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Army NG questions from Prior Service


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So, a couple of quick questions here. I was hoping to talk to someone in the NG that flies. Curious about their schedule and what they do for a living on the civilian side (assuming they fly). Maybe someone could give me a quick rundown of what it is like to be in the NG as a rotorhead? Hours/year and things of that nature?

 

A bit about me, I am a prior service (SSG) grunt, I joined to fly, but never dropped the packed due to back to back deployments. I got out a couple of years ago, and did my helo training on the GI Bill. I am now a CFI-I with a few hundred hours in robbies. Problem is, I never really "got out" of the military, I've always wanted to fly for them, but there was no guarantee with the 6 year contract, the civilian sector promised me I could fly and I do every day. I am considering doing some NG action to satisfy my need to serve again, while maintaining my civilian job and lifestyle (afterall, its easy to get accustomed to not doing PT at 0630 each day).

 

How does the NG process work vs the active duty?

 

Can someone join the NG and be thrown straight into flight school?

 

Again, schedule? Flight hours? Lifestyle?

 

Any info would be great, thanks in advance!

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Before I became a pilot on active duty I was enlisted in the Utah Guard's Apache unit. You need find a Guard aviation unit and pay them a visit. The unit I was in had it's own recruiters. They had an office right there by the front door.(when you join the Guard you join a particular unit.) The recruiters were pretty strait with me. As I'm sure you know some recruiters tend to, ahem, mislead people. Don't worry about that, though because you're going to ask for a tour of the place and talk to some of the pilots in the unit. They can answer your specific questions.

One thing I can tell you is that location is important. In addition to your one weekend a month drill time you'll be expected to fly several times a month. So your commute may be a factor to you. Now, having said that, I must also admit that the unit I was with had one pilot that lived in Hawaii and was still able to meet his requirements. I think he must have been somewhat senior in order to have the flight schedulers bunch up his flight time so that he could get it all done in the one week that coincided with drill. I'm just guessing because I don't remember. ...but I digress.

 

Here's what I can say about your questions.

1. NG vs Active process?

Pretty much the same. The difference being that the unit you sign up with gets you back after flight school. So you already know your airframe and location. No guarantee's of either on active. Also the active duty board process has multiple levels but the NG really just has one big approval. In the NG unit I worked with a W5 as I completed my packet and then had interviews with the BGE and BN commanders. W5 said I was approved and they would get me a slot in flight school... as soon as they had a slot in the UNIT. Which he said could be 1-2 years. I said thanks much and went to see an active duty recruiter.

 

2. Does the NG send people right of to flight school?

Not as much as Active Duty. This is commonly referred to as the 'street to seat' route for a warrant officer. I have heard of a few cases of NG units doing this. Usually they like to prioritize their internal candidates since they already know the character of the soldier as a crew chief, or whatever. BUT I think that your chances would be very good given that you are a prior service guy that is already a pilot! If they have any slots open in their unit, that is.

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CaptainDune,

 

I believe you are talking about the Air National Guard (ANG), which is a branch off of the Air Force. The title of your thread states Army Nation Guard (ARNG) and then you proceed to ask questions about flying while living a civilian life. You cannot do such a thing in the Army NG, only in the ANG.

 

-Droz

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achfly,

 

Wow really good to know that you are a pilot in the ANG. I assumed you were Army from what I can tell there are very few ANG units that fly the Apache. I have many many questions about joining the ANG as a helo pilot so if i could pick your brain a little it would be helpful. PM sent!

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Allow me to clarify.

 

My WOFT (warrant officer flight training) packet was accepted by the Army National Guard unit I was enlisted in. However, I declined after finding out it was going to be a very long time before they would actually send me to flight school. After a lot of prayer and long discussions with my wife we submitted my WOFT packet to an Active Duty recruiter and I was on my way to Warrant Officer school a couple months later.

 

Also, Droz and Captaindune, you should know that there are plenty of pilots in the Army National Guard that have civilian jobs. Each unit has a number of full time positions as well and they are highly sought after. I believe the Air National Guard is the same way.

 

I think the part time pilots in the Guard (army or air force) have a really cool gig. They might work in an office or teach high school but few times a month they get to go fly Apaches or blackhawks or KC-135s or F-16s ect. Like I said, the units have full time positions too. Maintenance pilots for example are a full time thing. They have other full time jobs for officers that are not just flying but running the unit. One benefit of such being that you don't have to get time off your civilian job to go fly when you're on the schedule.

 

*disclaimer*

When I was Guard I was just a one weekend a month guy (known as an MDAY guy) so I really didn't know a lot of the ins and outs of pilot's work schedules.

 

Goodness I'm long winded. I hope all this helps. Again, pay them a visit. Keep an open mind.

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Oops, I misread what you originally posted here achfly. My mistake.

 

Hmmm I'll check out the Army National Guard for the part time positions. I was told on another forum that they were all full time so that's why I was going off of. Let me confirm it and I'll post back.

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As has been previously mentioned, National Guard pilots have all different types of civilian careers. NG pilots have the same requirements as Active Duty pilots, so in addition to flying one weekend per month and during Annual Training (AT), they perform Additional Flight Training Periods (AFTP's) in order to remain current and meet flight minimums (instrument, night, goggle, etc.).

 

An AFTP is a 4 hour block of time, for which you get paid one day of pay. Depending on unit and assignment, a NG pilot might have between 12 and 48 AFTP's per year allotted to them.

 

In most units, there will be a schedule book and pilots simply write their name in the book indicating the day and time period they want to come in during the week and fly. Some pilots will take a day off work and schedule 2 AFTP's back to back to come in all day. Some might take a week off and schedule 5 days in a row (10 AFTP's). Others might schedule one in the evening and come in after work.

 

Depending on your unit, airframe, work schedule, and other factors, NG pilots can fly anywhere between 50 or 60 hours up to several hundred hours per year. NG pilots are also responsible for making sure they meet all of their minimums, as well as scheduling their APART evals (check rides) and flight physical.

 

Depending on your civilian job schedule, travel, distance from base, etc., making minimums can be challenging. You also have to be disciplined enough to study on your own time at home to maintain your knowledge.

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Thanks, palmfish. AFTP was what I was trying to come up with but kept thinking MUTA. MUTAs, I seem to remember, were more relevant to drill weekends.

 

For what its worth Apache driver minimums are currently 70 hours every six months for a FAC1 aviator which is the highest of the army airframes.

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Achfly and palmfish have explained it all well. I'm a Blackhawk (MEDEVAC) pilot in the Guard and am happy to answer any questions as well. One important thing about being in the Guard is having a job outside of the Guard. The deployment optempo is busy right now. I've found myself struggling to get a civilian job due to knowing a year or so out that I'm deploying and have the training and schools that lead up to it that doesn't entice employers to be interested. If you have a job already, you have that stability already.

It really is a great gig. A lot of great flying, doing some very cool missions. As a blackhawk pilot we're required to obtain 48 hours of flight time each 6 months, and we're allocated 72 AFTPs a year. You can do a maximum of 2 AFTPs a day. It is possible to get a couple hundred hours in a year if you have all the free time to fly. As stated above, the challenge comes with flying regularly enough to remain current and study enough to keep up on your aircraft limitaions, emergency procedures and other knowledge.

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CD, you have some great units in AZ to choose from.

 

BH27,

It seems to me that it would be a really cool gig to fly UH60s in the Guard. The variety of missions is enticing. It seemed like the guys in the 2/211th in utah would be fighting fires one week and flying the governor around the next week and training for air assaults the week after that. Good times! Of course in war time I'd rather be in 64. : )

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Blackhwk27,

 

My main problem with that is that I will be working as a clinician in a hospital and will be required to take call. The department i'll be in will be small (3-6 people), so basically we work the call schedule out amongst ourselves. As of now, it seems like it'll be damn difficult to live a healthy life when constantly trying to juggle and coordinate a new schedule every month with the co workers and the SQ. The only solution I see here is to somehow see if I can get part time status at the hospital. Of coarse, there is no guarantee that i'll get a flight slot or that I'll be able to find a job close to my unit so there are just so many variables and it's looking discouraging.

 

So, the NG plan is kind of fading away now. I was only exploring the idea of the NG because I read somewhere that you only do 1 weekend/month and can keep your civilian job. Now I see that that isn't the case for pilots because of the extra flight requirements. It looks like i'll be sticking to my original plan (putting together a damn good WOFT packet for the Army, serving the 6-7 years, then going back to the civilian world and working as a clinician). The NG appealed to me because I will lose my clinical licensure if I am out of the hospital for over 1 year and it can be a real big PITA to get it back once it's gone. Oh well, you gotta make SOME sacrifices...

 

-Droz

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Droz,

 

You would have been out of the hospital for well over a year to go to basic training, officer school and flight school. This process takes 18-24 months. After that, however, there are plenty of people that fly for the Guard and hold down a full time civilian job. It might not be the exact civilian job you were planning on, but it can be done. Comfortably even. Also, keep in mind that you get paid to do those flight periods. So yes, it is like you're working two jobs but you'll get paid for it.

 

It's a worthy endeavor no matter the active duty or national guard route. Just understand that it is a big commitment that will take a lot of work. The first challenge is completing the packet. You must be patient and persistent to work through the bureaucracy. Jumping through hoops, as it were. But hey, if I did it...

 

:)

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achfly,

 

Yes you are correct. I agree that it is possible to do the NG route but I don't agree that it would be comfortable. I originally was drawn to the NG because that is what I thought too but after thorough research I came to another conclusion. There are some jobs that work well when you are in the NG (firefighter, cop, airline pilot), otherwise life can turn into a circus. Here are two threads where current guard aviators give their take on it:

 

http://www.flyingsqu...s-other-things/

 

http://www.flyingsqu...ilot-lifestyle/

 

-Droz

Edited by droz88
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