At Fort Bragg, Army aviators prepare for another deployment as demand soars for air crews – The Washington Post

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The Afghanistan conflict, marking its 10th anniversary, is in many ways a helicopter war.

Army aviators fly attack missions, ferry troops and supplies and evacuate the wounded. They are in ever-increasing demand even as America eyes the exits in Afghanistan.

The pilots are flying roughly 63 hours a month — nearly five times the peacetime average.

via At Fort Bragg, Army aviators prepare for another deployment as demand soars for air crews – The Washington Post.

Wow. I knew Army aviation was in great demand, but 63 hours a month is incredible. That’s a great strain on the crews, and you’d better believe it is a great strain on the airframes as well.

And as soon as the Army gets out of Afghanistan, and the budget is slashed, you can bet the crews will be struggling to get four hours a month of flight time.

4 thoughts on “At Fort Bragg, Army aviators prepare for another deployment as demand soars for air crews – The Washington Post”

  1. What will be lost, along with flight hours, is the tremendous skills the pilots have developed. In my young Infantry days, sometimes when the active component couldn’t support us, we got lift support from the ARNG, with Vietnam vet pilots flying that Huey with incredible skills that the active duty pilots couldn’t hope to emulate. Fast forward 25 years and I’ve seen some incredible flying, even in training missions, that 10 years ago, the pilots wouldn’t dream of doing.

    1. As Outlaw will tell you, you gotta do what you’re gonna do, or you won’t be able to do what you need to do when you need to do it.

      Another factor is that the amount of flying in the initial entry course is not as large as it was when I started. It’s been cut in half since then, with a good bit of that in simulators. I was looking at about 300 hours total with about 15-20 in simulators for instrument training. The TH-55 was also cheaper to operate than the TH-57 (Jet Ranger). I would not have been in a turbine helo until senior phase when I would have been put into a UH-1. The current course is only about 150 hours, and I don’t think it is as good either.

  2. The irony to me here is the fact that on the latest promotion board the selection for CW3 & 4 was reduced from the past and CW4’s which were previously allowed to serve until their 30th year now are asked to either separate after a 2 time non-select or ask to be retained until the 25th year of service and go before a selection board. So while we have an all time high demand of aviation services the Army is attempting to cull it’s ranks of senior aviation experience.

    I know money is getting tight but Warrant Officers as an aggregate aren’t that big a population. Are O-6s that are 2 time non selects being asked to leave? That would save a lot more money if that’s what we are worried about.

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