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Helo PPL vs Fixed-wing PPL

Private Pilot License Highschool to flightschool private pilot license

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#1 Mendacio

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 21:51

I'm saving up through a part time job to get a private pilot's license both for personal interest and so that is smoothens my WOFT quals a bit more. Thing is, I'm not sure whether to go for the Helicopter PPL or the fixed wing one. Obviously army aviators go helo most of the time, but I've honestly heard arguments for both. 

 

Fixed Wing-

  • More applicable for civvies
  • Cheaper due to flight times, and school availability(like thousands cheaper)
  • WOFT has inevitable helo training
  • Board could probably care less, just the fact that you got your PPL is great

Helicopters-

  •  ARMY AVIATION = HELOS, so get helo training(biggest one) 
  • Post license rentals are probably cheaper


#2 r22butters

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 23:08

I have never understood why someone would spend butt-loads of money to become a chopper pilot (some all the way through cfii) then go in and have the Army essentially re-train them for free?

Personally I'd go with a fixed-wing ppl, or maybe even just a sport pilot license in a piper cub. That way you can fly both and if you want to rent and fly just for fun, airplanes are infinitely cheaper than choppers, plus you will have many more choices in rental models!
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The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#3 Mendacio

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Posted 19 October 2016 - 23:20

I have never understood why someone would spend butt-loads of money to become a chopper pilot (some all the way through cfii) then go in and have the Army essentially re-train them for free?

Personally I'd go with a fixed-wing ppl, or maybe even just a sport pilot license in a piper cub. That way you can fly both and if you want to rent and fly just for fun, airplanes are infinitely cheaper than choppers, plus you will have many more choices in rental models!

 

Thanks for the validation. 

 

I was looking at 8-10k vs 13-16k as far as prices go.....  


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#4 Creep0321

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 06:20

Personally, if your only reason is to improve your packet, I wouldn't do it at all. Now on the other hand if you have an interest in being rated in fixed and rotary wing, then by all means knock out the fixed wing.
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Swift, Silent, Deadly.


#5 Mendacio

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 06:28

Personally, if your only reason is to improve your packet, I wouldn't do it at all. Now on the other hand if you have an interest in being rated in fixed and rotary wing, then by all means knock out the fixed wing.

 

I'm interested in being rated and improving my packet. I was just wondering which rating would be the most beneficial down the road. 



#6 Creep0321

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 10:06

From what I have been told, neither is really beneficial for a packet. And you will get a commercial rotor craft rating after flight school. So again I would say fixed wing, if you want it.

Swift, Silent, Deadly.


#7 VelosiT

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 14:15

Here's my advice as someone who came in with a fixed-wing PPL.

 

It does help your packet. How much depends entirely on how many hours you have. The board apparently liked my 120 hours quite a bit, because it managed to cancel out a 2.9 GPA.

 

I would recommend getting the fixed wing over the rotary wing for the following reasons:

 

1. It's a hell of a lot cheaper, which is good considering that you'll get paid to get trained by the Army.

 

2. You'll come out of WOFT with a commercial and instrument rotary-wing rating (if you take the Military Equivalency course), so you're just adding to your skillset if you go fixed-wing prior to being selected.

 

3. The actual mechanical skills of flying a helicopter will come to you easily no matter which rating you get.

 

4. The knowledge that is really going to help once you get to primary (how to read a sectional, airspace, some aerodynamics, comfort with talking on the radio, etc.) will be taught to you in either fixed or rotary on the civilian side.

 

What I'm trying to say with all that is that there are a couple minor advantages to going fixed (namely, cost and widening your skill set). You might as well go fixed wing, because the skills that will actually help you while you're in flight school will be taught for both fixed and rotary on the civilian side. 

 

(All that being said, helicopters are way more fun and I never want to go back to flying starch-wings again)


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The Army is okay, I guess


#8 UH60L-IP

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 16:04

A few hours and a private pilot's license is not likely to sway the selection board. So if you do it, do it for personal reasons. If you have little else to set you apart from others in the process and you think this will put you over the top, that might make sense as well. Personally, way back when I went through the process I was right at the age cutoff, was rather average, and it was a little more competitive. However, I was a helicopter CFII with a thousand hours. I am almost certain that without it I would not have been selected. That is a unique position to be in, though, and may not be relevant right now, especially when you will not be building up a lot of hours.

 

If you are going to do it, there are worse things you could spend your money on. I'd go with the fixed wing for cost and value of flying recreationally if you choose. I do agree that the value will be not in the stick time so much as the introduction to aeronautics, i.e. airspace, charts, radio communication, etc. Some of that you can teach yourself so, again, do it for personal reasons or if you truly need it to set yourself apart.


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#9 brackac

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 20:29

c7NJRa2.gif


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#10 takefootoff

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 22:04

DON'T TAKE THAT MILITARY EQUIVALENCY TEST

#11 wbrady755

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Posted 20 October 2016 - 22:14

DON'T TAKE THAT MILITARY EQUIVALENCY TEST

Do take that military equivalency exam.

 

If you come out of the Army after a mid-range career with 1000/1200 hours, you can go right into a tour gig or maybe get lucky doing something with a little pay. Unless you want to start from scratch and pay for it all yourself?? I dont even see a reason not to take it (even though its a little shady at the testing facility... Ok students- heres the answers! cash only! leave ASAP and dont talk to anyone about this!).



#12 Creep0321

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 06:15

DON'T TAKE THAT MILITARY EQUIVALENCY TEST


Can you give your logic behind this?
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Swift, Silent, Deadly.


#13 stearmann4

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 06:47

Mendacio,

 

if you have at least your Associate's degree, then a PVT (airplane) license will add slightly to your application. if not, the best investment you can make is keep plugging away at your degree. Certainly do not waste money on a rotorcraft rating.

 

Prior aviation experience really doesn't add much to your application unless it's significant (1,000 hours+)

 

As was stated before, when I'm evaluating your application. I don't expect you to have any aeronautical experience, that's what you're applying for. We do however, place value on post secondary education, which is an unofficial requisite for advancing through the WO ranks. Of note, it'll  probably become policy within the next couple of years.

 

Mike-


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#14 Mendacio

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 15:05

Mendacio,

 

if you have at least your Associate's degree, then a PVT (airplane) license will add slightly to your application. if not, the best investment you can make is keep plugging away at your degree. Certainly do not waste money on a rotorcraft rating.

 

Prior aviation experience really doesn't add much to your application unless it's significant (1,000 hours+)

 

As was stated before, when I'm evaluating your application. I don't expect you to have any aeronautical experience, that's what you're applying for. We do however, place value on post secondary education, which is an unofficial requisite for advancing through the WO ranks. Of note, it'll  probably become policy within the next couple of years.

 

Mike-

 

Well.....

still in high school, but I'm going to try to get some credits out of the way at my local CC this coming summer. Because of a lack of secondary education, I was hoping that this would in some way make up for the huge gap in experience. 

 

Of course If I get rejected both times my senior year, I'll go onto college for a bachelors and reapply to WOFT.

 

I'm just trying to find small things that would give me a bit more leverage. 



#15 stearmann4

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 19:28

Mendacio,

 

Sometimes it's easier if you give me a name, or something to talk to other than a screen name. Normally, I'd recommend you not pursue a license and work on college. However, I wrote an LOR last year for a high school senior that had a good resume (JROTC, class officer, sports, etc) but no college or flight experience, and he was accepted. So, maybe it works for you, if not then go to college and try again.

 

I'm not always on here, feel free to email me at: michael.rutledge@usma.edu.

 

Mike-



#16 Lindsey

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 19:51

 
I'm not always on here, feel free to email me at: michael.rutledge@usma.edu.
 
Mike-


Your last email address was cooler.
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#17 stearmann4

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 22:15

I'm not as cool now...
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#18 Lindsey

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Posted 21 October 2016 - 23:07

I'm not as cool now...


Unfortunately.

#19 Dnr032

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 07:58

Mendacio,
 
if you have at least your Associate's degree, then a PVT (airplane) license will add slightly to your application. if not, the best investment you can make is keep plugging away at your degree. Certainly do not waste money on a rotorcraft rating.
 
Prior aviation experience really doesn't add much to your application unless it's significant (1,000 hours+)
 
As was stated before, when I'm evaluating your application. I don't expect you to have any aeronautical experience, that's what you're applying for. We do however, place value on post secondary education, which is an unofficial requisite for advancing through the WO ranks. Of note, it'll  probably become policy within the next couple of years.
 
Mike-


As always, excellent advice from Mike.

#20 SBuzzkill

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Posted 22 October 2016 - 13:56

I tried to get my license when I was about your age.  Make sure you save up enough money for the entire thing before starting, and plan on taking extra hours to do it.  IIRC the national average is about 60-70hrs to get a PPL.

 

The best thing I ever did was get a job working the flight line at the school I was training at.  I learned a ton, made friends with the instructors, and got discounts on my flight time.  It was also a crucial step in securing a scholarship from the local pilots association.

 

The worst thing I ever did was try and do my training paycheck to paycheck after underestimating how much it was going to cost me.  My training time dragged out and I ended up not being able to stay proficient at flying the plane.  I failed a check ride coming in too high on my emergency landings and didn't have money to retake it.  Fast forward ten years and I'm finally finishing up my PPL.

 

Personally, I think the exposure to the civilian side of aviation is crucial in career planning as a street to seat WOFTer.  Not to mention the fun side of private flying and anyone who says fixed wing is boring is not doing it right.







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