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A day in the life as a CG Aviator?

slug

Member
Hey Forum, I'm pursuing a career as a Coast Guard aviator. Can anyone recommend any books about pilot life, particularly helo pilot life?

Gracias

So Others May Live is a good book. It focuses on swimmers, but talks a little about CG pilots and flying in extreme weather conditions. Should be required reading for all DCAs. Also Rescue Warriors is a good look at the entire CG, since moving to the DHS.
 

Skrewku08

New Member
Is it true that only O-1s through O-4s are the only ones flying? Or do they run you up the pay scale? How long do they usually let you fly before they pull you out of the cockpit? I am considering Blue 21, but my age is right on the line. I have all my civil ratings except my ATP. How often do the run OCS? Is it possible they might just put me on the backburner until I am over the age? Thanks.
 

HercDriver

Idiots w/boats = job security
pilot
Super Moderator
Is it true that only O-1s through O-4s are the only ones flying? Or do they run you up the pay scale? How long do they usually let you fly before they pull you out of the cockpit? I am considering Blue 21, but my age is right on the line. I have all my civil ratings except my ATP. How often do the run OCS? Is it possible they might just put me on the backburner until I am over the age? Thanks.
The majority of flying is done up until O-4, but we have duty standing O-5s at many of our units. I've known a few folks who have flown their entire career, until they made O-6 (they are the exception, as it seems many do a desk job for 4 years after 8-10 years of flying). Couldn't tell you how often they run OCS; try www.coastguardocs.com, and they should have a place with schedules on it.
 

sardaddy

Registered User
pilot
Is it true that only O-1s through O-4s are the only ones flying? Or do they run you up the pay scale? How long do they usually let you fly before they pull you out of the cockpit? I am considering Blue 21, but my age is right on the line. I have all my civil ratings except my ATP. How often do the run OCS? Is it possible they might just put me on the backburner until I am over the age? Thanks.

I'll give you my take which is for some reason different than hercdrivers.

You could, generally in theory, but sometimes in practice fly until some point as an O-6.

Here is how, you can go to air stations easily up to O-4 unless you request to go to a staff job. Then from there act as a duty standing O-5 if you really wanted to. However, at that point your career is over. Or you could apply for an OPS officer job as an O-4 or O-5 and you will still be flying. Then you become an Air station XO. Still flying. Then air station CO. Still flying. You don't fly as much as you get those jobs but you are still in the cockpit.

Or, you could get a staff job as an O-4. If you are really smart you find a staff job that requires you to maintain flight time. Again, not as much flying as a guy at an air station but you are still flying. Then you become an OPS boss and see above.

Or, you go to the training branch as a junior O-5 and try to become an XO or CO at an air station and then see above.

All of those are ways to fly up to and including O-6. I say in theory but all of those ways have been and are being done on a regular basis. Some paths are more preferred than others and some assure you promotion more than others but they can all be done.

One way that takes you out of the cockpit for a while is to suck up a 2-4 year non flying staff job then go back to an air station preferably with an OPS job and then see above.

Good luck.
 

HercDriver

Idiots w/boats = job security
pilot
Super Moderator
I'll give you my take which is for some reason different than hercdrivers.
Macro vs micro. Looking at his profile and from his question it looked like he was looking for big picture, vice in the weeds.
 

sardaddy

Registered User
pilot
Well, I guess my point was poorly presented. The point was that it is hard to fly continuously from O-1 through O-6 but there are ways to do it.

The bigger point, the macro focus on it, if you will, is that I don't know very many, if any, pilots that stopped flying altogether after O-4 except for those that don't get selected to O-5. They either stay on as duty standing pilots knowing they will not get promoted to O-6 but at least they are flying as O-5's. OR they go to a staff tour for a few years and then get back into the flying game at some point as an O-5 or O-6. There are very few that desire to get out of the flying game completelely so they compete for flying jobs up until they are senior O-6's.

You make it sound like most are done flying after O-4. I disagree and think most will have an opportunity to fly again if they want to at some point as an O-5 or O-6.
 

HercDriver

Idiots w/boats = job security
pilot
Super Moderator
Well, I guess my point was poorly presented. The point was that it is hard to fly continuously from O-1 through O-6 but there are ways to do it.

The bigger point, the macro focus on it, if you will, is that I don't know very many, if any, pilots that stopped flying altogether after O-4 except for those that don't get selected to O-5. They either stay on as duty standing pilots knowing they will not get promoted to O-6 but at least they are flying as O-5's. OR they go to a staff tour for a few years and then get back into the flying game at some point as an O-5 or O-6. There are very few that desire to get out of the flying game completelely so they compete for flying jobs up until they are senior O-6's.

You make it sound like most are done flying after O-4. I disagree and think most will have an opportunity to fly again if they want to at some point as an O-5 or O-6.
I got you. You're right, my post does sound that way, when what I meant was continuous flying until pulled from cockpit temporarily, not permanently. It's true that if you want to fly for a long time in CG aviation, the opportunity is there, so thanks for clearing that up.

I agree with both of your posts, though the part about most O-6s having an opportunity to fly if they want to is stretching it...the average number of O-6s who screen for command is around ten, and the AY09 O-6 shopping list had only six aviation jobs on it (and there are only 15 gen'l aviation coded O-6 billets at operational units overall).
 

eddie

Working Plan B
Contributor
I agree with both of your posts, though the part about most O-6s having an opportunity to fly if they want to is stretching it...the average number of O-6s who screen for command is around ten, and the AY09 O-6 shopping list had only six aviation jobs on it (and there are only 15 gen'l aviation coded O-6 billets at operational units overall).
How many O-6s and flag officers are in the Coast Guard?
 

kacraven

New Member
USCG Officer Job Descriptions

Does anybody on here know where i can find actual job descriptions for Coast Guard Officers? All i can find is very vague (1-2 word) billet descriptions - doesn't exactly give you an idea of what the day-to-day life is like ...
Reason i ask: from what i've heard most OCS grads that want to fly go somewhere else first (ops ashore/afloat) so it'd be nice to know what i'd actually doing. Gocoastguard.com literaly just provides 7 bullet points for their 'career fields' list ... not exactly descriptive..
 

Brunes

New Member
pilot
Does anybody on here know where i can find actual job descriptions for Coast Guard Officers? All i can find is very vague (1-2 word) billet descriptions - doesn't exactly give you an idea of what the day-to-day life is like ...
Reason i ask: from what i've heard most OCS grads that want to fly go somewhere else first (ops ashore/afloat) so it'd
be nice to know what i'd actually doing. Gocoastguard.com literaly just provides 7 bullet points for their 'career fields' list ... not exactly descriptive..
I don't know that there is anywhere that has a day to day outline of officer jobs. When you get an officer billet in the CG you don't get a specialty right of the bat....You'll get a crack at alot of different things early and then get into a specific track. And each unit changes and flexes day to day- So there is no hard and fast definition of the jobs.

Boat Guys will go to sea for 1-4 months depending on ship size. You'll have a division or two working for you, and numerous collateral jobs.
Sector types can be running the command center, coordinating Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement throughout the Sector. You might also be an Law Enforcement Branch officer or Administration/Logistics Type.
Staff jobs are a very real possibility too- Lots of special projects.
Pilots spend the first year and a half or two at flight school...then go to an Air Station to fly. They'll also get a ground job or two while there.
 

sardaddy

Registered User
pilot
(and there are only 15 gen'l aviation coded O-6 billets at operational units overall).
Don't forget the O-6 flying billets at ALC and the O-6 flying billets at HQ as well. There are not a whole lot of aviation O-6s milling about anyway. But in general we are on the same page.
 

navy09

Registered User
None
@Brunes: Didn't realize CG O's were so diversified. Is it possible to do the LEDET thing for a few years then go to flight school? That would be a sweet career track.
 

Brunes

New Member
pilot
@Brunes: Didn't realize CG O's were so diversified. Is it possible to do the LEDET thing for a few years then go to flight school? That would be a sweet career track.
Yes it is possible. There are ciurrently at least 3 O3s in flight training right now that did an afloat first tour, then a CO/XO or buoy tender OPSO tour and then came here. At least one of them went to a Patrol Boat in Bahrain. Going to a LEDET is no different. Performance defines a lot of career options.

It's debated what the best method is....Obviously folks like the crossover aviators from other services have great luck with starting another career and then changing over....but they come from flying jbos to flying jobs. The longer you stay out of aviation and don't select a specialty...the harder your career is to bring together (Imho)
 

HeyJoe

Fly Navy! ...or USMC
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Hey, is that Spanky way out here?



100810-N-2515C-008 PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 10, 2010) Landing signal enlisted Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Troy Palomino directs an H-65 "Dolphin" short-range recovery helicopter assigned to Group/Air Station Port Angeles, Wash. onto the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20). Green Bay is assisting the Coast Guard with training exercises in the western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Larry S. Carlson/Released)
 
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