I want to outline this the way the OP asked it. I chose Apaches.
Outside of the basic functions of a helicopter - what is something that you get to experience driving your bird that you wouldn't get on any other bird?
This one is simple. The Apache is a weapon system, and while it sounds silly or harsh to say, killing people is your job. I know lots of UH/CH door gunners with some sweet kills, but if you're killing people from a lift aircraft, you're trying to make a bad day go away. If you're killing people from an Apache, you're serving your purpose in life. You might also be trying to make a bad day go away, but the Apache is an offensive weapon system. I was fortunate to deploy during a more permissive ROE than the last couple years, and getting to drop buildings with hellfires, call in engagements with other aircraft, work directly with the ground force to kill ISIS and take ground from the enemy, has been very rewarding. The Apache is the only conventional Army aircraft where you will be an active participant in the fighting of war. The lift aircraft have a great mission, but they are the transportation to and from the battlefield. The Apache is part of the battlefield. I was an infantryman in a previous life, and fighting wars from the sky is why i became a pilot. I love my job, and the AH job is dramatically different than the UH/CH job. Not necessarily better (its my opinion that it is, but hey, I get to be biased), but different. I personally get a lot of satisfaction out of it.
Do you have any regrets now that you've gotten involved deeper, or did reality align similarly with what you were told to expect from each airframe during WOFT?
I have zero regrets. However, what I have experienced in the Apache community is not at all what I was told to expect from cadre and fellow students during WOCS and Flight School. I won't address each rumor individually, but there was a lot of Apache hating throughout WOCS and Flight School. Things like, we're all douchebags (only at least half of us, definitely not all of us....), we don't have a stateside mission so we never fly (quite the opposite), Apache experience is useless in the civilian sector (very much not true), and we're broke all the time (OK, we do break a lot, but our OR rate is comparable to lift aircraft, especially considering how many more hours we put on our aircraft. We are broken more, but we fly more, so it is a fair tradeoff). Fortunately, I knew my share of Apache pilots and maintainers, and I knew which rumors to believe, and which ones to accept as likely true. I just shut up and let everyone else buy into the rumors, and come selection day, I picked Apaches with not much competition.
Now, had I been forced to fly UH or CH, I would have been just fine. I would have been wishing I could fly guns, but there's nothing wrong with the lift mission or the pilots flying it. Every community has their jerks and stupidity.
A lot of you wrote why you wanted to be an army aviator - now that you are, is it all that you hoped it to be?
I knew what to expect, and its about what I expected. I thought the quality of life would be a LITTLE better, but its still far above the infantry life. And I can now date the hot lieutenants. I have already addressed all the silliness of being an Army aviator in the G1 thread, I can't possibly do it again.
Is there any specific BS that is aviation or airframe specific that you have to put up with?
Probably the most silliness in the AH community is based on ROE and Gunnery. As an attack pilot, even in a war zone where people are trying to kill you, you are expected to be both a legal expert and a killer. Sometimes being one means you aren't the other. There have been many times I have seen the enemy clear as day doing something I should absolutely kill them for. But ROE can be restrictive, and even if its a situation where you CAN shoot, if the AMC says you're not shooting, you won't shoot. A pensive or non aggressive AMC can be frustrating sometimes, but sometimes that hesitation keeps you off the general's carpet. Being an expert in ROE and utilizing tactical patience is simply a part of the job that isn't going away unless we go to total war....which Id rather not do anyway.
Gunnery is a task in stupidity, as nothing you do really prepares you for combat. Like WOCS, it is a game, and you just gotta play the game to keep being a pilot. It could get better, and it might, but its also one of those things you just deal with.