Jump to content

What to consider when choosing and airframe?


Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

I have begun putting together an application to WOFT. I have a questions about the different airframes in the army and how to decide which one fits you best? Does the army even allow you to fly or sit in an airframe before selection time comes?

 

I know the general layout and uses of each chopper but would really like to know more about each one from the perspective of current army aviators. So if an army aviator could enlighten me or anyone else who will come across this post that would be helpful. Which frame is the most pleasing to fly? Which onces are the most sought after and why? I have many more questions but I'll take it one day at at time haha.

 

-Droz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You will get a chance to sit in each one but you don't get to fly them. Selection can go a million different ways, you may get a choice you may not. Generally it gets divided by the type of fighting guys want to do. Some dudes are drawn to the lift side of things and others drawn to guns. You'll find out which one you are as you go through training.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Generally speaking, everyone is going to say that their airframe is the best. (Either their choice, their mandated airframe (for those unfortunates who either don't do well enough to place high on the OML, or get "we have....all -60's. Good Luck."), or what they THINK they want.)

 

More or less, you'll fly the -58 in flight school. If you don't like the idea of a single engine aircraft, and rubbing elbows with the other guy, you're not going to want to choose -58s. But you won't ever be forced into one (or -47's for that matter) so no worries.

 

IMO, the real decision comes between guns and lift. That gives you 64's and 60's, as a rule. After that, you can decide whether you want big gun or little gun (or vice versa). As SBuzzkil said...you'll figure it out as you go through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with CharyouTree -- it's ultimately a decision between attack and lift.

 

There's nuisances between the different airframes and what their specific mission is, but really it's best broken down by those two categories. Everyone says to choose the mission, not the airframe. Whatever YOU want to fly should be the most desirable aircraft; all of them have pros and cons. Most of my class wants -58s & -60s, but other classes may be -64s & -47s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome! That cleared up some anxiety for me hahaha.

 

The 58 and 60 are the multi-purpose frames. They both can provide air support, recon, transport (60), special ops missions. I know this is subjective but wouldn't these be the ideal airframes to choose? You get a lot of variety in missions and the 58 looks like extra fun to fly! With the 60 you get to work with a whole crew!

 

Or does choosing all lift or all gun have it's own advantages that I'm not seeing? I know the 47 does do some special ops missions too but essentially is all flying and transport. The 64 you are either flying or gunning and not both. So even if you choose the 64 because you like guns you wouldn't get to pilot as much or you would be the pilot and you wouldn't get to shoot those guns that you like so much!

 

akscott60- Good luck to you on getting your frame of choice!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The H-60's provide transport (can be armed, depending on the mission) or medevac. Most H-60 transport units utilize machine guns when they deploy over seas. The medevac units fly unarmed during combat time. The 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) based at Ft. Campbell, KY, can and does arm their H-60s with rockets, hell-fire missiles, miniguns, and 30mm cannons. Working with a crew of more than just pilots is a blast. I crewed in the back of H-60s for six years and had a great time. I think the pilots enjoy it as much as the crew chiefs do.

 

The OH-58s provide close air support. Recon, not so much anymore. They are considered a recon aircraft, but that role is rarely used anymore. They were widely used as recon during the Gulf 1/2 invasions where the H-58s would fly ahead of our advancing Army in order to scout out enemy positions and movements for the H-64's and Tank units on the ground.

 

With the AH-64, the pilots are both the front seat gunners, and the back seat pilots. They switch duties so every pilot has the chance to fly, and act as gunner. It also helps each pilot to understand the systems better by having the opportunity to act as front seat gunner. It is my understanding that the front seat gunner has collapsible flight controls, but they are only there in an emergency should the back seat pilot become incapacitated. The AH-64s and OH-58s see a lot of flight time during combat; A LOT.

 

The CH-47 is a flying bus. If you want to be able to haul all of your sh*t plus 30 troops and some cargo, she has more than enough power to do it. I thought us H-60 guys had it good while I was crewing, but little did I know, the H-47 guys had A LOT more fun than we did. Besides, who else can walk to the rear of the aircraft and take a piss off the ramp while flying? :D

 

If you don't like being in a crammed place, you should consider the H-60 or H-47. They have a lot more cockpit space than the H-58 or H-64. If you want to be a gun jock, pick the H-58 or H-64.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't stress about choosing an airframe. You'll have 7-12 months at rucker before you get to selection day. You'll get a lot of good input from your various IERW instructors. These folks are aviators that have been there and done that. You might change your mind quite a few times along the way because there are so many great things about all the airframes/missions that army aviation has to offer. Now for my 2 cents:

I fly 64s and I love it. We are directly involved with the guys on the ground. Hats off to the UH60 pilots because it takes guts to fly those air assaults. Especially in low illum and dusty conditions. The difference I see is that they make a successful drop and then clear out. That's when the action begins and that's where we come in. Even if we are just escorting a convoy and not any kind of offensive mission it's still gratifying. I've run into soldiers in the chow hall that were on missions we supported. Even if the mission seemed pretty boring from up high the guys are always really happy to have Apaches on station.

A lot of my good friends are OH58 pilots and they really love that gig. Its a much smaller community than the other airframes. They all know each other and stay tight. Personally I think the mission is cool but the aircraft is underpowered (big time), under armed (7 rockets and FIXED .50 cal) and single engine (I love my kids) They do at times carry hellfires... on cold days at low altitude they could even carry four. Which is the same I would carry on one pylon. Of course even in an Apache you have to manage your power on hot days. As airframes get power upgrades the army just stuffs more equipment in them so you always have to know your power limits.

Some people say the downside of the Apaches is that they require a lot of maintenance. This is true but it's only a down side if you're in maintenance : ) The aircraft is very complex and has a lot of systems that other aircraft don't. That just makes it cool in my book, but it also

means there are more little things that break. Another downside is that our missions can sometimes be very boring when the ROE is defensive/police force instead of fighting the enemy. That can be said for all of us though.

Oh yeah. UH47s. Uh, they do some really cool stuff too sometimes. Air assaults, big sling loads and such. But most of the time it's going to be Point A to Point B hauling the mail stuff. That always has challenges too. Hey these new Fox model chinooks.... fully coupled ILS type stuff. Very cool for helicopters. Plus you could get an awesome logging job when you get out if you have 47 experience. I've heard good things about the community of 47 pilots as well. They say its just kind of an airline.

The 64 community has a rep for being a**holes. Part of this is just a few bad apples and I think part of it is that our job requires a certain amount of exactness in areas that other crews might be able to fudge on. I really don't know how to explain it. That's not a slight on other crews/airframes. Our airframe and mission is just different. One small example is the level of detail you must have in crew coordination since you can't see what the other pilot is doing.

 

Just my view on things.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

achfly,

 

Thanks a lot! Again, more great information.

 

I do have a question about the Apache though. I was comparing it to the newer AH-1Z and found that, as far a weapons payloads go, the Cobra can carry everything the Apache can plus 2 additional Sidewinders on the pylon tips. Is the Apache capable of doing this as well?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put Lewis, Campbell, and HAAF on my dream sheet..

 

Crossing my fingers.....

 

WOW, that is quite a spread, Lewis sounds good, then the list goes south from there. :lol: I have had McChord on my dream sheet most of my career, seems them heavy guys don't want to leave there. Can't say much about Kentucky, I only drove through a small corner of it on my way to North Carolina. The East coast was quite a shock to me since I was coming from 6 years in Fairbanks Alaska, I enjoyed it though. Like they say it is what you make it, have fun and emerse yourself in the local culture where ever you end up. I can't say that I really claim any one place as my "home" now. I have found reasons that I love everywhere I have been stationed.

Edited by gary-mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I put Lewis, Campbell, and HAAF on my dream sheet..

 

Crossing my fingers.....

 

I've got friends at all of those places. They seem to like them, personally I'm loving Ft Drum. We are having a very mild winter so far and the area is right in line with my outdoor lifestyle.

 

Anyways, you will enjoy the Kiowa course. When do you hit the flight line? IMI and CPTs are lame as always, but if you work together you can get out of there much faster. The first guy done with the reviews should be helping the other guys out. The right answer is to pay attention during the presentations, of course, but let's face it... Two hours of a narrator talking to you about lame slides will only absorb so much.

 

The flight I was in at Hanchey was super laid back. Study your stuff and participate in the discussions and your IPs will love you. The flying is great, I assume you will be starting after exodus which is a good time to be flying out there. Smooth sailing for contact and manual throttle, then warming up for doors off BCS and ACS. It's going to be a blast man! Enjoy it!

Edited by SBuzzkill
Link to comment
Share on other sites

achfly,

 

Thanks a lot! Again, more great information.

 

I do have a question about the Apache though. I was comparing it to the newer AH-1Z and found that, as far a weapons payloads go, the Cobra can carry everything the Apache can plus 2 additional Sidewinders on the pylon tips. Is the Apache capable of doing this as well?

 

The D model Apache does have the growth capability for air to air missiles. Switches and hard points are already there. Is it worth the money to develop? The army obviously doesn't think so at this point. In a large force on force war it could be used for targets of opportunity such as other helicopters or possibly for self defense. You'd have to be REALLY lucky to get the drop on an enemy fighter. So I tend to agree with the Army for now.

 

The Zulu Cobra looks like a great machine. When you look at the really big picture, long term view you understand that the Marine Corps has different priorities for attack helicopters. The most obvious for the Corps is that they've traded internal fuel for better ship operations due to size. I take off with just over 3,000 lbs of INTERNAL gas. That means time on station with our guys dealing with developing, complex situations. (it also means you better bring an empty bottle)

The key capability of the Apache is situational awareness and communications. I cannot over emphasize this. I won't bore you with the details but quite simply its about having information at your fingertips and being able to easily share it with other aircraft and ground forces. Information is a force multiplier that makes your army more efficient so you can decimate armies twice your size. The Apache has amazing weapons systems, but it's the way that comms, sights/sensors and the displays are integrated with the weapons that make it a powerful force.

The new Cobra may have some of these capabilities but the older models can't compare to the Apache.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

achfly,

 

That Apache sure sounds like a damn fine machine haha. I was asking about the air to air missles considering that an enemy helicopter may arrive while your out in the field. In that case those missles might come in handy. As far a jets go, yeah I don't really see a helicopter getting that done easily.

 

What would you guys do if an enemy attack helicopter showed up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...