Army aviation officer is a highly specialized career path in the United States Army.
The officers in this field are responsible for all aspects of aviation within the Army, from routine transport missions to providing close air support during combat operations.
Army aviation officers must be able to think on their feet and make quick decisions while under pressure, as lives often depend on their actions.
The training and experience required for this career path are intense, and those who pursue it can expect to be constantly challenged both mentally and physically.
However, if you are up to the challenge, there are many rewards available to those who earn this prestigious title. This article will educate you on the requirements and responsibilities of Army aviation officers.
1. What is an Army Aviation Officer?
An Army aviation officer is responsible for the safe and effective operation of Army aircraft. They manage the aircrew, plan and execute missions, and support training requirements. Aviation officers must be able to think quickly and make decisions in order to keep their troops safe. They serve in a wide variety of roles, so they must be excellent communicators, have an interest in technology, and have a strong desire to help people.
2. Job Description
Every job in the Army has specific duties associated with it, and Army aviator is no different. These professionals are responsible for a wide range of operations across six major categories: crew, operations, training, maintenance, intelligence, and medical. As an Army aviator, you may be required to perform as a crewmember, as an instructor, as a repair specialist, or as part of an intelligence unit. Regardless of your specific duties, you will almost always be expected to employ Army aircraft in the performance of your assigned tasks.
In general, Army aviators fly transport planes and helicopters carrying cargo and personnel throughout the world.
In combat situations, they often provide valuable, close air support to ground troops.
In peacetime, they may be called upon to carry out search and rescue operations, disaster relief efforts, or emergency medical transport across the world as well.
3. Requirements for Army Aviator
To become an Army aviator, you first must enter the United States Army with a four-year active-duty contract, pass Army flight training, and meet several other qualifications.
You will be required to:
- Be between 19 and 32 years of age upon entering the Army
- Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- Undergo Army medical and physical fitness examinations
- Meet Army weight and maximum height standards
- Pass the pre-commissioning physical examination and the Army flight physical
- Meet visual acuity requirements
- Pass a background security investigation, including a credit check as well as a drug screening administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Each branch of service has slightly different qualifications for those interested in pursuing this career path.
In order to become an Army aviator, a soldier must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. They also must pass the Aviation Classification Battery (ACB) test, which is designed to gauge their aptitude for becoming an Army aviator. Even after passing the ACB, the Army’s stringent requirements ensure that only the most qualified applicants are accepted into its aviation officer programs.
4. Salary of an Army Aviation Officer
An army aviation officer is someone who is responsible for the operation and maintenance of military helicopters. They are also responsible for the training and supervision of aircrews. An army aviation officer typically earns a salary ranging from $40,000 to $160,000 per year. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook states that a typical entry-level salary for army aviation officers is between $44,000 and $55,000 per year. Experience and education typically determine how much an army aviation officer can earn each year.
Army Aviation Officer Salary Range by Education Level The following is a breakdown of how much army aviation officers make based on their degree, in comparison with all U.S. workers: • Airframe and power plant mechanics who completed vocational training make approximately $55,000 per year or more, while high school graduates in the same area typically make between $33,000 and $48,000 per year. • Bachelor of arts degree holders make an average salary of approximately $62,500 per year. There is a wide range in salaries for this category because some army aviation officers have additional education or work experience, which allows them to get higher-paying jobs. A high school graduate with absolutely no experience in this field typically makes approximately $44,000 per year.
5. Army Aviation Officers and Their Training
The U.S. Army has two main types of aviation: rotary-wing and fixed-wing. Rotary-wing means that the aircraft is powered by a rotating shaft with blades attached, which give it the ability to take off and land vertically while moving horizontally through the air. Fixed-wing aircraft are powered by one or more engines and have a steering mechanism that allows them to glide forward. Army aviation officers who want a high salary typically choose rotary-wing training over fixed-wing, as the average entry-level salary for the former is higher.
Army aviation officers are trained at Fort Rucker in Alabama. The training lasts 14 weeks and leads to a formal certification as an Army Aviator, which allows the army officer to train other aviators. Army helicopter pilots receive additional training during their entire careers, including courses on leadership and management. Some officers choose to enter the U.S Air Force to work on fixed-wing aircraft.
6. University Requirements for Army Aviation Officers
High school students interested in becoming army aviation officers should take courses in physics, mathematics, and biology while completing their high school education. During college, they should choose an area of study related to science or engineering because the vast majority of army aviation officers are educated in these areas. Physics and mathematics majors typically make the best army aviation officers because they already possess a strong foundation in science and math.
7. Job Outlook for Army Aviation Officers
Army aviation officers have an average job outlook of 14% between the years 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. This means that army aviation officer jobs are expected to grow by 14% during this time. The handbook notes that a growing number of retiring army officers are being replaced by younger, college-educated soldiers who have an interest in aviation. As the army continues to face budget cuts, there may be few job opportunities for new graduates with this degree.
The Handbook also notes that there is a large amount of competition for army aviation officers because the low unemployment rate makes it difficult to attract workers. Many people choose to enlist as enlisted soldiers, who make significantly less money than army officers. Army aviation officer salaries are usually not enough to support a family, and many find that their salary level grows very slowly. As a result, many army officers choose to remain in the military beyond their initial eight-year term of service.
8. How Hard is It to Get into Army Aviation?
Getting into the Army Aviation branch is not an easy task. Applicants must go through a rigorous process with several steps in order to be considered for one of the few positions that are available each year. Candidates must also meet certain requirements in order to apply and be selected for flight school with the Army.
9. Can I Join the Army If I Have a Criminal Record?
It depends. The Army does not care about minor traffic violations like speeding tickets or driving without insurance, but felonies and serious misdemeanors such as assault or illegal drug use can disqualify you. Be sure to check the Army’s list of offenses that will disqualify you for entry into the Army. You can also apply for a waiver, but it may take several months for approval, and it is much easier to qualify if you can honestly answer “No” to all of these types of questions.
10. What Are the Physical Requirements to Be an Army Aviator?
Army aviators must pass a medical examination as well as other tests to ensure they have enough strength and endurance to handle the rigors of Army aviation. This includes being able to lift 50 pounds, swim two laps of an Olympic-sized pool wearing boots and combat equipment, and doing at least 44 pushups in one minute, among other basic physical requirements.
11. What Are Some Important Attributes of Army Aviators?
Army aviators are expected to be leaders in the field, both tactically and technically. They must have strong communication skills, both on the ground with troops as well as on the radio communicating with air traffic controllers on the ground during missions. Army aviators must be able to work under high pressure, solve problems quickly and decisively, and make accurate decisions in a split second.
12. How Long Does It Take to Complete Army Aviator Training?
Army aviation training is a very intense and lengthy process. Candidates for Army aviation must go through the initial entry, which includes basic military training (boot camp) as well as technical school classes. This requires approximately six months of intensive physical and mental challenges. After this, candidates begin a specialized training regiment to become qualified Army aviators. This requires 12-18 months of training to become fully qualified and six months for recertification every three years thereafter.
13. Can I Be an Army Aviator If I Have a Medical Condition?
In most cases, no. The entire point of the rigorous selection process is to ensure that Army aviators are the most skilled members of the U.S. Army that can handle themselves in high-pressure situations without getting sick, confused, or otherwise distracted during flight. Applicants with any serious medical conditions may be ineligible for flight school and must disclose all problems on their applications. If you have had a problem in the past but is no longer affecting you, be sure to state this as well.
14. Best Colleges to Study Army Aviation
There are a few important things to consider when choosing a school to study army aviation. The first is the quality of the program. The second is the location of the school. The third is the cost of attendance. And fourth, the availability of scholarships.
Here are five of the best colleges to study army aviation:
- United States Military Academy
- The United States Air Force Academy
- Norwich University
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- California Polytechnic State University
Army aviation is an important part of the Army Officers in this career field are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the activities of aviation units. They also manage resources and personnel to ensure mission success. If you’re interested in a career that involves leading teams, managing resources, and providing support to Soldiers on the ground, then consider becoming an Army aviator.