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Rotary Wing Pilot Day-in-the-life
Last Post 28 May 2020 11:29 AM by sardaddy. 3 Replies.
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wannabeecoastieUser is Offline
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wannabeecoastie

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23 Apr 2020 08:41 AM
    Hey all. I’m looking at transitioning from Army (CPT) to USCG via DCA. Long story short, no one ever described what a normal day looked like when I was in Army ROTC. Can anyone give me a daily breakdown or what a semi normal day looks like for a USCG RW Pilot? PT on your own? Any bull crap 350-2 training? Big boy rules? Flights/flight planning? Fuck-fuck games? Unit taskers? Division runs? 4 hour OPD sessions? Interaction with younger service members? I understand it changes with unit and leadership, but I’m still looking for a guide of what “normal” looks like. 

    Sorry, all I know is the clusterfuck Army lifestyle where we are putting out bogus fires all day and stressed about small things.

    Thanks and I hope everyone is staying safe during these times!
    kirkalandUser is Offline
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    kirkaland

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    24 Apr 2020 11:51 AM
    Almost none of the above.

    I'll try to describe a "normal" week for me at my unit (Miami), BC of course. So I'd have duty once or twice a week or so. That means coming in at 2:30, dojng weight and balance and performance planning for our crew as well as checking weather and notams. The AC (PC in the Army) usually checks the maintenance records for the plane during this time. At 3 we have our watch relief brief, and then we go right into a crew brief right afterwards, then it's back to the office for a few hours and grab dinner from the galley (DFAC) or something I've brought from home. Then we do a training flight that night either with a contract boat to do hoisting and swimmer work or just a night/nvg vfr traffic pattern and instrument approach training for 2 hours. Then spend the night in basically a hotel room that we have for our duty crew. I wake up, get a shower, breakfast, and go about my day until the watch relief at 3. This of course is all assuming we don't get launched for a case (Sar or law enforcement) at any point during the shift.

    Then on average I'll have 1 or 2 training flights during the week. Depending on the takeoff time, I'll come in around an hour or two early, do some work anddo the performance planning and weight and balance and get any gear we need (NVGs etc...). We do our crew brief a half hour before takeoff then go straight out and do preflight and hop in. For a 65 it takes about 10 minutes to go from starting the checklists to calling ground for taxi instructions. Usually once a week I have a ROL flight so we'll go to Marathon or Key West or Fort Pierce or Stuart shut down, get fuel, and go get brunch/lunch. Depending on how long the flight was I'll stick around afterwards and workout and do some work, I'm almost never at work longer than 8 hours.

    The 1-2 days/week I'm not flying or coming on or off duty normal hours are 7:30-3:30 and it's not like the Army where it's seen as a badge of honor to work late. If you're still in the office at 3:31 people will seriously ask if everything's alright or you need help with something. On these days I usually workout and shower around lunchtime as well.

    That was long winded but you asked. To answer some of your questions, no PT, we do have a version of 350-1 training, but it's not quite as much and it's good for a calendar year, so most people do it in November/December. No unit runs or fragos or conops. For the most part it's big boy rules.

    wannabeecoastieUser is Offline
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    wannabeecoastie

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    25 Apr 2020 10:16 AM
    Dude. This is awesome. Thank you. 

    I’m obviously still struggling to understand what overall way-of-life looks like. It’s something I want to have a better understanding of before I make the decision to go Coast Guard. I just can’t unsee the Army lifestyle! 
     
    As far as the days you’re not flying, you’re just focusing on your collateral? And is there any other additional duties that come with the day job? Property or personnel accountability, maintenance, after hours requirements?  
    sardaddyUser is Offline
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    sardaddy

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    28 May 2020 11:29 AM
    You will have many days you don't fly and your collateral duties will usually be on a grander scale than you are used to. So yes, when you are not flying you will be focused on your collateral duties as well as learning to be a better pilot but it is mostly done during your work time. Studying to be a better pilot often bleeds into time at home.

    After hours requirements? Kind of depends on what you mean by that. Will you work a regular 9-5 type day? Nope. night flights may make your workday start late in the afternoon as you fly at midnight. Duty of course keeps you after hours. However, if you aren't scheduled to work, you aren't bothered very often. The goal at every station i ever worked at was to give everyone a five day week when possible. Your week may be M-F or Sunday-Friday, or Tuesday to Saturday depending on the week and when your duty days fall.

    As I said, collateral duties are on a different scale than you are used to and are different depending on where you are based. My first station was Puerto Rico. As a new pilot and junior officer, I was the ground safety officer for the entire base which included the hangar, the common areas such as the base exchange, and housing. I was later the base security officer responsible for all of the security on the base including managing the civilian security guards. tons of jobs out there that are actually pretty interesting.

    The transition is strange but the change is worth it. Good luck.


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