life aside and seek a job in Alaska working Seismic / Oil or Gold / Mineral Exploration starting as a Driller Assistant or similar. Not only do these jobs pay very well for unskilled labor, but 'all' living expenses are catered for, and in many locations you will be working alongside helicopters operating in the field on a daily bases.

As long as you don't go blow your $$$ during your times off, you could expect to be able to save sufficient funds within the 12 mths (if you are prepared (and tough enough) to work the Alaskan Winter) for a majority of your training. You may be able to make up any shortfall via financing through a place like Boatpix who are always as it seems advertising financing available to partial license holders. But it sure would be nice to come out of training with no financial commitment.

If you show an active interest with helicopter ops (hell offer to wash the bubble and tie the machine down for all I care) you'll be surprised as to how helpful many of the pilots can be up there; and although no-one can waive a magic wand and make it happen overnight, you'll be making some great contacts.

Good luck
SRTHELOUser is Offline
JH - Addicted!
JH - Addicted!

03/02/2012 3:40 PM  
Your age, and the fact you have a degree is a good start. For any service you will need to take the ASVAB so I would suggest sticking with the Army to get the following done.

ASVAB, Class 1 Flight Physical, AFAST test. Make sure you get a recruiter that specifically does either Warrant or Commissioned Officers for Flight school.

DO NOT let the recruiter even suggest an enlisted job and then apply for flight school.

There are a lot of opportunities once you have your wings, especially if Special Operations interests you.

Feel free to email me directly if you need any help.

Chris Gadbois
SRT Helicopters
TymotoUser is Offline
JH Newbie
JH Newbie

03/19/2012 2:49 AM  
I just finished flight school at Fort Rucker, AL last month. I am qualified to fly the UH-60A/L. I had the same questions that you had before I enlisted.

When I went to an active duty Army recruiter in 2009, he told me that I couldn't submit a packet to become a warrant officer in Aviation. It turns out that I could, but I didn't find that out until a year later. I think that particular recruiter was misled or new at the time. I went to see what the Army National Guard could offer and they said I could fly if everything lined up. You see the availablility for certain officer slots, paperwork, and regulations in the military are ALWAYS changing. Even now returning to my unit back from flight school, I have no idea when I will fly next. You learn to roll with the punches and constant change. That is why Army spouses deserve so much credit for sticking by their Soldiers. I enlisted under the MOS 09S (Officer Recruit) in 2009 since I completed my BS in Business Administration. I went to Basic Training in Missouri that summer. I then fought "tooth and nail" to get into the 8 week accelerated Officer Candidate School in South Dakota in 2010. Between the time of Basic and OCS, I networked with any and all Aviation officers I could find. One senior officer let me know that I would have to be #1 in my class at OCS to be considered for Aviation.

At OCS, I met a lot of my buddies and learned what it was like to plan ahead and put others' needs ahead of your own. I got the award for the highest academic average during OCS in my state. This little award was significant because it allowed me an Aviation slot, but not a ticket to flight school. Confusing, yes, but I had to apply and be selected and interviewed by a board to be accepted. This is when the board looked at my flight packet, PT scores, overall attitude, and professionalism. The other candidates that made it into flight school were former Rangers and Special Forces. My buddy that went with me was the top scholar in his class for ROTC (best of 200). I studied hard and got a 133 on my ASVAB. I would suggest studying for that test and getting the highest PT score you can possibly achieve.

I was accepted by the Aviation board in October and was told to pack up and move my family (wife and two kids) to Alabama in November. I was lucky to get that much preparation time. My ROTC buddy was told two weeks before he moved. Flight school lasted for 14 months. I can honestly say it was the hardest schooling I have ever done. It was also the most rewarding accomplishment in my life. The Army will have you working 12 hour days for months at a time - cramming your head with systems information in the mornings while the instructor pilots have the honor of yelling at you through your headset in the afternoons. Just when you think your long day is done, you have to study through the night to complete your homework and memorize the emergency procedures of your helicopter since they will make you stand up in front of your class and recite them the next day. The worst part is that your class is made up of the best and brightest that have the same dream, so if you ever let up, you fall way behind quickly. Friday nights are reserved for drinking (at home with friends - one DUI and your kicked out), Saturdays are recovery days (from Friday night), and Sundays are library days... all day. You don't get to choose what you fly in the Guard (active duty guys get to choose in order of their scores from a pool of whatever is available that week), but I got what I wanted and every helicopter in the Army is awesome anyways. The Army had a saying in flight school, "Yeah, we care about families, you will see them when you graduate!". I am lucky I married the right gal and made it back with my family intact. Other guys weren't so fortunate. Should I mention the 24 hour shift at the battalion reception desk on Christmas Day? Then again on New Year's Day? If you don't do it then your buddy will have to do it.

There isn't much else I am at the liberty to say, but you will have to attend Dunker and SERE-C (look it up) if you want to be an Army pilot. I have gone through it all and feel like I barely know how to run up a helicopter and fly it. I plan on using the GI Bill to get my CFI and CFII this summer since I am now on unemployment. It has taken me three years from when I enlisted to earning my wings. You will always be learning and I feel like I know less about helicopters now that I fly. I love my country and am thankful of the wonderful opportunity Uncle Sam has given me.
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Forums > JH Alternate Forum > General Helicopter Discussion > Best way to get starting flying.

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