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Army Helo pikot NYC looking for flight time


JacobNYCBen
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Hey guys,

 

My name is Jacob. Im new! I live in NYC and am looking to transition from my current career to fulltime heli pilot.

 

I've got a good career as a structural engineer in NYC. HOWEVER, i really love flying. I am currently in the army guard as a UH-60 (S72) pilot. I've got about 350hr. 300 dual engine turbine. 1/3 of which is pic. Im looking to work full time as a heli pilot but i know i need more flight time for that. What would be the best/least expensive way to build hours in the area?

 

Respectfully,

Jacob

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Unfortunately eagle5 is right. Read extensively in the military forum on this site and you'll see how difficult it is for military guys to transition into the civilian industry. With your hours you will almost definitely need to buy R-22/44 flight time, get your CFII and get a job as an instructor. It's a tough industry to get a start in, and from what I've heard, military experience is almost a handicap rather than a leg up.

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Military experience in no way is a handicap. Its like anything else. You need the time and the experience to get the job you want. Ive talked with a few military pilots who are under 1000hrs who have called looking to see if we are hiring. I talked to a USMC Captain who flies the UH1Y. With 950hrs TT he was confident he would be picked up by an EMS company. One of his selling points was "Well, Im also an NVG instructor". Im sure the guy is a decent pilot and would probably get into EMS and do just fine, but he had no real concept for what minimums were, and his mindset was that minimums were how civilian complains weeded through piles of R22 resumes. (his words) He felt his resume of all military time would put him in a different category.

 

I can definitely see how a pilot who enters flight school and is now flying the brand new UH1Y would be pretty torqued to learn that he's not even qualified to fly tours in Vegas and is now going to have to cram into an R22 just to be competitive with some other pilot who has 1200hrs in R22s..... to compete for an EC130 job. Its a crazy world we live in.

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Unfortunately, insurance companies drive the minimums for almost any aviation segment, but most specifically EMS. The standard is 2,000hrs with 1,500 turbine PIC, and even that varies from state to state up to 3,000 hours, but rarely lower than 2,000. The "100 hour night un-aided" is starting to fall in lieu of NVG time depending on how the particular company is embracing NVGs.

 

A guy who has capably flown a twin turbine helicopter for 1,000 hours of PIC can certainly fly an EMS helicopter with no issues. The transition seed bumps usually come with the realization that there's nobody next to you helping when you're single pilot...that is an anomaly in the military.

 

Mike-

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I'm sorry I wasn't trying to be disrespectful in any way with that comment. I was only commenting due to the number of exmilitary guys saying the same thing about the difficulty of getting into civilian flying, as well as comments from CP who state their reluctance to hire military pilots.

We are all in the same boat trying to make a career of what we love, and I don't have any qualms against military pilots. To each his own, I was only parroting what I've been led to believe

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Insurance companies are most definitely the biggest enemy of entry level pilots! Lets face it. If an operator can convince them that even a 700 hour 22 pilot still requires 100 hours more in one, before you can "hire" him just because you strapped a couple of pillows to the skids, then they obviously know nothing about aviation and can be fooled into believing anything! Like you need 1000 hours to fly tours in a jet ranger, complete bullshit!

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Haha, no sh*t. Most insurance companies would sh*t knowing I am a 750hr helicopter pilot, a PIC of a CH47F worth 40 million dollars, and also a military instructor pilot.

At 750 hours of helicopters.

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Ah, but the military has its own kind of insurance. For example; you can't pick your nose without announcing it to the entire crew, in order to fly I had to request official airforce wx brief, fill out a risk assessment, get the assessment signed off by a mission briefer, get the assessment and mission brief signed off by the cmdr, file a flight plan locally and fax one to base ops to file with faa, beg the maint oic for an aircraft, preflight said aircraft (probably ground it and try another), do a performance planning card, ensure route cards have been completed, conduct crew brief.... I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Of corse flt ops in general are governed by 20 different regs, field manuals, and training manuals, local sop, local poi, etc. I could go on for pages but you get the point. Insuring the flt by essentially controlling every possible aspect of it.

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Sorry to get off topic. To the OP: don't quit your day job, stay in the guard and grab all the flights you can. Befriend the unit mtp and tag along on test flights. Get a pic ride as soon as possible and wow your SP. Request the IPC when you have more army pic under your belt. If you absolutely must, buy some training time and get your cfi in an r22. Be patient.

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JacobNYCBen,

 

As stated above, I recommend you build your Pilot in Command time and gain some more experience. I am making an assumption that when you say 1/3 of your time is pilot in command you are referring to the FAA's definition of a PIC and not the Army's?

 

Another assumption of mine is there are civillan helicopter pilots in your guard unit? Mabye they would be able to provide more insight into your career jump as they know you personally and could help you with something locally.

 

As for time building matt said it best, befriend the MTP and keep leaning forward. Volunteer for every flight you can get on. Own your flights, have a plan so the PC's don't have to plan everything. If you can deploy, I'd highly encourage you to do that as well, that will build your time the fastest.

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Thanks guys for all the input,

 

Judging by your answers, I am going to continue to work on my civilian career in Engineering and just stick to the guard. Financially I just cannot take such a cut in pay for a hobby...especially with a family.

 

I really appreciate all the input.

 

Respectfully,

Jacob

Not like that's to bad of an option! It will take longer, but at least you are flying totally bad-ical stuff. Your day will come.. just later vs sooner.

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I agree with the post flying pig made. I recently made the transition from military to civilian and it was an eye opening experience and in some aspects a rude awakening. I had 1300 hrs flying in the Marines, was an instructor, did combat on the ground calling in close air support, and found out it was very tough for me to even get an interview let alone a job because of my total time and PIC time.

 

I can understand the attitude of the Marine Captain Flying Pig talked to as that was close to my attitude when I got out. I was humbled very fast and adapted to get hired. I had a couple connections in the EMS world and even told by one of the Managers that decided who would be hired that he would hire me that day, but I just needed 700 more hours for them to do so because of the insurance company.

 

It was a blow to my ego that I had been flying a 24k lb helicopter on and off of aircraft carriers and I was told I wouldn't be hired by even rinky dink flight schools because I had zero hours in an R-22. The flight schools didn't want to invest the cost to get me up to speed in a R-22 when they could get plenty of CFI's who had learned to fly in them. I was at 970 PIC time when I got out and was told by several companies that they couldn't even look at my resume unless I had 1000 PIC. Again it was that dang insurance issue.

 

I swallowed my pride, gave up on trying to get an EMS job for the time being, and used the GI bill to get 40 hrs in an R-22. That got me over the 1000 PIC mark and gave me experience with piston helos. I also networked with the flight school I used, talked to fellow pilots, and applied to every job that was out there for helicopters. I almost took a job as a CFI and would have if I didn't get hired by a AG place. I took a massive pay cut from when I was in the Marines, but it's a good job that is getting me experience in the civilian market and I don't have to sit in an R-22 teaching kids how to hover.

 

As for advice for the OP. I would just continue to fly with the Guard until you have enough hours to get into something better than your civilian job. Network as much as you can because that is where a lot of jobs are found. I've learned that getting hours on the civilian side is either expensive or doesn't pay very well. Learn all you can flying 60's and roll that experience into the job you want a couple of years down the line.

 

 

 

Military experience in no way is a handicap. Its like anything else. You need the time and the experience to get the job you want. Ive talked with a few military pilots who are under 1000hrs who have called looking to see if we are hiring. I talked to a USMC Captain who flies the UH1Y. With 950hrs TT he was confident he would be picked up by an EMS company. One of his selling points was "Well, Im also an NVG instructor". Im sure the guy is a decent pilot and would probably get into EMS and do just fine, but he had no real concept for what minimums were, and his mindset was that minimums were how civilian complains weeded through piles of R22 resumes. (his words) He felt his resume of all military time would put him in a different category.

 

I can definitely see how a pilot who enters flight school and is now flying the brand new UH1Y would be pretty torqued to learn that he's not even qualified to fly tours in Vegas and is now going to have to cram into an R22 just to be competitive with some other pilot who has 1200hrs in R22s..... to compete for an EC130 job. Its a crazy world we live in.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Riddle me this.

 

As a commercially rated instrument pilot who paid his own way to those hours in 22's and 44's, and is interested in the Army WOFT program to learn how to pilot larger aircraft...

 

Would I be doing myself a disservice by taking a spot to fly for the Army?

 

or would it be something that after a 6 year term of service, with Piston time, and whatever the army provides as far as turbine time goes... Would I then be a marketable pilot?

 

Hours trickle in during the slow season for me. I'm lucky to get 2-3 a week. So right now I'm weighing my options.

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Riddle me this.

 

As a commercially rated instrument pilot who paid his own way to those hours in 22's and 44's, and is interested in the Army WOFT program to learn how to pilot larger aircraft...

 

Would I be doing myself a disservice by taking a spot to fly for the Army?

 

or would it be something that after a 6 year term of service, with Piston time, and whatever the army provides as far as turbine time goes... Would I then be a marketable pilot?

 

Hours trickle in during the slow season for me. I'm lucky to get 2-3 a week. So right now I'm weighing my options.

I was a machine gunner in the Marines, not a pilot. So I ask, Is there any part of you that actually wants to put rounds down range in defense of the other soldier reloading and firing next to you?

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In response to Tree, and Pig.

 

Yes, I am absolutely interested in service of this nation. Even if that means slinging lead downrange.

I'd previously worked federally protecting national assets prior to learning to fly, and loved the work very much.

 

My focus of the previous question should have stated that.

So, yes, I'm always interested in building time. All pilots are.

However I'm also interested in developing myself as a pilot through all experiences.

 

I am concerned though, that if I take that path I'll take two steps forward, while sliding one step back.

Most often posters have a line of questioning pertaining to becoming a pilot via the armed forces.

I imagine not many pilots volunteer their skillet in defense of our country In the backwards manner I'm proposing.

 

Food for thought.

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I was a civilian CFI instructing in R22s when I went the Army WOFT route. Two years later, my civilian peers now have 1000+ hours while I have a mere 420+. I'm about to start flying UH-60L/Ms while they are still flying 22s. We all know time time time is the most important thing in the civilian world, with turbine, NVG, etc a distant second. They'll progress faster in a civilian flying career, undoubtedly, and I'll get to fly a unique mission set that doesn't exist in the civilian world. It just comes down to what is more important to you. If you go WOFT, your first year+ will be all training courses that have absolutely nothing to do with flying. It's all part of the package deal. I don't regret a thing.

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Thanks for the insight, Lindsey.

It's exactly the sort of knowledge I was Looking for.

 

I do find flying mil operations appealing. So a definite bonus.

 

Do you feel that your experience in flight training as a civilian gave you any sort of upper hand during the process of becoming a warrant officer?

 

Appreciated.

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No upper hand through any of the non-flying training. Definitely an upper hand in Primary and instruments, but everyone catches up real quick. The military expects a much higher standard than the civilian world to get through flight school. You have 1-2 written tests a week in flight school on all sorts of different subjects, academics every day (like ground school), you're expected to have memorized all limits and emergency procedures verbbatim before you ever touch the aircraft, and your IP will grill you everyday on oral knowledge. There are also daily questions that you have to research and write out, and then during the brief the flight commander will go around the room and have people stand up to give the answers without referencing their notes. When you get to advanced airframe, you will go through weeks of academics just about systems--since we fly these aircraft into combat anything can happen, and our written EPs cannot cover every situation so we have to be able to diagnose the problem from the cockpit and make a decision on what to do just from systems knowledge and aircraft indications. It's a TON of work, but the resources available here at Rucker and the tens of thousands of hours of experience you're surrounded by is rivaled by no other, plus you get to learn some of the most advanced and well-designed helicopters in the world, and you get paid to do it. I don't regret either my decision to go Army Aviation or my decision to get my civilian ratings prior. I think it's made me much more well-rounded and allowed me to have a more unique perspective on both approaches to flight training. They each have their advantages and disadvantages just like anything else. In the end, it's a personal decision.

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And I'll echo what Charyoutree wrote. Don't join the Army to build time. In this climate (military drawdown and budget uncertainty, with very few deployments), once you leave Rucker you'll be lucky to get 150 hours a year.

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