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ANG Pilot lifestyle/Quality of Life


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I'm a trougher in the Reserves, and NO, people aren't pulling down 50K 'easy'. The previous poster caveat was that his unit has an alert commitment. He also is still in training, so he's going by what

How is bumming these day's with the supposed reduction of forces in the middle east?

Check out my reply, as well as several others, in this thread. That will at least get you started. From there, ask away with any questions that you might have.

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  • 7 months later...
4 hours ago, ChkHandleDn said:

Thread bump. For C17 traditional Guard bubbas:. How many days a month are you averaging at the unit?  What is your current deployment schedule?  Thanks!

I try to do 4-8 days a month. This works out to be UTA, a Guardlift, and maybe phase sims or a couple locals. I usually drop mil-leave over one block of reserve to ease the year-one pain at the airline. It's easy since I live near the Guard unit and driving distance to domicile.  

Our unit is in transition so there are plenty of 30+ days of orders going around for IP/EP types and a lot of the traditionals are jumping on those.  Seasoning days for guys fresh out of Altus ebb and flow.  One month the NGB says we have only have a fraction of the alloted days, then then the next month it's 200%.  Who knows.  

Someone from one of the other Guard units can correct me if I'm wrong, but deployments are really a non-issue for the Guard C-17.  There are opportunities to go fly with the EAS if one so chooses to volunteer, but the only guys getting tagged with deployments right now are the AD advisors.  I'm sure that could easily change in today's world.

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  • 5 months later...

New thread bump for QOL/airline questions.

I tried to search more into this with little or no luck so I realize I might get my head ripped off here...

Looking into the ANG. Know a few aquaintances in a local Herc unit. Hercs are doing MAFFs and tac airlift/airdrop. Background. I'm currently a regional 121 guy looking to eventually get up to one of the legacies but I also want to do the mil stuff as a traditional.

Questions for guys currently doing the guard and airlines at the same time...

Do you think its still a good time to get in the guard with the airline hiring being as fierce as it is now? I've heard a few people say you'd be stupid to ever turn down a flying guard gig and a few others say that one should just stay airlines just working your way up to the legacies right now and not have to deal with uncle sam (negatives of the guard im assuming) for the next 10 years.

Whats a typical month like after seasoning, can you use mil leave to your advantage or are mandatory guard days becoming a negative when theres money to be had at the airlines?

Whats with the rumors of being forced into long AD orders or tech spots or units getting changed to RPAs?

Hows your guard stuff work out (scheduling wise) with commuting to airline trips? How many days on a month? How many days off? How many nights home? that kind of stuff.

 


 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Didn't find anything about this specifically.

What is the life of an RPA pilot in the guard like?  Day to day life? How many days per month? What is the deployment tempo and do you have to deploy or can you do the job without leaving CONUS? How much time can you expect to spend getting initially spun up coming from enlisted on AD? After a decade on AD and half of that having been deployed, I'm looking to see if it's possible to keep going, but on more of my terms. 

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On 3/1/2017 at 10:24 AM, Bobert said:

Didn't find anything about this specifically.

What is the life of an RPA pilot in the guard like?  Day to day life? How many days per month? What is the deployment tempo and do you have to deploy or can you do the job without leaving CONUS? How much time can you expect to spend getting initially spun up coming from enlisted on AD? After a decade on AD and half of that having been deployed, I'm looking to see if it's possible to keep going, but on more of my terms. 

Pushing the age limit I would think.

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The ANG age waiver process for RPA pilots has recently been revised to allow for older candidates with less paperwork. Something something "pilot retention crisis," guess Big Blue is finally being forced to pump the brakes on bureaucracy at least a little bit.

To @Bobert, reach out to an RPA unit you're interested in joining and ask them those questions. Many of the answers will be, "It depends." A lot depends on the unit, their manning, how many CAPs they fly, local policies and scheduling schemes, etc.

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Just now, nsplayr said:

The ANG age waiver process for RPA pilots has recently been revised to allow for older candidates with less paperwork. Something something "pilot retention crisis," guess Big Blue is finally being forced to pump the brakes on bureaucracy at least a little bit.

To @Bobert, reach out to an RPA unit you're interested in joining and ask them those questions. Many of the answers will be, "It depends." A lot depends on the unit, their manning, how many CAPs they fly, local policies and scheduling schemes, etc.

I have, and their recruiter is working to get that info. Just wanted to have a better idea if the tempo is what i'm looking for before taking too much of their time and asking a million questions only to say, nah sorry...not for me. Age limit (as I was informed today) is 32 to begin training. I was told that they were backlogged and training could easily take 2 years to complete.

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I was hired to become an MQ-9 pilot last August so I'll speak to my experience & the particulars of my unit as I understand them. Ask your local unit of interest for better specifics:

- Day to day: A version of the Panama schedule, 3x 8-hour shifts, not in the seat for all 8 hours

- Flying min: 5 sorties a month plus drill minimum for DSGs

- Deployments: No deployments unless you volunteer for LRE

- Timeline: I would estimate at least 1 year if not slightly more to go from enlisted to fully mission-qual'd RPA pilot, between AMS, URT, IQT and MQT

- Age: I was told 35 is the new age waiver limit, with waivers being automatically approved up to that age rather than having to staff paperwork. I can positively confirm that 32 is not a limit since myself and one other guy hired at the same time are > 32 and haven't begun training yet. Cavet - we're both current flying officers (CSOs) so YMMV if you're coming in as an E.

Also note that I was hired in August and haven't started training yet, so there may be a pretty significant lag time between getting hired and even starting that 1+ year process. Luck & timing, the true Gods of the Air Force. I've had a lot of luck, timing not so much...

The main reason I left AD was the endless carousel of deployments with no end in sight. I love helping the good guys on the ground and killing the bad guys, but I'd "been there, done that, gotten the t-shirt" for living in a tent more than a few times. RPA lets me do the mission I love and still sleep in my own bed, so if that's what you're looking for, RPA ops offer some unique advantages over a manned platform.

Hope this helps, good luck!

Edited by nsplayr
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8 minutes ago, nsplayr said:

I was hired to become an MQ-9 pilot last August so I'll speak to my experience & the particulars of my unit as I understand them. Ask your local unit of interest for better specifics:

- Day to day: A version of the Panama schedule, 3x 8-hour shifts, not in the seat for all 8 hours

- Flying min: 5 sorties a month plus drill minimum for DSGs

- Deployments: No deployments unless you volunteer for LRE

- Timeline: I would estimate at least 1 year if not slightly more to go from enlisted to fully mission-qual'd RPA pilot, between AMS, URT, IQT and MQT

- Age: I was told 35 is the new age waiver limit, with waivers being automatically approved up to that age rather than having to staff paperwork. I can positively confirm that 32 is not a limit since myself and one other guy hired at the same time are > 32 and haven't begun training yet. Cavet - we're both current flying officers (CSOs) so YMMV if you're coming in as an E.

Also note that I was hired in August and haven't started training yet, so there may be a pretty significant lag time between getting hired and even starting that 1+ year process. Luck & timing, the true Gods of the Air Force. I've had a lot of luck, timing not so much...

The main reason I left AD was the endless carousel of deployments with no end in sight. I love helping the good guys on the ground and killing the bad guys, but I'd "been there, done that, gotten the t-shirt" for living in a tent more than a few times. RPA lets me do the mission I love and still sleep in my own bed, so if that's what you're looking for, RPA ops offer some unique advantages over a manned platform.

Hope this helps, good luck!

Exactly the type of info I was looking for. Thanks nsplayr.

Are you in a full-time slot? Just curious because you said they had you on a shift schedule. Does being an RPA pilot play nice with your civ job?

I support the LRE on-call right now as a commo, but I'm glad it will actually be voluntary in the ANG. I've worked in the various SOF and OGA's over the past few years and have gotten enough T-shirts as you said. Was directly supporting the manned platforms this recent trip and enjoy the mission but not the time away. I'm guessing quals like SERE, HAP chamber, jumper, etc mean nothing in the way of accelerating training in the RPA world since you aren't physically there?

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I'm guessing quals like SERE, HAP chamber, jumper, etc mean nothing in the way of accelerating training in the RPA world since you aren't physically there?


That training means nothing in the RPA world. Do some more research on the mission to understand what is and what isn't needed. If you are around those units, ask the bros.


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  • 1 month later...

Participating strictly as a traditional Guard/Reserve pilot in an airlift or tankers unit:

1) Are you able to do all of your required flights for the month in one block, or do you have to break it up throughout the month?

2) For those who have a civilian flying career, most specifically airlines, do you fly your normal civilian schedule then use your time off to fly for your unit? I know service is service, but it seems like that would be an easy way to burnout and would also place a burden on the family. Do most people drop some of the civilian flying to do mil flying, and then still have some days off?

Thanks

 

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7 minutes ago, Edw26 said:

1) Are you able to do all of your required flights for the month in one block, or do you have to break it up throughout the month?

Pretty much you can do one block, but what happens if that week is stormy, or a green dot down week, or maintenance has a bad week, or somebody has to get a checkride, or... You get the idea.  If you're going to do it in one-per-month blocks, you better make that block several + days.  I tried 4 day blocks once a month and it didn't work.

8 minutes ago, Edw26 said:

2) For those who have a civilian flying career, most specifically airlines, do you fly your normal civilian schedule then use your time off to fly for your unit? I know service is service, but it seems like that would be an easy way to burnout and would also place a burden on the family. Do most people drop some of the civilian flying to do mil flying, and then still have some days off?

If you're living in base for both, you can probably do mil on your off days and not increase your stress level too much.  If you're living at your ARC base and commuting to your airline base, you'll probably mil drop an airline trip or two per month until the lost $$ gets to be painful (about year 2-3 for the majors) and then you'll have to decide.  If you're living in your airline base and commuting to your ARC base, you'll quit flying for the ARC.

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14 hours ago, nunya said:

Pretty much you can do one block, but what happens if that week is stormy, or a green dot down week, or maintenance has a bad week, or somebody has to get a checkride, or... You get the idea.  If you're going to do it in one-per-month blocks, you better make that block several + days.  I tried 4 day blocks once a month and it didn't work.

If you're living in base for both, you can probably do mil on your off days and not increase your stress level too much.  If you're living at your ARC base and commuting to your airline base, you'll probably mil drop an airline trip or two per month until the lost $$ gets to be painful (about year 2-3 for the majors) and then you'll have to decide.  If you're living in your airline base and commuting to your ARC base, you'll quit flying for the ARC.

 

I understand there are numerous factors that might cause flights to be rescheduled, but it's good to hear that overall it seems possible to do it all in one block. The reason I asked is because down the line I might want to commute to the unit, versus the airline job, which you seem to contraindicate. I know commuting should be avoided for the airline job, but what are the negatives of having to do the same for the unit, to the point that might make one want to quit? 

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On 4/4/2017 at 11:00 PM, Edw26 said:

I understand there are numerous factors that might cause flights to be rescheduled, but it's good to hear that overall it seems possible to do it all in one block. The reason I asked is because down the line I might want to commute to the unit, versus the airline job, which you seem to contraindicate. I know commuting should be avoided for the airline job, but what are the negatives of having to do the same for the unit, to the point that might make one want to quit? 

He's basically insinuating that as the paycut for dropping an airline trip for a string of days at the ARC unit gets bigger and bigger (sts), you'll quickly lose the motivation to travel and be gone from your own bed for a paycut. Your family may also put additional pressure on that sentiment.

The reality is that it all depends. Just looking at the world from a payrate POV is a post-Lost-Decade perspective. Myopic imo, but to each their own. Essentially, there are non-economic reasons and/or "soft benefits" reasons for which people continue to serve in the ARC and may continue to selectively take a paycut. Scheduling is a big one. Everybody swears schedules are sweet in the land of airline movement, but the reality is that I have plenty of co-workers at the airlines in year 2-3 who still cannot hold their desired domicile, so they're commuting to the airline anyways. For most in my unit, that means a double job commute, since nobody lives in our remote as fvck commuter unit (our "wing" will never publicly recognize us as such of course; I don't think our NAF could point us on a map if their lives depended on it, those well to do Atlanta-dwelling suburbanite fvcks... and I digress).

So people use the ARC membership to manage trip quality control, especially when facing non-commutable pairings. Others stick around for the healthcare. Then there's those who still are having fun with the type of flying (tactical jets, aerobatics) and the airline thing bores them. Many non-economic elements that keep people involved. So it's a bit simpleton to suggest people summarily quit and leave a 20 year ARC retirement (with probably 10-15 years of AD points no less) on the table because they take a paycut in year 3. 

Edited by hindsight2020
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Obviously my post was somewhat tongue in cheek, but I didn't say you'll quit the ARC.  I said you'll quit flying for the ARC.  Lots of ways to get to 20 once the AF/ARC flying requirements wear you down.  

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