Army Aviation

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by mforesta, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. mforesta

    mforesta Member

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    I was thinking of going for Aviation at the academy but I hear officers don't get much flight time and the warrant officers do all the flying, is this true?
     
  2. sarah.carroll17

    sarah.carroll17 USMA 2015 Appointee

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    plain and simple...yes.
     
  3. abeastlybeast

    abeastlybeast USMA Class of 2015

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    What do officers that branch aviation usually do?
     
  4. condor17

    condor17 Class of 2015

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    mostly the same as any other branch...staff/command positions
     
  5. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    If the only reason you want to attend the academy is to fly, don't bother. Yes, you can be a great pilot and be a great Army officer.

    However, the academy is about producing leaders, and some of those leaders do fly.
     
  6. jake s

    jake s USMA Cadet

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    Hopefully scoutpilot will be along shortly to provide some insight.
     
  7. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Junior officers fly. The more senior ones don't. Why are they going to spend two years in Ft. Rucker learning to fly if they are not planning to have them fly?
     
  8. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    you might be little young to be that cynical :eek:

    What do officers do? Either spend time with soldiers or don't spend time with soldiers. Typically, 2LT, 1LT, and junior CPTs assingments are BDE or below, which as platoon leader, company XO, Company Commander, BN/BDE staff, and etc that still allows you to have varying degree of interaction with soldiers. You get sucked into units above reality - probably spend more time on computer than anyting else :thumbdown:
     
  9. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Let's try to leave the "plain and simple" declarations to the folks who know, if that's ok with everyone.

    Plain and simple...it depends.

    Army aviation is different from other military aviation branches in that all commissioned aviators will hold command positions. Your job will never be to "just fly." You will be a platoon leader, company commander, and possibly even get a second command if you're good.

    You will lead your soldiers and officers, manage the maintenance workflow of your aircraft (more on that if folks are curious), create and implement an aircrew training program, execute the commander's flying hour program, and train your platoon or company on your mission-essential tasks for wartime. Oh, and you'll be expected to be as competent as your best warrant officer in the cockpit, if not more so.

    Will some warrant officers fly more than you will? Yes. Instructor pilots and maintenance test pilots will for sure. They outfly all the other warrant officers. But everyone must meet their semi-annual minimums. You can't just be put on a shelf. As a PL, you'll fly quite a lot, especially if you're deployed. Heck, I still logged 3-4 flights a week after I moved up to being a Battle Captain. I flew enough hours as a PL to meet the senior aviator badge requirements (just waiting on time, now).

    So, the idea that warrants do all the flying and you will not is an outright myth, mostly perpetuated by well-meaning but clueless non-aviators. There will be times when you don't fly. But there will also be times when the thought of another hour in the cockpit makes you sick.

    Aviation is a very rewarding field, especially in the Army. You will have a chance to fly with the best helicopter crews on the planet. You will have the opportunity to lead outstanding Soldiers. You will have the chance to be part of the "close fight" in a way that many others will never experience. And they pay you extra to do it.

    Why branch anything else? Remember, kids...any dummy can carry a rucksack and a rifle. There's no entrance exam for the infantry. :wink:
     
  10. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    As always, if anyone has any general questions about Army Aviation, fire away.
     
  11. cds4wp15

    cds4wp15 Member

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    How competitive are the aviation slots at West Point?
     
  12. usnajosh

    usnajosh Member

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    Do cadets have access to prk surgery at West Point like cadets and midshipmen at USAFA and USNA?
     
  13. armyman736

    armyman736 Member

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    Hey scoutpilot, I have been wanting to fly helicopters in the Army since I was in grade school and I still want to fulfill this dream of mine. So what I have gathered from your previous comment is that officers in the aviation branch will do part flying and part commanding the aviation part of the military base?
     
  14. Jayhawk2325

    Jayhawk2325 Jayhawk2325

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    How is a platoon organized in aviation? What are the daily activities that a PL might do?
     
  15. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Yes. You gather correctly.

    Generally, a platoon consists of 4 or 5 aircraft, with about a dozen warrant officers, 5 or 6 crew chiefs and a platoon sergeant.

    The daily activities of an aviation PL are varied. You'll participate in PT, attend the production control meeting, make flight schedules, plan training, execute training, fly, study, deal with soldier issues, etc. and so forth. In short, every day is different and your activities will reflect the breadth of your duties.

    Cadets do have access to surgery.

    Aviation typically goes out in the top 2/3 of the class.
     
  16. armyman736

    armyman736 Member

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    Thank you for your answer. I have a few more questions if you wouldn't mind:

    1. Is there a height minimum/maximum to become a helicopter pilot?

    2. What does your vision have to be?

    3. How much more flying time/action does a warrant officer get over a regular officer?

    4. When a regular officer flies, does he/she go on combat missions or more of a scouting/test flight?
    Thank you for your time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  17. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    1. Essentially, yes. But it's a case-by-case thing. I've never seen the policy set forth by the Commander of USAAMC, but AR 611-110 states that "Besides meeting prescribed height and weight standards (AR 600–9), all applicants must have anthropometric measurements performed according to policy established by CDR, USAAMC." Realistically speaking, I've never seen anyone denied for height. If there is a question, they usually stick you in a cockpit to see if you can perform duties adequately. The real concern is not so much height, but wingspan and leg dexterity, i.e. can you reach all the switches and fully articulate the pedals. I know a female aviator who is 5'1" and a male aviator who is 6'7" tall...so if you fall within those boundaries, I wouldn't worry. If you're huge, though, you may not be able to fly a 58D and if you're tiny you may not be able to fly a 47D/F.

    2. 20/50 distant visual or better, fully correctable to 20/20 AND 20/20 uncorrected near visual acuity. Those vision standards must be maintained until you begin flight training, per AR 611-110. I won't get into the deeper stuff about astigmatism and such, but it's all in AR 40-501 under that Class 1A Vision section.

    3. See my earlier post. It all depends. As a platoon leader and company commander, you will fly more than some warrants. As an assistant S-3, you'll likely fly less.

    Here's the thing to remember, though...everyone gets so wrapped up about flight time as though it's all that matters in aviation. It's not. But beyond that, your time at a desk comes in every branch. Infantry captains are not all leading men over the hill, nor is every Armor officer on a tank every day. Being out of the cockpit isn't fun, but stepping into a staff role and away from the minute-to-minute action is something that happens in every branch.

    4. When an officer flies he usually serves as the air mission commander. He's commanding the flight and the fight the same way an infantry PL would command the actions of his platoon on the ground.

    Aviation is a maneuver element...the most mobile and lethal maneuver element the Army possesses. One team or platoon of aircraft can provide timely and accurate reconnaissance and gun/rocket/missile fires over an entire battlespace...literally thousands of sq km. No ground element can match that kind of speed and freedom to see and influence the fight. As such, aviation elements require smart and capable leadership. As the platoon leader, that's exactly what you'll do. If you're in a 58D or 64D, you'll be in the copilot seat of the trail aircraft, talking to everybody and their brother about what's going on, commanding the flight, and acting as the gunner for your aircraft. There's a lot going on in your ears and in your seat, and you'll be working hard to keep up.

    Many of you are interested in aviation, and I love to see that. But I should take the opportunity to remind you that it's not a sunday drive. It's not all flightsuits and aviator sunglasses and hollywood callsigns and motorcycle rides to a Kenny Loggins soundtrack (Top Gun reference...anyone? Bueller?)

    Folks both in the Army and outside the Army get the idea that being a helicopter pilot is all glamour. It isn't. It's a demanding job whether you're in garrison or in the sky over Iraq/Afghanistan. I don't know many infantrymen who show up for work on a Friday morning to have a CW4 hand them a 3-page test with 100%-or-fail standard which requires verbatim answers. If they do, I'll eat crow.

    Aviation is not a job for the weak or spastic. About the time that rounds are punching holes in the skin of the aircraft, and your infantry brethren on the ground who are taking accurate and sustained belt-fed fire from an unseen location are really asking you to do them a solid and find/finish the bastard, and your copilot has lost sight of the other aircraft, and there's a young man on the ground badly in need of a MEDEVAC, and the TOC is trying to drop mortars through your flightpath in support, and you're low on fuel...and every last bit of that information is being piped into your ears over 4 radio nets when you hear the voice of one of your best warrant officers in the lead ship break through the din and ask, in a calm but obviously concerned way, "What are we doing, one-six?"....that's when you have rub that little black bar on your chest and be not just another aviator, but an aviation officer.

    Leadership is what being an Army officer is about. It happens on the ground. It happens in the air. What matters is that it happens.
     
  18. armyman736

    armyman736 Member

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    So from what I've read, commissioned officers won't "pilot" the helicopter and will be on the co-pilot seat and tell all of the warrant officers what to do?
     
  19. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    No, you're oversimplifying. Officers will get their chance to fly the machine. If you do well and study hard, you will have a chance at attaining pilot-in-command status. The time you take off with a junior crewmember on your first PC flight is when the learning curve goes nearly vertical.
     
  20. armyman736

    armyman736 Member

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    Thank you for your answers.
     

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