Hey guys! I am a Navy MH-60S pilot a few years out from retiring(probably about 3.5) and looking for some ideas and advice about flying helos after the military.
A little background:
- By the time I retire, 25 years as a Rotary Wing, Naval Aviator;
- Approx 3,300 hours total time. 150 hours in the T-34C, 100 or so in the TH-57 (Bell Jet Ranger equivalent), 1,800 in the MH-60S, 1,200 in the HH-46D. Maybe 800 hour NVDs, plently of actual instrument time and Aircraft Commander time, but I couldn't tell you how much off the top of my head; and a whopping 12 hours of combat time (don't laugh ex-Army guys!). I know, 3300 hour over 25 years? Not every set of orders in the Navy lets you fly.;
- All of my military aircraft qualifications (for which there may be no need outside of the military): Weapons and Tactics Instructor, Maintenance Test Pilot, Standardization/Instrument Check Pilot, etc;
- A tour as a squadron Commanding Officer, as a Maintenance Officer, and as an MH-60S instructor, but it will have been about 4 years since I last flew when I retire;
- Plenty of leadership and staff work experience over 25 years;
Any insight into the following questions would be appreciated!
1. Simply put, what jobs, or maybe what types of jobs, are out there?
I think HEMS when I think post military career flying. Seems like a good way to go. Halfway decent salary, and I am assuming fairly predictable with 7 on/7off, day night rotation. What else is out there that offers a decent salary and a regular schedule? Anything?
2. HEMS locations in rural areas.
Most of the jobs I see advertised are in rural areas, but obviously many hospitals have HEMS services. My guess is that there is little turnover in these hospital jobs, and when there is, you really have to know someone to get your foot in the door (like most jobs?). Any advice on this?
3. Is a lack of recent flight time a deal breaker for most companies? How about time in model?
As stated above, I will not have flown for a few years by the time I get out. Should I try and get a CFI/CFII ticket to get recent flight time in a Robinson or something inexpensive to fly? Is it worth it? I have Bell 206 time from Navy flight school. But that was 1998!
4. What is the interview process like?
The Navy doesn't put a lot of emphasis on knowing the AIM and FAR inside and out, not like our Navy publications anyway, so I know I need to hit the books hard on that front. What other areas of "book knowledge" are out there that a HEMS company, or any civilian helicopter operator for that matter, emphasize? I feel like I will be pretty far behind my counterparts in this regard.
5. Other than my commercial helo license, what else should I pursue? Is an ATP worth getting, or even needed?
6. Any other thought about making the transition? I am not worried about starting near the bottom - I know its a different world - but I don't know if I am too keen on being on the very FIRST rung of the ladder. Maybe the second or third one up...
Thanks in advance for your time in answering these questions! I am both excited and a little scared (kind of like my first full auto) about making the transition in a few years.