Army Fixed Wing


Well-Known Member
I have been looking into this for some time and have not been able to nail down an ansewer. I have a 4 year degree, CMEL/SE. I have talked to the Army and the WOFT program sounds great if you want to fly helo's. But I want to fly commercial one day, commitment for 10 years no problem. I have had lasik, Army says case by case. But does this include fixed wing or only helo's. And how does the fixed wing work, officer/WO both. Please help me, I want to make the right choice.
In the Army, all pilots start out as helo pilots. Fixed wing qual is something you have to apply for after you've done some years of helo time. The Army fixed-wing fleet consists mostly of C-23 and C-12 series aircraft.
I think that I can help you here. I am a CWO in the Army National Guard and have flown the UH-1, AH-1 and the C-12. My current position is Senior Instructor Pilot and Instrument Flight Examiner on the C-12, while in civilian life I fly a C-650. I have flown Helicopters and Fixed Wing both for the Military and in Civilian life so I can offer some qualified answers.
The reality is if you fly for the Army you will fly Helicopters. The selection process for Fixed Wing is extremely competative, and prior fixed wing experience doesn't seem to factor in. The "needs" of the service will take precedence over any thing you might want or feel that you deserve. If you think that you would be happy flying helicopters then I would strongly recommend the Warrant Officer program, it will maximize your opportunities. Don't be tempted by the extra money you could make as a commissioned officer (because you have a 4 yr. degree), if you want to fly stay Warrant.
I have to wonder why with a 4 yr. degree you wouldn't consider the Air Force. I don't know the regs on lasik. If I could do it all over again I would have finished college and tried to get a slot with the Air Force flying something really big. I just picked up a 3 star General last night as he got off a C-17 flying in from Germany, and crawled into my little itty bitty C-12, Guess which airplane I would really rather be flying. If you want a commerciall career in the after life I would recommend against Helicopters, there is just no money in it, at best you might make 50K plus or minus a little. You must decide for yourself what it is you want to do then focus your efforts accordingly and stay the course. You are have a great opportunity ahead of you and its seems like you are seriosly considering your opptions. Good Luck, and let me know how else I can help you.
I missed answering one of your questions on how doesfixed wing work. After intial flight training in helicopters, commissioned officers can apply for fixed wing training, this is because there are leadership positions at the platoon / Lt. level. For the Warrant officer you will have to do an initiall utilization tour as a helicopter pilot, I don't know of any WO1's getting fixed wing. The fixed wing slots are usually restricted by rank, there are times when the Army only wants CW2's and then there are times they will only accept applications from CW4's, it just depends again on what they need to cross fill vacancies. On active duty it is a gamble with your career taking a fixed wing transition. If you get stuck in the fixed wing pipeline the chance of promotion is limited, there are fewer senior slots in fixed wing. Good luck again.
I'm not sure if you can fly with lasik as a WO - I think you can get a waiver as commissioned. You can actually go straight from your basic helo training to fixed wing as commissioned based on the needs of the army. I know an O-1 whose AQC is fixed wing. Generally highly unlikely. You want fixed wing - army is not the best choice. Although, that is pretty much what I'm going to do.