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gearpig

Leaving the Air Force for the Airlines

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I read this article the other day. It's one man's entertaining opinion about the state of the industry. He gives a little background why military pilots may have a bit of a stigma in the airlines among some. I've only encountered a handful of people who feel this way, but they are out there. Depending on the airline you go with, you could be trading your Air Force problems for a whole new set.

The Demise of the Airline Pilot by Capt Douglas Corrigan

http://www.culturewa...2011/Pilots.htm

U.S. commercial aviation’s love affair with the military is, however, about more than just avoiding the costs of training pilots. While it’s true that one can hardly distinguish the background of a pilot after a few years with an airline, as new hires, military pilots are often the least militant of labor groups. Until the end of the first contract negotiation they experience, their peers will often view them as Kool-Aide drinkers easily swayed by managerial agitprop.

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There will not be a hiring free-for-all at the majors, but in the next 3-5 years- assuming the economy doesn't tank or external forces don't interfere (DoJ, etc), there will be regular hiring at most of the majors. Any well-qualified military pilot will have a decent shot at a job. Just don't expect a job because you have an ATP and a pulse.

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I have a feeling that some will be hired, not all...As a result some ex-mil will give the "regionals" a shot and be very disappointed/demoralized. After a couple of years of commuting at that level, some will leave for non-flying jobs. The romance of the airlines has gone down the tubes. It will become a matter of simple economics for most people, and flying at the regional level will not support that. For those looking into making the leap, gearpig said it well, you will be exchanging your AF problems for Airline problems...and likely you will be asking for your AF problems back. Read the article and understand what outsourcing has done. The history is there, and it will help explain what is going on at the "mainline" level. There is a lot of change going on in the industry. Some ok, but a lot of bad too. Buyer beware.

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"Last year, the Air Force trained more pilots to fly UAVs than fixed wing aircraft."

Where is the BS flag when you need it?!?

Cheers,

Cap-10

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American just announced hiring 1500 pilots over the next 5 years. Application window opens tomorrow.

Affirm. SWA, US Airways, United, and Delta also have their application windows open. (I think SWA may close today.) Jet Blue should open their window in November. This might not the "boom" Butters seems to be hoping for, but there is certainly a positive trend in the industry.

Good luck to those 2001-2003 YG folks getting ready to make the decision. It's not an easy one.

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Are airline pilots required to join the Union? Wonder if the former-mil folks are less supportive of organized labor and that could be an area of contention.

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Are airline pilots required to join the Union? Wonder if the former-mil folks are less supportive of organized labor and that could be an area of contention.

Some companies, like UPS, have management pilots that are on salary and are not union. A non-corporate or non-management pilot who is operating under the union negotiated contract and receiving union wages but is not paying union dues is extremely rare, but they are out there. While former military members are often less militant when it comes to things like job-actions and strikes, being a non-union pilot for a unionized airline is generally a bad idea.

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Are airline pilots required to join the Union? Wonder if the former-mil folks are less supportive of organized labor and that could be an area of contention.

Not required, highly recommended. Kinda comes with the job...although many are not happy with ALPA right now.

Btw, Delta interview invites have started to go out.

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Are airline pilots required to join the Union? Wonder if the former-mil folks are less supportive of organized labor and that could be an area of contention.

As a military guy entering the airline business some 14 years ago, I recall having no strong feelings one way or the other regarding unions. After being here for a while, life would seriously suck without a union. Not required but helps when you are dealing with airline management that would have you working 24/7 for peanuts for as many days a month as they could. No doubt unions can be self serving and destructive to the company but companies and/or management are certainly self serving and destructive to the safety and quality of life of their workers. Trying to reach an agreeable compromise is always contentious.

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UAL plans to hire 60 a month for the foreseeable future. Couple buds of mine just finished training there and the rumor is they may go to 100 a month...so that's around 700 in 2014 for UAL. AA will likely hire 500-600 next year. DAL announced 300 new hires but there's significant rumors that they may go to 500-600 in 14 to account for FAR changes. SW is hiring 300, and JetBlue and Spirit will likely add 200+ each next year. Hawaiian, Alaskan and Virgin will probably hire 200 or so among the three of them. That's about 2500 for sure hires and possibly 3000, all in 2014. It will likely accelerate in years following. I'd expect 2015 and beyond to hire 3000+ per year at the majors. That will deplete that pool of 8000-10000 qualified applicants in a few years.

Of course, considering how our nation is being run, the economy could crash and burn, but in that case we're all screwed.

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" Yeah, lots getting out and going to the airlines. But a lot are going on to do other things. The other guys are smarter."

To each their own. Life isn't always about making a buck. Honestly I'd rather make a little less and fly than make $200k a year but sit in a cubicle. I've worked as a non-flying professional and I wasn't that satisfied. These days, there really aren't any truly safe bets anymore in this economy. I'm an ART now but even this job isn't what it used to be.

FWIW, most people know there isn't going to be a hiring free-for-all at the major airline level. That being said, from now through the next ten years should be a good opportunity to become a major airline pilot for those that want to do so. Not all will get the call and some will be told "no thanks", but by and large, if you are a good dude and have IP/EP experience, you stand a better than average chance of sitting in the right seat of that Airbus/Boeing.

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"This is what many of you do not understand. I am not talking about sitting in a cubicle. I am talking about flying, and being home every night. Not gone 180 days a year. There are other jobs out there"

I am well aware of the other flying gigs out there, but that grass isn't necessarily greener. My dad flew for a 135 outfit and eventually left for a non-flying govt gig because he was tired if being on call ALL the time and making less than his current GS job.

I have Lear and BE400 types but 1) I can't support my family on the $40-50k a year those jobs pay 2) most of those jobs have no guaranteed time off and it would be very hard to stay in a Reserve unit and 3) many of those jobs are filled through internal connections.

Case in point: buddy of mine tried for a job flying Gulfstreams...he'd make more than a year 1 airline pilot but less than a year 3 FO without regular pay raises. No guaranteed time off other than a couple weeks of vacation, so he'd have to quit our unit and do a non-pay AFRC job (CAP or something for points only)...so that's another $20-30k of income lost. In the end they hired a guy who had been flying King Airs and had less total time because they knew that guy better...basically my friend didnt have any contacts in the corporate world while the other guy did.

I won't say I'd never fly corporate...in fact I love that type of flying (I have 1000 hours in the Learjet). But unless one of those rare high paid cush G-V jobs with a Fortune 500 company falls in my lap, the 121 world is the only other flying job I'd leave for outside the Fed Govt. Most of the corporate stuff requires you to work as much or more for half the pay of a major airline. Plus, don't forget...in an economic downturn the flight departments are often first to go.

"This is what many of you do not understand. I am not talking about sitting in a cubicle. I am talking about flying, and being home every night. Not gone 180 days a year. There are other jobs out there"

I am well aware of the other flying gigs out there, but that grass isn't necessarily greener. My dad flew for a 135 outfit and eventually left for a non-flying govt gig because he was tired if being on call ALL the time and making less than his current GS job.

I have Lear and BE400 types but 1) I can't support my family on the $40-50k a year those jobs pay 2) most of those jobs have no guaranteed time off and it would be very hard to stay in a Reserve unit and 3) many of those jobs are filled through internal connections.

Case in point: buddy of mine tried for a job flying Gulfstreams...he'd make more than a year 1 airline pilot but less than a year 3 FO without regular pay raises. No guaranteed time off other than a couple weeks of vacation, so he'd have to quit our unit and do a non-pay AFRC job (CAP or something for points only)...so that's another $20-30k of income lost. In the end they hired a guy who had been flying King Airs and had less total time because they knew that guy better...basically my friend didnt have any contacts in the corporate world while the other guy did.

I won't say I'd never fly corporate...in fact I love that type of flying (I have 1000 hours in the Learjet). But unless one of those rare high paid cush G-V jobs with a Fortune 500 company falls in my lap, the 121 world is the only other flying job I'd leave for outside the Fed Govt. Most of the corporate stuff requires you to work as much or more for half the pay of a major airline. Plus, don't forget...in an economic downturn the flight departments are often first to go.

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Folks,

If you wanna talk airlines, let me suggest http://www.airlinepilotforums.com

There are several other sites but this one I have found most useful...

LOTS of great information about hiring trends, hours, etc from guys doing to j-o-b right now. Once you register, give it a week before you can post....but, very valuable information for those looking at that career option.

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Yeah, I have checked out airline pilot forums before. It just seems like they have a ton of users and a ton of posts compared to this site. I mean, it takes work to skim the dozens of posts on this site on a topic I like in order to weed out all of the stupid shit that dumbasses post. So the other day I was poking around airline pilot forums and clicked on the Delta hiring thread. It was only a few months old and already had 178 pages of crap (probably with a few good tidbits of info buried in there somewhere). I think for me it is just easier to talk to one of my friends at Delta or United to get answers to my questions.

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JS,

Agreed. It's definitely a "lurkers" forum. Even if you post on-topic in one of those mega threads, you'll get told to get a pot of coffee and read the entire thread.

Still a good resource for a mil-only guy like myself to get a feel for the industry in my opinion.

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Delta threads are the worst over there. If you lurk long enough, you'll get a feel for what's going to be useful and what isn't. Hint: any thread without "Delta" in the title has an infinitely higher chance of being informative than those with.

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There's a Military thread over there. Used to have some good info w/ bros helping bros, but it seems to have turned less useful lately. I think it would be a good thing to get that kind of spirit re-kindled, either here or at that site. That said, the APC forums definitely helped me get my current gig. There's a lot of good info there if you're willing to wade through the garbage. Ditto on TacAir's Delta thread comments above.

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I'll rephrase: apply now but don't get disappointed when you aren't hired in the next few month...or next year even. At some point, hiring about 2,500-3,500 pilots a year, the majors will exhaust their readily available supply of highly experienced mil EP types and I'd expect to see basic ACs or inexperienced IPs making up more of the "typical" new hire classes.

That being said, my original numbers (3,000-3,500 TT) is what's "typical" now. I'm sure there are people getting hired with less, it's not the "norm" from what I can tell. Fighter guys will likely have fewer hours which is why your bros are being hired under that.

Edited by Hueypilot

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Think about this when entering your hours on an application: You will very likely be asked during the interview to describe how you interpreted your military time to civilian. This would be a bad time to try and explain how you incorporated other/sim/unapproved multiplication factors/etc for the obvious purpose of "fluffing" your resume. United was notorious for seeing right through this padding during the last hiring boom, and I personally know someone who got asked to leave the interview over an unintentional discrepancy of @300 hrs. He had plenty of flight time and experience, they just viewed it as an integrity issue.

I also advise avoiding the Primary/Secondary=PIC/SIC translation fallacy. I know a few low time AC's and "career CPs" that got hired by padding their hours with "Primary means the same as PIC". However, those companies were low-end regionals and contract freight. Any major airline worth being hired at is well familiar with the differences.

When I was asked this very question, I responded "I used the FAR definition of PIC when transcribing my military time (The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft). So, the hours I recorded as PIC are when I was the person most responsible for the flight - meaning I had the "A Code", was not receiving instruction, and no sim or 'other' time". They all nodded their heads and moved onto the next question.

Edited by Crog

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2. From the 3 application websites that I've seen, nobody cares about "Evaluator" time or student time....however, you will include that in your TT.

Disagree. Evaluator is "super PIC" time--i.e., you're expected (required) to assume command if the pilot(s) you're evaluating do something unsafe or are otherwise deemed incapable of continuing. Another way of saying that is that the EP is ultimately responsible for the safe conduct of the flight--sounds like "PIC" to me. Include it in your "Instructor" time and your PIC time (different apps break have you break down IP vs PIC time differently, but your total "Instructor" should be IP + EP, then deal with Instructor vs PIC per the instructions). My opinion, obvioiusly, and it's how I did it. I seem to recall one site (airlineapps?) specifying exactly that. In some communities I was in (various C-135s), the EP typically had the A code, anyway (by design).

6. Most want to know instrument, night, and XC (i.e. more than 50 miles away from your starting base)

Common wisdom on this (and, again, at least one site's instructions) says that any mil flight that leaves the pattern is a XC (i.e., distance test doesn't apply). Also, the 50 mile test only applies to XC experience needed for a Private Pilot license--the more general FAA definition is "land at a different airport."

it's all in how well you interview (i.e. go research Emerald Coast Consulting)

Absolutely! Getting the interview call is the hard part, though, and largely out of your hands--assuming you've done everything you can to present yourself in a positive light (resume prep, error-free apps, etc.). BIG "2" on Emerald Coast--best money I spent throughout my entire job search.

You will very likely be asked during the interview to describe how you interpreted your military time to civilian. This would be a bad time to try and explain how you incorporated other/sim/unapproved multiplication factors/etc for the obvious purpose of "fluffing" your resume.

Interviewed thrice, hired (offered the job) thrice--and not asked once about how I converted mil to civ on the apps. That said, I fully agree that you don't want to be tap-dancing at an interview over how many hours you claimed....

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It may have been addressed already, but does combat time have any additional weight/consideration by hiring boards?

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I should have emphasized...

3000-3500 hours are for folks looking to get out after their initial ADSC.

I'm in for 20, haven't had a staff tour (all ops) and am considering my 5500-6000 hours my goal. YMMV.

One thing that folks also need to consider is *recency* of flying. If you are more than X months/years removed from the cockpit, you might not be the best candidate. All applications do ask for last date of flight.

The "Evaluator time" comment meant to read that there is no "Evaluator Hours" tab to be logged. Yes, as eluded to, you will place those hours as IP hours.

Agree with Jughead about your hours calculation....

Edited by C-21.Pilot

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Y'all keep talking about not claiming your other time. According to FAR 61 you are authorized to claim your other time as PIC if you carried the A code. I'm the one getting violated if the copilots dork up the ocean crossing while I'm in the bunk. I'm also the first to be woken up if something goes wrong. I think that's pretty easy to explain. Am I missing something? And no, I haven't claimed other time when I was a copilot.

One point to add. I didn't claim any other time with Southwest (they specifically state to exclude it). With the multiplier I have 4000 TT. I was invited for an interview this past week! Right now at CHS I know of 3 others with approximately 3500-4000 TT with interviews at DAL, SWA, and UAL. There are guys that have been hired in the last week at UAL with slightly more experience and I have a buddy here hired this month at Atlas. He interviewed while at IP school. It may not be the proverbial flood gates, but dudes are getting hired at a decent rate. Get your poop in a pile, you will get called!

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