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A Message from Maj. Gen. David Francis, usaace and fort rucker commanding general
(4:30 MINUTE VIDEO)

Aviation talent demands

Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, Spatial

Aviation officers must be able to understand, process, and translate vast amounts of data into understandable concepts. As such, they must master concepts across multiple disciplines (for example, air and ground combat operations) while integrating them into an operational perspective in order to support their maneuver partners.

Aviators must also be capable of rapid visualization, possess an acute sensitivity to visual details and spatial relationships, and be able to orient multiple dimensions with ease. They must think creatively and in an innovative and novel fashion, devising solutions and responses to unforeseen challenges in the most effective yet prudent fashion.

As a result, Aviation Officers quickly and effectively analyze situations, rapidly process and prioritize requirements and actions, communicate effectively, and make independent and integrity-based decisions.

The Aviation branch desires officers with academic backgrounds that span the entire spectrum of disciplines and majors offered at our nation’s undergraduate institutions. Broad individual experiences contribute to the success of the branch. As well, officers with an understanding of combined arms maneuver and its linkage to the Joint Force.

RELEVANT TRAINING / EXPERIENCE:

Cadet Troop Leading Time in combat arms, military intelligence, logistics, or air traffic control; small unit leadership responsibilities requiring independent operations with minimal oversight; leading higher ranking cadets or peers (1SG, CO, etc); leading small teams with an emphasis on communication, problem solving, executing under a stressful timeline; honor / respect leadership (not all inclusive).

RELEVANT CERTIFICATIONS / ACCREDITATIONS:

Airborne, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Civil fixed wing license; Combat Lifesaver; Master Fitness Trainer (not all inclusive).

(In addition to foundational):

  • Adaptable
  • Agile
  • Critical Thinker
  • Disciplined
  • Flexible
  • Independent
  • Initiative
  • Innovative
  • Intellectually Curious
  • Perceptive
  • Precise
  • Problem Solving
  • Prudent Risk Taker
  • Stress Tolerant
  1. PRUDENT RISK TAKER.  Acts boldly yet maintains appropriate focus upon personnel, Soldiers, and unit safety. 
  2. INTERPERSONAL.  Skilled in developing appropriate relationships.  Able to connect with others to achieve positive results.
  3. INTERDISCIPLINARY.  Synthesizes and applies knowledge from multiple disciplines into a coherent overarching perspective.
  4. SPATIALLY INTELLIGENT.  Easily perceives, understands, and operates within the multi-dimensional world.
  5. INNOVATIVE.  Creative, inquisitive, and insightful.  Easily identifies new solutions and catalyzes change.
  6. MULTI-TASKER.  Rapidly processes and prioritizes multiple demands simultaneously.  Takes appropriate action.

Video: U.S. Army Aviation Officer
(8:57 MINUTE VIDEO)

Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions were compiled from conversations with cadets, candidates and civilians.

Is there anything I need to do in advance to qualify for aviation?

Yes. You must take and pass the Selection Instrument for Flight Training (SIFT) and have a qualified flight physical (see details below in the medical FAQs).

First Step: Take and pass the SIFT. The SIFT is a measure of multiple aptitudes. It assesses mathematical skills and aptitude, the ability to extract meaning from written passages, familiarity with mechanical concepts and simple machines, the ability to perform mental rotations to determine the orientation of aircraft in 3-dimensional space, and the ability to quickly recognize patterns within objects and groups of images. The SIFT also measures an examinee's knowledge of aviation terminology, familiarity with aircraft components, and function, knowledge of basic aerodynamic principles, and a grasp of basic flight rules and regulations. A passing score is 40. If you score 40 or higher you have completed the first step in qualifying for aviation service in the army and are no longer authorized to retake the SIFT. If you score below a 40 you have one more opportunity to take the test again after 45 days. If you do not pass the test the second time you are disqualified from army aviation service. Once you pass the SIFT you will be able to schedule your flight physical.

Second Step: Schedule a Flight Physical. With a passing SIFT score your ROTC Cadre can assist you with scheduling your flight physical. If you experience difficulty with scheduling you can contact the AV Branch through the email at the bottom of this page.

 

Can I be denied a flight physical if my SIFT score is below 50?

No. The minimum passing score is 40. You cannot be denied a flight physical if you pass the SIFT.

 

When should I take the SIFT and schedule my flight physical?

We recommend you take and pass the SIFT as soon as you are ready and no later than the summer following your junior year. We recommend you begin your flight physical during the second semester of your junior year. If you have not completed the SIFT and/or flight physical and have questions or concerns about your timeline please reach out to the AV Branch through the email at the bottom of this page.

 

How do I prepare for the SIFT?

Use study guides and consider a tutor if necessary. There are study guides for sale online. Order the one that is right for you and prepare accordingly. If you need work on some areas, consider a tutor. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of passing and the less stress you will experience before and during the test.

 

Do I need to be a math whiz?

No. The SIFT does contain a math skills section but you can prepare for the SIFT like any other test. Order a study guide and get a tutor if necessary to boost your confidence and achieve a passing score.

 

Do I need to have a degree in aerodynamics or engineering?

No. The Aviation Branch desires officers with academic backgrounds that span the entire spectrum of disciplines and majors. Broad individual experiences and diversity contribute to the success of the branch.

 

Do I need to be a private pilot, or be working toward earning a private pilot’s license?

No. Ground school, flight hours, certificates, or a license will assist you in understanding certain aviation topics while attending flight school but they are not a requirement. You are attending flight school to be taught how to fly for the United States Army. Prior aviation experience is not required.

 

Do I need to have a high GPA?

No. The Aviation Branch takes a holistic look at each Cadet and Candidate. During the accessions process we take many aspects of your packet into consideration to include the difficulty of your degree program, your GPA and extracurricular activities, to name a few. If you happen to have a lower GPA but are enrolled in a challenging degree program, and are active in school programs, volunteer organizations, and your community, you are more likely to be selected than a Cadet that does not participate in any activities with a higher GPA.

 

I have a fear of water. How will I pass the dunker portion of training?

Dunker training is no longer part of the flight school curriculum. However, if you have identified this fear we recommend you take swimming lessons to overcome it. There are duty stations that conduct over the water training and we do not want you to wait until you are enrolled in unit training to deal with a fear you can overcome now.

 

What skills do I need to be an Aviator?

Aviation Officers must be able to understand, process, and translate vast amounts of data into understandable concepts. As such, they must master concepts across multiple disciplines (for example, air and ground combat operations) while integrating them into an operational perspective in order to support their maneuver partners. Aviators must also be capable of rapid visualization, possess an acute sensitivity to visual details and spatial relationships, and be able to orient multiple dimensions with ease. Aviation Officers must think creatively, in an innovative and novel fashion, devising solutions and responses to unforeseen challenges in the most effective, yet prudent fashion. As a result, Aviation Officers quickly and effectively analyze situations, rapidly process and prioritize requirements and actions, communicate effectively, and make independent and integrity-based decisions.

 

I am prior service and already graduated from SERE-C. If I am selected for Aviation do I need to attend SERE-C again?

No. If you already completed SERE-C and have documentation of completion, you will not have to attend.

 

Can females branch Aviation?

Yes. Females have been flying military aircraft for generations. In more recent history, the combat exclusion was lifted from aviation positions by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin on April 28, 1993, permitting women to serve in almost any aviation capacity. During that time some restrictions were maintained on aviation units in direct support of ground units and Special Operations Aviation units. Those restrictions were lifted in March 2016 when Ash Carter approved final plans for military service branches and the U.S. Special Operations Command to open all combat jobs to women, and authorized the military to begin integrating female combat Soldiers "right away." Bottom line, females can branch Aviation.

 

Does prior experience with Army aircraft help my odds of being selected?

It can help. The Aviation Branch looks at everything a Cadet brings to the table and your military aviation background will be taken into consideration. If you are wondering where you can present that information, you can do so by annotating your prior experience in your individual file in the free text entry under the "Experience" Tab.

 

MEDICAL FAQS

I wear glasses / contacts.  Can I branch Aviation without perfect vision?

Yes.  According to (AR 40-501) dated 27 JUNE 2019, “Standards of Medical Fitness” p. 33, para. 4–5. Vision conditions that do not meet the standards of medical fitness are the following:

a. Class 1. Any disqualifying condition must be referred to optometry or ophthalmology for verification.

(1) Uncorrected distant visual acuity worse than 20/50 in either eye.  Each eye must be correctable to 20/20 with no more than one error per five presentations of 20/20 letters, in any combination, on either the Armed Forces Vision Tester (AFVT) or any projected Snellen chart set at 20 feet.

(2) Uncorrected near visual acuity worse than 20/20 in each eye; with no more than one error per five presentations of 20/20 letters, in any combination, on the AFVT or any Snellen near visual acuity card.

In addition to 20/20 vision concerns, qualifying vision is more than visual acuity.  AR 40-501 Vision Conditions continued:

(3) Cycloplegic refractive error using the method in aeromedical technical bulletins under cycloplegic refraction.

(a) Hyperopia greater than +3.00 diopters of sphere in any meridian by transposition in either eye. (Spherical equivalent method does not apply.)

(b) Myopia greater than -1.50 diopters of sphere in any meridian by transposition in either eye. (Spherical equivalent method does not apply.)

(c) Astigmatism greater than +/-1.00 diopter of cylinder in either eye.

 

OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOL FAQS

How can I apply for Army Aviation in OCS?

Refer to the OCS Aviation Branching Prerequisites Information Guide (PDF) for information on applying for Army Aviation in OCS. Download Guide

 

INTERVIEW FAQS

How will Aviation conduct interviews for cadets?

The interviews will be conducted online through the HireVue platform. Aviation will post questions in the platform and each question will have a time limit. Cadet Command and USMA provide the instruction on using the HireVue platform. Good luck!

 

When will cadet interviews take place?

The 2021 interviews are scheduled from April 20 – August 29, 2021. Cadet Command and USMA will be communicating with and instructing all Cadets on the format and technology along with providing interview tips. Although we offer interview tips below too!

 

What can I do to stand out during my interview?

Be familiar with the Army Aviation mission, the Aviation Talent Demand Slide, and your Talent Assessment Battery results. AV Branch interview tips: Look and act professional. Be aware of what is in your background and inform roommates, friends, pets, and Family know when you are conducting the interview to avoid unnecessary distractions. We do not want you to lose focus from a preventable interruption. Answer the questions honestly, and most important... be yourself.

Contact Us

If you have questions about Army Aviation, our experts are here to help! Send an email to usarmy.rucker.avncoe.mbx.avn-commissioned@mail.mil today!