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Military Vs. Civilian Route To Airline Pilot  
User currently offlineKochamLOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 300 posts, RR: 0
Posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 21764 times:

For all the commercial airline captains/pilots, what is the best way to become a
succesful airline pilot?


I considered the USAF, did AFROTC and
liked it but denied commision b/c of the ten year service obligation. With
instability in the airline industry and talk of it coming to a halt, I am
reconsidering my options.

Is the military a better option for someone who wants to make it to the high ranks of an airline?

What is valued more, a military pilot or a civilian pilot with flight
experience and A&P certificate?

Do former military pilots get the better half of the opportunty and establish higher job security or
is that solely a seniority issue?

Thanks for any posts. Please post anything that could give more insight.

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNW747-400 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 502 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 21718 times:

Military, in my opinion, is the way to go. I did not take that route unfortunately, but it will save you a lot of heartache with student loans and regional airlines. Most major carriers are military boys clubs.

The military was not for me. But it seems that you are on the right path to head that way. By all means, keep it going. Should you choose to not go the military route, get a degree in anything BUT aviation, then find a reputable flight school at a local airport that will give you a good bargain on flight training.

As far as an A&P, most major airlines aren't too concerned about that because you are never allowed to work on the airplane yourself anyway. That will come in handy for a corporate job, because if you get a biz jet stuck somewhere you can fix it yourself and get it out. Major airlines want to see your flight experience, internal recommendations, driving record (keep it spotless), education, etc. Military pilots have always had the upper hand in hiring preference, but the military pool is drying up and a lot of new hires at the majors are coming from regional airlines.

Job security, once you are hired, is a seniority issue. Airlines furlough via inverse seniority. The quicker you get seniority, the quicker you can hold a better schedule, your equipment of choice, upgrade to captain, and most importantly the all important furlough buffer.


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 21651 times:

Either one will work. If you can go the military route, I would encourage that. You may have to serve 10 years, but we all pay to get into this line of work one way or another. Former mil guys do seem to be better connected at certain companies, such as Delta or FedEx. Also, many retain their commission in the Guard or Reserve as a sort of furlough insurance. They will stick with it long enough to get their retirement and benefits to supplement what ever they are able to get from the company. Also, military guys get preferential hiring at other government agencies, such as DOJ or Customs.

If you go the civilian route, you might get your first flying job sooner, but unless you can pay cash (or get someone else to) you will be paying off student loans for 10 years or so, and will have a steeper hill to climb in terms of retirement and pay scales.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineCAP2008 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 21631 times:



Quoting NW747-400 (Reply 1):
then find a reputable flight school at a local airport that will give you a good bargain on flight training.

Consider joining Civil Air Patrol. You can save alot of $$$, by getting your pilot's license through CAP.



The mother of the last KC-135 pilot has yet to be born.
User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 21550 times:



Quoting CAP2008 (Reply 3):
You can save alot of $$$, by getting your pilot's license through CAP.

Just to be clear, Civil Air Patrol does not have a formal flight training program. I can't recall the regs off hand, but you may be able to receive flight instruction from a CFI (who is also a member) in CAP aircraft.

A better option though is to get flight training from an Aero Club on a nearby Air Force Base. CAP members are eligible for membership at Aero Clubs, and rental fees are quite inexpensive. Many clubs have CFIs as well.

The real advantage comes when you have your license (at least a PPL). Then, upon completing the necessary checks, you can fly CAP aircraft on training or actual search and rescue missions or fly orientation flights for cadets. You get to log the hours, but you don't pay for fuel.


User currently offlineMPDPilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 989 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 21502 times:

I thought I might chime in here with a slightly different idea.

First, I have heard that some airlines prefer a pilot with dual pilot experience over military training. I have heard that it is because flying an airliner is quite different than a F-16. Now I suppose that it depends greatly on the pilot.

Secondly, I have heard this from actual airline management, pilots with experience in Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) have shown themselves time and time again to be one step ahead of everyone else. Some of the schools that come to mind are ATP, and my school Arizona State University. I would say Embry Riddle but if cost is a problem then that is probably not the best route. And just to clarify, ASU has their flight training done by a division of Mesa Air Group, Mesa Pilot Development. From what I have heard, Mesa raves about these pilots, with two pilot crew training. ASU's program happens to have 40 hrs in a CRJ, but there are other schools that offer that kind of training as well.

On another note. Cost is a rather large problem for some. But I will always recommend a degree to anyone so there will probably be large costs involved. Just think if for some reason you loose your medical, just your military training will not offer quite the same job in another field.

Quoting NW747-400 (Reply 1):
get a degree in anything BUT aviation,

Why do you say this? I can tell you from experience I know today a heck of a lot more about operating an airliner in an airline setting than any pilot who has 800 hrs instructing, and I have a whole year left of training. Don't get me wrong flight instruction is a great way to gain experience and I plan to gain some that way as well. But the experience that comes from flying an airplane with a second pilot like it is done in the airlines is invaluable to airline pilots in training.

Also to add to this, in this day in age a degree is a plus a specific degree can be a hindrance. For example, my degree involves a number of class that are aviation administration related, which can be helpful should one loose their medical.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlineKochamLOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 300 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 21426 times:

I am a commercial flight student at Southern Illinois University and am working on my instrument this summer.
I have not had to take out any loans...yet. Regardless, I plan on finishing flight training at the school because even after commisioning, there is no guarantee of a flight slot and ive heard that the military is downsizing ~ pilots too.

Disregarding the cost of flight training, are there any benefits for prior military pilots in the airlines?
The only benefit I see is that of a pension after the age of 40 (if you stay for 20 yrs active) and the reseves as back-up.

Quoting NW747-400 (Reply 1):
Most major carriers are military boys clubs.

Is this the way the airlines wanted it or were they just the only boys available at the time?


User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 21396 times:



Quoting KochamLOT (Thread starter):
With
instability in the airline industry and talk of it coming to a halt, I am
reconsidering my options.

If you're concerned with the instability of the airline industry, plan on a career change! Instability and the airline industry go hand in hand. It's an occupational hazard.

Quoting KochamLOT (Thread starter):
Is the military a better option for someone who wants to make it to the high ranks of an airline?

Making it to the high ranks of the airline has nothing to do with your training. If you are talking about areas outside of flight ops, then being a pilot would not be a help at all.

Quoting KochamLOT (Thread starter):
What is valued more, a military pilot or a civilian pilot with flight
experience and A&P certificate?

Having an A&P means nothing for an airline. You're not going to work as a ground engineer (mechanic) for them, you're a pilot, there's nothing you'll do in flight for them, so it's really useless. The only difference between a civilian and military pilot is the training and the levels of responsibility early on. A military pilot's training is standard. You know what you're getting. A civilian pilot's training can vary considerably. For a military pilot, you get a lot more responsibility early on. For example, I graduated from UPT, went to F4 RTU and with just over 300 hours I was flying a F4 with my WSO in the ROK.

Quoting KochamLOT (Thread starter):
Do former military pilots get the better half of the opportunty and establish higher job security or
is that solely a seniority issue?

In the North America, it's seniority, seniority, seniority.

The decision to go military vs. civilian is really a personal choice. For me, I took the military path and never looked back. My training cost me nothing out of my pocket. I believe I got the best training in the world. But, it's a gamble. You give up a lot of personal freedom, your assignment out of UPT isn't guaranteed so you might want to fly fighters but could end up flying transports.

Quoting MPDPilot (Reply 5):
First, I have heard that some airlines prefer a pilot with dual pilot experience over military training. I have heard that it is because flying an airliner is quite different than a F-16. Now I suppose that it depends greatly on the pilot.

Absolutely incorrect.


User currently offlineKochamLOT From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 300 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 21384 times:



Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 7):
If you're concerned with the instability of the airline industry, plan on a career change!

Easy guy. Career changes doesnt solve anything. Nowadays, the only job stable in North America is fast food.

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 7):
Quoting KochamLOT (Thread starter):
Is the military a better option for someone who wants to make it to the high ranks of an airline?

Making it to the high ranks of the airline has nothing to do with your training. If you are talking about areas outside of flight ops, then being a pilot would not be a help at all.

I never said training would itself get me to the 'high ranks' .

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 7):
The decision to go military vs. civilian is really a personal choice. For me, I took the military path and never looked back. My training cost me nothing out of my pocket. I believe I got the best training in the world. But, it's a gamble. You give up a lot of personal freedom, your assignment out of UPT isn't guaranteed so you might want to fly fighters but could end up flying transports.

this is what i was looking for. Im just curious to see how big of an influence (if any) military pilot experience has on job opportunity vs. a civilian.

Just curious, Phil Squares, how are you doing now? Are you still active, reserve, flying for airlines,etc??
Thanks for your input.


User currently offlinePhilSquares From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 21380 times:



Quoting KochamLOT (Reply 8):
Easy guy. Career changes doesnt solve anything. Nowadays, the only job stable in North America is fast food.

Easy guy????

Quoting KochamLOT (Thread starter):
With
instability in the airline industry and talk of it coming to a halt, I am
reconsidering my options.

If you advice, then you need to listen! If you are looking for stability, the airlines are not the place to be!

Quoting KochamLOT (Reply 8):
I never said training would itself get me to the 'high ranks' .

Then tell me what you mean.

Quoting KochamLOT (Reply 8):
this is what i was looking for. Im just curious to see how big of an influence (if any) military pilot experience has on job opportunity vs. a civilian.

ZERO

Quoting KochamLOT (Reply 8):
Just curious, Phil Squares, how are you doing now? Are you still active, reserve, flying for airlines,etc??

Retired from the ANG, flying for an airline. Check my profile.


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