Helicopter Pilots License-USNA

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Burback51, May 8, 2017.

  1. Burback51

    Burback51 New Member

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    My whole life I have wanted to be in the Marine Corp. I found out years ago (I just turned 15) that the way I wanted to accomplish this was the USNA. More specifically, I want to be a Helicopter Pilot. Lately I have been doing a lot of research about if having your license before you apply to an academy (specifically the USNA), but it's all about if you a plane private license, not a helicopter one. So I was wondering if any of you had an idea of having a helicopter pilots license would help me.
    PS. I know you have to be 16, I'm just getting myself ready.
    Thank you!
     
  2. AROTC-dad

    AROTC-dad Moderator 5-Year Member

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    Congratulations on your desire to serve your country.

    There are some important questions to be answered:
    1. What is more important to you? Being a Marine or a Marine officer?
    2. What is more important to you? Being a helicopter pilot or a Marine officer?
    3. What is more important to you? Attending USNA or being a Marine officer?
    4. What is more important to you? Being a helicopter pilot or a Marine?
    The reason I ask these things is that if you attend USNA, there is no guarantee that you will 1. become a Marine officer (You might end up in the Navy) and become a helicopter pilot.

    NROTC/Marine Option could give you a greater assurance of become a Marine officer, but still no guarantee of helos.

    If all you want to do is fly helicopters and you don't care about becoming a regular officer, your BEST chance to become a military helicopter pilot is pursue the Army Warrant Officer Flight Program (WOFT).
    (Marine helicopter pilots must be regular officers. Army helicopter pilots can be either officers or WO's. Army WO's fly more than regular officers.
    Link to this program: http://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-j.../warrant-officer/flight-warrant-officers.html

    Also, the Army has MANY more helicopters than the other branches.

    You CAN become a Marine helocopter pilot through USNA. It just involves more possibilities of being diverted into the Navy or non-flying Marine assignments.

    Good luck!
     
  3. FMHS-79

    FMHS-79 Parent

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    You would probably be looking, at minimum, a $12k-$15k cost to obtain private rotorcraft pilots license. Not saying that getting the license would not make a difference, but there are a number of factors that would make more of a direct difference in your chance of getting an appointment - academics: competitive ACT/SAT scores, high class rank, challenging course schedule - leadership: the more meaningful experience, the better (think quality, not quantity) - and athletics: both participation in team sports and ability to score well on the CFA.

    If you love flying and can afford the costs, by all means take the lessons and work toward getting the license. But, I would not view a private rotorcraft pilots license as the golden ticket to a USNA appointment.
     
  4. Knight990

    Knight990 Member

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    From what I have learned, having a ppl (private pilots license) is pretty good for applying to an academy. It shows academic achievement outside of school, and the fact that you have enough discipline and common sense to fly a plane. That being said, once you are in, it helps you very little in actually branching aviation, especially because that is one of the most popular choices. If you are however into aerospace, I would highly suggest looking into it, because it is a great experience. Bear in mind however, that getting your ppl is exceptionally expensive, and earning your rotary (helicopter) rating is 5 times as expensive. If you have the money, I would highly suggest it. One last thing; you actually have to be 17 to get your ppl.
     
  5. pleber16

    pleber16 USNA 2016 5-Year Member

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    Speaking for USNA only, it does help. At least Navy side. A few years ago the senior aviators on the yard came up with an Aviation Order of Merit (AOOM) to assist in selecting mids for spots in aviation. While having your ppl isn't a guarantee (nothing is), it does give a decent bump in the selection process.

    Marine Corps side, it's played out a little differently. But most of what I've seen recently is that if you want to go Marine Air, as long as you get picked up for Marine Corps, the air contract (out of USNA) isn't an issue.
     
  6. Knight990

    Knight990 Member

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    My apologizes. I forgot to mention, that I was speaking from a USMA point of view. I had heard from many cadets that it does not help very much once you are in.
     
  7. fnatic fanatic

    fnatic fanatic Member

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    I will tell you this, knowledge being relayed from a former marine aviator who flew helicopters - if you do decide to go Marine Corps air (and are competitive enough to be selected for it), once you go through navy flight school in Pensacola, the vast majority of students (who do not know yet what pipeline they will be assigned to) are assigned to helicopters and move on to that pipeline of training. I'm talking 80% of those.

    This isn't even something to be worried about until after you would graduate from the academy / ocs / marine option nrotc, and then attend flight school, but as far as the jet/helicopter pipeline goes, if you do get into flight school getting helicopters should be no problem. Assignments to pipelines are made based on class rank and the top ones typically choose jets, leaving the bottom ones in the class for helicopters. If you did better in the class you could still chose helicopters as well as your primary pipeline.

    But again, at 15 years old, this information isn't really your priority yet. Focus on getting into a commissioning program.

    Private pilots licenses are good, but are not some guarantee that you will get into any program. In fact I would say there are many other things that could influence admissions more than a private pilots license on admission, such as varsity sports, overall academic record (transcript), and sat/act test scores.

    Admissions does not care about what midshipmen desire to do after they graduate. Navy air, marine air, marine ground, navy submarines, they don't care. Their admissions are blind to that.
     
  8. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Kudos for initiative, and I applaud your desire to be a USMC helo pilot, but certainly no need to go out and get a pilots' license. I don't think it makes you more competitive than any other candidate (there are plenty of successful candidates who have never flown), and it doesn't really give you a leg up once you get into flight training. In fact, most IP's would say they would rather have a complete newbie than someone who has bad habits or thinks he knows it all.

    That being said..there are intangible benefits. It does demonstrate goal setting and achievement, and might help distinguish you from other candidates in the application process. Further, as someone pointed out above, it might give you a leg up on getting Aviation selection, but not sure if that is all that important. FInally, a benefit that I experienced (I had a PPL at 17) was the ability to be comfortable in the air and treat the airplane as weapons platform rather than a thrill ride early in training while others were still getting adjusted to being in the air. If that is objective, its probably not necessary to get a helo rating, but simply a basic PPL.
     
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  9. parent

    parent BGO 5-Year Member

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    Save your money! No reason. If you are chosen for USMC pilot. They will train you. Kudos on the ambition. But use the money to get your ACT scores as high as you can and become the best canidate you can. First order of business is to get accepted at USNA. Just MO.
     
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  10. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    As a Marine helicopter pilot, do not get your pilots license before attending flight school
     
  11. VTMIDN

    VTMIDN Member

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    I have my pilots license, and it gives you a lot input on flying and will help you later down the road if you still wanna be a pilot. I learned so much from flying. I learned how to think on my feet, and how to scan a situation much better. Best of all I learned about the physics of flying and if it were not for my pilots license I don't think i would have done very well in my engineering course. I had to build a drone in my last semester engineering course.
     
  12. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

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    It won't make any difference, other than to let you know if you enjoy flying rotary crafts.
     
  13. 5Day

    5Day Member

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    The USNA application "check box" is private pilot. It is asking for the type of pilot certificate you have, not the class or type.
    "Private Pilot" is the certificate. There are 6 types of certificates. Student, Sport, Recreational, Private, Commercial, Flight Instructor and Airline Transport Pilot.
    You can have a "Private Pilot" license for different categories of aircraft. Different categories would be Airplane, Rotorcraft, Glider, Lighter than Air, etc. Within each category there are different ratings Airplane would be Single Engine Land (typical starting point), Single Engine Sea, Multi Engine Land, and Multi Engine Sea. Rotorcraft ratings are Helicopter and Gyro Craft. And then for each rating there are additional endorsements and ratings. You can be qualified for multiple categories, ratings and endorsements, depending on training, testing and of course money.

    Start saving your money. Helicopters rent for $400-$600 per hour. The minimum flight time for a private pilot license is 40 hours, but typically 50-60 hours are required. Do the math, $16,000 to $36,000!! Significantly more than a SEL Certificate which would be $5,000 to $10,000. If you really want to be a private pilot, do it in an airplane then add helicopter training as funds are available. Or even better let the Navy train you and you will get paid.
     
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