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Military Flight or G.I. Bill?


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So I am currently at a fork in the road. I have just finished a 5 year stint in the army and am now looking forward to flying. My two options for this path are;

1. Use my G.I. Bill which will pay in full my private pilot up to my commercial flight instructor II

2. Join the national guard for 6 years as a Warrant Officer


Option 1: I would rather this option for sure however I am not confident and am uneducated in what it will take to acquire more flight hours. Also I will only be trained on a piston engine and turbine time is a must for getting a good job. Is it possible to find entry level jobs with little to no turbine time and acquire those needed hours without having to pay out of pocket? If I am a flight instructor how long does it usually take to get the 1,000-1,500 hours? Do most companies help advance your training and certificates, I.E. Night Vision or High Altitude, if you work for them?


Option 2: Well that is 6 more years in the military, I have no issue getting deployed but am burnt out from military life and politics.


Just looking for some advice from educated people in this Industry. Anything helps. Thanks...



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I'm in the same exact situation. I'm getting out and going to school. Hopefully I can stay in school and live off of part time jobs and the GI Bill for 2-4 years, get a degree, build hours where I can, and wait for this whole economic "crisis" to blow over.

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Here is what I can tell you guys from where I stand.


I have no active duty experience outside of the schools I have been to for the guard and basic training. My guard unit is the best and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I could care less about TRADOC but the guard life is good. It’s not bad!


If you have a chance to fly guard and are not worried about the possible deployments, I would say go that route. The other route is tons of debt and no guarantee to fly anymore when your money runs out. On the other hand, there is no guarantee of not getting killed in the military either. Also, keep in mind there is no guarantee that you will finish flight school. Not to say you guys can’t pass, but stuff happens for whatever reason and people get hurt, fail, or just don’t get it. However, with that being said, if you want to make it through and work hard, you will make it through.


I finish up primary next week and then its on to instruments for the next 8wks. I love my life! I just wish I could sleep a little more. Lol


Good luck guys. If you guys have any question, just let me know. I wish you well in whatever direction you go.

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I hope I can clarify some things in Option 1 for you. Most people that take this route would get their private, instrument, commercial then CFI/II. Generally they finish with around 200 hours but that can very.


With 200 hours you are looking for a CFI/II job or maybe the odd second in command job. Most people that get hired on as CFI/IIs are hired on where they went to school. Getting hired at your school will depend on a number of factors including CFI/II openings, student loads and the school liking you.


As an instructor you are building your skills and knowledge base as you build up to 1000-1500 hours depending on industry demands. Once you hit 1000-1500 hours you can start looking at tours and GOM. If you went the tour route I think some of the operators will pick guys up with 1000 hours and give them their turbine transition, and then you're off to the races. :lol:


If I can answer any more questions for you feel free to give me a call.



Precision Helicopters


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There is a vast amount of contributing factors that will determine how long it will take you to reach those magical numbers. The first obstacle is to get hired, usually at the flight school you were trained at. How many students are available, your reputation as an instructor, your skill as instructor and location of the school all have a part to play. Today's market is in the tank and financing options for budding pilots have dramatically decreased, therefore the student pool has all but dried up. Two years ago I had friends who reached a 1000 hours in little under a year, flying non-stop. Nowadays it will likely take twice as long if not longer.

I was an E-5 in the Navy and used my Chapter 30 benefits to help pay for my training, but I still went into a lot of dept. If your done with the military, and i know how you feel, get out. If your not happy why be there. You can get out and survive of the new GI bill. Under the new GI bill you can walk away with all your licenses and a BS degree all paid for by the government. I am attending Southern Illinois University which gave me 37 credits for having my ratings and the GI bill pays my tuition and housing. I was finished with my licenses before i even new about the new GI bill, so I could not use it to pay for my flight training. You can though. There are helicopter flight schools out there that are associated with colleges that allow you to fly, earn a degree all for free and all at the same time. I am working with Civic Helicopters in San Diego and local colleges to get such a program set up. There are other ones out there though. Contact me if you have any other questions I will be happy to help.

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The time it takes to get the 800-1300 hours will very just like every thing else. I would say the average is 1.5 to 2 years, but this really just depends on how many students you have and how often they fly. Keep in mind too that if you reach that 1000 hours in the late fall or winter you will likely have to wait till the following spring to get picked up by a tour operator.


This industry has a lot of variables. Its great to plan ahead but don't be surprised if you have to change your plans on the fly.



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Have you thought of going Guard for a flight school slot?


You could use the GI Bill for non aviation related studies for a back up.


Of course the Guard has politics just like active duty for me but if you stay part time you aren't exposed to nearly as much and it stays at the unit when you walk out.


There are some real benefits but as you are WELL aware, you DO earn the wings and training.


I was an AD Warrant ('high school to flight school') had a four year break in service then went in to the Guard. I needed a break but didn't realize when I left AD that the Guard wouldn't be as intense. For better or worse, I lost 4 years time in grade and would be a W3 right now.



Another benefit of the Guard is the connections you'll have. At least two possible leads that I could get for a civilian RW job in my little circle that I can think of off the top of my head.


PM with more questions and I'll try to point you in the direction of info.


Good Luck


PS All of the civilian jobs I've had since leaving AD have had the same BS politics as the Army. Just a different flavor and just a annoying.

Edited by BillyBob
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  • 1 month later...


Make sure u check into all your options. i used my G.I. BILL for flight training after leaving active at the begining of 04. At that time the GI would only pay for 60% of everything after the private rating. It still helps but had to take a big loan that i'm still trying to repay. However we all know how things change and that was 6 years ago. I hit a dead end after going broke from trying to pay for all the expenses. I think 3 maybe 4 of the 12 in my flight school class got all there ratings and found a job. I did however luck out and made it into the guard to fly. Went to rucker for flight school in 06 and now in the process of going back active to fly. Guard is great but dosent pay all the bills. Requires alot of time from civilan job which doesnt make them happy. lol i'm gonna end up writing a book here. bottom line is if you have a great civilan job or you fit in real well with your guard unit and get a full time job for them then your good! if not its gonna be rough. active duty your gonna be deployed 1 yr, home between 1-2. if you want to hear about the rest of my exp with the guard and flying let me know. dont get on here much. might have to email me.


good luck


jeffwcox@hotmail.com is my email.

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