Aviation Help

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by wp_classof2023, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. wp_classof2023

    wp_classof2023 USAFA2023_X

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    I'm honored and truly blessed to be in the current "dilemma" that I am in. Last week I got into Naval Academy Prep. I also got into USMA and now I've also received an appointment to USAFA. I love all three academies and am most in love with USAFA and USMA. I want to pursue a career in aviation. I'm having trouble finding lots of stats for USMA in regards to aviation. Does USMA offer any fixed-wing aviation? What are the chances of being able to receive a fixed-wing slot after graduation? Can anyone offer some advice that might help guide my decision? It is a decision entirely up to me to make but I'm not sure what school to go with. Any help/words of wisdom would be highly appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    The majority of Army Aviation is rotary. (However, there are plans for a Osprey-like aircraft in the future called the V-280 Valor)*

    If your heart is firmly set on fixed wing, focus on USAFA, or USNA. Then choose the branch that offers the most attractive secondary career if for some reason you don't receive an aviation slot.

    *https://www.bellflight.com/military/bell-v-280
     
  3. cptenca

    cptenca Member

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    There are approximately 100 slots each year at USMA for aviation. The majority of those will be rotary. You have seen the competition just to get into USMA, now you need to be one of the 100 out of a class of 1,000. With BRADSO, etc., aviation may be doable down to a class rank of mid 400s. I would not go to USMA with the expectation of aviation. YMMV
     
  4. Overwhelmed

    Overwhelmed Member

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    Would the odds be better through AROTC?
     
  5. HuskyPilot

    HuskyPilot Member

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    Generally speaking, if you want to carry a rifle, join the army. If you want to ride a big boat, join the navy. If you want to fly, join the AF. Again, generally speaking.
     
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  6. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    Not really - the US Army has small number of transport and reconnaissance fixed wing aircraft, with rotary comprising the majority of the inventory and primary focus of Army aviation - https://www.goarmy.com/about/army-vehicles-and-equipment/army-helicopters-and-uavs.html. As such, there are a relatively small number of fixed wing slots to allocate each year.

    +1 @AROTC-dad - please look at the missions and secondary options for each of the services. An aviation slot is not a sure thing for any of the services, so consider which branch provides the best secondary career path for you.
     
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  7. Humey

    Humey Member

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    From what I read, as an Army officer, you dont have much of a career flying. You fly for about 2 years and then fly a desk and lead. Many of the people flying helicopters in the Army are warrant officers. So if you want to fly for a long duration, then Air Force is the way to go. Going to an academy obligates you to 5 years of service. Being a pilot in the AF means you have to serve for 10 years after you get your wings. In other words, the time you spend prior to training and during training do not count towards those ten years.
     
  8. OldRetSWO

    OldRetSWO USNA 78/parent 11/BGO for >25yrs 5-Year Member

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    Generally, the vast majority of USNA grads who want to go aviation AND who are physically qualified are able to service select aviation. Although there are exceptions, the number accepted is not constrained so people up and down the order of merit are able to get into aviation.
     
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  9. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    As pointed out, the Army primarily flies helicopters and, as flight school is currently set up that is what you will initially train to fly if selected for aviation.
    Aviation branch is normally selective but how selective varies from year to year. Lately Aviation branch has been short pilots due to airlines siphoning them off. Right now some airlines are actually paying rotary wing pilots to get their fixed wing ratings. This has led to more lieutenants being picked up. But understand that the “truth” changes. I got picked up for Aviation (ROTC), at the tail end of the Regan era when it was assumed we would need a large number of pilots as fodder when the Soviets came through Fulda Gap. Five years later flight school classes where half the size.
    Flight time. It’s unfortunate but Aviation is the one branch which does not expect its officers to be technically proficient. You will probably keep flying through company Command with some breaks, but after that it drops off. I actually went to the Guard as a CW2 after pinning on major active duty as I realized my flying days were probably over. But some of that depends on decisions YOU make and your timing. General Cody (then colonel Cody), was my regimental commander and he was a firm believer not just in commissioned officers flying but in being good pilots.
    As for going Air Force if you want to fly, it again varies my year. I think some years there aren’t enough pilot slots for the graduates.
    Finally, I know several USMA Cadets who have cross commissioned to the Air Force, and I know several Army pilots who Inter-Service transfered to the Coast Guard after their Army ADSO.
    Sorry long winded and meandering. Feel free to PM me.
     
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  10. MidwestDad

    MidwestDad Member

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    Airmanship opportunities at USAFA abound while a cadet. Fly gliders and small single engine prop planes during free time. Fixed wing slots at Army are like winning the lottery. Have you visited USAFA? If not try to.
     
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  11. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    So, #3 got into USAFA and USMA. When it came to making a decision the guidance was, "If you want to fly, go to USAFA" (they usually under-recruit for the number of pilot slots available--the Air Force also has a retention problem w/ pilots--but not worth discussing here.) We also said, "Presidents and senators and leaders go to USMA. You decide." He did a lot of soul searching--he looked at the USAFA and USMA pages for what he wanted to study, he reviewed what he knows about the different services and thought about what he wants to do with his career and life--how he wants to lead and where he wants to live and how he wants to spend his days. He picked USMA--for a variety of reasons: Major, career options, leadership training. He is not ranked high enough in the class to get Aviation--unless a miracle happens. However, it was a choice and with all choices come risk and possibility.
    If you want to fly, go to USAFA. It is your best bet.
     
  12. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    This.
    You can have a successful “flying” career as a commissioned officer in the Army but it takes luck and determination.
    Your time as an Army Cadet, be it ROTC or West Point will concentrate on small unit leadership with some flying opportunities available if you pursue them. USAFA it’s flipped around. Same with your service. As a new Army Aviatiom Lieutenant you could well find yourself in charge of a 50 soldiers in a III/V platoon (not sure of their exact size today) while only flying a few hours each month.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
  13. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    Or do the best (worst?) of both worlds and go Marine Air...
     
  14. UHBlackhawk

    UHBlackhawk Member

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    Yeah, talking my nephew in the F/A-18 the Marines are also doing the “only fly a few hours a month” routine as well.
     
  15. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    Airframe dependent. Hornets have been hurting recently, where we have 50+ pilots who are all flying 2-3 times a week.
     
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  16. Swimmer95

    Swimmer95 New Member

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    The captain of the swim team when I was a plebe at USMA cross branched to AF upon graduation. Believe he started with an F-16 slot for a maintenance unit testing repaired planes before working to regular commands.
     
  17. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    Did you ask the same question on the USAFA forum? I suggest it.
     
  18. mom3boys

    mom3boys 10-Year Member

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    My 2012 transitioned to fixed wing as a captain. This was necessary as he was originally a kiowa pilot and the kiowa was retired. Your rank in your flight school class and the needs of the army will dictate what you fly.
     
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