Can anyone help? My life mission is to be a helicopter pilot. Here is my story.
After graduating from college and securing a job as a financial aid dept. counselor, I worked for four years and decided that the desk environment is just not for me. At 29, My lifelong goal of becoming a professional helicopter pilot was always lingering in the back of my mind. I visited a local Army Recruiter's Office and started working on my WOFT packet. I went through and passed the required aviation tests, a flight physical, and passing scores on a physical fitness test, an Officer application, letters of recommendation from three of my professors, my employer, and a couple Army Aviators I was introduced to, and a stack of other documents about inch thick pertaining to my past experiences and qualifications--not to mention my degree.
This process took about a year to complete. Once all had been signed off on, I was scheduled a meeting at battalion headquarters to be interviewed for Warrant Officer Candidacy. I was recommended from that board, which then sent my packet to Fort Rucker, AL for selection. I was told my packet couldn't have been any better. I was even asked if my "Why I Want To Be An Army Aviator" essay could be used as a template for the region. But alas, I was not selected for the July and September selection boards. My scores, were in line with most, varying only by a few points here and there, but out of 29 applicants, I was not one of them.
So, given the determine gent I am, I've started refreshing myself on Private Loans and Adult/Non-Traditional scholarships & grants to obtain my ratings at a local executive airport. Any helicopter pilot or enthusiast will tell you how difficult it is to find funding, and the minimum I'll need is $50k. There's no scholarships, virtually no schools are accredited, and if they're are, they require some ridiculous associates degree in order to receive Title IV aid (i.e. Stafford Loans, Pell Grant). And even then, you don't have enough money leftover after Freshman-level Staffords to pay for your ratings also. I just can't seem to find any other options.
My recruiter has offered me the option to go in as a normal Officer through OCS. I'm considering it as a definite option, and I'm well-aware of the benefits, but I don't want to get stuck in something that keeps me away from aviation and furthering my career goals. The commitment would be a total of four years, but would obviously give me a wealth of benefit by means of the G.I. Bill and tuition assistance.
Any advice for going either route would be much appreciated. I'd rather stay civilian, but I see how much the military offers.