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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/18/2010 in Posts

  1. Well I'll chime in with some MI fixed wing perspective. 1. Flight time. You live to deploy. You fly while deployed. The bulk of your hours usually come when you are deployed. When you're back home, you'll probably fly between 100% and 150% of your minimums. That equates to somewhere around 150 hours a year. Or like The Dude said, about 3 hours of flying a week. This need to deploy/high op tempo can stress a family out bad. Between all the TDY's, training exercises, gunnery, field work, and actual deployments, a lot of time is spent away from home. This obviously has a direct statistical correlation to divorce rates. Get your whole life ripped out from under you a time or two and you're bound to be bitter about it. 2. The other 40+ hours of your week. Well, this is going to vary wildly. It depends on your command climate, your air-frame, your fellow aviators/friends, your mission, your additional duty, how well you are liked, and what duty station you get, etc. I am pretty much in S6 for life. I love it. I wholeheartedly look forward to going in to work every day. I like the split between 2-3 flights a week and the rest spent dealing with tech issues and the rest of comm life. Other people see their additional duties as a means to an end, or a necessary evil in order to enjoy flying. Yeah, if I got stuck in ALSE, or TACOPS, or S1, I would definitely not enjoy it as much. Oh, and with all the rules, regulations, and additional craziness that the Army does, it definitely sucks some of the fun/relaxation/exhilaration out of the flying you do get to do. 3. Why warrants are so salty. Well, I have many theories on this, and they all apply some of the time in certain cases. Warrants were most often prior service of some kind. Many of them wanted forever to fly but a lot of them saw it as a means to stay in the military but instead of doing whatever crappy job they had before, they could serve out the remainder of their time doing something potentially fun (aka flying). They also like the idea that warrants are supposed to be able to get away with way more than a typical soldier should be able to. (It's every E4's dream to be able to skip PT, formations, etc at will, and have no adverse consequences). The reality is that there are two types of warrants, there are aviation warrants, and then there are tech warrants. Tech warrants are rare. They have a very specific skill set. A CW2 typically will only work with captains (O3's) and above. Company commanders, BN XO's, BN CDRs. A CW3 pretty much only deals with/reports to MAJ's and above (and is at a brigade level). CW4 forget about it if you aren't an O5. Combine that rarity with how that command structure works, and warrants get to do whatever they damn well please because everyone knows they know their lane inside and out and you don't want to piss them off. That is what most branches think warrants are. But then we have this little (fairly large) side of it that is aviation. You have 1LT's giving orders/being platoon leaders for CW2's and CW3's. 1SG's that key in on that and don't give aviators the same level of clout that they would as a tech warrant. You often have as many warrants in a flight company as you do lower enlisted (we have more). That 1LT who has no idea what they're doing is writing your OER as a CW3 with 14 years in the Army. That same LT is blowing up your phone because you aren't at PT or some dumb training meeting. Aviation warrants want to think they're tech warrants, but we aren't. We try oh so hard, but we are viewed in my opinion in many cases as flying privates. This makes a great deal of us salty as hell. 4. Next we have the pay issue (this applies much more to fixed wing than rotary, but it still applies to them as well). Warrant's get paid dirt compared to their commissioned counterparts. An equivalent time in grade CW3 and a CPT with the same amount of time in service, well, that CPT makes about 30k more a year when all is said and done. This happens, yet warrants are rooked/conned into doing many of the same jobs/same responsibilities as their commissioned counterparts. Warrants occasionally serve as platoon leaders, XO's, BN S1's, S6's, deputy commanders and even commanders of forward footprints. They want us to go to the same useless types of advanced courses that don't really give much college credit or hold any weight if you're trying to complete a bachelors degree (which all aviation warrants want if they want to eventually be airline pilots). Yes we are the only ones that qualify for the bonus, but that bonus barely brings us up to what our commissioned counterparts make normally, and we have to sign our lives away for 3 years. So, that explains that portion. 5. Ah yes, the degree portion. So, I'm going to get some nasty-grams and some hate for this, but here I go anyway. Warrants are cheap labor for aviation. The only way the Army can get away with this and still keep pilot applicants flooding in is the lack of a degree requirement. At the end of the day that's the only real difference, because the Air force has command track officers and technical track officers that only do flying related stuff. The Army could do the same thing, it would just cost a lot of money. Now for the part that will get me the hate mail. Aviation warrants as I've said are typically prior service. Most of the aviation warrants I've met that aren't street to seat have been in the military since they were 18-20 years old. They don't have an appreciation for how the real world works. They never went to a real college (no online BS doesn't count, you don't get exposed to new people, experiences, you bullshit your way though 50 forums and do some tests and poof there's a degree). They've never had to pay for civilian insurance, they've never had to worry about losing their job next week, they've never had to work in a group project with an LGBTQ Hindu snake whisperer, or worry about getting a raise, or stress about moving expenses (I get it, it can still be stressful but the military greatly reduces that with $$$), and they genuinely don't appreciate how shitty being a regional airline pilot actually is. They suffer from a severe, chronic case of grass is greener syndrome. This portion of their negativity you will just have to learn to get past or take lightly. The other things I've mentioned are valid complaints, but the lack of perspective is just something you'll have to deal with as a warrant officer in aviation. -The positives. I can't speak for my rotor-head brethren, but I can speak for MI fixed wing. We have tons of training opportunities, tuition assistance, the best education program offered in the world (GI Bill), spouse education benefits, bush pilot school, upset recovery, airborne, air assault, whatever dumb school you can think of, if you spin it right and talk to the right person, you can get it! You'll meet some of the best people and friends you could ever hope to find in the seat next to you, on deployments, sleeping in tents (or hotels ). You'll literally get millions of dollars of training, new life experiences, benefits, friends and a hell of an adrenaline rush. Your results may vary, everyone's journey is different. You could fly your 60 over a nude beach and have everyone cheer. You could get shot in the ass and have a nasty case of PTSD every time you sit down on the shitter and here a pop. You might fly a general in the back that writes you an LOR to a sweet gig at Boeing. You may get divorced after you walk in on your wife cheating on you with your best friend. Or you may go to experimental test pilot school and end up in NASA's astronaut program. There's probably a statistically relevant chance that you will have a negative experience in the Army as an aviator. The green weenie doesn't discriminate, but you can sure armor up with a positive attitude and good choices to at least lessen its wrath. Take the opportunity kid. Make the most of it. Give it what you have and don't let the negative nancy's beat you down. Just know it won't all be roses and rip its. PM me if you have any questions.
    12 points
  2. “Just as a Warrant Officer...” “even if it’s...” go fly somewhere else. If this is how you think of the Warrant Officer corps you’re intending to join and what you think of the job you’re applying for, then we don’t want you, and it sounds like you don’t want it either.
    11 points
  3. You the same dude as axesteel?
    9 points
  4. AxeSteel, your reaction to the selection results does not suggest a level of maturity that people look for in putting someone in charge of the lives of others, not to mention aircraft worth millions of dollars. An appropriate response would be to ask how you can better yourself to be selected next board or in the future. Complaining about the process/suggesting others do not make an effort on a public forum does not indicate professionalism. leadership, or any other quality that is indicative of future success as an officer or an aviator. This, like the posts of many of the previous folks who have commented is constructive criticism. I want to see you succeed but we want you to understand you will continue to rub people the wrong way if you maintain the attitude you have in these posts.
    9 points
  5. We've been hitting the whole 10 year ADSO should you join thing pretty hard lately, and while there's some value in that, it's not relevant to those of you who have already started down this path. I enjoy writing and talking about myself so I'll share some stories about the days when you do fly. Maybe that will help your motivation, or maybe not. If you have stories of your own feel free to add them in. I'll start off with one of my favorite missions during my career, which was the multi-purpose range complex in Korea. We spent 9 months on a rotation in Korea as our last hurrah before the unit was reflagged as an Apache unit. Most of our time was spent at "home" near the flag pole but every so often we'd head up for a couple weeks at the range to support whatever ground unit was also training there. I always had a blast. The week would start off with a reposition up there, which was about a forty minute flight if I recall correctly. We'd pack up the trucks who would convoy up with our equipment, then we'd head over to the flight line and get the birds ready to go. Simple cross country flight up with 6 or so birds in formation, and we'd refuel them up at the range and land them in the parking lot. Grab our gear and head to the command post designated for us to drop our stuff off. Sleeping in open bays, our duffel bags and stuff was usually dumped randomly on bunks so you'd have to go find your sh*t then try and finagle the bunk you really wanted. Anyways, the missions up there were live fire so we'd rehearse with the tank unit (or whoever we were supporting) and figure out timelines and all that. Build our paperwork and get ready for the next day's missions. That soaked up most of our initial days at the range. Lots of dead time in between so there was all sorts of tom foolery, throwing rocks, movies, dipping, walking around, working out, etc. Whatever shift you were on determined when you woke up, and we generally did stuff as a team. We'd meet up and head to get some food, then grab our stuff and go to the main command post to receive our briefing for the mission. Then it was preflight time, get our stuff situated in the aircraft, and we'd head back to our own little hut and sit down as a team and discuss our plan. After that we might wait around for a bit, or head to the birds. Get in, run them up, check our radios and equipment, and take off. A quick little circle back to the arming and refuel point to load up on bullets and rockets. Because weight and balance and performance planning was our own responsibility we had a lot of flexibility in how much fuel/ammo we wanted. It was quicker for one of us to get out and help load rockets so we usually did. Once we were loaded we'd take off and link up in the air. Climb up, circle in our holding area and try to get a hold of the ground unit. The left seat pilot in the lead aircraft always talked to the unit we were working for, and they drove the mission. Once we'd get in contact we'd wait for their signal for us to come in and shoot for them. Once we had the word we'd do a quick communication about our tactics and then bomb in on the target. We always had a simulated threat to contend against and that would shape how you flew. Generally it was low and fast, weaving and bobbing through the trees and valley, down the hill, and then a quick climb up to start shooting. The OH-58 did not have flexible weapons, so you had a grease mark on the windshield to aim and shooting was a WW2 style strafing run. You'd shoot, break turn out of the way as your trail aircraft started shooting. Then they'd break off and we'd bob and weave our way around for another attack. Repeat until we needed to get more fuel and ammo. Head back to the FARP, load up, and take back off. This went on for hours and sometimes we'd have lots of time waiting for the ground unit to get set/reset. Missions could be up to 8 hours of flying. By the time we were done and the birds were spinning down it was complete exhaustion. Grab some food, collapse into a camp chair, and watch a movie on the laptop. All the fun of a deployment without anyone shooting back. I really, really miss those days. Here's some random Korea pictures:
    8 points
  6. This one will be a little more difficult for me as flight school was over a decade ago. There are some standout moments in my memory, but it’s tough to build a complete narration. I am sure most of what I write will be very familiar to anyone with silver wings, but this isn’t intended to be interesting for them. Let’s get to it. My days typically started by throwing my uniform on, grabbing my gear, and running out the door to catch the bus. I lived in Enterprise, so I had a gate to get through and a short drive, and I was almost always running late. Going around the last corner down the hill was done with held breath and my fingers crossed that there wouldn’t be a line. Nobody in front of me today, solid! Sitting in the bus lot I would use what little time I had to cram the 5s and 9s I was supposed to study the night before. I think 90% of my learning occurred during those short bus rides to Cairns. I had to do it though, because I knew what was coming. The preflight briefing. Gulp. It was an intimidating room full of desks with crusty old IPs on one side and students on the other. In the front stood our flight leader, scanning the room looking for the first student to start our daily questions and quiz. I always did my best to look attentive but not make eye contact. It never worked. There was always one or two questions nobody wanted to answer. You’d count heads to try and figure out where you were in line. ”Mr B, what is the definition of a warning?” Thank God, I know this one. “A warning is an operating practice that if not correctly followed could result in personal injury or loss of life.” Whew, nailed it! Wait, why is Mr Carter shaking his head? ”A warning is an operating procedure or practice, that if not correctly followed...” Damn. The rest of the briefing went over weather, tasks, etc. The IPs would squawk at each other and argue about their interpretation of the manuals. Blah blah blah. Morning flight line was a godsend during the hot Alabama summer. The aircraft were cool, I was cool, the IP was cool, and we didn’t have to deal with thunderstorms. A short bus ride to the parking pad and there she was, a bright orange and white Jet Ranger, covered in dew, quietly tied down and waiting. Preflight was a team effort, my stick buddy and I diligently looking the aircraft over. I read the checklist, went through the motions, but honestly had no idea what I was looking for. It took a couple years to really develop a good idea of how to preflight a helicopter. Time to fly. I’m riding in back for the trip to the stage field. Sweet, I don’t have to worry about callouts today. Don’t hot start it LT! A nice start, a wobbly hover down the taxi lane and we’re off to the stage field. We land at the stage field and I hop out, my turn to wait in the shack. All my second period friends are walking in as well. Someone is missing, one of the Dutch guys, must have had to bump aircraft back at Cairns. Inside we all nervously shoot the breeze, joke about the briefing, and roll our eyes at the guy who is God’s gift to Army Aviation as he tells us his technique for hovering autos. He’s a real expert with 10 hours in the bird. All too soon it’s my turn to strap in. I help my buddy get his gear out, swap radios, and climb in. I’ve always loved going from the loud scream of a turbine outside the helicopter to the relatively quiet whine on the inside. A quick moment to savor the sound and *click* I plug my helmet in. “Welcome, you ready? Your controls.” Gulp. I lift off with a smooth pull of collective. Nope, too much! Now my nose is turning. We’re drifting. Ah crap! Dance the feet, wiggle the hand, finally we’re stable. I start nudging us down the taxi lane feeling more confident with each second. I got this. ”Hovering auto.” Wait, wait, wait, pull! Nice this will be a good one. We haven’t touched down yet, sh*t! Pull, pull, damn out of collective. *slam* We sit there rocking back and forth and I wait for it. “Well that was ugly. Run it up let’s head over to the grass.” Damn. After a couple more hovering autos it’s time to head into the pattern and do some from the air. Around and around we go. Too much speed on touchdown, too much flare, not enough flare. Entry was a bit late, airspeed got slow, airspeed got fast. Over and over until I was covered in sweat and it was time to go pick up my stick buddy and head back to Cairns. I always liked the flight back. Just cruising back to base with the hard part over with. Land, shut down, and head in for the debrief. Done flying for the day we’d get our study assignment for the night, and it was off to lunch then class in the afternoon. At the end of the day I’d head back home, start up the grill, and crack a cold beer. The sun going down, pastel colors taking over the sky, the air starting to cool off again. I’d sit back to watch the Blackhawks fly by headed out to the stage fields and think to myself “man, I’m actually here. That’s going to be me soon.” I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed flying during Primary. I love flying, I crave being in the air. But I dreaded every single flight of Primary. It was an incredibly stressful phase, but man was I glad to finally be at the controls of a helicopter that said United States Army on the side.
    8 points
  7. Today’s selection. I got Guns Babyyyyyy
    7 points
  8. My time in Afghanistan was largely uneventful. OH-58s had a reputation with the senior leaders in RC East so we had quite a leash put on us while we were there. Initially we weren't even supposed to deploy with the brigade, but there was a need for us and they quickly called our troop over to assist with security. We never quite figured out what they were afraid of us doing, as the Apaches were out blowing the countryside up left and right, LoL! I spent most of my time on the midnight shift, waking up at 11pm and stumbling my way to the shower trailer to get ready. After that it was a 50 yard walk to the troop command post where I'd grab my gear with the rest of the team and head to the aircraft to preflight and arrange/rearrange our weapons load out (yeah, I carried my ammo/rockets from the FARP and loaded it on the pad). After preflight we'd walk over to the task force command post and receive our briefing, which included our timeline and mission for the day. Then we'd head back to the troop command post (which was a "b-hut", a tiny 2 room plywood building) and conduct our internal briefing. With those briefs combined we'd spend no joke 2+ hours just talking about the day's missions. We were assigned "windows" for our flying to avoid overlapping with other teams. Sometimes we'd take off right away, other times our window was later and we'd just go run up the aircraft to check the systems. How we spent our time in between was up to our air mission commanders, who usually preferred watching movies or the Indian satellite TV that we subscribed to. An interesting point about that is American TVs are not fully compatible with foreign transmissions, and all of our satellite TV was in black and white. We were always ready to run to the aircraft and get off the ground quickly if we needed to respond to something. Once we did take off we almost always started out with a test fire. After killing the sh*t out of a bush or a rock we'd head over for our assigned mission. Lots of circles, looking at random stuff, FARP turns to refuel, more looking at stuff, taking notes, etc. Sometimes we'd have a break so we'd head in and grab breakfast. Other times we'd be so busy we'd just ask the FARP for some snacks. They were awesome and always had some rad breakfast stuff to hand off to us. I loved our armament guys, and as that armament officer I worked very closely with them to ensure our weapons were always where they needed to be. Most of the time nothing happened and we'd just head back to base. Other times we'd get called in to a troops in contact only to arrive and find the shooting had stopped. Or our command would decide to use the Apaches and call us back. We'd fly into the daylight, often finishing up around 10am. Back to the CP for a quick debrief with intelligence and hand off any pictures I might have taken that day. Then it was off to bed for me, in the sweltering heat. Our AC in the sleeping hut usually worked pretty good, and eventually winter came and the heat went away. So did the rocket attacks, although they never truly stopped.
    7 points
  9. Do it anyway. Especially as a WOJG. Maintain your ground and assert dominance. Your rater will totally have your back.* *Rater will not have your back. SP may murder you. Blend in and wear the same gear everyone else has. Help out your unit and they will help you. Void in Canada.
    6 points
  10. I finished up my time after the OH-58D had been retired by flying OH-58Cs for Eagle Team at the National Training Center. That was a fantastic assignment. The flying was great, no deployments, and home every night. One of the more unique things we did at least for modern Army Aviation was single pilot flying. It was our regular mission to take a bird out solo, whether to pick up our OC counterparts, fly the birds down to get washed or maintenance, or sometimes just to put time on the aircraft. We even did solo NVG flights. NTC is roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island, and goes from around 3,000 feet at the low point to over 6,000 up in the Avawatz mountains. All of that area was fair game for us to fly around and land wherever we wanted. It was a blast. During the training rotations we'd spend 6-8 hours a day chasing AH-64s around as they did their missions. Off rotations we'd fill the schedule with training flights, or simply do our work for the day and go home. We were close to Death Valley and on one of my last flights in the Army we landed down below sea level at Furnace Creek, then headed out to Big Bear in the mountains above Los Angeles. It was 90+ degrees in Death Valley and closer to 50 degrees up in the mountains. Quite the difference. I spent lots of time flying in the mountains there landing on pinnacles and mountain tops to get a good view of the "battlefield." Sometimes it was fun, other times when the winds were howling and the nights were dark, it wasn't so fun. I had some of the most intense flying of my career working there and would not recommend it for new aviators. We had shifts for the rotations and if the OC needed me I had a radio so they could get ahold of me. I'd usually head in, preflight my helicopter, and hang out in the office waiting for them to call me. Once they did I'd head to the aircraft and take off to go meet them in the desert wherever they were. They'd climb in, brief me up on what the Apaches were doing, and then we'd wait for the AHs to come up on the radios. They'd tell us when we were taking off and we'd follow them out to wherever they were working. We'd monitor their communication, movement, and when they attacked the opposing force we would adjudicate their "kills." I'd spend my day flying from hilltop to hilltop, or landing in the valley, then following them back to their FARP. We could usually get 3+ hours out of a "bag" of gas because we spent so much time at idle on the ground "perched" as we called it. Every once in a while I'd get called to pick up a VIP and transport them somewhere. Usually we had a Blackhawk unit that did that but when they were too busy we'd get the tasking. The cool thing about the OH-58C is that I could sit whoever I wanted up front with me. So if they wanted to I'd let them sit up front at a set of controls, of course I never let them actually fly But it was always fun blasting around the deserts in Southern California. We rarely flew above 100 feet unless we were climbing up into the mountains. Off rotations we'd go out and see what kind of wildlife we could spot. I've seen bobcats, bighorn sheep, rabbits, snakes, eagles, hawks, donkeys, you name it. I don't think there's anywhere else in the world where someone will throw you the keys to a turbine helicopter and say "go put 6 hours on it. I don't care what you do."
    6 points
  11. 6 points
  12. Yeaaaaa I don’t buy that “cw2 is supposed to be an expert” stuff. A non tracked non PC CW2 is a liability because the rank has high expectations, but a 1LT fresh out of flight school isn’t? And if anyone tries explaining to me that 2 short years is what it takes for you to become a subject matter expert as a pilot…I must just be an idiot then because this job must not be hard at all. Again other branches seem to pull off the small gap between winging and promotion just fine. Any fighter pilot you’ve ever seen was close to o-3 by the time they got to their unit. Not to mention if O grades aren’t effected by this and neither are reserve and guard warrants…….if you don’t see where I’m going, those 3 groups make up maybe half of our flight community. So only half our aviators need to be seasoned before receiving a promotion? and let’s take this further then. Special forces Q course is also pretty long. The enlisted guys come in off the streets and 1.5 years later they are SGTs without any non Tradoc experience. Should those guys get similar treatment?
    5 points
  13. No operator cares about an entry level pilot having 50 hours in a jet ranger, because no one is going to trust you with an asset that expensive anyways. Nor is any operator going to use a 200 hour pilot as an SIC; you’re more of a liability than an asset. Specialized career training as an entry level pilot is pointless. You’re not going to be doing firefighting, sling load or power line work at 200 hours. Indentured servitude is bad for the whole industry. Don’t ever volunteer to work for free or a substantially reduced rate. Work your ass off and put in 110% effort, and earn the job with work ethic and determination... but don’t do it for a bottom rate; it drags everyone else down with you. The reality is you start this career in one of two ways; as a civilian CFI or serving in the military. Neither is glamorous, no one likes the idea of ‘paying your dues’ year after year, but that’s the way it works. Once you get 1,000-2,000 hours under your belt and prove you can handle yourself and the aircraft, start looking at pathways into more specialized types of flying. Flying tours/offshore in your first turbine helicopter, utility in an R44, and MD500 off of tuna boats, SIC for utility/fire, etc.
    5 points
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