I'm as good as selected in the NG as a rotary wing aviator.
I have to decide what airframe I want very soon, and I'll be damned if I haven't spent months thinking about it but I just can't come to a decision! There are no guarentees that I'll get what I want, but they are basically short on everything now, so I'll have a good chance whichever I decide.
This is a once and done thing from what I hear, whatever I decide I'm stuck with.
AH-64, UH-60, or CH-47.
Kiowas are out of the running - I'm too tall.
What I want is variety and flight time. Although I would like to blow shit up also.
I have a feeling that if I were to pick the Apache I'd spend a lot of time doing nothing while I'm in the States. It seems like the 60's and 47's win in that regard, what type of missions do those do specifically, both overseas and stateside?
Which one really racks up the flight hours?
I know, I REALLY wanted the Kiowa too!
I said I'd like to blow shit up, but more important to me is the ability to fly as much as possible. I think the other 2 win, (by a huge margin from what I hear).
So of the 2 60's and 47's which should I go with?
I'd hate to say it, but from your stated goals, you wanted to drive a Kiowa.
If "blow shit up" is important to you, all that is left is the Apache. I've honestly never known any Apache drivers that well - and only called on them once in Iraq, and it was a local unit as we were moving through their AO, not our own. Kiowas were our workhorse aircraft - those guys did everything form aerial patrols, to CAS, to convoy security.
Come to think of it, I think our Apaches were all in Baghdad on loan to the guys with mucho stars on their collars.
As for the other 2 - Shithooks are faster, but are mainly used for longer range cargo hauling, and are always higher ecehlon assets (the 101st is the only Division that even has any). Blackhawks are primarily battle taxis these days, and the major means of personnel movement from FOB to FOB. Both can be used for troop insertions, but the Blackhawk is the traditional Assualt / Lift helicopter for infantry. The Chinook works better at the higher altitudes found in Afghanistan, and thus famously has filled that role more there.
I say go for Chinooks but i'm an FE on a Chinook 47s have more speed, range, altitude, and weight carrying ability. I think we have a greater range of missions too. I've done paradrops(static line), halo drops, bambi buckets (750gallon), rope drop air assaults, dropped Zodiacs, dirtbikes, Mercedes Wolfs, Humvees, all kinds of people. We sling all kinds of stuff, Humvees, 105s, Blackhawks, fuel and water blivets, and a lot of concrete blocks.
One big difference for the pilots is the crew coordination required to operate a Chinook. If you don't like a lot of interaction with your enlisted types then stay away. Our misions require a lot of crew coordination, in tight LZs, dust landings and during sling ops you guys realy have to reley on us in the back, you guys can't see. The flight days, especially overseas are very long so you definitely get your flight time. We flew from CT out to Helena, MT for AT this year.
If you want variety if missions: UH-60's
We flew just about anything and everything you can think of (that will fit into a Blackhawk) all over Iraq and even to Kuwait occasionally...
If you want to haul massive amounts of cargo and personnel: CH-47's
Chinooks only flew at night in our AO. They mainly pushed pallets or PAX to a handful of FOBs.
If you want to fly in circles for 4-6 hours a day hoping to get permission to engage: AH-64's
All of the aircraft perform vital roles. I would suggest going to prospective units and check things out a bit. Pilots and crewchiefs tend to like to show off their airframes...
My own recommendation would be UH-60's, but then I may be a bit biased...
We flew passengers, VIPs, Detainees, supplies, Reconnaissance, inserted EOD teams, participated in air assaults, MEDEVAC escort, and "Fallen Heroes" on the start of their journey home...
Well when you get down to it here are your choices: Taxi, Semi-Truck or, Death Dealing Sports Car. I know what my choice would be. Course I'm a 64 Mechanic so that may bias me.
I'd go with the UH-60 because every branch of the service flies them, as well as numerous civilian agencies. I've met more than one Coast Guard or U.S. Customs pilot who got his training in the Army and took it with him when he left.
Lots of good advice so far....
BUT, you are NEVER STUCK.....EVER.....
You always have the option of moving states, going to the Reserve, or even active duty.
PLUS, there's always the fixed wing side of the house, depending on your state and politics.
I started in the active Army, flew Hueys (UH-1H's), then got out, did a year in the reserve, joined the Air Force.....Flew a few years there, got out, and now work for an Airline.....
SO....you are NEVER STUCK!
IF you want to blow shit up....AH-64
IF you want to haul oversized shit....CH-47
IF you want to do all kinds of stuff inbetween.....UH-60
PLUS, take a look at what Task Force 160 does with their "60's".....
Best of luck! Are you going Warrant or RLO?
Oh yea, what State are you in??? I miss flying helo's.........