Question from a US Army Aviation CW3 AH-64 Pilot

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by djmel, Jun 12, 2006.

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  1. Hello fellow aviators, I hope you don't mind me asking some very basic questions about your aviation corp. I am a CW3 AH-64 Instructor Pilot in the US Army. We have Commissioned Officers whom end up doing most of all the staff jobs and we have Warrant Officers that stay flying most of their careers. Our system seems to be similar to yours, except that your have NCOs that fly instead of WO (please correct me if I am wrong). Our system seems to work ok with the exception of a few things. Our Commissioned Officers do not get a lot of flight time before they move to staff, that in itself sometimes creates a problem because they do not have the experience needed to make decisions that affect those of us at the company (line pilots) level. They are not required to be a WO before they get commissioned; therefore their flying experience is generally low. The WOs in most have cases a good amount of experience but are not in charge of making the decision. Most decisions are left the Commissioned Officers. That in itself is very frustrating to the WOs because although they have the experience and flight time they are generally not allowed to make many decisions. We generally don't have a problem making things work, however generally there is a wall (big separation) between the Commissioned Officers and the Warrant Officers due to the reasons I mentioned above.

    1. Do you have WOs that fly?
    2. I there a lot of disagreement between your flying NCOs and your Commissioned Officers?
    3. Are your Commissioned Officers required to be an NCO in order to get experience before they become a Commissioned Officer?

    Thank you.
  2. 1. Yes we do.
    2. No there isn't.
    3. No they don't!

    Hope this helps! :?
  3. Hi djmel.

    It sounds as if your system is very similar to ours with similar issues.

    I suppose you can equate our Sgt pilots as your WO1. They tend to be our junior pilots (not always the case though. We still have a few very crusty Sgts).

    We do have WOs that fly but our rank structure is a bit different. I suppose a basic comparison is this (flying world only) ;

    Sgt - WO1
    SSgt - CW2
    WOII - CW3
    WO1 - CW4/5

    Our Warrants are not comparitive to your system but Im sure you get the idea. Rank is not always an indication of flying experience either. It is entirely possible for a WOII or even a WO1 to come across to flying from other Regts and Corps. He may well be a very experienced soldier but has little flying time. We have most cap badges flying in the Air Corps. From chefs to SAS.

    NCO and officer tend to get on quite well. It would be a foolish young officer who ignored 'advice' from a SNCO/WO. I think we generally have a good balance.

    Our officers are not required to be NCOs first but some have been in a previous life. We also have Late Entry Officers. Chaps that have gone through the ranks and been commisioned, usually from the rank of WO II and above (a Sgt can actually apply for LE commission).

    The SNCOs and LE officers are the ones that usually fly as a career and are the experienced operators (its form this field where most instructors come from. If a DE officer went QHI, he would career foul himself to a certain degree).

    Our Direct Entry officers are in a similar boat to yours in that they have to jump through the usual army wide career and staff hoops. This means they do not spend very long at the coal face. It may become apparent that this is a real issue when we have had AH fielded for a longer period of time when the young DE officers return to Sqn duties after doing the usual SO3 paperclips and the like. Time will tell if their lack of flying experience will be a hinderance to commanding an AH sqn.
  4. There seems to be some ongoing confusing brought about by the fairly unique WO system in the US. Fair play to you though, you seem to have a healthier approach than the last one of your colleagues who burst in here, all piss and vinegar, with ideas way above his station:

    Try for a basic overview of the comparative rank structures. In the meantime, if you ever chance upon this stroker (by my guess he'll be at Rucker right now), can you do the 17,000+ members here a favours and kick him in the crotch please?

    I'll leave the operational questions to the cab drivers...
  5. Thank you all very much for the information, it was very helpful. Crabtastic I would ask you to consider this, most WO in US Army Aviation love their job. I was just trying to get educated on your Aviation Corps and see how other Armies do bussines, thank you for the links you provided.
  6. djmel,

    is there a us army site? i need to get in touch with someone that lives in Lakenheath. Anyone will do.