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May R&W Editorial


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I was reading Ernie's Editorial and couldn't figure out who he settled on as being the better trained. I don't really think we can compare the two.


The military trains a certain way to achieve a certain goal, a pilot that they can release into the military mainstream. In the Army, that pilot will continue to receive instruction until he or she demonstrates enough ability/proficiency to be allowed to fly with non-instructors. In all of the services, the endstate is that the individual pilot is not released on their own recognizance to fly military aircraft on their own. There is continued instruction and mentorship until the pilot demonstrates their ability to handle command pilot duties.


Contrast that with the civilian training where only so much of the training is required to be dual pilot, and the rest is solo. Then, to build the requisite time necessary for a follow-on employment opportunity, the pilot has to go and secure additional ratings. At the end of the process, even though the civilian helicopter pilot's employment may be in question, the result is initially, a more self-sufficient pilot.


The difference in the two is the mission (to include mission equipment) of the military aircraft. Primary flight and instruments is only some 90 hours in the Army. Immediately following the initial training, military pilots are introduced to a military mission and now, with Flight School XXI (FSXXI), are introduced to a more complex aircraft with new systems from the aircraft they initially learned on.


Now, I'm not arguing for civilian or military training, because I still maintain that comparing them to each other to decide which one is better is an apples and oranges fallacy. What I'm pointing out is that the rate at which a military pilot matures is delayed by the changes in the aircraft and the missions that the pilot operates, since they never really get to "perfect" one level before they move on to the next. They put all of the pieces together once they've been released "into the wild".


There isn't a magic crossover point, where the experience gained in one realm matches up with the other. There is only a difference in training methodologies. In the end, the quality of aviator isn't dependent upon the type or level of training, but on the amount of study and effort each individual puts into being a professional airman. This is why civilian students shouldn't worry about how many military pilots get out and apply for jobs, but also why military pilots should worry about getting out and joining the civilian commercial pilot community; because the advantages of being trained in the military can sometimes be the disadvantages for job opportunities when military service is over.

Edited by Linc
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