Jets and Helos

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by craiyan2, May 18, 2016.

  1. craiyan2

    craiyan2 Member

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    Hi-
    I'm looking into prospective careers in the navy. It is my hope that I become an aviator in the navy, or a pilot in the airforce. I was wondering if there was enough job mobility in the navy to transition from being a fighter pilot to a helicopter pilot.

    The reason I am asking is because I'm interested in learning to pilot everything I can before I retire. While first priority is always defending this country, and I'll take any job I can get, I want to use the navy's intensive training to learn multiple things. Hopefully this post doesn't sound cocky, and I don't mean to take the expensive training paid for by taxpayers for granted. I kind of just want the best of both worlds:)
     
  2. craiyan2

    craiyan2 Member

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    Also I realize I have a lot of questions about military careers, which is probably not fitting for a forum about USNA. Does anybody know a forum where I can ask questions to Officers or those currently enlisted?
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Try right around the virtual corner on here:
    General Discussion>Life After the Academy.

    Read the official recruiting website pages about officer communities in the various services. I googled "Navy Officer career paths," and the first entry was the official Navy one.

    Browse, browse, browse SAF.

    And with regard to jets and helos, I would say generally, no. "Needs of the service" rule. Many steps ahead, of course, to make pilot in any military service, but you would be an asset that gets invested in, and then applied to where you can contribute to mission accomplishment. I will let others more current on today's aviation policies comment - that would also be 6-7 years from now for you (SWAG), so much can change.

    It's good to have career goals and aspirations and ask questions, and I always recommend reading primary sources on Service websites first.

    Best advice is to be open to everything and be flexible enough to adjust goals and dreams as you go. You will get many briefs along the way, and opportunities to talk with officers in various communities and see operations up close.

    And, if you do end up a jet pilot, whether you do a full 20+ year career or get out after your initial obligation or some other point (no way you know this now), you can always take lessons and qualify in other civilian air frames, even at edge-of-grave-teetering ages 30+ years from now.
     
  4. pknguyen44

    pknguyen44 USNA '13, NAPS '09

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    There are cases of very FEW pilots who transition to other platforms after they are fully qualified in one platform. Needs of the service triumphs everything in this matter, biggest consideration is if the community you're trying to transfer out of is willing to let you go and if the gaining community is willing to take you. It is possible to learn to pilot other platforms at the Test Pilot School, but figure out how to cross that bridge when you get there
     
  5. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Chances are extremely low to make a transition from jets to helos or helos to jets. The only folks I know who have flew a platform that retired. As mentioned Test Pilot School is the way to go if you are interested in flying as many airframes as possible.
     
  6. Trigger

    Trigger Member

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    I agree chances are slim to change platforms while on active duty, but transitioning from helos to fixed wing is actually very common as pilots transition to a reserve component. Many, many helo pilots have gone back to flight instruct as primary flight training instructors in a fixed wing turbo-prop (T-34/T-6A) after their initial sea tours. From there they have gone into the reserves as either full time support (FTS) or as a selected reservist (SELRES) and gone on to fly C-12s, C-9s, C-40s etc in their reserve careers. I have never heard of a jet to helicopter transition.
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Good points above. The situations are usually very specific.

    Jets to P-3 to other fixed wing: we had a USNA sponsor mid grad who got a hernia right near the end of jet training, was headed to Hornets, got DQ'ed from jets (could not wear g-suit) due to location and severity of hernia, even though surgically repaired. Went to P-3. Eventually left active duty to go to FTS (full-time support Reservists) and got re-trained in other fixed-wing airframes. The needs of the Navy definitely ruled here; they made optimal use of a top-performing officer with pilot skills who was no longer viable in jets. He is a happy Navy pilot today. He plans a few years in FTS getting hours, then may consider going completely Reserve and flying for the airlines. My husband and I secretly predict he will be in the running for FTS squadron command and will stay.

    Moral of this story: Needs of the Navy drove all outcomes.
     

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