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Are you civilian or military trained?

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Going through the military gives you the hours, without the expense. Employers will usually take whoever has the hours, regardless of whether they got them in the military or not. Get several thousand hours of flight time, and you can get a job. EMS is not a learning environment, you need lots of experience before you start, because you won't get much flight time on the job. It's a good retirement job for old farts, not so good for newbies looking to build time. Flying in the military is sometimes a good way to build time quickly. It depends on what is going on in the world. I can recall when 100 hours/year was about all anyone got. Then it changed again. To quote an old saying, "The Army ain't like it used to be. And it never was". :D

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After talking to some EMS pilots, I've been starting to fall under the impression that mostly ex-military guys get EMS jobs. Is this true? Is military training more appealing to employers?


I think I get what you are asking, there are some companies that seem to have a majority of ex-mil pilots. Those companies that favor them do exist but Ill agree that its the most "qualified" and likable guy who gets the job. The ex-mil guys also may have the advantage in night hours, NVG hours and more relative experience for EMS. All the EMS pilots that I know personally...ex-mil, but thats not saying much.

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Most EMS pilots are military trained. Lots of retired military types, higher share than I recall in the Gulf of Mexico. In my opinion, a very high proportion of gun pilots, too. I don't know why, the civilian trained I work with are as good as most military background pilots.

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  • 8 months later...

Dont forget about the whores in LE aviation. You will probably find a decent number in EMS that are retired cops.

I know several LE pilots who have retired and gone on to EMS for private companies. The ones I know, which are several, were trained by a combination of civilian and then further trained by their departments. The advantages to that are usually pretty high times pretty quick. After 10yrs flying in LE one could easily retire with 7000-8000hrs. One of our long time pilots is well over 30,000.

I plan on doing my 30yrs but when I hit my 20 yr mark, if I choose to retire then Ill be 43 years old and will probably be well over 6,000hrs by then. Ive been a pilot here for about 3 1/2yrs and just hit 2000. One of our pilots was in the unit during his last 10 yrs and retired with about 7500, to include about 2000hrs NVG, probably 2500-3000hrs mountain, mountain NVG, over 1000hrs long line and VR, STABO, etc etc.

Depending on the agency you work for, the type of flying you do can ranges from covering an area of thousands of sq miles of mountains and deserts dealing with SAR, rescues, mountain environments, tactical flying OR could be nothing more than 5000hrs of right hand turns over a city of 20sq miles at sea level!! Of the 5 pilots in my unit none of us are military trained.

Edited by Flying Pig
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