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RW to FW route


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Hey 74 crew! I just want to put myself out there as a resource. I'm currently at Army helicopter flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, with the end goal of getting to the commercial airlines. Not sure how this COVID this is going to play out concerning the airlines as I was really banking on that Rotary Transition Program (RTP) money from a regional to help get all my Fixed Wing (FW) ratings, so we'll see.

I'm currently flying the UH-72A Lakota, and will move on to the AH-64E Apache in a few months. I went the college route (my degree unrelated to aviation), and commissioned as a lieutenant in a National Guard (NG) unit. Going the Army Rotary Wing (RW) route is a VERY, VERY round-a-bout way of getting your Airline Transport Pilot certification (ATP), but the perks are that you don't spend a SINGLE penny on any Rotary or Simulator hour you do on the Army's time, or your ground school while in flight school, and you get a sick job that will leave your friends in envy. I also recently took the FAA commercial helicopter pilot certification with instrument rating, military competence exam and it was only $260, an outstanding deal! Since I chose the NG route, flying helicopters will only be my part-time job, and therefore the airlines would be my civilian/full-time job. If you choose to go Active Duty (AD) military, that is your full-time job, and once you decide to get out you would then make the transition to the airlines equipped with hundreds if not thousands of flight hours and Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to pay for FW hours. Note, there's the option to transition from AD to the NG/Reserves also.

One big disclaimer is that the Army instated a new policy that anyone going aviation owes the Army 10 years post flight school, whether you go AD or NG/Reserves. That's A LOT of time to commit, so it's got to be something you're willing to hash out.

There's many routes to go with the military, either starting or leading into aviation:
-The commissioned side (the leaders that fly but also have to to admin stuff) 1) through a university that has an ROTC program (ROTC pays for your tuition!) 2) through Officer Candidate School (OCS) if you already have a degree or are too far in your degree to do ROTC.
-The warrant officer side (they focus on flying and not on admin stuff) 1) enlist first and do a non-pilot job, then put in a warrant officer packet 2) street-to-seat/high school to flight school.

Fire away with any questions you have. Hope this helps!
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What made you decide Rotorcraft over jets in the Air Force or Navy?
I first enlisted as a fueler in my unit, and being around the Apache got me thinking that I should be flying them instead. Going rotorcraft was a long process in the making, and I hadn't thought in my wildest dreams I'd be considering the airlines from the beginning of that decision. I also learned after the fact that it's much, much easier to go Army aviation than to land a jet gig with AF or Navy.