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Everything posted by zcat

  1. Thomas, A lot of times, a senior Army Aviator will be willing to interview you and write you a LOR based on how the interview goes. Do you have an aviation (Active Duty, National Guard or Reserve) unit near you? If so, get in contact with them and ask to speak with a senior aviator, tell him/her your situation and see if he/she would be willing to interview you. You may need to be willing to drive a few hours to the closest unit, but hey, what's your dream worth? If there's not a unit within a reasonable distance, PM me and I can give you a couple other suggestions. The more LORs you have (up to the max), the better. Generally speaking, I think LORs have more credibility coming from someone who knows you well--you college instructor, current and former bosses, business owners, etc.--than ones from, say, a Senator that knows a friend of a friend of a friend of your dog's brother's uncle. Get ones from the "highest ranking" people who know you at least fairly well. As for the age waiver--if you really scramble, you should be able to get the packet done before you turn 33. Otherwise, yes, you'll need one. I'm not sure what the age waiver approval rate is, though it's pretty small. If you were to go National Guard, generally your chances are going to be better, but you do have to join the Guard in order to put in a packet. Hope that helps. Good luck, and let us know how things are progressing. z
  2. Because everybody knows that Warrant Officers ROCK! Like FLHooker said, it should be pretty easy to find the nearest unit, and they should have a Warrant Officer Strength Manager. Contact him/her and he/she will be able to help you immensely. z
  3. Olemiss, Welcome to the boards. I've heard that the "street-to-seat" program is getting quite competitive lately. Finishing your degree would certainly help. While it's hard to give a good answer just looking at plain stats, it sounds like you have a good start. At the heart, the "what are my chances" questions really boil down to, "am I wasting my time, or is it worth trying?" If you really want to fly helicopters for the Army, it's worth trying. Because of a few things--my age being the main one--looking strictly at my stats, a lot of people would say to forget it--I almost told that to myself. But I figured if I had any chance greater than 0%, it was worth trying. So I joined the National Guard and am running with full force. If it doesn't work out, at least I gave it my all. And if it does, then I'll fulfill a lifelong dream. I had to try. Again, if this is what you really want to do, then it's worth trying. As for recruiters, most of them couldn't effectively put together a WOFT packet if their life depended on it. Well, not that they couldn't, most just won't take the time to figure out how to do it right. A WOFT packet takes a LOT of time and effort compared to just enlisting someone. Most are going to spend their time where they get the biggest bang for their buck. They'll probably tell you that you should enlist, get some Army experience under your belt and apply for WOFT after a year or two. While there's nothing wrong with this--it's actually an admirable thing to do--it's not necessary. They're just going for the low-hanging fruit. The best thing to do is arm yourself with knowledge and keep on the recruiter. BTW, the LOR from your dad and/or his friends certainly wouldn't hurt. You should also try to get one from a senior Army Aviator. Good luck, and keep us posted. The old pickle suit is still in use, but there's a new flight suit--the AACU or A2CU. z
  4. As CharyouTree stated, Flight Operations Specialist (15P) is a good MOS to go with--that's what I did. And yes, it does have the shortest school (4 weeks). When I was preparing to join, an officer put it this way--if you go with a mechanic MOS (15R, 15T, 15U, etc.), you'll be around the pilots...if you go 15P, you'll be around the decision-makers. Good advice. And I'm constantly around all the pilots as well, because when they're not flying, they hang out at flight ops. And when a bird comes in, they always appreciate when I head down to the flight line and help them tie down. z
  5. fly, If you want to take a look at my resume as an example, PM me. z
  6. Eddie96, Welcome to the board. Having a PPL could certainly give you an edge, but it wouldn't be THE deciding factor. The selection boards generally use the "whole person" concept. If you have a PPL, and you're otherwise a tool, they'll probably pass you by. If you have no flight experience, but are otherwise a strong candidate, your chances could be good. I went through this discussion a few months ago. some say a PPL will make a big difference, others say it won't make much. Personally, I took civilian instruction to the point of soloing. That's enough to show that I at least have the aptitude to keep a helicopter in the air, and it shows that I'm taking my application very seriously. Some people thought I was nuts, others thought it was a good idea. I'm glad I did it, and am hitting my NG unit's board in December. NG pilots have the same regs/flight requirements as active duty, and they go through the same school that Active Duty pilots go through. Honestly, the NG is a GREAT way to go. Without any prior service, you'll probably have to join, get through basic and AIT and be at your unit for a while--probably a year or so, could be shorter, could be longer--to prove yourself to the unit. I'd get in touch with your closest aviation unit's Warrant Officer Strength Manager, tell him/her your desires and see what he/she advises. Good luck and keep us posted. z
  7. fb.rider, From the info I get on the Military.com aviation forum, most street-to-seat candidates aren't picked up the first time they board. I've heard of some that got picked up somewhere after 5-9 boards. If this is what you want, keep at it, you'll make it. z
  8. That was him Sir. If there's anything that the family needs, let me know, I'll help out any way I can. z
  9. I just saw the one in N. California, Sir. Damn it. I'm so sorry. I think I met Dennis when we were at your shop that day. Wasn't he the one that came in after we arrived? I can only image how devastating it must be. My condolences to you, your outfit and his family. Stay safe up there and keep it spinny side up. z
  10. Silver State Crash Haven't heard the extent of the injuries, but from the sounds of things, I think both student and instructor will pull through. FredR, the initial report I heard was that it was from your outfit, glad it wasn't. Keep that bambi bucket full, Sir. z
  11. Hope all goes well for you Mymm. Sounds like you're off to a good start. Keep us posted. z
  12. red_jonny, Not sure how things have gone for you, as this thread is a couple months old, but I thought I'd throw in my $0.02. I had a conversation with my state's Aviation Officer (a full-bird), and he told stories of people coming into the board with the most stellar packets, scores and references one could possibly hope for. They weren't selected because they went in with an "Of course you're going to select me" attitude. The packet gets you in the door; it's what they see when you walk through it that gets you selected. FWIW, z
  13. Ahh, the good ol' days. Nice, Joker! The 64 was THE stuff in its day. You definitely qualify for an honorary geek diploma, albiet with notations (no D&D). I actually did used to play D&D. (emphasis on used to). Fortunately, I gave it up somwwhere around the age of 16, unlike many of my current Klingon-speaking compatriots. OK, enuff of the hijack. Back to the regularly scheduled program. z
  14. Exactly right FauxZ. I have a dreaded computer job, and the blanks fill in quite accurately. In my line of work, there are the true geeks--the ones that had the Commodore 64 growing up, always wanted to work with computers, the whole bit. Then there are the ones who thought it would be a good practical move to get in the industry, couldn't decide on anything else, etc. A large number of the ones in the latter group (myself included), end up a few years down the road rather unsatisfied with the situation. Many are e-Frys. The true geeks almost never get tired of doing what they do. Sure, they have bad days, would rather be fishing playing Dungeons and Dragon some days, etc., but in the end, on balance it's not just a job. I imagine it's the same in the helicopter industry. Bottom line, if you're doing what you've always wanted to do, the good days will outnumber and outweigh the bad. And some people will always be able to give you 47,000 reasons why they think that will never be the case. z
  15. Interesting Han Solo facts: Owns a Bell 407 Has been a part of the Jackson Hole, WY Civil Air Patrol Has used his helicopter in at least two mountain rescues Had a hard-landing in '99 while practicing autos with power recovery--didn't recover quickly enough, skid caught a log and ended up with a vertical rotor disk. z
  16. Did she just call fry the SSH of this board? You ROCK heligirl!
  17. To get 1000 hrs, you'll need ~800 hrs beyond commercial. You'd need 4 students going to commercial (~200hrs ea); 20 going to private (~40hrs ea); or some number in between. 15 sounds reasonable. That works out to ~53 hrs. per pilot, which would account for some going to commercial, some private and some stopping before that. And no, I don't think it's humanly possible to take on 15 students at once and do a quality job, One of the instructors at my school seems to have a GOM job lined up when he hits the 500hr mark. z
  18. It all depends--if you want to be able to sleep and fly at the same time, go for planes
  19. The same way the Coanda effect has only been around for ~100 years. z
  20. fallguy, I imagine you're in an R-22, correct? I believe you have to have 20 to solo in that. I was in the 300C, which has no such requirement. I tend to agree--if you're going all the way to commercial, it probably doesn't really matter how long it takes (up to a point). As for me, I reached my goal of soloing, so I'm done for now. I also flew with 3 different instructors (all of whom are high-time prior military IPs). I had a similar exprience to yours--each one had different communication and teaching styles, and it ended up being very helpful to have the same basic things coming at slightly different angles. z
  21. It's a little known fact that Coanda's drive to succeed was fueled by intense jealousy that Newton had already invented gravity.
  22. "There are three kinds of lies: lies, d@m* lies and statistics." (Mark Twain) "If you torture statistics long enough, they'll confess to anything" (Unknown)
  23. OK, this whole "pyramid scheme" idea...first of all, this post really does relate to the helicopter industry, but you'll probably have to follow through to the end. Most people refer to multi-level marketing schemes as pyramid schemes, and they are distinctly different. The Federal Trade Commission has in-depth explanations of the differences. In actuality, many multi-level marketing plans actually can work if you work them. The reasons most people fail at them are numerous: lack of real motivation and persistence not handling rejection well not wanting to take advantage of people you know not wanting to walk on the edge of deceiving people to make it work a lack of ability or desire to be a salesman (no matter what they tell you, you have to be a master salesman) etc., etc., etc. None of which have anything to do with whether the there are enough "slots"(people) to make it work. Likewise, I'm sure that the reasons most people start helicopter training and end up not having a career in the industry have very little to do with the fact that there simply aren't enough slots. Are there some of those cases? Sure. In those cases, if the person had persevered and refused to fail, would they eventually get a job? Probably in a lot of instances. I submit that you can look at success/failure rates until your pets' heads fall off, and you still won't find the real answer you're looking for, because of a couple of reasons: The people who have failed aren't available to give their input When people fail at something, there are generally two reasons why: a)the one that they tell you and b)the real reason. Having had some experience in a multi-level marketing scheme during my younger years, I can tell you again that they can indeed work for people who put in the effort the way they're taught. The problem is that somewhere around 98% of people simply aren't, and never will be, willing and able to force themselves to be master salesmen. Likewise, I'd bet a couple of paychecks that many of the ~15% that start out to become helicopter pilots and never land a job (according to previously quoted statistics), fall into a similar scenario--for whatever reason, they weren't willing to do whatever it took to see it to the end. In a MLM business, the success/failure rate itself doesn't really tell you anything. The correct question to ask is, "What does it really take to succeed?" Most of the time you won't get a straight answer, because being told that one needs to be a great salesman will turn off almost everyone. Same with the helicopter industry--the real question isn't "What is the success rate?", or even, "Why do people fail?" but "What does it take to make it a viable career?" Make sure you're asking the right question. You need to find out what it really takes and decide if you're willing to pay the price. The difference here is that you're very likely to get the straight answer. Maybe a bit of a rant, but hopefully I was able to get my point across. z
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