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So I've asked on here if anybody went through the BS program offered by Kansas State University. I got a few responses but not as many as I was hoping. Is that a bad thing? I know the program is still fairly young but I figured there would be more than just 2 or 3 people. The program is run through Universal Helicopters and I've heard mixed reviews on them. Is there anybody on here with some more reviews on UH?

 

Also, the only program through KSU is a BS. Can anybody on here with experience tell me if having a BS will set me above my peers any? Will an associates suffice? From what I understand the BS offered is more geared toward fixed wing. Thanks again for the help

 

Erik

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You don't need any college but sure, if applying for your first job (most likely CFI), you would have an advantage over someone else with similar flight time and no college. You'll still get paid by seniority and not how many college hours attained.

 

When it comes to professional turbine jobs, the majority of them could care less. They want hours and experience, that's it. Myself, and several of my friends have no degrees and we were all hired on various companies because we far exceed the 2,000 hr minimum requirement. It's all about insurance requirements and the company saving money. For instance, annually we update our personal data for insurance purposes. None of the questions relate to college. It's all about ratings, accidents, and hours.

 

I won't debate the importance of a degree or even the importance of hours necessary to be safe at flying a high performance aircraft. We get those arguments all the time on here and it doesn't change the facts. Operators and their insurance companies require a certain number of minimum hours and experience that they believe is important. Unless you're seeking a staff / management position, a college degree is factored very little into hiring practices.

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I understand where you are coming from. I am a veteran so my school has to offer a degree program to ensure that I get covered. My question is more pertaining to is the difference between a BA and Associates going to limit my options later on in my career. I'll be 26 by the time I get out of the military so the faster I get my CFII the faster I can be starting my career. The school I'm looking at is only a 20min drive from my house so it would make the transition a little easier on my family. However, I am willing to relocate for school just not 100% sure of where I should go.

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Consider keeping your formal education separate from your flight training. While on the surface it may seem logical, it’s not always the best path….

 

With respect to a helicopter pilot career, degrees have little, albeit some, significance. That is, unless corporate flying and/or management positions are a long term goal.

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Thanks for the great advice. This is kind of how I figured it but I guess I needed to hear it from some other people. I really didn't want to go to a 4 year college just to get to my CFI/I ratings. I'm sure I'll get some other advice on this topic as well and all of it will help me tremendously. Wife really wants me out of the military. Too many close calls due to my current job!

 

I'd love to hear some advice on school that have a no bulls**t flight program. I'm looking at Upper Limit Aviation due to their AS program. Seems like it is all about flight school with just a few gen eds. Any others I should check out? Don't want to move to California that is about the only place that is out of question. (too many gun laws)

 

Thanks,

Erik

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Have you ever thought about LE work? Being EOD, you would get snatched up by a decent sized agency. Do a little time on the street while working part time as a CFI to stay. You could end up in aviation and as a EOD tech. A pilot in my unit did both. Who knows.

I also thought about doing that as well... Not 100% positive I want to go the LE side. It is not a terrible idea though. The thing about me is when I set my mind to something I jump in head first. I've been lurking around this forum for awhile now and understand the risks I'm taking. But I've got my EOD career to fall back on. Plus, I can still do UXO contract work when money gets tight. I know that as long as I have EOD to fall back on while pursuing my dream I'll be able to make it.

 

How hard is it to get a flying position doing LE?

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Army, I've been checking out schools to attend and have been looking at schools that are approved for the GI Bill. One school that I spoke to was in the process of having their progam appoved by the VA. On their advice, the school submitted a plan for a 4 year program. In the long term, the VA may force the schools to switch to a bachelors program in order to control spiraling costs. I want to get through my flight training as quickly as possible, so I hate to hear that it might take even longer.

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An LE flying position is different with each agency. Ive seen guys wait years to get in to one unit, and the unit next door (literally.... next door at another agencies unit) seems to change members like underwear!

If you read through some of the LE threads there are a lot of posts. While there is no guarantee, I would say that someone decently squared away, who is a decent cop could probably find themselves in a unit as an observer (flight officer)within a few years. But there is no way to tell. I just always end with the advice of dont get into law enforcement to only pursue a flying career. If you would enjoy being a cop first, and also flying later on its pretty good. But Ive also seen guys who have pilots licenses get in to the unit and actually fail the observer training program. Their dream lasted about 5 weeks before they were failed out. Being a unit pilot is generally something that comes later on in the unit. I was in the air unit about 8 years before I became a unit helicopter pilot. As a flight officer, I was also a dual rated commercial pilot. I was in about 3 years as a flight officer before I got the full time airplane pilot spot. Flew our plane for about 3 1/2 years and then moved over to the helicopter full time when one of our unit members retired. While I was flying the airplane full time, I was steadily progressing through our unit helicopter pilot program as well. The pilot I replaced was 71, so there was no misunderstanding that he would be retiring in a few years. In fact, he was the guy training me.

 

One thing with a lot of units is that they are only allotted so many positions. In my unit, we are allotted 3 helicopter pilots, 1 airplane pilot and 3 flight officer observers. So you could be floating around in the department as a 3000hr MD500 pilot working court services. Until one of the 3 helicopter pilots decide to move on, there wont be any openings. To my knowledge, we have 2 airplane pilots elsewhere in the department and 2 private helo pilots. We had an R22 CFII with about 400hrs, but he failed the patrol training program out on the street, which resulted in him being told to resign. In my agency you have to have at least 5 years of street experience before you can apply as an observer. Once you become an observer, there is no real path to becoming a pilot. When the need came for one, a new pilot would either be selected out of the observers if someone had ratings, or a pilot would be hired from outside the agency. All of our pilots are sworn deputies.

You may want to look at www.alea.org You would have to be a member to get full access to the association. If you have any more questions, let me know.

 

I edited to add.... there are many agencies that hire civilian pilots and use sworn cop flight officers. Those agencies generally require much higher times, significant turbine time and skills beyond what could be taught in house. Or they may have an EMS or fire fighting roll that requires certain time and experience levels. You may also find an agency hiring a civilian if they end up short a pilot with nobody to fill the vacancy. They cant really wait 2 years to get someone trained up. A lot of agencies also hire a civilian pilot and then send them through the academy to make them sworn pilots. Bur before you qualify to be a civilian pilot you would definitely need a history and a career behind you already. Not many places in the helicopter world allow for a pilot to work 4/10's and be home everyday for a salary that is pretty decent. So youll have some pretty stiff competition. One thing to look for is an agencies history of using civilian pilots. If they have always used sworn pilots, and suddenly hire for a civilian, there may be an underlying reason.

An agency I know of had ALWAYS used sworn pilots. They ended up short a pilot, hired a civilian. That civilian was a high time, EMS, NVG, corporate, CFII type. Immediately he ended up with a non-pilot partner to start training. After about another year....... he got laid off because of budgets and his "student", who was by this time a 500hr turbine pilot stepped into the position. So before you go jumping into a civilian gig, understand the history behind that particular position. And then there are many agencies who have always gone that route.

Edited by Flying Pig
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The “trained observer” in me interpreted your post to mean; the wife wants you out of the military to reduce your risk exposure…. If so, I’m not sure if strapping on a gun and patrolling the mean streets of Gotham City while still disarming domestic bombs to posture yourself to later fly a single engine helicopter at night will a big enough reduction for her……….. If not........

 

How hard is it to get a flying position doing LE?

 

IMO, a lot harder than getting any other helicopter gig…..

 

No offence Pig Pal……

Edited by Spike
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I can tell you that my Associates Degree hasn't opened up any doors. As for the BS, though, its not about setting yourself above your peers, or making yourself more marketable as a pilot, its about giving yourself another option just in case your flying career doesn't work out! So get it, but don't waste it on an aviation degree!

 

Getting mixed reviews about UHI (or any flight school for that matter) is normal, since generally a students experience there is greatly determined by his instructor,...and not all instructors are the same! I could love flying with Joe, but you could hate him, and prefer Sally, whereas I hate flying with her, and so on...!

 

Just make sure they don't insist that you pay it all up front, want you to do all your training in the R44, or try to sell you unnecessary training like Turbine Transition, Long-line, NVG, etc...! If they do, I'd say, "RUN"!

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Spike,

 

You are partially right about my current position. However, my wife knows I'm good at my job, she is just getting tired of me deploying all the time. Been blown up one too many times and she is getting tired of it. So being a LE officer would be the least of her worries. The problem lies in me! The only thing that I really want to do outside the military would be to fly.

 

Eagle,

 

I didn't know until recently (today) that I could stray away from just the "aviation" degree offered by various schools. Is there a different type of degree that would be more helpful in the heli world? I would assume that not much would matter except flight time. I know there are no guarantees in this industry but I am bound and determined to be one of the success stories.

 

Thank you everyone for the assistance!

 

Erik

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Army, I've been checking out schools to attend and have been looking at schools that are approved for the GI Bill. One school that I spoke to was in the process of having their progam appoved by the VA. On their advice, the school submitted a plan for a 4 year program. In the long term, the VA may force the schools to switch to a bachelors program in order to control spiraling costs. I want to get through my flight training as quickly as possible, so I hate to hear that it might take even longer.

bombdoc,

 

that is my fears as well. I'd love to get through school before any of this happens. I've still got a year left in the Army before I can start schooling. Hopefully none of this will happen!

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Eagle,

 

I didn't know until recently (today) that I could stray away from just the "aviation" degree offered by various schools. Is there a different type of degree that would be more helpful in the heli world? I would assume that not much would matter except flight time. I know there are no guarantees in this industry but I am bound and determined to be one of the success stories.

 

 

I don't know of any specific degree that would help in the heli world, but something "high-tech" related would probably be a good back up for the real world?

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