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Army Guard to Air Guard Transition?

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Well-known member
Mar 22, 2002

I am interested in finding out how to fly for the Air Guard and hope someone here can help with the how to's.

Here is a little information about me:

I am currently in the Army Guard flying UH/1 Helicopters.

I spent 10 years on Active Duty (Army) 5 1/2 of which was flying UH/1's.

I have been in the Army Guard flying Helo's for 3 1/2 years and am a Chief Warrant Officer 2 promotable to 3. (Advanced Course Completed)

My total Federal service is just under 14 yrs.

I will be completed with my 4 year Aeronautical Degree by summer. (2 Clep test and I am done! :)

I am 31 1/2 years old and in excellent health.

I fly for Flight Options (Fractional Airline) and have the following privileges:

ATP- Airplane Multi-Engine Land, HS25
Commercial- Airplane Single Engine Land Rotorcraft-Helicopter, Instrument Helicopter.

Half of my time is in Helicopters the other half is in Fixed Wing.

While running into other pilots on the road I have heard all kinds of different things as to how I could "transfer" over to the Air Guard.

The most prominent thing I hear is I need to find an Air Guard Unit willing to take me, then everything else I hear varies drastically. Some say you have to start from scratch, others say that since I am already ATP rated I get a short course? I have no details and no idea on how to make the change, or what it entails but am very interested in doing so. I have always wanted to fly for the Air force but did not have the education to do it.

Any help on this one would be greatly appreciated.

It happens all the time

Check out this website, it has all the Guard and reserve units that are highering for UPT:

The Air Force has in place a system to allow helo pilots to convert to Fixed wing. It has nothing to do with Civilian ratings.

Depending on which unit that'll hire you, you may go through different tracks.

If you get a fighter, then you will have to do all of UPT. If you get heavies they may only have you do T-37s, or just T-1s. It all depends on what the unit is will willing to pay for and your experiance level. I have seen units send Army Guard pilots with 400 hours through the whole UPT (they needed to, becuase 400 means the person is still learning). But I have seen most Air Guard units send ex-Army pilots through just a short course. It allows them to get back to the unit faster.

Be aware not all Air Guard units know about this new Helo-fixed wing process. It has been around for 2 years now, and all UPT bases can do it. It is just a different syllabus from the Normal UPT syllabus.

I was a T-37 IP at Columbus AFB, and now a T-6 IP at Moody. I have seen it all. You just have to convence a unit you can make it easy for them.

Don't worry about what course you'll go through at UPT, just concentrate on getting a unit to hire you. The rules for which course you go through will probably change 2 or 3 times by the time you get there anyway.

With that said, if you fly heavies the guard bureau will probably send you through the fixed-wing qualification course. It is the exact same as normal UPT with a few less flights and a little less harassment. You'll fly T-37's and T-1's, and the course will take close to a year. If you fly heavies with a USAF reserve unit, they may allow you to skip T-37's and go straight into the T-1. Last I heard the guard wasn't allowing anyone to go straight into the T-1 yet, but that may have changed.

I used to get guard and reserve guys showing up to check in all the time without any idea which course they were supposed to be in. The guard bureau will make those decisions for guard guys, and most USAFR units will make the decision themselves.

The FWQ students were an interesting bunch. I've had some that had twice the bizjet time any of the IP's had and they taught me more than I taught them. And then I've had some that, well let's just say they had problems adapting.

Thank you

Thank you for the replies.

Also, you said:

"Be aware not all Air Guard units know about this new Helo-fixed wing process. It has been around for 2 years now, and all UPT bases can do it. It is just a different syllabus from the Normal UPT syllabus. "

Do you know where I can find more information about this specific program?

Thanks again,
Find a unit

Hey Army guy, don't worry about the syllabus, find a unit first. I went to FWQ and the truth is the program changes every couple of years. I flew t-37s and T-38s but the latest guy from my units is doing T-1s only. I have heard it can be done at any UPT base, but I only know of people that went to Vance, like I did. By the time you find a unit, todays "facts" will be out of date.

The Guard rules (I can't speak for the USAFR) are: once a unit decides to hire you (and all that takes is LOTS of persistance and motivation), you will go off to the training that is agreed to between you (the least if any input), your unit and the Guard Bureau. The Guard Bureau has one individual who makes up the rules and determines, what unit gets the slots, how many, what program the trainee will fly (weather they can skip T-37s or not) and so on. They do take into account your past experience, military and civilian. I am reluctant to give the NGB guys name. Your unit should know who he is but ...sometimes they don't. This is often an education for the units, who may have never sent someone to FWQ training. Go to the Army pilot to Air Force pilot website. Can't remember the name??!! You should be able to get lots of hot poop there!

I reccomend you begin your unit search close to home and spread out from there. Be prepared to do some hunting!

Good luck!
Your age is an issue

Just real quick. I know a lot about this because I talked directly with the guy at the National Guard bureau in order to push a FWQ package through the pipleline for an Army helo pilot. First, you will have to get an age waiver if you are going to be sent to the FWQ course, (age 30 is still the rule) so it will be a rare case where a unit will push a lot of paperwork to get your package in just to have it all ride on getting your waiver approved, not saying it can't happen, but a better bet is to do this. Either find a reserve/guard unit that is remotely located, like teh Puerto Rico Air guard (c-130 in the middle of conversion, maybe lots of slots?), and they may have a case to say that slots are hard to fill which is why they need an age waiver, ...but the most likely scenario is to get into a rescue unit that flies both c-130s and helos, (blackhawks) and get qualed in their helo and then see about making your move, it may not happen, but hey you just never know, or at least they could be the best judge as to what your chances are. At least your flying with the blue suiters, so that says a lot. The FWQ course happens only at Vance, AFB. It is a good deal. Finally, i think you said you were a Warrant officer, well the guy in my case was already commissioned, and under age 30, so again you may have to even get an age waiver for commissioning. Hope this helps and good luck!
FWQ Course is at Columbus also

A note to add, I meet 3 former Army Helo Guard guys at Columbus AFB that were doing the T-1 Syllabus only. But you don't make that decision any way as to where you go so who cares where it gets accomplished.

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