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Army Aviation Officer Flying Opportunities


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Hello,

 

I want to be a military helicopter pilot. I will try to keep my question as short and detailed as possible.

I am going to college. I initially was considering WOFT, but am now leaning heavily towards the ROTC option. I understand that ROTC is an outstanding learning opportunity, and I don't see myself being able to pass over such an amazing opportunity. Of course, this means (to my understanding), that I can only become a commissioned officer. I know that commissioned officers don't fly nearly as much as Warrant Officers.

 

However, I would definitely look forward to the opportunity to lead in addition to my pilot duties. I would relish that challenge. But I love to fly as well.. Rating the balance of interest between leadership and flying, I would rate it at 55% flying interest and 45% leadership interest. However, I understand that this is an unrealistic goal, and I would be happy spending most of my time leading and a smaller portion of my time flying. But I still want to fly.

 

I feel like as a WO, I wouldn't have advanced my skills nearly as much as I could have by participating in ROTC and becoming a commissioned officer. I think I would feel like there is another level above me that I should have worked to achieve.

 

To my understanding(I may be wrong), as we move into more of (though there are plenty of threats...) a peacetime force, I would assume (and have read) that WOs will have to fly less and perform more staff work/leadership development courses as well.

 

So my question is: As an Army aviation officer (15), will I be able to fly in addition to my leadership roles? Approximately how much would I get to fly? A "guestimate" of the flight hours a WO will likely earn in 1 year, as well as the number of hours an aviation officer will earn in 1 year would be outstanding! (A second guess for hours for a Captain/Major would be amazing as well)

 

My second question: How does the number of flight hours that an Army Aviation Officer flies in 1 year (past Captain as well) compare to the number of hours that officer pilots in the other military branches fly in one year? Air Force helicopter pilots, Navy, and Marines.

 

Final question: Since the posters here are presumably experts in Army aviation for the most part, this might not be an appropriate question. But would you say that in regards to an officer in the branches listed above, the Army gives a candidate the best chance of earning a helicopter flight school slot? Does it have the most officer level helicopter slots available? Also, the Army has the most straight-forward path-to-goal for a ROTC cadet, right?

 

 

Thank you very much in advance for taking the time to help me. I sincerely look forward to reading all responses.

 

Thank you!

 

P.S. - Are Aviation Officers less likely to earn an aircraft commander (rather than co-pilot) position in comparison to Warrant Officers? Thanks!

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I don't have answers to all of those questions but you should definitely take the ROTC option. The idea that warrant officers fly more than commissioned officers hasn't been true in the past 10 years. Ever since Gen Cody took the Army's Vice CoS position it's been mandatory for commanders to be pilots in command. So the career progression of LTs/CPTs now involves flying as much as possible (even more than their W1/W2 counterparts in some cases) prior to taking a company command so that they'll be ready for it. Then when you have a company you fly as much or as little as you want because you're ultimately responsible for deciding the schedule. Maybe after that it slows down a little but you'll still be able to fly a good amount if you make it a priority. That's about when the warrant officers are forced into staff jobs too though unless they track as IPs. If you actually like the idea of all the leadership roles you'll be put into this is an easy decision.

 

And yes, the Army has way more helicopter pilot slots than any other branch.

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My second question: How does the number of flight hours that an Army Aviation Officer flies in 1 year (past Captain as well) compare to the number of hours that officer pilots in the other military branches fly in one year? Air Force helicopter pilots, Navy, and Marines.

 

Hours vary depending on work-ups and deployments, in which case you'll fly more. Depending on the type of deployment (aboard ship w/ a MEU or a dirt det). We don't have to fight for hours with warrants nor is there any complexes that can be associated with that. All of our pilots get their helicopter commander quals and more if they are expected to make a career out of it. We are smaller, more picky, and your reputation as a pilot will be known lots of time before you show up to a unit.

 

I have heard Air Force helos are more competitive than any other platform. Since they have very few rotary winged aircraft.

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I've heard the opposite, since most pilots who join the AF are more interested in fixed wing.

 

Could be true, most of what I get was word of mouth from Air Force studs. I was under the impression that since there are so very few of them that demand usually is greater than supply, and the mission set is pretty unique. CSAR, Spec Ops etc...Maybe there is more to the story. There are always a few oddballs who want something completely different from everyone else.

 

I used to think that most people that want to go Marine air are interested in destroying things and dealing out hate and discontent. I've learned that isn't very much so at all.

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Hello,

 

I want to be a military helicopter pilot. I will try to keep my question as short and detailed as possible.

I am going to college. I initially was considering WOFT, but am now leaning heavily towards the ROTC option. I understand that ROTC is an outstanding learning opportunity, and I don't see myself being able to pass over such an amazing opportunity. Of course, this means (to my understanding), that I can only become a commissioned officer. I know that commissioned officers don't fly nearly as much as Warrant Officers.

 

I won't address the flying part because it's already been discussed here. I will point out one thing that hasn't come up that you may not be aware of.

 

If you go through ROTC, you will most certainly become a 2LT, but there is no certainty that you will be branched Aviation. Brach selection is based on academic performance, OML standing, advanced camp performance, and luck.

 

Only a small minority of ROTC graduates are branched in aviation.

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Hell, I thought most of the guys I went to flight school with wanted to kill sh*t and break things. You find out quickly that is not the case. Most people that went guns wanted them from the beginning. I know of a few that wanted guns, but chose hawks for the lifestyle.....whatever that means :lol:

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I don't have answers to all of those questions but you should definitely take the ROTC option. The idea that warrant officers fly more than commissioned officers hasn't been true in the past 10 years. Ever since Gen Cody took the Army's Vice CoS position it's been mandatory for commanders to be pilots in command. So the career progression of LTs/CPTs now involves flying as much as possible (even more than their W1/W2 counterparts in some cases) prior to taking a company command so that they'll be ready for it. Then when you have a company you fly as much or as little as you want because you're ultimately responsible for deciding the schedule. Maybe after that it slows down a little but you'll still be able to fly a good amount if you make it a priority. That's about when the warrant officers are forced into staff jobs too though unless they track as IPs. If you actually like the idea of all the leadership roles you'll be put into this is an easy decision.

 

And yes, the Army has way more helicopter pilot slots than any other branch.

 

 

Thanks a lot, Sir. The more I learn, the more it seems like officers do get some good flying time throughout their career.

 

Can an officer become an IP or MTP(etc)?

 

So I should also focus on: What exactly are the other responsibilities that officers have? Are they similar to those of Warrant Officers in that they are mostly aviation related? I really don't understand what officers do. Is it exciting leadership where you are working with people? Or is it paperwork mostly? I understand that they make larger decisions than a WO would.

 

Hours vary depending on work-ups and deployments, in which case you'll fly more. Depending on the type of deployment (aboard ship w/ a MEU or a dirt det). We don't have to fight for hours with warrants nor is there any complexes that can be associated with that. All of our pilots get their helicopter commander quals and more if they are expected to make a career out of it. We are smaller, more picky, and your reputation as a pilot will be known lots of time before you show up to a unit.

 

I have heard Air Force helos are more competitive than any other platform. Since they have very few rotary winged aircraft.

 

As we move into more of a peacetime force, how many hours will a Marine pilot get in a year approximately? Are there any missions other than training?

 

 

I won't address the flying part because it's already been discussed here. I will point out one thing that hasn't come up that you may not be aware of.

 

If you go through ROTC, you will most certainly become a 2LT, but there is no certainty that you will be branched Aviation. Brach selection is based on academic performance, OML standing, advanced camp performance, and luck.

 

Only a small minority of ROTC graduates are branched in aviation.

 

Thanks for your advice, Sir. If you can put an estimate from your experiences on the number of flight hours a new Army officer might earn in 1 year (1st Lt) compared to a new Warrant Officer (WO2), that would be much appreciated.

 

I guess for more experienced officers would be great as well (MAJ/LTC vs CW5)

 

 

 

Thank you very much for all of your responses. I am learning a lot and I really appreciate everyone sharing their knowledge and advice!

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I understand that you want to fly, we all do, but if you do a little searching you will turn up an answer to your question and it's probably not going to excite you. In garrison, when you're not doing a training excercise you will fly once maybe twice a week. As a LT you will fly pretty much the same hours as warrants. There will be months (like after a redeployment) where you wont fly at all. Your minimum hours are the same for both warrant officers and O grade, but vary by position and airframe. My yearly minimum is 140 hours.

 

Either way, you're going to be so busy doing other stuff that flying sometimes will seem like a burdon. As an Army Aviator your job is not just burning holes in the sky, you will be playing a part in running the unit as well. One of the biggest misconceptions I see (and had when I was brand new) was that warrant officers only job was to fly and be experts at flying. On the contrary, that is only part of our job. We teach classes, manage equipment, manage training programs, help build SOPs, manage supplies, etc. And as a new WOs in the troop we are the janitors, the coffee makers, the fridge stockers, the whatever guys.

 

If we're not doing one of the above listed things we are in the books learning.

 

Now, that's what WOs do in the troop. The difference between us and O grade (initially) lies in what you do when you're not flying.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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SBuzzkill,

 

That is a very informative perspective on the job. The WO vs RLO comparison often makes it seem like WOs get to fly a LOT more, but I am learning now that most pilots don't go far above minimums during peacetime (and minimums must be met).

 

1. How would you describe the officers responsibilities in comparison to yours? Do officers teach a lot of flying classes and things as well (I would love that). You gave a lot of examples of what WOs do and that gave me a much better understanding of their daily lives.

 

2. Do MAJs and LTCs get to fly like CPTs do? Are there any line pilot officers of these ranks in your unit?

 

Thank you very much, Sir.

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I have yet to see an officer teach a class. That's not saying they can't do it, but it's just not their job. They're more concerned with the personnel side of things. Creating flight schedules, making sure people make appointments, tracking who's tasked with what, counseling people, etc.

 

It's tough to describe the difference to someone who hasn't seen it in action. Either way you're still going to be doing officer type stuff, it's just that as warrant officers we work on certain pieces of the puzzle and it's the officers jobs to put all those pieces together.

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Do MAJs and LTCs get to fly like CPTs do? Are there any line pilot officers of these ranks in your unit?

 

Thank you very much, Sir.

 

MAJ's and LTC's are "field grade" ranks and are not assigned to line units (with the exception of a CH-47 Company, which is commanded by a MAJ). For the most part, they are in higher headquarters and in staff positions. They must get their minimums, but generally it's in their spare time and not flying actual missions.

 

As always, there are exceptions. This is just a generalization.

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As we move into more of a peacetime force, how many hours will a Marine pilot get in a year approximately? Are there any missions other than training?

 

 

Navy and Marines will still do deployments afloat aboard ready groups around the world. Hours will depend on platform, coast, and ultimately needs of the service and squadron. We will still train to our mission regardless if there is a war going on not. I would expect anywhere in the area of 200 give or take few. Your mileage may vary.

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