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tsimmns

Civilian Pilots

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Let me first preface this message by saying I'm sure you read a lot of these type post: "I want to fly " etc. With that being said I have a few questions.

 

First off I am 30 years old with lots of military maintenance experience and absolutely 0 flying experiene. I have considered going the military route, but being Air Guard I just am not sure about going Army Guard, enlisting, going back to Basic/AIT and then hoping to get a Pilot slot in the next 3 years.

 

So here are my questions. What could one reasonably expect out of a flight school? Seeing as how the closest flight school to me is 2 hours, can you work while you attend a flight school? As for just trying to get flying hours on the side, what can someone expect? Can you actually just pay by hour and hope to get a Private License that way? If so, how long of a period would this take if your paying say 800 dollars every two weeks for lessons?

 

Now for jobs. Like I previous stated I own a pretty successful business and have a ton of down time, so I guess this is something you could say I want to do as something extra. Let's say I eventually get my Prviate, CFI, and all the other ratings that come along, what kind of job could someone with just that experience get? Would buying a helo pay off in the long run if I'm doing it just for my benefit to help build hours? I know this seems like a long of rambling, but I am curious what options are. I know the WOFT is an option with the Guard, but when I got out what experience would I really have also? Thanks for taking the time to read and any advice is appreciated.

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Depending on your state, the ARNG unit you join may know that you are enlisting with the sole purpose of becoming a warrant officer aviator. That can make a difference as all of your time is spent on becoming an aviator and not an enlisted member of the unit per se. That would cut your "3 years" way down. Check with your potential ARNG unit if that is a route you may decide to take.

 

What could one reasonably expect out of a flight school?

 

Your ratings. Private/Commercial/Instrument/CFI/CFII - Not sure if that is what you are asking.

 

can you work while you attend a flight school?

 

You can generally work while attending flight school. In fact, you will probably need to unless you are independently wealthy.

 

Can you actually just pay by hour and hope to get a Private License that way? If so, how long of a period would this take if your paying say 800 dollars every two weeks for lessons?

 

Yes you can. $800 hours every two weeks will get you roughly 3 flight hours for that 800 bucks, or say 6 hours per month. You can count on more due to ground training, exams, books, you name it. Private is a minimum of 40 hours (say 50), and you can get "all" of your ratings in about 200. You do the math as to how long that would take.

 

Let's say I eventually get my Prviate, CFI, and all the other ratings that come along, what kind of job could someone with just that experience get?

 

Most likely, a job teaching in the very helicopter you just got done learning in. Other than that, some light commercial, tours, etc., if you are lucky...... and you won't make beans. Once you work your way to 1,000 hours (and likely more than that), you will start to become eligible for larger jobs.

 

Would buying a helo pay off in the long run if I'm doing it just for my benefit to help build hours?

 

Highly unlikely.

 

I know the WOFT is an option with the Guard, but when I got out what experience would I really have also?

 

When you get out completely or just get out of flight training? I'll assume the latter. You'll have roughly 200 hours (depending on airframe), all turbine time (which is good), and have experience in the Bell 206 and an advanced aircraft. You'll have the same certificates as you would going the civilian route, minus the CFI/CFII.

 

The real benefit of going WOFT is that you know you are going to be earning a wage of some sort and continuing to fly after flight training (a real problem for some civilian pilots). Some commercial jobs (other than instructing) open up to Army aviators at lower hour levels than their civilian trained counterparts, but that is circumstance dependent.

 

For the record, I started civilian and later went active duty Army so I have a frame of reference for both.

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Best advice I can give is not to join the Army expecting to fly. Getting into military flight school is very competitive. There are programs that allow your military enlistment to be contingent on flight school acceptance. I think they still call it "Street to seat." That is the only way I would recommend. A slippery tongued recruiter will try to sell you anything he can.

 

Secondly, 800 bucks a week would get you about 2 hours of flight per week (which isn't a bad place to start). Then there is ground school, and supplies to buy. The best advice I got before I started flight school was that flying a chopper is 30% flying, and 70% studying, it was true. If your job requires a lot of your time, you likely won't study as much as you may need to. But then again, if you spread your PPL over a year or so, it will give you a little more wiggle room.

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Personally, if I was you and was training at a flight school, I'd save up and get a rating at a time or all your ratings at once instead of doing a couple of flights at a time...I've tried both, and you'll save more money in the long run doing that way.

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Thanks for this reply. I am currently looking into the cost of attaining my Private from Upper Limit in West Memphis AR and going from there. A rating at a time seems like it would be a good help and a great place to start, since I just can't be gone for months at a time trying to attain all of them.

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What was your military maintenance experience? Was it aircraft related? If so you might be able to get your A&P or at least some of a lot of credit toward that certificate. I realize it is not your goal, but it is a step in the right direction and put you in the industry. Just a thought.

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Many flight schools these days are attached to a college and offer 100% GI Bill financing with a degree when you graduate.

 

This is also an option that will put your foot well into the military door when your done. They almost faint when you ask to re enlist and have a rating and a degree! You would be any recruiters newest BFF!

 

The school I go to, and just got my CFI through offers his program. My flight school is Silverhawk Aviation Academy in Caldwell, Idaho. They are now attached to TVCC for the degree program.

Our website is grossly archaic and has not been properly updated in years. However if you call and ask for Zack, he could answer all your questions regarding the GI program.

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Sorry for the delay in a response, it's been a hectic month at the business I run. My background in the Air National Guard is NDI (Non-Destructive Inspection) and Avionics.

 

As for the GI Bill paying for flying, I do not have the qualifications for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the regular Montgomery GI Bill appears to only pay for anything if you are trying to earn a rating after instrument from what I can tell.

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