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Old 01-18-2019, 04:15 PM   #1  
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I am considering becoming a helo pilot in the army national guard. How much of an advantage will I have when I apply for major airlines after the regionals? Obviously I won’t be as desirable as a fixed wing military pilot. However, will I still have a good chance at a major?


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Old 01-18-2019, 04:20 PM   #2  
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Do it. 500 hrs heli plus 250 airplane and your at regionals
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Old 01-18-2019, 04:32 PM   #3  
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Some majors do not accept rotor time.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:58 PM   #4  
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Some majors do not accept rotor time.
Most majors don’t accept helicopter time, I believe Hawaiian and JetBlue are the only Major/LCC that do. This may change in the future, but as of now it is what is unfortunately.
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Old 01-18-2019, 08:55 PM   #5  
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As far as I know the only ones that don't are Southwest, UPS and FedEx. Alaska will take half, up to 1000 hours. JetBlue, IIRC, accepts all as normal flight time. The rest, as far as I know, count it toward total time, but you still need jet time. Delta recruiters have said as much when asked.
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Old 01-19-2019, 12:36 AM   #6  
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I started in army helicopters (albeit active duty), and I will say it’s about the slowest way of trying to become a major airline pilot. It’ll generally be the slowest place to build time (that only a few airlines will take), you’ll still have to do almost as much time in the regionals as a straight civilian, etc. If you really want to do it, I’d focus on a fixed-wing career when able and try to get some fw ratings either before Rucker if you can, or shortly after you get back. Then get on at a regional as soon as you can and part time it in the guard. Just know the army takes some of the most fun things and somehow makes them not fun.

Maybe the guard is different so ymmv, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to join the army to fly, especially not someone whose goal is to be at a major. Also, if your goal is to get to a major, the other part of that should be to get to a major as young as possible the way seniority plays into it. Getting on at a major at 35 compared to the same major at 30 is a HUGE difference in career earnings and QOL, especially over the next 5-10 years. Good luck with the decision. I’d recommend the ANG/AFR anyday, but if army helicopters are what you want then do it. It was never really a dream of mine, more like a nightmare I got stuck in for 8 years. But it had its awesome moments amongst the misery.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:07 AM   #7  
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I had to helo guys bust out of my new hire class and talking to a couple guys on JetBlue’s hiring committee they might start limiting the helo time like everyone else. Just something to think about.
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Old 01-19-2019, 06:12 AM   #8  
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Since you'll need almost as much civvie time as a non-mil pilot, if you do this it should be guard or reserve. Ideally get your civilian ratings, get a regional job, and then if you still want, go do it. By the time you finish mil training you'll be senior enough to upgrade comfortable at the regional. When you have competitive civilian times for the bigs, the mil helo flying should be icing on the cake.

If you can get some mil FW flying in as well that will help.

As was mentioned not as career-enhancing as FW mil time, whatever slight benefit you get with the major recruiters will probably be negated by the extra time out for reserve mil duty.

If you want go AD, you'll want to work on FW FAA ratings while on AD, get as much time as possible (and CFI ratings) before you get out but that's going cost you 8-10 years or so. Regionals can hire mil pilots with 750 hours, but you'll need to research how many FW hours you'll need (varies by airline).
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:54 AM   #9  
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I am considering becoming a helo pilot in the army national guard. How much of an advantage will I have when I apply for major airlines after the regionals? Obviously I won’t be as desirable as a fixed wing military pilot. However, will I still have a good chance at a major?


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Here's the advice I give all young folks looking at the military... Join the Military only if you really want to be in the military, not just as a way to get somewhere else. So do you really want to fly helicopters for the Army? If so, then go do it without attaching it to the idea of getting to a major airline. It might help, it might not, no one can see that far into the future but either way it is flight time and qualifies you for a R-ATP.

If your only goal is to get to a major, the fastest path is pretty clearly defined and it doesn't include Army helicopters.

BTW, I currently fly both helicopters and a citation for my job and in my opinion, while the airplane side has a lot more career opportunities right now, the rotor side is a lot more fun.
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:28 AM   #10  
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You won't fly the most hours going RW in the Army. But they will pay for your flight training and pay you while going through it. They will also pay for college, allow you to get VA home loans, let you fly at 30 feet AGL, and get numerous other military benefits and discounts. Or instead of rotor you can go for fixed wing as well flying the King Air. The lifestyle can suck, they do a good job of taking the fun out of things, but every now and then you get to fly some fun missions and overall it's a great experience.
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