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HelicopterOff Topics › full scale flying / career choice, need help
01-11-2011 05:23 PM  7 years agoPost 1
Wingman77

rrProfessor

Pulaski Tennessee

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Hi, I have always loved flying and really would like to make a career out of it but I don't have a lot of info and I don't know what I need to do to make it happen. I know there are several pilots here on rr so I thought it would be an excellent place to ask this question.

Currently I am 18 and in school for mechanical engineering, my Dad is a mechanical engineer and as much as I have tried to avoid it I have always known I was going to end up in school for it. I am fairly good at math and my gpa is currently 3.75 but I don't enjoy it, also I got a summer job this past year working as an electrician/plumber, I worked for a company that had contracts for work with lots of factories and I got to travel to several factories and see what it is like and get a taste of what engineering was like and quite honestly it scared me. I don't want to end up like that.

So anyway I was thinking the best thing for me to do is stay in college for a few more years, finish engineering school and then go in to the military as an officer and start flight training... I don't know if this is my best choice or even if it is what branch I should go into or exactly how I would do it. I know many people here are very experienced in this area and I would greatly appreciate some input.

thanks,
Carl

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01-11-2011 05:56 PM  7 years agoPost 2
#55

rrVeteran

Red Bluff, CA

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....

Check!

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01-11-2011 06:01 PM  7 years agoPost 3
scotter

rrApprentice

Winston-Salem, NC

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Change majors!

Carl, this is just my opinion, and it's free so you get what you pay for, but....
if I was you I'd seriously consider changing majors now. If you're not sure how to proceed maybe a better option would be take some time off school to "find yourself", or to put it better, explore what you're interested in.
I am a mechanical engineer, and while I cannot claim to always love my job, I do believe being an engineer is more or less what suits me.

Another point I want you to consider though is that the next several years of engineering school are going to be VERY challenging, especially if you're motivation is not there. I'll assume that, being 18, you're just a freshman. You likely haven't even begun to get a taste of the amount of homework and level of challenges you will face to get that degree. At least for me, getting an engineering degree was one part smarts, and 4 parts perseverance. You will have insane amounts of homework at times, new concepts to grasp, multiple priorities to juggle, etc. Getting that degree was what kept me going.

If I had not been motivated I don't know how I would've done it.
Consider talking to your father and telling him how you feel, what your anxieties are. If he loves you he will be willing to listen, and can perhaps offer some advice or insight.

I am also a private pilot, and two of my family members are in military aviation, so I will speak to this briefly. The aviation field is a tough (if exciting) career choice. The military is arguably the best ride, but comes with its own baggage. Most career aviators in the private/commercial sector will encourage folks like you to pursue your dreams, but definitely have a fall-back plan in terms of a degree that you can use to gain employment if the aviation field isn't working for you.

I am 41 years old, and it is my observation that motivation can go an awfully long way for people. If you're motivated you can accomplish great things. In my opinion, proceeding on a path that you aren't motivated to follow will just end up in frustration and heartbreak later. You're young. Explore your options, whether it be in college or trying different jobs. Nobody says you have to be on a career track tomorrow. I did not go to college right away, but instead chose to move out of my parents' house, work for a few years, then went back to college and graduated with my engineering degree when I was 27. I truly think I am happier (and more successful) as a result.

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01-11-2011 09:12 PM  7 years agoPost 4
Wingman77

rrProfessor

Pulaski Tennessee

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well, I talked to James and he recommended that I sign up in the army now and head for the warrant officer program, he says that is what he did and it is the fastest and most direct way into the pilots seat, also it seems to be good money and I would have good opportunities as a civilian pilot later in life. the idea of not going to college here worries me but this sounds like an excellent path.

again, input appreciated.
Carl

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01-12-2011 12:15 AM  7 years agoPost 5
SSN Pru

rrElite Veteran

Taxachusetts

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not all engineering means life in a factory.

Stupidity can be cured. Ignorance is for life!

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01-12-2011 12:34 AM  7 years agoPost 6
#55

rrVeteran

Red Bluff, CA

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the fastest and most direct way into the pilots seat
Well...certainly the CHEAPEST way to do it. like I said, Flight school is about 1.5 years... which means you could have your wings -in control of the helicopter of your choice (if you do well) by 19 and a half years old.

and of course---you WILL deploy...my second one is this may to Afghanistan. Deployments are long and dangerous---but EXCELLENT pay (tax free plus TONS of extra pay) and GREAT flight time! (400-700 hrs)

Anyway - That's what I did. I always say I have been flying the Blackhawk since I was a TEENager---and it never gets old

call me back when you have Questions --my phone is always on.

just incase you forgot.

http://www.goarmy.com/about/service...t-officers.html

Oh---and here's some motivation!

Watch at YouTube

Check!

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01-12-2011 04:25 AM  7 years agoPost 7
Wingman77

rrProfessor

Pulaski Tennessee

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ok so it looks like I am sold on joining the army, I am not absolutely sure yet if I want to do the warrant officer route or the full officer route. there are many pros and cons each direction, right now I am enrolled and fully paid for one more semester of college and I need a few more months to recover from breaking both of my arms on a bike a few months ago before I can make it through basic.

I have received some very good advice so far and since I am sold on the army I have talked to a friend of mine who I have known since longer ago than I can remember who is a full commanding colonel and I believe the head commander of multiple brigades and training facilities like fort Knox. I don't completely understand what he does but I do know I am lucky to know him and he should be able to give me some excellent input on army opportunities. I have set up an appointment to meet him for lunch next week some time.

I am very nervous at this point as I am trying to decide what I will do with my life and I really appreciate the help I have received on here so far and I hope more keeps coming as I don't want to leap off into something without understanding what I am getting into.

Carl

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01-12-2011 01:20 PM  7 years agoPost 8
#55

rrVeteran

Red Bluff, CA

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Just remember---If you go through OCS to become a "commissioned officer" there will be absolutely NO guarantee that you will have a flight slot. and they are HARD to get---like maybe one slot out of a class of 100. and it is all OML (order of merit List) based---if Joe gets just a slightly better test grade, PT test grade, or something---HE beats you-- He becomes #1 YOU become #2-He gets the slot and you now have to pick something else.

Also remember that "commissioned" guys MAIN job is to LEAD troops...you won't become an instructor pilot, or Maintenance Test pilot,---you will become a company commander( and stop flying for the most part)

Check!

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01-12-2011 05:16 PM  7 years agoPost 9
fla heli boy

rrKey Veteran

cape coral, florida

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oh man, thanks for bringing up the biggest mistake I EVER made in my life. I was convinced by both of my shop teachers (Huey pilots from Nam) to go into the Warrant program, aced the ASVAB (tied the state record for score), even smoked a prelim. instrument test. This was back when the Apache's were first coming on line.
Long story short, my grandmother talked me out of it because of how one of my uncle's got screwed by the military.
I always wished I would've done that. Worse that happens, is you toss a couple years of your life. I say go the Warrant Office route. I sure wish I had.

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01-12-2011 06:11 PM  7 years agoPost 10
txbiker

rrApprentice

TX

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A friend from high school went the warrant route and has absolutely no regrets. He's retiring next month and will work as a test pilot as a D.A. civilian. His life was pretty much set when he became a pilot. My pilot from the Coast Guard retired and flys for U.S. Customs now. I wished I would have done it too. My friend the soon to be retired CW4 would fly for free he loves it so much, and he's going to get paid good to do it for the government.

mSR,120SR,mCPx SR(DDVP),TTe325 Spektrum

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01-13-2011 01:05 AM  7 years agoPost 11
Wingman77

rrProfessor

Pulaski Tennessee

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yea, I just want to fly, I think the warrant officer program sounds great but I imagine that is is a tough course, only the top few percent actually fly or am I wrong? I definitely think that sounds like the route for me though.

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01-13-2011 01:27 AM  7 years agoPost 12
fla heli boy

rrKey Veteran

cape coral, florida

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it is tough. My teachers told me how everybody else would go out on the town (you can too), but if you aren't either flying, or studying 24/7, 365 for the duration, you aren't going to make it. It's tough, but that's why you can skip the whole college thing and still be a pilot, the curriculum is so tough. Biggest mistake of my life not doing it. I was already accepted and got my mind twisted and changed my mind.

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01-13-2011 02:02 AM  7 years agoPost 13
Spitfire1

rrElite Veteran

Perth Australia

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I dont know anything, but that seems fairly daunting to know that only the best 1 out of a 100 will get to fly, it does not sound like very good odds, at least with the civilian route you can pay as you go, even if its only one lesson a month at least its something better than nothing, and in the end the richest man wins!

I think I seem to remember when I was in school thinking how cool it would be to be a pilot, and then I realised you need to be the smartest person in your school, higher grades than all the people wanting to go to university to be Dr`s and lawyers, maybe the smartest in your school to get in, then only 1 in 100 of them get to fly.

The odds are not very good here because we only have maybe 1 helicopter and 2 f18`s in our entire airforce, so theres not many vacancies.

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01-13-2011 02:59 AM  7 years agoPost 14
HeliNerd

rrApprentice

Navarre, FL

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Don't forget about the opportunities in other services... you are not stuck with the Army as your only choice. Trust me, I've seen both sides of the fence. Just depends on what you want to fly. There are so many options out there now, but the services have really been strapped and have made a ton of reductions. However, if you fit the bill and get into a ROTC program or something of the like it sure makes college expenses easier. Just do yourself a favor and don't stap yourself into the Army just yet in an eagerness to get into a pilot seat. The Navy, Marines, Airforce, Coast guard all have helo's and need pilots.

Either way you go, Stay motivated, keep out of trouble, and go for what you really enjoy doing because life is too short!

Wouldn't you like to fly one of these?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfYfRg72Y7k

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01-13-2011 03:45 AM  7 years agoPost 15
Wingman77

rrProfessor

Pulaski Tennessee

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that is what I am worried about, I consider my self to be in excellent physical condition and academically I would guess at top %20 but is that enough to get me flying? I don't want so sign myself to the army and then not fly....

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01-13-2011 04:59 AM  7 years agoPost 16
Salty

rrElite Veteran

St. Augustine

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Keep researching your options....even if it is in writing, in the military if you don't make the grade...your bounced out and converted into something else.

Also, little tidbit of information, The Army has more boats and ships than the Navy, and the Navy has more planes and helicopters than the Airforce....AND there are many more planes and helicopters on the ocean floor than there are submarines in the sky.

Ask your Doctor if getting off your ass is right for you.

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01-13-2011 04:13 PM  7 years agoPost 17
#55

rrVeteran

Red Bluff, CA

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I think the warrant officer program sounds great but I imagine that is is a tough course, only the top few percent actually fly or am I wrong?
Yes--you're Wrong

Remember what I told you-- IT WILL BE IN YOUR CONTRACT TO FLY!

There ARE WO's that don't fly---but they have YEARS of expearience in the field that they are going into already (missle specilists, boat warrants, motor pool warrants) 80% of warrant officers are pilots.PERIOD.

In my last post I was talking about OCS---NOT WOCS

OCS= COMSSIONED GUYS
WOCS= WARRANT OFFICERS
I dont know anything, but that seems fairly daunting to know that only the best 1 out of a 100 will get to fly, it does not sound like very good odds
^^^^Please----don't get the kid confused... the 1 out of 100 odds are REAL---but that is IF YOU GO OCS NOT WOCS

CARL don't get lost in the conversation....if you want an answear call me---

I wasn't the smartest kid in my school --- I was like the third smartest ---ya out of a bunch of kids at DYERSBURG, TN highschool

what I'm saying is---I was more motivated than I was smart OR physically fit----MOTIVATION and dreams got me into that program...

Check!

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01-13-2011 04:43 PM  7 years agoPost 18
fla heli boy

rrKey Veteran

cape coral, florida

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I don't want so sign myself to the army and then not fly...
Exactly why I backed out. I still regret it. But the diff is that this was back in 1980 and at that time they would not let you out if there was no space for you after basic. They might do that now, don't know.
I was a 3 letter athlete in HS, so I actually wanted to go to basic as a challenge. My grades weren't great (because I didn't work too hard), but my test scores were thru the roof.
I really wish I would've given it a shot.

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01-13-2011 06:09 PM  7 years agoPost 19
SSN Pru

rrElite Veteran

Taxachusetts

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I have a close friend whose dream was to fly helo's. He wasn't the brightest but also not the dumbest. He joined the ANG here in Mass and enlisted. He eventually went to flight school. Now, he's flying Blackhawks in Iraq.

Motivation is everything in the military. You don't have to be the strongest or brightest just the most motivated.

If I were to do it all over again, I'd work my ass off to fly.

Stupidity can be cured. Ignorance is for life!

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