Air Force Helicopter Pilot
The Air Force requires a large number of helicopters and they employ numerous helicopter pilots. The United States Air Force first started using helicopters during WWII and ever since then, they’ve employed a lot of helicopter pilots. As of 2010, the Air Force has a total of 175 helicopter pilots that they use for various missions around the world. They use two different kinds of helicopters. The first one is the MH60G which is used for combat and rescue missions. On the other hand, the MH53J is more of a stealth plane used for undetected penetration.
If you want to work as a helicopter pilot in the Air Force, you need to first receive your training from the 23rd Flying Training Squadron Air Education and Command Center. This Air Force training facility is based out of Fort Rucker Gouge, Alabama.
When I joined the Air Force, I wasn’t sure what to do. A friend introduced to helicopters and I decide to get my license. It was the best decision of my life!
The competition to join the 23rd FTS is extremely high. Many people apply but not many people actually land a job. Those who are potential pilots must first go through the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training. Before deciding who can go through the specialized training, an individual must pass three different tests. These tests are:
1. Air Force Officer Qualifying Test
2. Alternate Flight Aptitude Selection Test
3. Aviation Selection Test Battery
All the potential helicopter pilots will aim to pass those tests. However, simply passing the test is not enough to work for the Air Force or get a position as a trainee in the specialized training. Only the those who score in the highest range get offered a spot to the SUPT.
The training is a 54 week course so it takes over a year to complete. All potential helicopter pilots will receive the same phase one and phase two helicopter pilot training. There is a third phase where the pilots can decide in which area they want to specialize in. Each training day is 12 hours long.
The phase one training is mostly academic and physical where potential Air Force pilots learn aerospace physiology, familiarize themselves with all the terms and equipments and also must pass fitness tests.
Phase two training is called flightline where they must deal with special training events. They are consistently graded and ranked among their peers. Those who rank highest get to decide in which area they want to specialize.
In phase three training, the helicopter pilots get to choose their specialty!