Getting Into Army Aviation


May 25, 2009
Whats the standard way to get into Army Aviation? I've heard of something called the "high school to flight school" program but not much more than that. Do most Army pilots have an Associates or Bachelor's degree? Is it pretty competitive to get into or is there always a need?
I'm not a pilot or expert in the field but basically you can be a pilot as a commissioned officer or as a warrant officer. Commissioned officers require a college degree and are leaders and over there whole career will do less flying then there warrant officer counter parts. Warrant officers go through warrant officer training and then flight school. Warrant officers are consider technical professionals in the military and you're not required to have a college degree even though college degree will make a big impact on your military career no matter if your a commissioned officer, a warrant officer or enlisted soldier. Warrant officers careers are focused more on flying then a commissioned officer who's command time will lower there flight time as they get farther into there career.

Don't take what I said as gospel. Google is your friend. You might even look at recruiters or local National Guard aviation units for better information. This really isn't the right area of the forum to ask such question. The 160th is not an entry level duty assignment and is a whole other world.

Try starting here:
Thank you, the reason I asked on this forum was because I know there are a lot of knowledgeable and good people who have had actual experience. The 160th would be a long term goal for me. And the recruiters where I am, being the star players that they are, don't really have a clue about aviation.
Make sure to check the Aspiring Pilots link on the page I gave you. I think it will give you a lot of answers to your standards questions. There is also a link to a study guide for the AFAST test. A lot of the the information looks to be geared more to the warrant officer track but good basic detailed knowledge.
I am currently in the selection process for WOFT (Warrant Officer Flight Training). All you need to apply is a high school diploma. Right now the economy isn't great and not as much money is being invested in defense, so its pretty competitive. Most of the people selected have either a college degree, prior enlisted experience, flight experience or some combination of the above. That being said, it never hurts to try. You'll have to find a recruiter who is willing to work with you. The recruiter will have to do more work for your WOFT packet than an OCS packet, and a lot more work than an enlistment and he/she doesn't get any extra credit. WOFT can be done in about 3 months if all the cards fall in your favor, but usually take significantly longer (9 months so far for me...). Feel free to ask me any questions you might have.
All you need to apply is a HS diploma but how many people do you know that has actually made it in with that? I'm working on my PPL now and using some of my dads military benefits to help pay for that. And once I graduate (high school senior here) I plan on getting an Associates in Nursing. Could I give it a shot now just to see if I get accepted? Would it hurt my chances later on if i decided to apply again after i was a bit more qualified?
Why an associate's in nursing if you want aviation?

If you want 160th long term, you can also directly contact one of their recruiters, or even start with general Army aviation jobs at if you haven't done that already.
Down here the Air Force don't like it so much if people have their PPL/CPL before they start pilot training. Means they have to beat the bad habits out of them. They won't turn down a candidate because of it though.

Solid theory of flight knowledge would do you well. I mean solid.
You might want to check out the military aviation forum at There are a lot of Army pilots on there.

Getting picked up with just a HS Diploma is rare but it does happen. Do you have any extracurriculars or volunteer work? The board absolutely loves to see volunteer work. You can apply again and again until you are too old, but there is a six month wait time between applications. There are people who got selected on their 6th or 7th try, so now harm in applying now, unless you want to get the degree under your belt first. Also, having a PPL can help you but having too many hours can hurt you, it's like Spitfire said.
Down here the Air Force don't like it so much if people have their PPL/CPL before they start pilot training. Means they have to beat the bad habits out of them. They won't turn down a candidate because of it though.

Solid theory of flight knowledge would do you well. I mean solid.

Does this apply for rotary wing aircraft in NZ? Because if he wants to go Army it won't be fixed wing aircraft he's aiming to fly.
It was more of a general observation. The guy who said it was an A4 pilot from memory but the RNZAF flies fixed and rotary.
I was wondering about that, thanks for your answer!

You're welcome mate. If it flies, it's taken care of by the Air Force. Well unless the army has got those over the hill UAVs yet. The Navy has Seasprites except they're maintained and possibly owned by the Air Force except for the aircrew who are all Navy and Navy trained. Confused? Me too, since I'm sure that's not totally correct.

Until about the early-mid 90s there was also the Army Air Corps who flew the Sioux helicopter (yes, you read that right and they're still around until next year!) in a recon role. Again the helicopters were owned and maintained by the air force with Army aircrew. Pardus might have come across them, he was in about the right time.
Not to stray too far off topic...

Worked with 3 Squadron, RNZAF back in 1999 for a few days in Queenstown & Christchurch. Good guys.
Thanks for the links and replies. I've been wanting to pursue a degree in nursing for the longest time and its always something to fall back on in the case I don't get accepted into the flight program. I've always been fascinated by rotary wing aviation though. Being in Civil Air Patrol for about 5 years introduced me to flight knowledge but I'm always willing to learn more.

But for the board though, is it like an interview in front of several people or is it the type of board that just determines whether you're a a go or not?