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Ex-military in the commercial industry


PaveHawk
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Hello all ex-military pilots and everyone else who would like to make comments/observations,

 

I would like to hear from any ex-military helo pilots now working in the commercial aviation industry. I'm leaving a good 10 year career as a USAF Evaluator/Instructor pilot with 2000 hours (+1800 helo turbine time). If you were in my shoes, would you take a chance on finding work outside of the military? Do you have any regrets or things you might have done differently when you left active duty? I realize that there are very real disadvantages (lower pay, loss of benefits) but I'm ready for a new challenge. There seem to be a couple of limitations in experience that I've noticed...for instance, I have no R-22/300 time, not a CFII (but plenty of USAF instructor time), no long line/bucket/EMS/charter experience, no time in common airframes like the 206 or AS350, etc. If you are an employer, does military experience make up for any of these deficiencies? What is a realistic area of the helo industry to pursue as a first job out of the military...EMS, GOM/oil, charter, ENG, instruction? Finally, would you spend +9000$ on CFI ratings or go straight to the job search?

 

Thanks for any replies. This kind of information only comes from experience! I need to borrow some of that to make a good decision! Cheers, Matt

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Hello all ex-military pilots and everyone else who would like to make comments/observations,

 

I would like to hear from any ex-military helo pilots now working in the commercial aviation industry. I'm leaving a good 10 year career as a USAF Evaluator/Instructor pilot with 2000 hours (+1800 helo turbine time). If you were in my shoes, would you take a chance on finding work outside of the military? Do you have any regrets or things you might have done differently when you left active duty? I realize that there are very real disadvantages (lower pay, loss of benefits) but I'm ready for a new challenge. There seem to be a couple of limitations in experience that I've noticed...for instance, I have no R-22/300 time, not a CFII (but plenty of USAF instructor time), no long line/bucket/EMS/charter experience, no time in common airframes like the 206 or AS350, etc. If you are an employer, does military experience make up for any of these deficiencies? What is a realistic area of the helo industry to pursue as a first job out of the military...EMS, GOM/oil, charter, ENG, instruction? Finally, would you spend +9000$ on CFI ratings or go straight to the job search?

 

Thanks for any replies. This kind of information only comes from experience! I need to borrow some of that to make a good decision! Cheers, Matt

 

Hey Matt,

 

Welcome to the forum. I got out in 92 with just under 650 hours. Made the mistake of not taking a Middle East deal flying because of family. Could have added another 400+ hours over there. I didn't have the hours at the time for any civilian job so I got into my own business and could afford my own 47's for about 8 years. Great hours, but not the best experience for civilian work. Too much flying for fun. So, with just over 2000 hours and 4 years of no flying at all I tried to get into the civilian market, long line first (didn't work for me), then EMS (way too rusty). I did have some guys in my EMS class that just got out of the Army and did great and are now working in the industry.

 

Just my advice, if you can, get a job that is maybe 7 on 7 off or 14 on 14 off and get your CFI during your off time. I'm working on mine now after years of doing things I hated just for the money. most of all do what makes you happy and above all fly as much as you can and don't let yourself get rusty. After all the things I have done over the years I have been fortunate and am also close to my fixed wing Commercial transition. I'll be getting all the ratings that I can to get me through whatever life I have left.

 

Bottom line, I'm back doing what I love and to he!! with the money.

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