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SBuzzkill

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Everything posted by SBuzzkill

  1. *f*cks over aviators to cut cost at any opportunity* We CaNt fIgUrE OuT wHy We HaVe a RetEntIon pRoblEm.
  2. Tours will get you there quick judging by my friends’ experiences. One went to Papillon and one to Maverick. Both of them flew their butts off and one is now flying firefighting helicopters after doing some utility stuff and the other went into an AGR job after getting bored flying civilian stuff. They started out leaving the Army with around 1800 hours, but that’s a small gap to make up for you. I assume you have some good instrument time?
  3. In the long run, over the course of their time in the Army, WOs will outfly RLOs. Not always, but enough that it’s a good general statement. How much is the variable that depends on a ton of things and is tougher to answer. In my unit, company officers generally kept up with warrant officers to within a couple hundred hours of each other. The staff officers fell behind by about half the amount of hours. It really depended on the priorities for that particular RLO. Some folks who really wanted to fly found a way, and probably worked twice as much to tackle their leadership duties on top of it. Others tipped the scale to one side or the other. I can say without a doubt the quality of aviator did not depend on rank or even experience level.
  4. If you are in the USA stick with your heli job and get yourself as close to ATP mins as you can. Look it up in part 61 and do your best to get that flight time. There’s a strong possibility the regional airlines will start back up the rotor transitions and you can apply and get them to help with your training costs, and get your foot in the door to the fixed wing world.
  5. Lots of air into the cockpit, like having no windshield on the freeway but worse. One person can fly. Why is it about to crash? That’s going to determine how “gently” it goes into the sea. But for drama’s sake you can assume it’s going to be pretty violent. If the blades contact the water the impact forces will essentially rip the aircraft apart. This isn’t a Sea King but the video captures both scenarios. The first being a relatively controlled landing after an engine failure (still pretty hard landing, eh?), and the second is a blade strike: Note that the helicopter rolls over and starts to sink. Almost guaranteed to happen in a bad water crash. The pilot will not have a lot of time to get out of the aircraft, seconds.
  6. I feel kind of guilty about my useless post earlier, so here's my real thoughts. While very useful tools that make the job a lot easier, ETAs given to you by an aircraft are very simple calculations. They do not compensate for acceleration/deceleration, turns, changing topography, changing wind conditions, detours, etc. +/- 30 seconds isn't an incredible feat in itself, but depending on the operation it can be very difficult to achieve. There are techniques you can use to increase the accuracy of GPS based ETAs but they still aren't perfect and they wont give you anything until you're up and flying. So you still need to accurately plan in order to calculate and time your starting point, as well as backwards plan in order to make sure that you are ready to take off in order to meet that timeline. Additionally, any truly contested environment is going to render GPS based navigation useless. It's going to be jammed. Take a look through the NOTAMS and you'll see it's a frequent occurrence in training events around the United States. INS is only so good, so you better be sh*t hot with a map, stopwatch and compass. There's so much more to meeting an ETA than simply adjusting airspeed. Your friends will learn that as they gain experience in more and more complex operations. As an aside, we've all heard the phrase "no plan survives first contact with the enemy." Don't fall into the trap of thinking that means we shouldn't extensively plan. It simply means keep your mind flexible and learn to adjust the plan to fit the unfolding events.
  7. That's an air data boom. It would not have been mission equipment. Edit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_data_boom
  8. 8 years of Army flying gives you a lot of flexibility to work towards what you want to do afterwards. IPC will open a lot of doors. Friends of mine used NTC flight detachment to get close to Vegas operators and quick flight time/experience building. Once in Vegas they were able to make connections and move quickly into the fields they wanted (fire/utility). Another buddy set his sights on instructing at Rucker and made the moves to get there while still on active duty. Don’t sit on your heels in a CAB. Figure out what you need and find a way to make it happen. Branch managers can be a good resource if you are a good communicator and good at strategizing. Also, save as much money as you can to pad the accounts for your transition. That extra flexibility will allow you to take advantage of last minute opportunities.
  9. Since your specific questions have been answered, here's some general advice: I've spent the last hour typing out replies and erasing them. In the end I think the best advice I can give you is that entering this career is a gamble. None of us will be able to tell you how it's going to work out, and you need to understand that if you have a stable life you are trading it for a very unstable one. Experiences vary wildly in this industry and advice always seems to be super polarized. Timing, location, money, personal connections, family life, etc. There are so many factors that are going to influence whether or not you are "successful." I put that in quotations because success is defined by you. I'll use myself as an example. I'm 33 and dreamed of flying since I was a toddler, there was nothing else I wanted to do. I started training at 18, paying for it with my minimum wage flight line job. I had a plan: college -> CFI -> airmail -> regional airline -> major airline. My personal limitations, life changes, and timing forced me to change my plan. I joined the Army to fly helicopters, did that for almost a decade, then finally made my transition to the airlines. My plan changed so many times during that time period I lost count. I expected to be in the seat I'm in now about a decade earlier than I actually made it. But I have no regrets and I consider my career a successful one. Am I anywhere near where I expected to be when I started training 15 years ago? Nope. Does that bother me? Nope. I love going to work, I live comfortably, and I have plenty of avenues open to me should I want to make a change. I've had poor timing and I've had fantastic timing. I've had periods in my life making lots of money but hating the job, and I've had periods living in my car in the employee lot during the week but loving work. Periods of excess were followed by periods of tight budgets and stress. All of it was a gamble. Moral of the story is that you'll get lots of advice, but none of it is really going to be relevant. If something is burning inside you and you just have to give it a shot, go for it and never look back. Search for opportunities and don't be afraid of making big changes to your plan. Just understand you're leaving the quiet simple life behind.
  10. This^ That said, be careful listening to Gul Dukat. It's a good way to end up dead in the Fire Caves.
  11. Fast tracking to the airlines is going to take 100% of your time, and army flight school will hold you back. If you want to be an Army Aviator so be it, but understand that it will significantly slow down your progression to the airlines. If you really want to do both, start working on your airplane ratings and time building now. Do not wait for RTPs to come back and definitely don’t plan on them for your ratings.
  12. Helicopters are definitely more dynamic and exciting that’s for sure. Thankfully the airplane I fly is quite a bit more hands on than our jet. We also fly into a lot of interesting places around the Pacific Northwest.
  13. I’m really enjoying airline flying, it’s plenty challenging. But I suppose it’s not for everyone. I just want to make a good career out of leaving the ground and the airlines are the best fit for my goals. If you want to put down roots somewhere it’s hard to beat.
  14. Yeah easy access to a pool is a huge QOL boost. We had one in my neighborhood.
  15. Do your best but don't drag your heels, your goal should be to get a quality packet submitted as soon as you can. If you have a weak point make sure you're compensating somewhere else in your packet. Having some aviation experience is good but understand that it's somewhat irrelevant to what you're going to be doing in the Army, so in your resume/essay you can highlight your experience but don't focus on it. In other words that can't be the only egg in your basket.
  16. Nobody has a crystal ball. The next decade may see Army Aviation as the place to be. Or it might be a turd. Every service is going to have a level of unpredictability with it. Look at the 174th Fighter Wing in New York, who traded their F16s for UAVs. That had to be a tough pill to swallow. Why do you want to do this? What is attracting you to it? How do you picture yourself in the job? These questions may help narrow down where you’ll fit in.
  17. Seniority is important but so is timing. There are guys way above me on the seniority list that have a worse quality of life because their timing sucks. Also, I disagree about rotary experience and the airlines. Military rotary is still a good thing to have on a resume, it just won’t hook you up with the “bros” like some of the other military options. I have been incredibly satisfied with my snail’s pace career. Enjoy the road you’re on.
  18. I stuck around the Army as long as I could without chasing a career. I wasn’t interested in professional military education, OERs, promotions, etc. That’s not what I was serving for. I wanted to be the best aviator in the unit. I worked hard on my additional duties but not to the detriment of my flying. Eventually that becomes a dead end in Army Aviation. The timing was right though. I started to really appreciate the risks of the job and realized that my time was up. I spent my entire 20s flying in the Army and my aggressiveness was quickly fading as I entered my 30s. I looked at my growing family and the things I would be leaving behind. As Cougar said in Top Gun, I was “holding on too tight” and had “lost the edge.” Anyways, for two decades Army Aviation was the place to be if you wanted to go to war in a helicopter. I was surrounded by Aviators of all backgrounds, many of them warriors who had an intimate understanding of the fight because they had been on the ground themselves. If you had a desire to fight an aircraft close up and dirty there weren’t many places outside the army you were going to get the opportunity. The community was transitioning when I left. Back to preparing for the future. That’s not a bad thing, but had I been 20 again looking at the Army I’m not sure it would be the place for me anymore. Edit: I forgot to mention that the bonuses, ADSOs, airlines and compensation were all pretty irrelevant in my decision to leave. I had an Apache transition and a promotion to W3 in my back pocket, but the road ahead just wasn’t for me.
  19. I'm glad you read my stories. Looking at your other posts on the forums I acknowledge and appreciate that you have significant experience in the rotorcraft industry. I also understand why you've decided to key in on a single sentence in all of my writing that might have lifted your eyebrows a bit. I try to insert a little humility when I write about myself. I don't enjoy listening to pilots who only share their strengths and neglect to show their weaknesses. That single sentence was highlighting a point about my inexperience at the time. Of course I knew the parts and pieces as well as their functions. But it wasn't until years later of operating these aircraft that I learned what to truly be concerned about during preflight. When you constantly rotate between 10 of the same type of birds and assist in their maintenance you learn a lot about how they operate. Is that drip I see from someone spilling oil on the transmission deck during service, or is it a leak? How would I likely figure that out? Is that broken torque strip actually broken or has it just cracked from heat and age? I see that there is a hole in that nut, should that have a cotter pin or is that just one of those "Army aircraft" things? The tail on this bird seems a little low, I wonder if the skids are spread. Why am I getting resistance when I rotate the blades, and should I be concerned? I wish I could give you tons of specific examples of things I learned to look for after flight school, but I honestly don't remember them. I don't fly helicopters anymore. But the point of that single little sentence was to highlight the fact that I knew the basics but was too green to truly understand what to be concerned about. Anyways, if you've flown in the Army you're welcome to add some stories of your own. If not, you're welcome to ask questions and discuss other topics you see in the writing here. But I'd rather we leave this particular dead horse behind if you don't mind.
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