Chopper Pilot
U.S. Army Helicopter Pilot Training
during the Vietnam War
(Restored -1968)
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Vietnam produced an unprecedented demand for trained helicopter pilots & crew. Starting with basic classroom work on aerodynamics, engineering & more at Fort Walters Training Center, promising students, mostly drawn from the Army's Warrant Officer training program, soon move on to to basic flight school with a civilian contractor pilot in the minuscule TH 155 trainer to learn basic flight controls & helicopter handling and then on to their first solo flight. (At any time, 400 choppers could be in the air at this facility!) Then a veteran military instructor takes over to teach them advances skills, including low level cross country flying, navigation, formation flying and recon work. Those that pass the test move on to the even bigger training facility at Ft. Rucker, Alabama for advanced training on the larger TH13T, including instruments, ADF and GCa. The next step up is to the ubiquitous Huey UH1, basically no different than the ones they'll fly in Vietnam or Europe and includes basic maintenance and familiarization.. Training culminating in an 8 Day 'Field Problem," where everything is done to simulate operating in real world conditions doing a variety of missions, including heavy lifting, recon, transport & LZ support. After a long and demanding winnowing process, the best candidates graduate and are assigned to units all over the World.
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