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Fixed Wing Vs Rotor Wing


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Well, its about the time in my life were i have to start making decisions about my future, i just got accepted into Emrby Riddle and next fall i have to make a decision on whether to join Navy or Army ROTC (Navy fixed wing, Army Rotor) and i dont know what i would love more. Although i hate saying it, flying a jet seems like it may be more exhilarating and well, FASTER. On the other hand, its been my dream ever since ive seen a helicopter to be AirCav.

 

If anyone has some firsthand experience,or any at all for that matter, give me some advice.

 

I just cant decide on whether i want to go low and slow, or fast and high.

thanks.

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Yes, you can be a rotary wing pilot in the Navy as well. If you join the Army, you can either go commissioned, or warrant officer. The warrant officers do nothing BUT fly. The commissioned officers while they do fly (just not as much as warrants) they have to deal with all of the commissioned leadership crap that comes with being a commissioned officer.

 

With the Navy, I believe it's all commissioned. If you are looking for nothing BUT flying, I would say join the Army, and be a warrant. You will gain so much more flight time. And flight time means experience.

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60 % of navy aviation is rotor, but boring rotor, armys got special forces rotor (160th Special Operations Air Regiment) and apaches, so if im going rotor its army. But the debate is whether or not jet aviation is or is not a superior career path that rotor in the army, considering the armys apparent lower lifestyle standards, its a hard choice, i know i want to fly, but i dont know WHAT i want to fly.

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And im sorry if its a stupid question, but right now, i really dont have anyone to ask these kind of questions. Because for better or worse my family is extremely liberal and dont support my apparent aspirations to be in uncle sams pocket. I just wanted advice from guys that may have been in the services.

In a perfect world the army would have fixed wing as well as rotor wing, and although the navy has both, the navy doesnt have nearly as impressive helicopters as the army. So there comes the dilema. The airforce is a nono due to a 11 year commitment (after flight school).

I love em both, i just need to know what im gonna spend 7 years in.

 

Perhaps, itll come down to a coinflip, there both a dream of mine, if i am fortunate enough to get in either, thats all i need.

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Yes, you can be a rotary wing pilot in the Navy as well. If you join the Army, you can either go commissioned, or warrant officer. The warrant officers do nothing BUT fly. The commissioned officers while they do fly (just not as much as warrants) they have to deal with all of the commissioned leadership crap that comes with being a commissioned officer.

 

With the Navy, I believe it's all commissioned. If you are looking for nothing BUT flying, I would say join the Army, and be a warrant. You will gain so much more flight time. And flight time means experience.

 

To fly in any military service, except the Army, you have to be commissioned. And prior to starting flight training. And if you go Navy, if you want to go for 20 plus, plan on driving a boat at least once during your career. The Army does have fixed wing aircraft but usually they are a followup assignment given after you finish your commitment.

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Although i hate saying it, flying a jet seems like it may be more exhilarating and well, FASTER.

I just cant decide on whether i want to go low and slow, or fast and high.

thanks.

 

Grab a copy of MS Flight Sim, load an SR71 model. Slam the throttle all the way forward and climb right up to FL600. You sure get going fast, but the scenery, what you can see of it, stays the same.

 

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Not gonna happen flying a Robbie.

 

Seriously, look at the posts from guys that have been flying a while...the exhilaration fades and flying becomes just a job. Happens in every career. Just do your research to see where you can end up flying rotary vs FW, and then figure out what appeals most.

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I can't answer the military question, as I'm a permanent civilian due to medical circumstances, but I can say that having dabbled in fixed wing, helicopters are quite a bit cooler on the civilian side. Fixed-wing stuff tends to be very sterile. Airport to airport, day in, day out. Nothing wrong with FL 400 at all in my book, but I'd rather be at 3000 feet with a cyclic and collective. Helicopters, while they have their limitations, in my mind are more versatile.

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Ummm... The Army does have fixed-wing, unless they got rid of them very recently. Not nearly as many as helicopters, because of Air Force jealousy, but they have some.

 

In general, civilian pay for fixed-wing pilots is higher than for helicopter pilots. The jobs tend to be more stable, and located in more desirable locations.

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Having graduated from Embry-Riddle, and having spent some time in the Army ROTC there... and now a Warrant Officer flying CH-47's... I will echo what Ragman said. However, the Money factor into the whole thing, it is certainly worth getting it all paid for. On the other hand, I know 3 of us that WERE Army ROTC, hated it, got out, and turned Warrant Officer and are all now flying.

 

The Army vs Navy question, or Fixed vs Swing Wing is something that ONLY YOU can answer. Yes, going supersonic would be cool, but as previously stated, it's at 40,000 feet... We (Army Aviators) fly with the wheels just above the trees scaring the crap out of squirrels. I wouldn't trade it for a jet...

 

Best of luck...

 

 

CHAD

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Don't think that just because you go into the Navy that you will be flying fixed wing. And even if you do fly fixed wing, don't assume that you will be flying jets. The Navy has many helicopters in its inventory and has quite a few prop driven planes as well. I can't speak for the Army as much, but they also have fixed wing assets, but if you go Army helicopters are probably in your future.

 

From the Navy/Marine Corps side of the house this is generally how it goes:

 

1. Go to Aviation Indoctrination in Pensacola, assuming you are already a commissioned officer and have completed all of the other prerequisites. AI is just that; basic aeronautical classroom stuff plus weather, navigation, engines, etc. You also have a lot of water survival training as well.

 

2. After finishing AI, you start primary training which is still done in the fixed wing T-34. It's a fun aircraft to fly, is very fast, and manueverable. It's fully acrobatic. If you finish primary then you get to move on to the next stage and this is where your career path starts to take direction. Depending on your grades, your preference, and THE NEEDS OF THE NAVY, you will go fixed wing or helicopter.

If there is a recruiter guaranteeing you jets, be very wary. These guys are in no position to guarantee you anything except a slot in flight school, nothing more.

 

3. Don't think that just because you want to fly jets and you have the grades to fly jets that you will. I know plenty of guys (myself included) that had the grades and desire to fly jets and are flying helicopters. Sometimes it all just comes down to timing and luck as well. But, the NEEDS of the Navy will always come first.

 

4. Whichever path you end up with, just work hard and enjoy it. I have been flying helicopters for 18 years and still love them. Many of my instructors in flight school always told me the same thing and I never believed it at first. In my mind, I was going to flight school to fly F-18s and F-18s only. I had the grades, I had skills, and I had the desire. Unfortunately, it just didn't work out and on selection day after primary, the only thing available was helicopters. Was I pissed and disappointed? Hell yes. But, I decided to take their advice and move on and do my best.

 

5. Every pilot (especially in the military) will tell you that whatever aircraft they are flying is the best. If you take that attitude and work hard, you will come to appreciate and love whatever you are flying. Just keep in mind, that when Uncle Sam is paying your way through flight school and you are flying the government's equipment, that you will fly whatever they want you to fly regardless of how bad you want to fly something else.

 

Whichever way it goes, I hope it works out for you.

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Yup. Commissioned is a luck of the draw. One of the commissioned guys we got out of flight school came to us as a 1st Lt. Spent a couple years with us as a blackhawk pilot, made Captain, went to the Captains career course, came back, got shipped out to Iraq and is now commanding a UAV company. :|

Edited by RagMan
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Ive seen a lot of good opinions coming off of this post, but I have a couple of suggestions that may help guide you in the right direction.

 

As has been implied on here before, the best way to guarantee that you're going to get a position where you will be flying throughout your carreer and usually be doing something at least fairly fun/rewarding is going Army Aviation Warrant Officer. We have a few fixed wing assets, but the units Ive talked to wont even consider you unless you've been through military flight school already. I could go on and on ranting off facts and details, but I'm sure if you're considering this as a career path with any degree of sincerity, you've already researched what jobs you'd be doing.

 

If you can't decide whether to go fixed or rotory, I'm currious on whether or not you have flown before. If not, go to the local flight school and do demo flights for both and see what you like better. If one doesn't jump out at you, I don't know what to tell ya!

 

All of the branches offer some very good options, depending on what you're looking for. I noticed someone stated the Air Force being out of the question because of too much of a time commitment. If you're flying in the military, stay with it. No where else is going to give you the specialized training, flight time, and ability to play with such cool toys! I dont know how else you can rack up so many NVG hours.

 

I'm tired and probably rambling, but there is some good experience behind the above rant. Continue researching and don't make a rushed decision, no matter what you do! Oh... And get everything in writing.... hahaha!

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60 % of navy aviation is rotor, but boring rotor, armys got special forces rotor (160th Special Operations Air Regiment) and apaches, so if im going rotor its army. But the debate is whether or not jet aviation is or is not a superior career path that rotor in the army, considering the armys apparent lower lifestyle standards, its a hard choice, i know i want to fly, but i dont know WHAT i want to fly.

 

 

 

Ahhh..."boring rotor". Yeah, I was pretty bored too, taking off and landing on the back of frigates and cruisers at night unaided. I was also bored flying into Somalia before the Army even got there. Oh, and that 17 nm Penguin anti-ship missle was a real yawn. I really hated the brand-new-car smell of the SH-60Bs as we took delivery from the factory. I am pretty sure if I had it to do again, I would have quit the Navy when they told me I would be flying helicopters. If I was joining the Navy now, I would really hate to fly the new SH-60R, with its Hellfire missiles and torpedoes.

 

All sarcasm aside, there are some good comments on this thread. My personal comments are:

  • You will stay flying longer as a warrant in the Army.
  • You will definitely get to fly some fixed wing in the Navy, even if it is just in primary. Solo aerobatics flights were a hoot. That's something you will never do in the Army.
  • I won't deny that flying circles around an aircraft carrier is boring, but I only had to do it a few times.
  • There is more to look at when flying low over the land
  • There are fewer places from which the enemy can take a shot at you when flying low over the water
  • Being a warrant officer or a line officer beats being enlisted
  • Flying beats being a ground ponder or ship driver

 

None of the options will guarantee you a specific model of aircraft. You could go fixed wing in the Navy and end up flying C-130s or P-3s. Up until recently, jets in the Navy include the S-3B Viking. It's still a jet, but not an F/A-18 by any means. The Army still has UH-1s. I am not berating any of these aircraft. I am just saying that if you have your mind set on only Navy F-18s, Army Apaches or Army 160th, what you actually get to fly might be quite different. You might want to keep a "Plan B" in the back of your mind, because no matter how good tyou are, you might not get what you want.

 

One last thing...Being good might actually help your chances at getting what you want. Thinking you are good without a corresponding level of performance will probably hurt your chances. Be careful to check you attitude at the door, no matter where you go for military flight training.

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Ahhh..."boring rotor". Yeah, I was pretty bored too, taking off and landing on the back of frigates and cruisers at night unaided.

 

Hey, all that arm waving I was doing on the back of Knox classes was for your benefit, pal :P

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Not my personal experience but my friend just got through helicopter training in the Air Force after doing his primary in the T-38 (jet trainer) he said that at first he was disappointed he didn't get fighters but after he started heli training he was glad. he said that just taking of in the UH-1s is more fun then just about anything they did in the T-38 except maybe formation flying.

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lol, i know that the millitary has the final say of what you will end up piloting, but im only saying what i would hope to fly or do. Id be perfectly content flying a kiowa, a chinook or hell even a huey. If i went fixed wing id be content flying anything that wasnt hauling toilet paper. I just want to fly something that uncle sam is willing to pay me for. The whole reason i first asked about what to do is because of my paranoia of busting a check ride and pondering what id rather be in, a tanker, or a huey, and i think despite the glamorous views people share of rocket jockeys i think rotor's the way to go. Its been my first true love and i dont think there anyway to go wrong doing it. Thank you guys once again for your many in depth responses, and id like to apologize if i had sounded ignorant in my earlier posts.

 

Your advice has truly helped me. thanks again

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Little known fact - Air Force has helicopters too, but heck if we're going bring them into the mix then why not Coast Guard?

Well the quick and easy reason i wouldnt fly airforce rotor, or fixed wing for that matter is the career only mentality the airforce has after spending millions of dollars on you during flight school. Although i want to fly millitary i do want to return to the civillian world in less then a full decade. Airforce is 11 years + training vs navy 7 years plus training and armys relatively similar commisioned pilot commitment.

 

Coast Guard is relatively intriguing i must say, IMO they fly the single coolest helo ever. The sexy ass dolfinnnnn. Coast Guard is mingling in the corner of my brain, but i just feel like i need to fly real millitary above the dirt helping out the ground pounders.

 

Plus, i dont like the idea of flying a helo in hurricane type weather, i just flew my 206 in 30 knot winds and i doubted weather or not i could put her back down on the cart this weekend. I dont know how those guys do it.

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