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Advice on career move


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#1 barrett5991

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 02:26

Hey everyone, 

 

First post here. I'm currently in the Air force, not a pilot just a mechanic. I get out shortly from now and have put a lot of thought into using my GI bill to attend a flight school (Considering PCC or COCC for their aviation science programs). Aviation has always been a huge passion of mine, whether its fixing the planes or flying in them. I've read so much negativity on the internet about getting into the flying portion of this career field, but everything seems to be somewhat out dated. I was wondering if anyone here might be able to give me some current insight on breaking into the business. Also would it be beneficial to fall back on an A&P license and try to swing a two jobs with one stone situation, or would employers take advantage of that type of thing. I look forward to hearing any replies. Thanks!

 

Very Respectfully, 

Joe


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#2 Jaybee

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:16

Hello and welcome. Flying and flying for a living - two different things, just realize that. My career has had its share of ups and downs, horrible pun intended. I wouldn't ever discourage someone from following their dream as that is how I ended up in this crazy business. 

 

The best advice I ever got I got right here on this site and it was to get my Private on my own and then judge from there how I felt about pursuing it as a career. Truth be told I remember middle of summer, in the big fish bowl doing hover work, sweating like a pig and thinking "is this really how I want to spend the rest of my career" ? apparently the answer was yes... but I did almost walk away at that point.

 

So take what you read with a grain of salt about doing this as a job. My career didn't quite go as I hoped and I was mad about it for a while but being mad don't get you no where.

 

Good luck.


"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

#3 Jaybee

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 10:25

As far as the job market goes, it tanked when the price of oil dropped. Though now that the Regional Airlines are targeting and heavily recruiting military pilots more opportunities are opening up for people who have experience that traditionally wouldn't get looked at - specifically Air Interdiction Agent at the Border Patrol Air and Marine Operations. for an example. I even know some HEMS guys leaving for the Airlines as there is just overall more chance of opportunity and higher pay. There has been a small amount of hiring in the Gulf of Mexico which is a good sign as that was traditionally where people sought work once they hit 1000 hours. I also know people that went straight to work driving a chemical rig for an Ag operator after getting their license and earned themselves a seat in a couple years time. HEMS, Offshore, AG, Tours and Utility while all using helicopters couldn't be further apart in how your actual day goes and what your quality of life will be like. You'd really need to meet a few people in each sector and really get them to talk earnestly about what the day to day is like.


"In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks." — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900. 
 
"The foot rests have a profound impact on the outcome of today's flight ending safely" - My flight instructor.

#4 r22butters

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Posted 24 October 2017 - 15:43

"Current insight", huh?

Well all I hear these days is, HEAD FOR THE AIRLINES!

With Helisuccess coming up maybe someone will come here afterwards and give us all the current skinny? Personally I'm still crossing my fingers for the next pilot shortage!

,...just five more years,...maybe ten,...?:D
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The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#5 SBuzzkill

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 15:35

Are you looking to fly helicopters or airplanes?  Do you care?



#6 adam32

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 16:50

Stay in the Air Force...retire with a house paid for then buy your own airplane or helicopter and fly for fun.


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#7 crashed_05

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 12:34

Hi, there.

 

I was in your shoes when I was deciding if I wanted to get out of the Marine Corps in 2008.  I found my flight school and went to COCC based off of information I got from folks on this site.  I got my A&P, paid for airplane private out of pocket, then the GI Bill got all my ratings on the helicopter and airplane side as well as most of my bachelor degree out of the way.  It's a competitive industry.  I've seen vets go through the program who slacked off, only using the benefits to fly because it was "cool".  There's also the vets who work hard and are serious about their career.  Be the latter. Otherwise you're just wasting the benefits and will be left without a career.

Having an A&P cert helps.  It helps the company when something breaks and they don't have to send out a separate mechanic to fix the aircraft. 

 

Best of luck to you.  You can message me if you have any specific questions.

 

...By the way, this is just my experience and the decision that I made.  Before I got out of the military, I made myself a pro/cons list to determine what I wanted and how I'd achieve it.  For some, the answer might be to stay in the military and become an officer/pilot that way.  There's a lot of possibilities and routes to take.


Edited by crashed_05, 30 October 2017 - 12:40.

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#8 barrett5991

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 01:11

Sorry about not responding any faster, I'm deployed right now and Im sure most of you know how that can go. Anyway, Ive never done anything that I haven't given my all. With that being said its a bit tricky of a decision as to stay in the military and try to go to OCS or not, I believe with the new retirement system I would actually lose my high 3 when the contract expired. And as for if I wanted to go helicopter or fixed wing I would prefer helicopter but am not opposed to fixed wing flight. I might be leaning towards the WO guard portion but I can't seem to make up my mind. Thanks for all of your responses, and once again sorry I couldn't get back any sooner.

 

-Joe



#9 mike0331

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 09:18

I'm nothing by way of a pilot yet, but have you thought about jumping over to the Army or Guard? I did 6 years in the Marine Corps reserves as a grunt, and I'm currently finishing my last year of law school on the GI Bill. I submitted a packet and I am waiting for my board date for Army Guard aviation. All expenses paid, get paid to fly a few times a month, should get the occasional deployment, and still get to do what you want for a civilian career. Not to mention your time in will count towards your pension. 

If I were in your shoes I'd do that, then use your GI bill to pursue a degree. Get your degree paid for and BAH while in college and simultaneously flying for the Guard. I regret not doing this between undergrad and grad school when I got out of the USMC. 

 

Mike



#10 JMM

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Posted 09 November 2017 - 10:28

I'm nothing by way of a pilot yet, but have you thought about jumping over to the Army or Guard? I did 6 years in the Marine Corps reserves as a grunt, and I'm currently finishing my last year of law school on the GI Bill. I submitted a packet and I am waiting for my board date for Army Guard aviation. All expenses paid, get paid to fly a few times a month, should get the occasional deployment, and still get to do what you want for a civilian career. Not to mention your time in will count towards your pension. 

If I were in your shoes I'd do that, then use your GI bill to pursue a degree. Get your degree paid for and BAH while in college and simultaneously flying for the Guard. I regret not doing this between undergrad and grad school when I got out of the USMC. 

 

Mike

Is it possible to fly for the guard and still have a civilian career? How does that work?



#11 mike0331

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 00:16

Head over to the military helicopter section and some guard pilots should be able to get you specific answers, but yes. Like any guard or reserve duty you have your one weekend a month 2 weeks every summer. Where it differs is there are additional flight periods you schedule with the unit in half day/night blocks. Not sure what the minimums are per year, but I've been told expect to give a half day or night per week to it. I'm still in the application process so all I know is hearsay.

Assuming you want to pursue a degree with the GI bill, going to anything but maybe med school in the reserves is easy. As I mentioned I'm in law school, and even in a full-time program I could easily be meeting any guard obligation if I had been smart and done this 3 years ago. I had no problem being in the USMC reserves as I got my undergrad degree. I did have to take a year off for Afghanistan though. You do that, combined with BAH while in college, you are looking at a pretty skate time in undergrad. A friend of mine who flies says he gets a bit over 160 hours a year from the guard, Not including any deployments, etc. Additionally guard units help out with local stuff, like SAR.
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#12 barrett5991

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:47

Once again, I'm sorry I am getting back to y'all so late. Still deployed unfortunately. I'm out of here in like 2 weeks though so I'm pretty pumped. I think I'm going to follow in your foot steps, Crashed. I still plan on getting my A&P and apparently my base is opening up an aero club with free ground school, the only thing you pay for is cost of fuel. Obviously its a fixed wing club, but I'm going to log as many hours as I can with it while I'm still active duty. The only thing I am still unsure of is which aviation program I want to attend once I separate. 

 

-Joe



#13 barrett5991

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Posted 28 December 2017 - 23:49

Are you looking to fly helicopters or airplanes?  Do you care?

Honestly, I would prefer helicopters. The idea of cruising at 30,000 feet being the top of my career doesn't seem as appealing to me. However, I do plan on getting a fixed wing ppl.



#14 SBuzzkill

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 13:18

That's cool.  I recommend rethinking that, though.  Take emotion out of picture when you think of your future aviation career and then do your research.  I love flying helicopters and I'm sad to be leaving it, but I'm moving to fixed wing as are many of my friends.  Career wise it's a better move.  I've looked for jobs and seen what they pay, what their hours are like, how stable they are, where they are located, etc.  It's tough to find a helicopter job that ticks all my boxes and doesn't require having 20 years of experience.  Your mileage may vary.



#15 mudkow60

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 15:17

20 years flying helos in the military.  Just retired, and work for a California Fire/Sheriff unit... happy as a clam.


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#16 barrett5991

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 22:47

That's cool.  I recommend rethinking that, though.  Take emotion out of picture when you think of your future aviation career and then do your research.  I love flying helicopters and I'm sad to be leaving it, but I'm moving to fixed wing as are many of my friends.  Career wise it's a better move.  I've looked for jobs and seen what they pay, what their hours are like, how stable they are, where they are located, etc.  It's tough to find a helicopter job that ticks all my boxes and doesn't require having 20 years of experience.  Your mileage may vary.

 

 I suppose it can be tough for me to see the broader picture at this point in my life. I don't know much about the life of a fixed wing pilot VS the life of a rotary wing pilot. I know the type of flying I have always enjoyed tended to be low level VFR type flying. With that being said, I understand that there is no room for cowboys in this industry and that everything is done with a purpose, not just for fun. From my understanding paying my dues will be tough on either side of the house. I've also been told a lot of airlines require there pilots to have a bachelors degree. If I get a bachelors degree first, I don't think I would be able to afford flight school because I would've used up the entirety of my GI bill on it. Theres a lot of thought to be given on either side, fortunately I still have a bit of time to make the decision. I just want to do something that I can enjoy and slowly get away from the maintenance side of things with.



#17 r22butters

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 23:39

...I know the type of flying I have always enjoyed tended to be low level VFR type flying. With that being said, I understand that there is no room for cowboys in this industry...


No room for cowboys? Now who said that! :D


The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#18 barrett5991

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 00:19

No room for cowboys? Now who said that! :D

 

Well thats just wild. 



#19 500E

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 10:11

What can go wrong  8\10 dead in some years buying a 22 from Au :ph34r:


Fly the dream fly 500




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