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I'm beginning to research an article tentatively entitled: Military vs. Civilian training-Apples or Oranges What I would like would be short statements as to your opinion of either. I understand the debate on this subject can be interesting, exactly why I'm writing the piece. If you would like to use your name, fine, if not your VR username will do just as well. You can post your comments right on this thread. No guarantees as to which, if any, I'll use. Just keep in mind, I love entertaining quotes!!


Thanks folks,


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There are fundamental differences.

Military: Strict selection process, only the best candidates are put on course.

Civil: anybody with money can start, Some total rockapes are included. Rich, but rockapes.

Mil: The faster you learn, the better

Civ: the longer he takes to learn, the more he pays

Mil: Learn on turbine machines (here, anyway)

Civ: learn on a 50-year-old B47

Mil: In 120 hours you get turbine, low level, night unaided, some NVG, instrument rating, formation, sling, hoist

Civ: forget it

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Military: Instructors generally have been flying for 25+ years and have forgotten more about flying than I will learn in my 2 years at flight school.


Civilian: Well, you know.


Military: Tons of emphasis on aircraft systems, emergencies, vulnerabilities, etc.


Civilian: Emphasis on what is needed to pass the check ride.

Edited by SBuzzkill
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The military has been supplying the commercial world with an over-abundance of pilots for so long, that getting in on the civilian side is extremely hard, and for some, impossible.


The only way in(for a while), as a civilian was to become a flight instructor. However, since each flight instructor has to create around ten new instructors in order to build enough flight time to move on, and each one of those new ten has to themselves create ten more, the instructor base has grown exponetially.


As a result there are far more instructors than jobs available, let alone enough students to go around. Therefore the instructor route has pretty much dried up, leaving no real way in for civilians.


I don't know of anyone who uses 50yr old Bell 47s. We generaly train in either the R22, or S300.


Civilian training isn't as intense as military, and doesn't include any really cool stuff, like mentioned above, but, then again, we aren't training for war, nor do we have to commit 6yrs of our lives to one company.


Since flying helicopters is 'way cool', everybody wants to do it, so no matter which route you choose, the road is long, hard, and next to impossible.

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Military: Instructors generally have been flying for 25+ years...


That's very interesting! I never knew that.


Its a shame, most civilian instructors have only been flying for 6 months and have no real experience from which to teach.


But, then again, most civilian instructors are forced into it, and are just trying to build enough time to get out!

Edited by r22butters
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Buzzkill, you would not find many serving military pilots flying for 25 years.


Usually the mil pilot does one or 2 tours (3-6 years) of operations, then gets recycled as an instructor for another tour in the training schools, then returns to the operational squadrons as a check pilot.


After 20 years they have qualified for a pension, then head into the civil world.

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On the civilian side of things you would go to an FBO or flight school and learn how to fly from a CFI. Generally those CFIs do not have tons of experience as they are usually using instructing as a time building step up to something else.


In the military we are learning to fly from very experienced civilian instructors who have been (as I said) flying for many many many years and are mostly ex-military. I wasn't trying to imply that those instructors are currently in the military.


Military: Instructors generally have been flying for 25+ years and have forgotten more about flying than I will learn in my 2 years at flight school.


I suppose maybe you are confusing that as me saying "Military instructors generally have [...]" But what I am trying to say is "Military Training: The instructors that teach us to fly generally have been [...]"

Edited by SBuzzkill
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As a military trained pilot myself, I can think of a few initial weaknesses we have compared to civilian trained commercial helicopter pilots.


1 - Civilian trained pilots learn to be a PIC from Day 1. They have more experience flying single-pilot.


2 - Civilian trained pilots are generally more knowledgeable/experienced in 'civilian airspace'.


3 - Civilian trained pilots who are instrument rated are generally more experienced with IFR. Especially single-pilot IFR.


Of course, as soon as the military pilot leaves the military and enters the civilian commercial flying world, these weaknesses quickly vanish.

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I'm a civilian flight instructor (one of those low time IPs). I have to agree with the above mentioned short comings of civil training, however with the benefits of military training also mentioned here are some of the drawbacks that I've noticed from my perspective as an instructor.


1- To reiterate the points palmfish made; military pilots are not trained for commercial flying applications. In the civil job market they lack the knowledge/experience with civil airspace and proceedures. This is something that most military aviators are capable of picking up very quickly though.


2- Military helicopter pilots are trained in what in our world is a 206. After training most move on to larger helis, some even with fancy stability augmentation systems. Occasionally these pilots lack the control touch for smaller helicopters in the civilian world, especially but not limited to the R22. Power limitations can be an issue here too. Again, usually these pilots can hone thier skill back or learn to fly the small ships but the time required varies.


That is the extent of my personal experience. Two other issues that I can think of based on talking to employers and military pilots transitioning out are:


-With some employers military pilots have a reputation for being harder on equipment.


-Specialization could cause a bit of trouble for the transitioning pilot. Most often flight time is flight time and turbine or twin especially in military applications can only help but on the other hand there aren't too many apache jobs in the states.


None of this was meant to be derogatory toward military pilots or the military training. Military training certainly has it's place and also has benefits to civilian flying. I will not deny the short comings of civilian training. I just thought that those had been well covered and wanted to throw in some counter points that I have noticed.

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