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Path(s) to become Commercial Helicopter Pilot

college degree military GI Bill requirements recommended necessary student commercial helicopter pilot

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#1 mmede97

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 15:56

Hello everybody. I could really use some advice regarding my situation in how to best become a commercial helicopter pilot. I am Fixed Winged Private Pilot. I'm currently a sophomore attending a 4 year private university with a major in Criminal Justice. After losing interest in the Criminal Justice field, I'm back on track to eventually fly as a career, helicopters specifically. Is it necessary or recommended to have a 4 year degree to be a commercial helicopter pilot? Does an aviation related degree make better or can in just be in anything I might be interested in outside of aviation? In doing so, I'm also interested in joining the US Air Force. Should I complete my college education and possibly commission or enlist, or should drop out and enlist without facing a decent amount of student debt? I would love to serve, travel, and gain some life experience as I've always been wanting to no matter what. I also believe that the Post 9/11 GI Bill can be used towards rotary wing training at certain flight schools, would that be a benefit? I understand that this may sound complicated, but I could really use some guidance since I feel somewhat lost due to the fact that I don't have any connections in the professional helicopter industry. I would appreciate any feedback.Thank you!


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#2 r22butters

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 13:48

If I could do my life over, there's one thing I'm absolutely certain I would do,...finish my 4-year degree!

,...still have no idea what I should have majored in though? :)
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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 mike0331

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 22:04

For rotary wing aviation off the bat (in the .mil), army is your best bet. Take a look over in the military helicopter section of this page if the armed forces is what you are interested in. It's very active and there is tons of info over there. Army is the only branch that allows one to fly without a college degree. 

 

Mike


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#4 johnnyb

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 13:00

Finish degree (any).

Join military.

Retire young.

Compete for the few available jobs against the rest of us who paid for our own training, with your pension and tons of benefits.

:angry:


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"You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back."

#5 R22139RJ

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 15:43

Money, flight school, effort, sacrifice.
Spray it Right, Spray it Tight

#6 avbug

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 19:46

Finish degree (any).

Join military.

Retire young.

Compete for the few available jobs against the rest of us who paid for our own training, with your pension and tons of benefits.

:angry:

 

 

Few jobs?  Hiring has seldom been this plentiful and active, save for a brief period before the bubble burst.  It's going gangbusters right now, and if one can't find work, one needs to either try harder or gain a little qualification.



#7 Trogdor

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 07:58

Finish degree (any).
Join military.
Retire young.
Compete for the few available jobs against the rest of us who paid for our own training, with your pension and tons of benefits.
:angry:


If you believe that those who get their flight training from the military dont pay for it then you are mistaken. If you dont think that those that stick it out for twenty years and retire with a pension and tons of benefits paid for their training then you are sorely mistaken.
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#8 r22butters

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:44

If you believe that those who get their flight training from the military dont pay for it then you are mistaken. If you dont think that those that stick it out for twenty years and retire with a pension and tons of benefits paid for their training then you are sorely mistaken.


So then you're saying that the military what, docks your pay and/or pension until they get their money back for your training?
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

#9 mudkow60

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 14:01

Finish degree (any).

Join military.

Retire young.

Compete for the few available jobs against the rest of us who paid for our own training, with your pension and tons of benefits.

:angry:

Boo.



#10 mike0331

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 15:58

So then you're saying that the military what, docks your pay and/or pension until they get their money back for your training?

 

Slave... err... indentured servant to the machine, bro.

 

Mike



#11 r22butters

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 17:19

Slave... err... indentured servant to the machine, bro.
 
Mike


Indentured servants don't get benefits and a pension, though I did see an old movie where Clark Gable educated one of his slaves.

Just out of curiosity, do you have to sign a contract to the effect that if you leave before your "servitude" is up, or decide you don't want to fly after training is over, that you must pay them back for the training?
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

#12 Thedude

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 17:55

Indentured servants don't get benefits and a pension, though I did see an old movie where Clark Gable educated one of his slaves.

Just out of curiosity, do you have to sign a contract to the effect that if you leave before your "servitude" is up, or decide you don't want to fly after training is over, that you must pay them back for the training?


No. There is not any kind of repayment clause if you decide you don’t want to fly anymore, but you can’t just quit the military. They will get their money’s worth out of you whether you choose to fly or not. Even if you were to stop flying after flight school you would not be competitive for any kind of civilian aviation jobs with only around 160hrs. A pilot retiring after twenty years of service might not be competitive either if he didn’t get in on deployments and flew minimums or close to them. Depending on airframe a twenty year flight career would put a lift pilot at about 2000hrs and an attack pilot at about 2800hrs.

#13 mike0331

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 18:04

Indentured servants also aren't usually thrown into meat grinders. I imagine the amount of cleaning responsibilities are similar, however. 

 

Can't quit. If you're grounded I'm sure they'd put you somewhere else. I am in the process of going guard and was told they'd reassign me to some other MOS should I fail out of flight school. FWIW when I was a reservist infantryman some guys just want AWOL and were eventually just administratively separated from the military. We were better off without them. Not a huge deal considering the legal options the military has, but not something you want on your record.

If someone "quits" or is grounded, the .mil probably won't get their money's worth given the cost of training, but the loss of training costs for the few who don't stick out their aviation contract are negligible compared to what the DOD blows on all sorts of ridiculous crap. For example: https://www.propubli...tan-no-one-used



#14 Trogdor

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 20:05

So then you're saying that the military what, docks your pay and/or pension until they get their money back for your training?


Well, I did not go into debt and miss out on benefits in my path to fly, and you did not surrender 6-20 years of your life to fly. I dont mean that in a bad way at all.

My point is that neither one of us truly understands where the other is coming from and I dont think we can get to that point on an Internet forum. Perhaps if we had an opportunity to sit down over a beer we could better understand the sacrifices each one of us made to get into RW aviation.

Until then, we are all pilots at the end of the day. Fly safe.
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#15 mike0331

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 21:52

^Not a military pilot (yet, hopefully), but despite the ungodly crap the military puts you through I genuinely feel bad for those who never had the satisfaction of serving. Not a knock on anyone who didn't, at all. I just feel like you're missing out on something.

 

At the end of the day there is a satisfaction that I can't imagine being replaced by much else. Of course I view it through the lens of my experience. 

 

Mike


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#16 mudkow60

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 10:22

If you really are still having the mil to civ. debate (who is better, who skated through, etc...), then you have not had positive mil/civ interaction in your "career".  Where I work, there are both types of pilots...and TFO's... both have their positive and negative aspects, but we all respect and like to work with each other.  The debate here is kind of hollow, imho, and started / perpetrated by those that are NOT in the know.



#17 mudkow60

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 10:24

^Not a military pilot (yet, hopefully), but despite the ungodly crap the military puts you through I genuinely feel bad for those who never had the satisfaction of serving. Not a knock on anyone who didn't, at all. I just feel like you're missing out on something.

 

At the end of the day there is a satisfaction that I can't imagine being replaced by much else. Of course I view it through the lens of my experience. 

 

Mike

I am proud of my military career.  In my civilian job now, I still fly, still rescue people (along with other mission sets), and I am home every evening with my family.  The satisfaction is the same as when I served...the bs level is WAY less now..


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#18 LionHeart

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:31

I'd drop out of school and join the military. Pick an MOS that will translate to a civilian job when you get out of the military. Use your GI Bill for flight training, and if it falls through, you can still get a good paying job doing the same job you did in the military.

A college degree is over rated. Picking the right job in the military will put you ahead of people with a 4 year degree in business management or basket weaving, but no job experience.

#19 mike0331

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 20:42

Or he could drop out of college and join the army and go to flight school -- and still have his GI bill on the back end.

 

Mike



#20 r22butters

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 21:17

,...or he could drop out of college and move back in with his parents when he's forty after things don't work out the way he thought and is now qualified for jack sh*t!
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





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