Helicopter Pilot Career In The U.S. Military

Helicopter pilots who opt for a career in the military can expect excitement, challenge, and adventure. Military helicopters and military helicopter pilots are essential to the tactical doctrine of all of the services.

The helicopters unique ability to take off and land in a space no bigger than a tennis court and its ability to loiter over an area make it uniquely suited for a number of military missions.

Military helicopter pilots can expect to fly missions that include transporting troops and equipment, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, troop helicopter escort, anti-armor, reconnaissance, and inserting/extracting special operations personnel.

The US Army operates the largest number of helicopters within the US military. A career as an Army helicopter pilot will give you access to some of the most advanced helicopters in the world. Army helicopter pilots fly AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters, UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters, OH-47 Kiowa scout/light attack helicopters and the MH-6/AH-6 Loach special operations helicopters.

Navy helicopters pilots fly a variety of missions which all help the Navy accomplish its goal of having control of the sea to include the waters below the surface and the airspace above. Navy helicopter pilots who fly SH-60 Sea Hawks track and execute attacks on enemy submarines. MH-53 Sea Stallion pilots detect and clear mines in advance of ship traffic. Navy CH-46 Sea Knights pilots specialize in transporting personnel and equipment.

The US Marine Corps uses the helicopter extensively. In fact the Marines invented and developed vertical envelopment warfare (using helicopters to rapidly move troops to key tactical and strategic positions). Marine helicopter pilots fly a variety of missions with the main goal being support of the marines on the ground. Marine pilots who fly the AH-1Z Cobra provide close air support as well as having an anti-armor/interdiction and an escort role. The CH-46 Sea Knight is used for tactical assaults and the CH-53E Super Sea Stallion is used for heavy lift. The Marines also fly a modernized version of the UH-1 Huey, a helicopter made famous during the Vietnam War, on utility and VIP missions.

US Air force helicopter pilots also use helicopters for key missions most notably combat search and rescue and support of special operation teams. Air Force pilots who fly the UH-60 Blackhawk are primarily tasked with combat search and rescue while pilots that fly the MH-53E Super Stallion insert, re-supply, and extract special operations troops.

U. S. Coast Guard Pilots have a strong history of flying and fighting alongside the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps in times of conflict. The Coast Guard’s primary roles are homeland security, law enforcement and search and rescue. Coast Guard helicopter pilots fly three types of helicopters. The HH-65 Dauphin is a short-range rescue helicopter. The HH-60 Jay Hawk is a medium/long range rescue helicopter and the MH-68 Stingray is an armed interdiction aircraft.

Military helicopter pilots have very rewarding careers. They fly with and support some of the best people this nation has to offer. The road to a career as a military helicopter pilot is not easy but it’s certainly within reach of anyone who has the commitment and the desire to succeed.


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