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Info about USAF Helo Pilots

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I am about to get out of active duty Air Force, and I am now weighing my many options that I have for pilot opportunities. I am really looking to becoming a UH-60 pilot in the Air Guard. I was wondering if their is anybody that can go into detail, the lifestyle of a USAF helicopter pilot. - The amount home/deployed. - time likely to spend on active orders if a reservist/guard? - main mission of the UH-60 ( I assume it is mainly csar)


I am currently a loadmaster on the C-17. I am used to being gone all the time and I have experienced the crew dog life style. I am familiar with the active duty lifestyle, especially with AMC. I would like to gain more knowledge on guard/reserve/helo pilot life style.


Thank you for your post in advance.



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I can only briefly describe what I know about the Air Force. My cousin just graduated flight training and has recieved his first assignment in helo's, however, he is active duty, so that may be somewhat different than the Air Guard.


Per my cousin, It is extremely difficult to become a pilot in the Air Force and you will be required to first train in fixed-wing aircraft if you are selected to go to flight school. If you graduate you get to put your "wish list" together of aircraft that you want to fly and where you would like to go. (I'm sure you already know about this, but hopefully this will benefit some of the other guys looking at this option as well). Keep in mind that ultimatley you will go where you are needed regardless of your wishlist.


The Air Force trains their helo pilots in Huey's. If you choose to fly helo's, you will be sent to Fort Rucker Alabama where you will go through all phases of helo flight training. Once you finish all of your flight training you will recieve your first assignment and according to my cousin who just finished, not one of them were selected to fly the HH-60 Pavehawk (Air Force version of UH-60 Blackhawk). He said that the Air Force is extremely top heavy in regards to old timers sticking around. The guys with the highest rank and seniourty get to drive the "cadillac" and it will most likely take up to 5 years before my cousin will even see one, let alone fly a pavehawk. In the mean time my cousin actually got the assignment he asked for. He will be flying a twin engine full glass cockpit huey in and around the Washington D.C. airspace providing executive transport and homeland security missions.


In a nutshell, the Air Force is by far the hardest branch to become a pilot in because it is so exclusive in regards to what they require of their pilots. If you do make it and are accepted as a pilot, then it is one of the easier branches to switch from fixed-wing to rotor-wing becuase most pilots go into the air force to fly the fighter jets or the transport jets. Very few get into the Air Force to fly helicopters, so there are usually slots available for pilots who choose to fly helo's.


Hope that helps

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  • 3 weeks later...

Is there any Air Force helicopter pilots? I would love some more information on Air Force helicopter flying.


If you are reading this thinking about being a pilot, yeah it is hard, but I guarantee you if you want to be a pilot in the AF and you are medically qualified, then you surely can become a pilot. Don't let people discourage you. I am with pilots all the time and some are pretty smart, but most of them just really wanted to be pilots, so they did everything they could to do so. Now they are pilots in the Air Force, they love what they do, and they are great at it cause that is what they love and what to do. So if you know it is what you want to do then go for it. They Air Force Academy pretty much guarantees you to be a pilot if you get accepted. No joke! Especially if you want to be a fighter pilot.


I did not really look into being a pilot as much as I should have before I went enlisted. What I read discouraged me from doing any further research. So don't get discourage.


Thanks, Jon

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