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Army G1 WO Information

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Since I had a few hundred hours of flight time before the military I'd be eligible for the RTP programs the regionals have. Being Guard would have allowed me to jump on that ship the second I heard it was approaching port. Seriously though--if you'd have asked me two years ago my feelings on FW and the airlines, my opinion was a complete 180. Times change, experiences change, industries change, and reality changes. The new reality is that if you want a job where you are more than adequately compensated for your skill set, combined with more than adequate time off (that means time for family/travel), you just can't beat the current situation flying jets. The Army's newest retention program, if you can call it that, just shines a huge spotlight on how little it values its Aviators. That being said, I would absolutely not go back and NOT do it. But being Guard would, in this climate, be the best of both worlds. When I joined, the regionals were still paying $20k a year and QOL was laughable. Well, the airline pilots are laughing now.

This is why I like picking all you veteran aviators minds. Every active warrant has told me essentially the same thing especially if I want to make flying a career. And even some at my unit told me Active Flying isn't what it's cracked out to be anymore which I think sucks for people going in with the expectation of flying a lot. Do you think the bonuses will get better for active if this entire heightened state of War is imminent? As for the entire regional thing yes they're definitely poaching pilots like crazy. I feel I made the best choice for getting the best of both worlds in the guard without a doubt.

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I'm ADSO complete and would be eligible for the bonus if I accepted the AH-64 transition but instead I'm getting out. I'm looking to put down some roots and having some good family time. I also look forward to having the freedom to go anywhere I want during my time off without telling anyone, to not worry about keeping my hair short and my waistline within the standard, and to have more say in where I go and who I work for.

 

It would take a lot bigger bonus to tempt me away from all that.

 

That said, I have nothing to complain about. The Army kept me in a cockpit while I fulfilled my 6 year obligation and for that I'm grateful. The same couldn't be said for the airlines the last time they made budget cuts. I had many friends who went back to work in the shipyard while they awaited the end of their furloughs.

But with the industry today and airlines hurting for pilots don't you think the furloughing is done especially with almost every company in aviation being some type of Union?

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How does the math even work? I'm no business student, but from what I understand it costs about ~1M to train a new pilot. Figure if a pilot is flying ~100 hours a year at ~2K an hour, that is another 600K at the end of a 6 year ADSO, plus god knows how many other schools, invaluable experience, etc. At this point most pilots probably only have another 6-10 years left in them, which even at a substantial bonus ~100K+ per year is less than acquiring brand new pilots.

 

Now I don't expect 100k/year bonuses, but there must be some figure they could put out there that would save them money.

 

Even as a RESERVIST grunt they were offering like 15/3 for sergeants in 2014. And this is the cheap ass USMC.

 

Mike

I think the Army just needs to emulate the Airforce in terms of how they treat pilots and how they are compensated.

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I think the Army just needs to emulate the Airforce in terms of how they treat pilots and how they are compensated.

 

If the Army were to emulate the Air Force, there would not be any Warrants.

 

The bulk of the AF budget goes for aviation and the support of aviation, The Army has 20 or so branches all dipping into the same money pot. The Army already save quite a bit just on the WO base pay, the difference between an O-3 with 4 years TIS and a W2 with the same is substantial in itself.

 

The AF is not immune to these same issues and is already having a pilot shortage, with the transition from flying their fixed wing to the commercial sector being much easier, they are losing pilots at a similar rate if not more, the bonuses they are giving really reflect the extent of the problem.

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If the Army were to emulate the Air Force, there would not be any Warrants.

 

The bulk of the AF budget goes for aviation and the support of aviation, The Army has 20 or so branches all dipping into the same money pot. The Army already save quite a bit just on the WO base pay, the difference between an O-3 with 4 years TIS and a W2 with the same is substantial in itself.

 

The AF is not immune to these same issues and is already having a pilot shortage, with the transition from flying their fixed wing to the commercial sector being much easier, they are losing pilots at a similar rate if not more, the bonuses they are giving really reflect the extent of the problem.

With that being said, there is a reason their pilots are still leaving at a high rate, regardless of how high their bonuses are.

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With that being said, there is a reason their pilots are still leaving at a high rate, regardless of how high their bonuses are.

Exactly. Which shows that the Army needed to at least be in the ballpark with their "retention" figures. Warrants aren't stupid. We all know what the AF dudes got offered.

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Do they though? I presume most AF pilots have an easier transition to civilian flying than army, or at least to lucrative civilian flying, just by virtue of fixed vs rotory wing. Plus the investment for fighter pilots must be insane. I get they are on the lower side of hours, but compare the operating costs to army aircraft. 35K and hour vs 2 for an F35 vs UH-60. I'm sure those bonuses factor all that in... now that said the math still suggests to me that army should be paying more to retain well qualified pilots. It should be cheaper than training new ones even for a substantial bonus.

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With the Rotary to Airline Transition programs the regionals have, it is stupid easy to transition to an incredibly lucrative civilian flying career. More so than ever. Envoy (as an example) is a 15-20 minute HR interview (no technical) for RTP, and with a direct flow to American, that interview can be the ONLY interview you ever do for the rest of your career.

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The Army would be better off fixing the problems in aviation than attempting to bribe warrant officers to stay in.

 

 

This. Warrants weren't necessarily concerned with not getting a bonus.

 

Until a bonus was rumored.

 

And then, when it was revealed, it was revealed to be a slap in the face.

 

It has been asked a few times WHY most of the AD aviators say if they were to do it again, they would go Guard/Reserves. Ill break it down.

 

Whether Active, Guard, or Reserve, minimums are minimums. You'll fly X number of hours every 6 months based on airframe/job position. And they are the SAME minimums for all 3.

 

Because of funding, most pilots, unless you are an IP, deployed, or in Korea, can expect to make their minimums and MAYBE a little extra if they spend a lot of time in the field or NTC/JRTC/etc. There are exceptions. Some pilots will get lucky and fly a ton, and some will be very unlucky and not be able to meet minimums for reasons outside their control. But as a whole, you can expect to make minimums and not much more.

 

But wait, if Active Duty barely flies minimums, and the Guard has to meet the same minimums, how is it possible that part time pilots fly as much as Active Duty pilots!? WHAT ELSE do active duty pilots do to fill all that extra time??

 

See, Guard/Reserve pilots come to drill, they fly, and they go home. And they get to come in at other times to fly, and then go home. If they aren't flying, the longest amount of time they HAVE to sit around is a long weekend. And then they go home. Until its time to fly again.....(Catching the drift?)

 

Active Duty pilots will work 40 hour weeks, as they should, to earn the pay they earn. But in that 40 hour work week (and lets be real, its not 40, its closer to 50-60), how much of that time is dedicated to flying? If you guessed less than 5, you're correct. If you guessed less than 3, you're even more correct. The other 35-37 hours are filled with jobs that have nothing to do with aviation. Additional Duties. SHARP Training. EO Training. Details. 350-1 courses. Organized PT. Change of Command Ceremonies. Org Days. Suicide Prevention training. Inventories.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love being an active duty pilot. But I am also realistic. I had the fortune of going to Korea, and then PCSing to a unit immediately turning around to Afghanistan. I'm getting to do my job every day. I've gotten a decent amount of hours and a lot of experience. But I am not the norm. Most of my peers are barely making minimums. I know that the years between this and my next deployment are going to be dreadful. But I also make a LOT of money for a non-college grad former infantryman. I'm fine with my situation. But I understand why almost everyone else is not.

 

Short version: In the guard, even though it is a part time job, Flying is your primary task and everything else is secondary, and you get to have a predictable schedule and life. In Active Duty, flying is an additional duty and you will spend more time on non-flying jobs than you will with your family or loved ones.

 

 

It was also asked, "How do we fix Army Aviation?"

 

This is too big of a question to answer in the time I'm willing to devote to a forum post, but the simple answer is that we need to stop treating flying as an additional duty. Not just for the morale of the pilots, but for their safety and for the combat effectiveness of our formation. We are only a competent fighting force because of 16 years of deployments. Without that training down range, flying minimums is nowhere near sufficient to develop aviators. The recent rashes of aviation accidents across all 4 branches is evidence enough to me the we are not allocating the time or resources to properly train our pilots. And as morale continues to erode, experienced pilots who should be transferring their knowledge to junior pilots are getting out instead, creating an experience gap that is also dangerous.

 

My evil master plan - transfer 5 or 6 D/E Company soldiers into line companies to cover down on additional duties. They will get treated better than they do in D/E Co, and it is absolutely absurd that Aviation line companies do not have HQ elements to handle training room, supply etc.

 

Part 2 - A realistic flight pay scale that reflects the current job market and skill set, not the same dollar amounts that were introduced in the 90s. Annual bonuses like the air force.

 

Part 3 - Increase home station training hours , double minimums for all air frames and remove emphasis on field training exercises like NTC or JRTC unless spooling up for a deployment. The same training value can be had at training areas using Infantry and Armor units living right next door. Increase predictability for family life and better develop the relationship with Ground/Air units.

 

Part 4 - Remove the "don't get promoted two years in a row and you are out of the Army" silliness. Just because a pilot isn't suited to be a CW3 or CW4 doesn't mean they can't be a good pilot. Some guys just aren't suited for the extra pay and responsibility. They can still shake a stick and kill bad guys. Keep them in.

 

Ok so i did go into my plan anyway. Oh well

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^^Curtis, you have hit the nail squarely on the head in one fell swoop. I agree with 100% of this. A proper retention program is not simply pay--it is a complete lifestyle and emphasis shift AND pay. If you wonder why the AF is still having issues keeping pilots in even with the monstrous bonuses, what Bigfoot outlined is why. But when the QOL is so good outside, you also have to at least meet guys halfway in the pay department.

 

Everyone here is patriotic, that's not the issue at play. The issue is making better choices for family and the individual once you've "done your time" serving. How come no one gives any enlisted guys sh*t for serving one term and getting out at ETS, but Aviators are now being sometimes labeled as "unpatriotic" for simply trying to make the decision to stay in easier? A lot of people want to continue to serve but to do so is financially idiotic at this SPECIFIC time when the airlines are offering the cat's meow.

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^^Curtis, you have hit the nail squarely on the head in one fell swoop. I agree with 100% of this. A proper retention program is not simply pay--it is a complete lifestyle and emphasis shift AND pay. If you wonder why the AF is still having issues keeping pilots in even with the monstrous bonuses, what Bigfoot outlined is why. But when the QOL is so good outside, you also have to at least meet guys halfway in the pay department.

 

Everyone here is patriotic, that's not the issue at play. The issue is making better choices for family and the individual once you've "done your time" serving. How come no one gives any enlisted guys sh*t for serving one term and getting out at ETS, but Aviators are now being sometimes labeled as "unpatriotic" for simply trying to make the decision to stay in easier? A lot of people want to continue to serve but to do so is financially idiotic at this SPECIFIC time when the airlines are offering the cat's meow.

 

I think what the Army is failing to realize is that right now, guys outsider their ADSO, even up to 18 years TIS, are more likely to take an airline gig that stay in for retirement. The money and quality of life is just far superior. Sure, they may miss out on Army retirement. But most are eligible for VA benefits for disability, and the retirement they'll get from the airlines is at least twice what they'd be getting from the army anyway.

 

The bad side of using smart people to fly your helicopters is that they are smart enough to know when they can make more money and be treated better somewhere else.

 

I think you hit the nail on the head about patriotism, and someone at lunch mentioned the same thing. 90% of us would agree that patriotism was a PART of why we signed up for the Army. It played a part. The decision to re-enlist is not necessarily a patriotism decision. People have families, career opportunities, and most people feel their patriotic duty has been served and want to do other things. The decision to spend your entire adult life in the military is not about patriotism, but more about how you want to spend your adult life. If you want to continue to serve your country, that is admirable, but no one should be berated for choosing to do something else after serving their country for 8 years active duty.

 

Also, if a real war broke out and American security was genuinely at risk, I think a lot of people would be more convinced to stick around. For now, the training war isn't really enough to sell people on patriotism.

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Just curious.

 

How long would someone fly with the Regional after completing a program such as Envoy before being able to transition to a major carrier.

How do the salaries compare as a new hire to a major carrier.

 

I only ask because a fellow Aviation Officer who served with my son was also a victim of the OH-58, he looked into this program when he headed back to Rucker for the CCC. He found that the cost of moving to San Diego for training and the substantial pay decrease was not as attractive as he first thought. I would imagine that over some years if one were to progress to a major carrier the pay would in time exceed those concerns, just wondering how long that would take.

 

In the end he stayed, completed the course and is now the Commander for BWS.

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But with the industry today and airlines hurting for pilots don't you think the furloughing is done especially with almost every company in aviation being some type of Union?

 

Don't you think all those pilots entering into the industry before thought the same thing? Just like everything in aviation there are good times and bad times. I hear so much talk of guys giving up their retirements with only a few years to go because "the earning potential is so much better if you leave now." That's recruiter talk, and pretty high risk in my opinion. Yes, it's a great time to go be a regional airline pilot and try and break into the fixed wing gig. But to give up a safety net like your retirement in order to gamble on a big payout on the backside is a pretty ridiculous idea in my opinion.

 

With the Rotary to Airline Transition programs the regionals have, it is stupid easy to transition to an incredibly lucrative civilian flying career. More so than ever. Envoy (as an example) is a 15-20 minute HR interview (no technical) for RTP, and with a direct flow to American, that interview can be the ONLY interview you ever do for the rest of your career.

 

RTPs are great and if the right one came along I would definitely be tempted. But an Army rotary wing pilot with 0 turbojet PIC is simply not competing with an Air Force pilot when it comes to making the jump. A lot of those AF pilots are going straight to the major airlines and skipping the regionals, since they qualify. The ones that don't qualify are not having to make up nearly as much ground. THAT is why (some of them) they have a much bigger bonus. It's going to take you years to close the gap.

 

As for the comments about what will keep warrant officers around in the Army. Most of them are spot on, but I disagree with the points about going to the field and CTC rotations. That's the job and it's necessary to be ready for war. But it would be a lot more palatable if I could train for those rotations as an aviator and soldier instead of worrying all the time about the extra sh*t tacked on.

 

Unfortunately I think what is putting that burden on us is the attempt to keep the Army personnel numbers down. That's where I think the biggest change needs to happen. Allocate enough personnel to man the admin side of things in every unit and allow the war-fighters to focus on fighting, but that costs a ton of money to do.

Edited by SBuzzkill

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Just curious.

 

How long would someone fly with the Regional after completing a program such as Envoy before being able to transition to a major carrier.

How do the salaries compare as a new hire to a major carrier.

 

I only ask because a fellow Aviation Officer who served with my son was also a victim of the OH-58, he looked into this program when he headed back to Rucker for the CCC. He found that the cost of moving to San Diego for training and the substantial pay decrease was not as attractive as he first thought. I would imagine that over some years if one were to progress to a major carrier the pay would in time exceed those concerns, just wondering how long that would take.

 

In the end he stayed, completed the course and is now the Commander for BWS.

 

 

Envoy/PSAs promotional materials will better explain it all, but essentially, your friend was right. And he was also wrong.

 

You will take an initial pay cut. You will slave to make hours for 6 months to a year, and then work for very little money for a bit. But within a year or so of getting your ATP, you will be making about what you were making in the Army, if not more. I think 3 years or so was the timeframe i recall for moving up to American.

 

Its a formula. You will make less initially. It will be hard, very similar to the Army in terms of being away from family, working for little pay and reward. The difference is, after several years doing the dirty work at envoy, you'll be rewarded with a career that is guaranteed to end up in the six digit area. In the Army, your reward is the privilege of quitting that job and keeping half your salary as a pension. Retire from the airlines, and you will be set for life.

 

So, if you're willing to suck it up for a little bit, you'll end up in a much better situation. Whereas in the Army, you're going to suck it up anyway, and you'll end up in pretty much the same situation. For guys on the fence, the opportunity is extremely hard to pass up .I think a lot of guys don't realize how difficult it will be initially, but most do, and have weighed the reward to be worth the hassle

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As for the comments about what will keep warrant officers around in the Army. Most of them are spot on, but I disagree with the points about going to the field and CTC rotations. That's the job and it's necessary to be ready for war. But it would be a lot more palatable if I could train for those rotations as an aviator and soldier instead of worrying all the time about the extra sh*t tacked on. Unfortunately I think what is putting that burden on us is the attempt to keep the Army personnel numbers down. That's where I think the biggest change needs to happen. Allocate enough personnel to man the admin side of things in every unit and allow the war-fighters to focus on fighting.

 

 

So, just to be clear, I am not arguing against the field and CTC rotations. However, the frequency of them is totally unnecessary. 90% of the training done at those rotations can be done at a home station, if the time at home station was devoted to training instead of maintaining 350-1 currency. CTC rotations have their place, and that place is certifying units to be ready for war. Home station training should be preparation for CTC, which should be preparation for war. Our BN is scheduled for 3 CTC rotations in FY18, immediately after a combat rotation. It's a bit much.

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Unfortunately I think what is putting that burden on us is the attempt to keep the Army personnel numbers down. That's where I think the biggest change needs to happen. Allocate enough personnel to man the admin side of things in every unit and allow the war-fighters to focus on fighting, but that costs a ton of money to do.

 

 

I would very much agree with this. We're burning the candle on both ends. Our leaders have become so accustomed to the success of SOF, they think you can still do everything with very little personnel, but they seem to miss the enormous price tag that comes with SOF units.

 

Either pump massive amounts of money to fund and train a small force extremely well, or fun and train a much larger force. But were trying to minimally fund a train a small force and expect it to do the job of a much larger force. The math just doesn't work.

 

Fund the warfighter and send him to war. Or don't send him to war.

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Yeah I totally agree with you, I apologize for misinterpreting what you said.

 

Frequency wise I think they're having to triple tap you guys in order to keep aviation support since there are far more ground brigades than aviation. There just aren't enough aviation units to keep a good rotation up while also deploying/dwelling/rotating to other countries. Short of standing up new units and buying more aircraft I'm not sure how you could solve that.

Edited by SBuzzkill

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Yeah I totally agree with you, I apologize for misinterpreting what you said.

 

Frequency wise I think they're having to triple tap you guys in order to keep aviation support since there are far more ground brigades than aviation. We saw that with our Chinook company having to send birds to almost every JRTC rotation one year. There just wasn't enough aviation units to keep a good rotation up while also deploying/dwelling/rotating to other countries. Short of standing up new units and buying more aircraft I'm not sure how you could solve that.

 

 

You're absolutely right, and I know how much the CH community has suffered as a result of ground units being desperate to train. We all want to train and be better at our jobs, but like you said, we bear the brunt. That infantry brigade my go to CTC once a year, but their build up to that event is literally the only training they will do for that year. I spent 90% of my time as a grunt doing nothing at all. We either need more pilots, more aircraft, or more realistically, ground units that aren't on the patch chart just need to chill on the CTC rotations. Most of what a ground unit does at CTC can be done at home station, commanders just like to go to CTCs because it looks good on OERs and requires minimal planning from their staff. We could do CTC style training at home station, but it would require a lot of work from staff officers who are busy making red blocks on powerpoint turn green

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So, if you're willing to suck it up for a little bit, you'll end up in a much better situation. Whereas in the Army, you're going to suck it up anyway, and you'll end up in pretty much the same situation. For guys on the fence, the opportunity is extremely hard to pass up .I think a lot of guys don't realize how difficult it will be initially, but most do, and have weighed the reward to be worth the hassle

 

Makes sense over the long haul, but I can also understand those that are wary of losing the 90 to 95K per year to make a jump. As always you have to look at the pot of gold and realize that it's at the End of the rainbow, not the beginning.

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With most regionals, the pay cut is not as severe as some seem to think. I can get into the math later, but especially if you don't have a degree yet you can leverage your GI Bill and make some BAH to offset some of that initial cut.

 

And with several regionals now having Captain upgrades at 1000 hrs 121 time (so a flight hour requirement instead of only based on seniority) you can make six figures in one year to 18 months.

 

And if you pick PSA which has SAP (a form of scheduling), you can craft your schedule to never miss another birthday or holiday again. And craft your schedule so you have most of your days off all in a row (nicknamed a "SAPcation").

 

The information is out there. There is a risk, yes (another 9/11 event). But the risk isn't as severe as a lot of people who haven't done a ton of research think it is.

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Plus, look at the pay scales. You'll be making more than what you do now in about 5 years. With a pay scale that goes up to $30K+ per MONTH after a couple decades. That will more than offset any initial pay cut. Don't let fear of change rob you of your options.

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Edit: Just to keep from underplaying how totally f*cking stoked I am that there are all these opportunities, I figured I'd delete my previous post. I am on pins and needles right now waiting to get out of the Army and pursue a path to keep flying professionally. And I will say that this is the best time I have ever seen for someone ready and wanting to go to the airlines. Just be cautious.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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Just be cautious.

Absolutely. Never make any decision blindly and never follow a herd without doing your own research. This is the 21st century--Almighty Google and forums are your friend. The information is out there.

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