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What did YOU do at Fort Rucker?


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Most folks come out of Fort Rucker earning three ratings:

  1. Commercial Rotorcraft Helicopter
  2. Instrument Helicopter
  3. S-70 or BV-234

I say, you're selling yourself short! Here at Fort Rucker you have some of the greatest aviation resources in the world, and within no more than a 3 hour drive, you have the ability to complete almost every single rating that the FAA has to offer.

 

So I took the challenge.

 

During the bubble between SERE and Primary I completed my Advanced Ground Instructor and Instrument Ground Instructor ratings. While in Primary, I completed my CFI Airplane Single Engine rating. The day before my Instruments checkride, I completed my CFII Airplane rating. The same day as my Instruments checkride, I completed my ATP Airplane Single Engine Land rating. The last week of BWS, I completed my ATP Helicopter rating. While in the UH-60 A/L course, I completed my Commercial Glider rating. While in the UH-60 M course, I completed my Commercial Airplane Single Engine Sea rating. And today, as I walked across the stage for graduation, not only did I add my S-70 Type rating, but I am also almost finished with my CFI Glider rating and my Commercial Airplane Multi-Engine Land rating.

 

There you have it - 16 months, 9 FAA ratings; and 2 more on the way.

 

Now, if your next thought is, "Yeah, that's great, but what kind of experience did you get in those aircraft?" That's a great question. Every weekend, I was at Double Bridges Aviation teaching airplanes and every trip back to Maryland, I was at Middle River Aviation teaching helicopters and airplanes. In the process, I signed off 3 helicopter students and 3 airplane students; all of whom passed their checkrides on their first attempt. In the next two weekends, 3 more of my airplane students are going for their checkrides, putting me a mere 1 student away from my Gold Seal CFI.

 

Fly safe!

Edited by Bootcamp
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First and foremost congrats man. And I think the real question is how much money did you drop? If you don't mind.

 

Surprisingly not that much. Here are some rough estimates:

  • Advanced Ground Instructor: $140 - just the written exam
  • Instrument Ground Instructor: $140 - just the written exam
  • CFI Airplane Single Engine: $1300 - about 5 hours of flight time at Double Bridges Aviation, plus the checkride
  • CFII Airplane and ATP ASEL: $3100 - about 10 hours of combined prep in a G1000 airplane; plus two checkrides
  • ATP Helicopter: $1700 - about 3 hours of flight time and the checkride
  • Commercial Glider: $1000 (Rose City Soaring is about the cheapest glider club I could find in the country)
  • Commercial ASES: $1900 - Water Wings has a flat rate, one weekend program to get the add-on rating
  • S-70 Type: $0 - but 16 long months of my life
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So the total cost of what you listed is around $9300.00

 

If I read it right, you were licensed prior to coming to Rucker and were already a Private instructor. I can see how you would have more time to complete these ratings.

 

Not to terrible a cost if you plan on going Active or have substantial employment lined up for after graduation if your going Guard.

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Visited the museum. Other than that, never been to L.A. (Lower Alabama).

I did the Ft Wolters/Hunter-Stewart thing.

 

Me, I believe in maintaining an even strain and pacing myself. Rome wasn't built in a day, drink some wine...

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Yeah, that's not going to happen if you show up to Rucker with 0.0 hours. I suspect that unless you're amazing, trying to get you FW and go through flight school at the same time, one or both will suffer for it. That's probably why there used to be a ban on "outside flying " while assigned to b co/d co. (With some exceptions).

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Not to mention that unless you already have a PPL in either airplanes or helicopters, you'll end up spending much more money since it won't be just an add-on. Might as well wait until your first unit unless you've already got an FAA cert.

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Adfitional ratings are great and I applaud you for getting them. They'll help make you a more well rounded pilot. I plan on finishing up my glider and ME FW this year myself.

 

Having said that, ratings really only matter if they're utilized. In order to utilize them you need time to do it. After instructing Mon-Fri for the Army, the last thing I wanted to do on my weekend off is go out to the local airport and instruct in a civilian capacity. No way I'm doing that with a family. If I fly outside of work its for my benefit, not for someone else.

 

Also, while ratings make you more competitive in getting a job when you get out, the big three that you mentioned are about the only things a typical UH-60 guy would need for most jobs. Only thing I would add to that would be an ATP. That is even if you want to do the type of jobs that require an ATP. An ATP for a job that requires only IFR / Com really isn't much of a benefit. Your employer might pay you a nominal incentive once a month but it really isn't a factor in hiring. They want hours and experience relative to the job they're hiring you to do.

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After instructing Mon-Fri for the Army, the last thing I wanted to do on my weekend off is go out to the local airport and instruct in a civilian capacity. No way I'm doing that with a family.

 

It's funny you should mention that. Going soaring on the weekends was my "sanity break" from the monotony of the stage fields. I can't tell you how many times I was sitting in the Black Hawk thinking to myself, "I'd rather be in a glider or an R44 right now." But then again, that is from the student perspective, not the IP perspective.

 

You could say that at least some of the ratings have already paid for themselves considering the students that I started teaching in ASEL after earning my CFI-ASE.

 

Also, I know there would be no way I could have accomplished so much if I had kids.

Edited by Bootcamp
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Great post I been thinking about doing this when my time comes.

With that said how many hours and what ratings you had before you arrived at Rucker?

You had your CFI, Commercial and Private before arriving right?

How many hours you had before starting at rucker?

 

I came here 16 months ago with my CFI/CFII Helicopter and my Commercial/Instrument ASEL. I started with about 2,400 hours helicopter time and about 350 hours airplane time. My goal was to leave with 3,000 hours total. This upcoming week I will hit 3,300 hours (including SIM).

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