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pre-requisites less with helicopters vs fixed wing


ericcbohn
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I don't think your statement is entirely correct on the military perspective. The pre-requisites to fly in the Army are less than any of the other branches. It just so happens that the Army mostly flies helicopters, but there are fixed wing pilots without a degrees in the Army. The Army utilizes Warrant Officers, which is a rank structure that the other branches don't use for aviation.

 

The Navy, Air Force, and Marines all have higher education requirements for helicopter and fixed wing pilots. They have to have the full commission with a 4 year degree and all that.

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If your an Army Officer, you have the same education requirements as an officer in any other branch. It doesnt have anything to do with what you are flying. Other services dont use WOs as pilots. There are plenty of commissioned officers and WOs flying army helicopters and fixed wing.

 

I was actually standing at the soda machine yesterday with a couple army CWO5's who flew in on a citation jet and dropped of some people for a deal at the base.

 

Im not a military pilot, but spent 8 years in the military (4 USMC 4 Army)

Edited by Flying Pig
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Another way to look at it, especially from an entry-level perspective, is what's involved in getting into Aviation.

 

If you get into fixed wing, you'll spend less money getting trained, but you'll spend a lot longer establishing a career. The pay will be lower for much longer, too.

 

If you get into helicopters, you'll spend more money getting trained, but you'll have more opportunities, faster, in helicopters. You may be in turbine equipment in a tenth the time that you would be in fixed wing, depending on the track you take. You'll be making more money once you get out of the instructing environment, too. You'll also be stuck in a fairly stagnant salary range; it's more initially, but doesn't go up considerably after that. The long-term range of your salary isn't as great in helicopters, either.

 

I wouldn't look at it as the requirements being less. It's harder to get started in helicopters than fixed wing, though it's harder to build a career in fixed wing, and one generally needs a lot more experience. Over the last ten years or so the market for pilots has shifted in rotor wing to actually favor civil trained and experienced pilots, for a number of reasons; the first time this has ever been the case. When I say favor, I don't mean prefer, as military pilots bring first-rate training and experience to the table. In terms of percentages of those filling the ranks in the civillian sector, while a lot of pilots with military experience are out there, so are a lot of those without. Opportunity might be a better word than "favor," but to the entry-level pilot it doesn't really matter. The requirements aren't really less for flying a helicopter. They're more expensive and the field is smaller, but unlike fixed-wing, one's first job after instructing is usually turbine, and it stays that way.

 

People generally don't get into helicopters because of long-term salary potential or because they perceive the requirements as being easier. They end up in helicopters because the came from the military, or because they fell in love with helicopters, or because it's an itch they had to scratch.

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