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Becoming an Army Helicopter Pilot

Kundan Pandey
Being an army helicopter pilot is an exciting and equally challenging job. Making a career in this field requires planning and tremendous efforts.
Even the thought of being a helicopter pilot for the army is exiciting, and it reminds us of childhood days when watching helicopters and airplanes kissing the sky was filled with intense curiosity and wonder. While you may have realized your potential in some other field, our advise is not to quit your dreams, if you genuinely want to pursue this field.
There is no denying that flying aircraft is one of the most coveted careers in the US. You have to be very sure if you wish to become a part of it as it is not only about the profession but also doing your bit for a larger cause, serving the US army and hence your country.
The most beneficial criterion for students is that no higher education is required. Students have to enroll in "High school to Flight School Program" that first makes them warrant officers. Later, warrant officers are put in army flight school to become the helicopter pilots. So, even after high school, you can start your career and head towards your dream.

Eligibility Criteria

For pursuing a career in this field, a candidate has to satisfy the following points:
  • You must be at least 18 years of age while joining the army and less than 33 years of age before you appear in front of the military board for flight school programs. You may get an age waiver if your are 33 or 34 years old.
  • You must be a citizen of US. If not, you must apply for the same at the earliest. However, 5 years of minimum residential stay in the country is important for citizenship.
  • If you satisfy these 2 criteria, you must appear for Flight Aptitude Selection Test and Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery test and score 90 and 110 respectively to get selected.
  • Then, you are required to go for rigorous medical check-ups. Ensure that your height, weight, and vision are equivalent to the standards set by the army. This process needs to be completed before you are declared eligible for joining a flight school.


Once you are done with formalities and selected, you must attend a year-or-less duration training where you'll be trained in 2 aspects: warrant officer training and flying programs. Basic combat training, ability to fly choppers and flying helicopters with night vision goggles fit in front of the helmet are some of the skills in which candidates are trained.
As their tasks are often required in wars, battles, and natural disasters, they are trained to handle emergency transport of goods, foods and water to disaster-hit areas. Rescue operations are a part of training that makes them perfect. There are also training modules and selection criteria (same as for normal pilots) set by the Army National Guard.


The pay ranges between USD 51,000 and USD 110,000 per year, which is greater than the one for helicopter pilots. Your decision to enter this field must not only stem from the love of flying. You have got to be practical and also make efforts to create a healthy body and mind, so that you are able to face the tough challenges encountered in this profession.