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samuelflores
06-16-2017, 09:01 AM
My name is Samuel Flores, and I am 16 years old. I have just graduated from high school. I have always been interested in aviation, but as of recent I have become more set on the option of a rotary career. My plans so far have been made based on my financial situation and convenience for my family. I plan on attending community college for two years and then transferring to Andrews University to major in aviation maintenance. I have looked into the CSPI program, and I think that it would be great if it were not so risky in my case. I will turn the minimum age 1 month before my junior year starts, so that leaves almost no time for planning of I do not receive the acceptance. My backup plan right now is just going the civilian route. If I do not get accepted I would pay the last two years with the work I will be doing the next two years, leftover federal and state aid, and any other scholarships that I get. Once I graduate I would work as an aviation mechanic for awhile and attempt to pay my way through flight school afterwards. I really hate the sound of that! That is if I cannot get into the CSPI program. Even if I get into the program, I risk not being able to be trained as a helicopter pilot. I believe that the only way you have a gaurantee to be trained is if you get the WILK flight initiative, which you can add on in your senior year. If you don't get it, there is no backing out of the CSPI program, so I would be stuck in the coast guard for my period not doing the things for which I joined. As an alternative option I have also looked into the warrant officer route. I was wondering if anyone had advice for me in regards to my specific situation. I also would prefer there to not be any slandering in this thread as there is often slandering in these forums.


Packrat
06-16-2017, 09:12 AM
While I don't know what your acronyms mean, you should look into ROTC programs. Those will help your finances and open up opportunities to go either Army or Navy helicopter flight training programs.

Personally, I opted for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School (I was 3 years out of college) and Navy flight training. If all you want to do is fly, then the Army Warrant Officer program offers that with less of the Commissioned Officer hoops you must jump through.

Best of luck in whatever you choose. For a young man today, I think the Military option is the way to go.

samuelflores
06-16-2017, 09:37 AM
I had previously looked into the afrotc and the army rotc. I believe that the afrotc is more difficult to get into, and the army rotc has a little bit more service time. Once I had looked a little bit into the warrant officer program, I preferred it over ROTC. The CSPI program is from the Coast Guard. They pay for your last two years of a bachelor's degree, and you serve three years active duty. The WILKs flight initiative is something that you get accepted into your senior year once you are in the CSPI program. I would not want to be in the program if I didn't get the flight initiative extension, because then I would not be gaurenteed to be put into flight school and only fly. Thank you for your response. I appreciate any help I receive. If anyone who reads this thread has any experience or insight on either of the two programs, I would appreciate advice on how to make sure I will fly and not be put on "kitchen duty" or in the case of the CSPI program, how I can be sure I will be put into their flight program. Thank you once again for your response.


pony172
06-16-2017, 10:25 AM
To the OP:
Why Andrews? There are cheaper alternatives than going to Berrien Springs. Why pay for an aviation mx degree when to you really want to fly? Why aren't you putting that money toward flight? If you really want to fly why aren't you considering the Army WO program more seriously. if you really want helicopters, that is the place to go. If you are that hard up to pay for tuition (and who isn't these days) enlist in the military or guard and get the GI Bill. It is THE BEST tuition program out there. They will even train you for aircraft mx if you want. Are you in northern IN or Southern MI? Fort Wayne, Grand Ledge, Battle Creek, and Selfridge are all looking for people in the Army and Air Guard. Why helicopters? They are certainly fun and I almost chose them until my on wing pulled me aside prior to selection day. He had one of the Marine cobra IP's in VT-3 tell me I was an idiot if I didn't fly jets. There is a little more to that story, but in my case he was right. Just remember, helo time, while more valuable than it used to be, doesn't mean as much to the airlines. If that is your final goal then get fixed wing time. There are a million threads on here about FW vs RW and Mil vs Civ. It sounds to me like you need to ruminate on this a little more.

WantingWings
06-16-2017, 10:34 AM
Remember, there are no guarantees in life. I understand not wanting to be "stuck" doing something you didn't sign up for; however, understand that if you go the military route, you'd be an officer first and pilot second. Even as an Army Warrant Officer you might occasionally have to do things that aren't directly related to flying. Sucks, but it's the truth. If you are considering the military as a path to earning your wings (which in my opinion is the better route for a variety of reasons), you need to embrace the idea of serving your country first and foremost. Period. Dot. If you can't or don't accept that, you'll probably end up being pretty miserable during your tenure with the military. That said, I highly suggest you start working on your bachelor's degree ASAP and start scraping together money to begin working toward your Private Pilot License. Yes, flying a fixed-wing Cessna is different than flying a helicopter, but just some time in the air, at the controls of an aircraft, should help give you an idea if you like flying in general. (And fixed wing lessons are significantly cheaper than helicopter lessons.) Additionally, private flight time will help make you more competitive for my suggested path down below...

Fortunately for you, you're young and have time. Time affords you options. When you're about 9 months away from completing your degree, I would start talking to active duty officer recruiters from each of the branches. Each service offers candidates with a degree (and who also meet a myriad of other criteria) opportunities to directly compete for contract aviation slots. It's literally like applying for a job. The Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps all have recruiters trained to handle "off the street" officer applicants. The basic process for all active duty officer/pilot accessions works something like this: meet with a recruiter, take a flight and/or officer aptitude test and pending competitive results, you'll then assemble a packet (letters of recommendation, college transcripts, test results, etc.) and submit to a board. If you're selected, you'll be sent for a flight physical. If you pass that, you'll receive orders to attend that service's Officer Candidate School (or Officer "Training" School in the case of the Air Force--that's the route I went). After commissioning, you'll receive orders to your service's flight training program. Upon completion of that program, you'll incur a lengthy commitment (8 years for Navy/USMC, 10 for USAF...not sure about current Army policy). If you're not selected, you don't have to do anything. If a recruiter tells you that you have to enlist if you're not selected for an officer accession program, they're wrong. You absolutely do not. If you're not selected, keep flying, earn an advanced degree, etc...apply again later. I had to apply multiple times (and to several branches) before I got picked up.

Now. Since you want to fly whirly-birds, I'd check out the Navy or USMC because their respective aircraft fleets contain a significant number of helicopters. If you don't mind going Warrant Officer--the Army's Active Duty Warrant Officer Aviation Program will work for you too.

As mentioned above, being an Army Warrant Officer has its advantages...you know without a doubt you'll get a helicopter assignment upon completion of flight training (because 98% of the Army's fleet is rotary-wing). This means you'll be able to focus more on being an aviator and tactician. You won't have to play politics as much as your commissioned counterparts in the other services. The trade off: you'll make less money and promotions get bottle necked later on in your career. But WO pay is still competitive. The Army's process for selecting flight WOs is pretty much identical to the aviation candidate selection processes utilized by the other services. Also, while you don't need a bachelor's degree or civilian flight credentials to apply for the Army WO Aviation program, those things absolutely make you more competitive.

The Air Force attracts a lot of guys and gals looking to fly fixed-wing. The Air Force just doesn't have a lot of helicopters and as such, getting a helicopter assignment upon graduating from Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training is more difficult.

Sorry for the book. Hope this helps. If you have more specific questions, feel free to PM. Take care and good luck on your journey!

Packrat
06-16-2017, 12:17 PM
Hey pony,

Maybe the kid just wants to fly helos. I knew a guy who graduated in the top of his class, got offered jets and turned them down for Navy HC. Even when he was out on cruise, the Skipper of his ship offered to get him a fixed wing transition and orders to an A-6 squadron.

He turned the Captain down. The last I heard of him he was a big wheel in the Navy's Helicopter Combat SAR program.

So there are guys out there who really aren't looking for an airline job much as we all don't get that. If this guy is one of them, I agree that the Army WO program is the way to go. No risk of getting sent to a Coast Guard Cutter somewhere and he'll fly his buns off in the Army or the Army Guard.

zondaracer
06-16-2017, 12:20 PM
Here's my 2 cents. I did AFROTC, and I was super gung-ho. I worked hard and got a pilot slot my junior year, but I didn't pass my medical. In my commissioning class, I think there were about 15 or 16 of us that got a pilot slot, and two of us got medically disqualified. So it happens. I ended up serving on active duty for four years in a non pilot capacity.

Between an economic crisis, age 65, etc., it took me awhile to finally get to the airline, and I'm still at a regional.

I look at my friends who went straight to flight school out of college and the ones that went on to become military pilots right after college. The ones that went military hit the timing just right and separated from active duty early when the Air Force was allowing them out. These guys ended up at Delta and United. My friends who went straight to civilian flight school ended up at Delta and United at approximately the same time. So which one was the right answer? There isn't one, and obviously their résumés look different, and they had different life experiences.

However, with my experience and looking in hindsight, if I had to do t all over again, I would pursued the civilian flight route much earlier and then serve in the National Guard or Reserves, either flying or non-flying. So even if I was able to pass the flying medical, I would have rather served in the Guard instead of active duty. If I served in the guard in a non-flying capacity, I would be much further ahead in my civilian career right now. Take a look into the Guard or Reserves.

Tweetdrvr
06-16-2017, 12:39 PM
The Air Force attracts a lot of guys and gals looking to fly fixed-wing. The Air Force just doesn't have a lot of helicopters and as such, getting a helicopter assignment upon graduating from Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training is more difficult.


So not true. In my 17 years of being an IP, I never saw someone who wanted a helo not awarded one at completion of Phase II. Generally 1 or 2 per class per base, but most don't want them. Every so often, someone wants it as first choice. Maybe once in a blue moon there will be a class where more than 2 guys want helos, but it is rare. Probably 1x per year at each base.

samuelflores
06-16-2017, 03:52 PM
Once again thank you for replying. First of all, I know that I could use the money for flight school instead of for a bachelors. I know that a degree isn't necessary if I just want to fly. I know, however, that pilots are always one medical away from unemployment. I really want to go to college to get a degree as a backup, and also it looks better, I believe, when applying for a job than if you didn't. I chose Andrews because (and I know that you may not understand) of religious preference and friends. I am a seventh day adventist, and it surprised me that one of our schools had aviation related degrees. In fact, they aren't that bad at all. The degree which I initially was interested in at that school was Aviation Flight with maintenance. I thought that having flight school and maintenance as a degree is pretty cool. It is like killing two birds with one stone. That degree was a little more expensive, so I settled for the degree of solid maintenance. Once again, I want to do this so I have something else up my sleeve. It is true that initially I was interested in fixed wing. I wanted to either fly commercial cargo jets or fly corporate. My brother in law is a helicopter pilot, so I had a chance to taste that part of the pie and I really liked it. Yes I know I can't compare flying a cessna and a helicopter and judge all of fixed wing based on that, but I've thought about it and I really want to fly choppers. I also have heard that it is cheaper to get rated with fixed wing and add on chopper hours to get rated in that. I would like to do that also because I may change my mind some day. That is another reason why I liked that degree at Andrews, because I could get rated in fixed wing and graduate being able to fly and work in maintenance. I could then easily add on my rotary licenses and be dual rated. In answer to your comment, no, my ultimate goal is not to fly commercial airlines. I know that this may not be the forums for my thread, but I just saw how many successful pilots comment here and I wanted some help. Yes, I really think the military route is going to be a very good option, and like I said I am leaning more towards the Army Warrant officer side or the College student precommissioning initiative from the coast guard. Right now I would like to make an educated decision on which military route of the two is better for me. I also was wondering if it is harder to get dual rated in the military than if I tried to do just one. How exactly would I do that, let's say if I decided to become and Army Warrant Officer? Once again thank you for replying so quickly, and I will take all of your advice in to count. If any of you know anyone who has been through that CSPI program, I would greatly appreciate if I could get in touch with them.

samuelflores
06-16-2017, 03:55 PM
Oh, I live in Tennessee now, not Michigan.

Planephlyer
06-16-2017, 05:07 PM
I enlisted in the Air National Guard and got most of my college paid for by the GI Bill. In my free time I worked at an airport and used the money for flight training. At age 25 I applied and got accepted for Active Duty pilot training. You can also apply to Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve units to have them send you to AF pilot training. You have to start pilot training (at least in the AF) by age 30, so you have plenty of time. The civilian route is certainly feasible, but is a longer, more expensive road. Either way, work hard, fly as much as you can in whatever you can and do good in school. Intelligence and work ethic and a little luck will take you far in this career. Best of luck!

WantingWings
06-16-2017, 06:37 PM
Tweetdvr--I meant the Air Force doesn't have as many helicopters in comparison to the Army or other branches. It's simply a numbers game. I'm strictly speaking to statistics, not merit or desire. That's all. If Samuel were to, in theory, attend the Army's Aviation Training Program--and graduate--he WILL fly a helo. Here recently, at least at LAFB, we've been averaging maybe one Helo drop a class...maybe. Yes, you're correct. If he were to specifically request a Helo, he MAY get one. I wasn't trying to deter him from serving in the USAF at all. I'm here after all. I'm just saying that, in general, overall, the USAF tends to attract more people seeking to fly fixed wing. It think that's a fair generalization. He specifically stated he wants to fly rotary wing. I'm just trying to provide him guidance to best enable him to achieve his stated goals. That's all.

Tenacvols
06-18-2017, 03:36 PM
When I was going through API back in 2001, we had 3 Coasties in my class. All three of them had to do 2 years in the Coast Guard in a non aviation capacity prior to attending flight school. I'm not sure if this is still a requirement for the Coast Guard, but it's something to keep in mind when you are laying out your time table...

F4E Mx
06-19-2017, 03:53 AM
If you were to enlist in an aviation career field in the Navy or Coast Guard you very possibly could used that experience toward your airframe and powerplant liscense requirements. I did as a maintenance officer in the USAF and went on to get my Inspection Authorization. Later I taught at an FAA approved A & P school for a year.

Considering the civilian route only you only need to work (as a mechanics's helper) 18 months to be qualified to take the airframe test, and 18 months to take the powerplant test, or 33 months to take both, so going to school to get the licenses doesn't seem worth it. A good school is far from worthless but is it worth the money and unpaid time?

YorlikJr
09-28-2017, 12:30 AM
Hey Samuel!
First time poster, got on this site to ask basically the exact same things your asking. I've also been looking into the WIFI program over the past year, but alas I've pretty much dropped the pursuit for a number of reasons. It's definitely a great program!... In theory. I also have never actually met anyone who has successfully completed the CSPI/WiFI program. So to everyone else: I've heard alot of negativity from experience pilots when the the thought comes up of self funding your way to helicopter licenses and ultimately a job. Why is this? Is it solely because of of the money? Yalls input would be greatly appreciated!
Hope things are looking up for ya Samuel!

sailingfun
09-28-2017, 04:23 PM
Hey pony,

Maybe the kid just wants to fly helos. I knew a guy who graduated in the top of his class, got offered jets and turned them down for Navy HC. Even when he was out on cruise, the Skipper of his ship offered to get him a fixed wing transition and orders to an A-6 squadron.

He turned the Captain down. The last I heard of him he was a big wheel in the Navy's Helicopter Combat SAR program.

So there are guys out there who really aren't looking for an airline job much as we all don't get that. If this guy is one of them, I agree that the Army WO program is the way to go. No risk of getting sent to a Coast Guard Cutter somewhere and he'll fly his buns off in the Army or the Army Guard.

Things have really changed since I went through Navy training. Back then you were split off to Helo's after sixty hours. If you had jet grades you were sent to jets. Students didn't get to refuse. Must be a kinder gentler Navy!

Fifty50
09-29-2017, 06:02 PM
Things have really changed since I went through Navy training. Back then you were split off to Helo's after sixty hours. If you had jet grades you were sent to jets. Students didn't get to refuse. Must be a kinder gentler Navy!

So the A-6 (referenced in the post you quoted) was retired in '93 for the USMC and '97 for the USN. Meaning the individual referenced in the tale is more than likely an O-6 or higher and the stories are from decades ago. I'm not a Squid, so I could really care less in the long run, but even in this decade Students do not get to refuse a platform out of Primary, FYI.

rickair7777
09-29-2017, 06:36 PM
Things have really changed since I went through Navy training. Back then you were split off to Helo's after sixty hours. If you had jet grades you were sent to jets. Students didn't get to refuse. Must be a kinder gentler Navy!

#1 guy traditionally got his choice (of available slots) back in the day...usually that meant an F-Teen, but there were guys who wanted to do their deployments in hotels on full per diem and chose P-3's. Plausible that someone might choose helos.

Nobody got to refuse an assignment, but some folks got to pick what they were assigned.

A hot-runner who chose helos might get his arm twisted to reconsider a jet slot, but if they offered him a choice in the first place they would honor that.

I heard in some classes all slots were for one platform, in which case nobody got to pick anything.

tomgoodman
09-29-2017, 08:17 PM
The AF couldn’t decide how to do assignments back in the ‘70s. In our class, the #1 graduate chose from the drop, then #2, etc.
But then some General (SAC) beefed about always getting the bottom guys, so they reserved an assorted drop just for the bottom 10%. But then some students realized that it might be smart to deliberately fall into that briar patch. So then they partially randomized the system, which provoked howls from all directions.....:rolleyes:

decrabbitz
10-01-2017, 06:42 PM
The AF couldn’t decide how to do assignments back in the ‘70s. In our class, the #1 graduate chose from the drop, then #2, etc.
But then some General (SAC) beefed about always getting the bottom guys, so they reserved an assorted drop just for the bottom 10%. But then some students realized that it might be smart to deliberately fall into that briar patch. So then they partially randomized the system, which provoked howls from all directions.....:rolleyes:


And then in the eighties they fixed it and made everyone happy! They still gave the #1 and #2 their first choices, then they non-volled #3-#8 to FAIP assignments, and continued down the list giving out the assignments in order. But wait, didn't SAC still get the bottom pilots? Yes. But the answer was simple, we'll keep the FAIPs for 5 years and then non-vol them to a SAC assignment! So SAC gets a former top UPT grad with 1500 hrs of IP time. So everyone wins.....except....



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