Military Pilots Advice for their sons/daughter

check six

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For all military trained pilots who are now airline pilots:

Would you advise your son/daughter to pursue a military flying career and then later pursue the airline job or stay civilian and go directly for airline flying?

What will be the need in 10 years for human piloted aircraft in USN/USAF for fighter or tanker community in light of the uav and space communities taking on a bigger role?

I have a son who has caught the flying bug and is interested in military aviation. Trying to figure out how to advise him.

Thanks,

Check Six
 

Birdstrike

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I'll offer a brief comment ref military considerations. Insure he understands, Check, that his military service will continue for as long as he's obligated, whether he flies or not. That's not necessarily a disadvantage; should he lose his medical, the military will continue to offer him a challenging career, albeit in a specialty other than flying. With the advent of UAVs, that would seem to me to be an ideal job for an experienced pilot who's lost his medical. Additionally, remind him that most possibly and most likely, less than half of his 20 years, should he stay that long, will be in the cockpit. Once he makes the field-grades, (Major/LtCol) unless he's fortunate enough to command, he will pull his share of staff/joint tours where he'll be flying his cubicle from a Pentagon or other HQ perch. As long as he's fine with that, mixing flying with staff jobs and being willing to deploy overseas half a dozen times, maybe less, he'll get the best taxpayer funded training, meet the greatest people, have the most challenging assignments, and operate some of the best equipment available. Plus our country needs our best and brightest to step forth and volunteer. Best wishes to him...
 

RedDogC130

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Do not forget about the Guard and Reserve route. For those like myself that knew from day 1 I wanted to do the airline deal it works great. I found out about the Guard well after I started flying civilian. Most guys I knew during pilot training, the airline gig is very foreign...they know a bunch of people go do it but not really what the industry is about. I had the benefit of both parents working in the industry before and I knew the ups and downs getting into it. You will never know if you made the right move until it is over and look back.
 

Scrapdog

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time on active duty and still think it's the best route to develop a well rounded aviator. If he desires to fly fighters - tell him to always shoot for it and never settle for anything else. There isn't a more rewarding type of flying than (IMHO of course) flying supersonic and pulling some G's - and getting paid for it. And of course you can always fly fatties in the airlines but you never can fly fighters anywhere else. This coming from a guy that does both.
 

RedDogC130

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time on active duty and still think it's the best route to develop a well rounded aviator. If he desires to fly fighters - tell him to always shoot for it and never settle for anything else. There isn't a more rewarding type of flying than (IMHO of course) flying supersonic and pulling some G's - and getting paid for it. And of course you can always fly fatties in the airlines but you never can fly fighters anywhere else. This coming from a guy that does both.
Do you really want to get into what is the most rewarding flying.....this can open a whole can of worms....Scrapdog were you full AD or a Guard/Reserve baby just on AD for training?

From my point of view as a Guard baby, you could not pay me to be on active duty full time....too much stupid b.s. now if I was out of a job...different story.
 

Scrapdog

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Do you really want to get into what is the most rewarding flying.....this can open a whole can of worms....Scrapdog were you full AD or a Guard/Reserve baby just on AD for training?

From my point of view as a Guard baby, you could not pay me to be on active duty full time....too much stupid b.s. now if I was out of a job...different story.
Full AD.
 

Mamma

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Here is my two cents on your questions. You can PM me if you want more details.

For all military trained pilots who are now airline pilots:

Would you advise your son/daughter to pursue a military flying career and then later pursue the airline job or stay civilian and go directly for airline flying?

I would advise the military route for anyone. As an officer you get leadership experience it would take years to get on the civilian side. As far as flying goes, I would totally recommend it. If they can land a guard or reserve gig that would be best. My advice is to get a degree or interest they can use outside of flying. The civilian flying world is very volatile and having a fall-back plan is essential.

What will be the need in 10 years for human piloted aircraft in USN/USAF for fighter or tanker community in light of the uav and space communities taking on a bigger role?

You can Google the answer to this. I am sure you will find many opinions. But, in my opinion as technology develops, opportunities in fighters/bombers will decrease dramatically.

I have a son who has caught the flying bug and is interested in military aviation. Trying to figure out how to advise him.

Thanks,

Check Six
 

DOVPILOT

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What will be the need in 10 years for human piloted aircraft
In ten years the world may not even be around (Armageddon), so live day by day. In ten years the military maybe back at prior levels of strength.

I have do do the civilain route do to a surgery, the climb from the bottom of the regionals is shear misery. Your son, nor anybody, should never have to endure this crap.
 

BeeVee

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My son is in the same boat....has the flying bug and asks me monthly what I think he should do....it's a tough call....
I went the USAFA route and will complete my 20 next May (2010). I can honestly say I have enjoyed most ALL aspects of my military career. Despite previous posts opinion, I have been able to fly 18 of my 20 years in the Air Force (and still made Lt Col to boot). My recommendation to your son would be to follow his heart. If he wants to fly and to serve his country, go USAFA or USNA (or ROTC), kick butt at flight school, and enjoy some of the most rewarding flying his is likely to ever do.

BeeVee
 

Andy Neill

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I would not go in the military for any other reason than wanting to serve. This is a mindset issue. The fact that you may come out of the military with a good set of credentials for airline work is a side benefit but should not be the focus of time in the services.
 

popgoesbubble

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Andy makes a good point you have to first want to serve as a member of the Armed forces Flying comes Second. As there is a good chance while he's Applying if its thru ROTC that there may not be many Pilot slots for his graduating year. Pilot Hiring goes in cycles and it is impossible to time it.

I had a few friends that did AFROTC and were committed to 4 years going into there junior year in College and unfortunately during there senior year slots were few and far ended up in a Hole instead of the sky babysitting some Minutemen III but it is all what you make of it and it can be a very rewarding profession.
 

RedDogC130

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Like I said...if you want to fly and only fly...go Guard and Reserve. If you want to fly but are willing to serve in any other capacity if it does not go your way...go Active Duty. Do not discount the other braches of service, Navy, Army, Marine...and Coast Guard all have flying branches...but going AD has the risk of getting another job...just my view on it.
 

pilotyip

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Not necessarily true

I'll offer a brief comment ref military considerations. Insure he understands, Check, that his military service will continue for as long as he's obligated, whether he flies or not. That's not necessarily a disadvantage; should he lose his medical, the military will continue to offer him a challenging career, albeit in a specialty other than flying. With the advent of UAVs, that would seem to me to be an ideal job for an experienced pilot who's lost his medical. Additionally, remind him that most possibly and most likely, less than half of his 20 years, should he stay that long, will be in the cockpit. Once he makes the field-grades, (Major/LtCol) unless he's fortunate enough to command, he will pull his share of staff/joint tours where he'll be flying his cubicle from a Pentagon or other HQ perch. As long as he's fine with that, mixing flying with staff jobs and being willing to deploy overseas half a dozen times, maybe less, he'll get the best taxpayer funded training, meet the greatest people, have the most challenging assignments, and operate some of the best equipment available. Plus our country needs our best and brightest to step forth and volunteer. Best wishes to him...

Don't forget there is no guarantee of a full career. The military is one of the most fickle employers in the world. Talk to pilots who experienced the post Vietnam draw down. "I don't care if you want to stay in after 11 years, we don't want you anymore, get out" RIF, drawdown, or 60% fail to promote to O-4, whatever you want to call it. Same thing in 1992 a peace dividend after the close of the cold war. Even military guys need a plan B.
 
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Birdstrike

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Don't forget there is no guarantee of a full career. The military is one of the most fickle employers in the world...
True. But if job security is a major concern, and it was for me, I'd still advise leaning military. My airline friends & neighbors in/around PTC, GA, (Eastern, TWA, Delta) have gone through furlough hell with severe tolls on their families. The Guard/Reserve route offers a lot of the best of both worlds, as Scrapdog reminded, but they're not your father's reserve units anymore either since cyclical deployments are now routine.
 

Dr. Rumack

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True. But if job security is a major concern, and it was for me, I'd still advise leaning military. My airline friends & neighbors in/around PTC, GA, (Eastern, TWA, Delta) have gone through furlough hell with severe tolls on their families. The Guard/Reserve route offers a lot of the best of both worlds, as Scrapdog reminded, but they're not your father's reserve units anymore either since cyclical deployments are now routine.
Bingo. Ten years active Navy then four at America West. The first thing I did when finding out I was going to be furloughed was start sending out apps to Guard units. One of them worked and my family is going to be ok because of it.
I can honestly say that I am 50/50 on which career I preferred and am looking forward to going back in.
 

transpac

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What's the time commitment for military flight training nowadays? If its long term, that would affect the advice I'd be handing out. Also, what's the promotion percentage to O-4 for pilots?
 

BeeVee

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10 year commitment AFTER graduation from SUPT.
Promotion rates to Major are upwards of 80-90% (as long as you keep your nose clean, get your Squadron Officers School done, etc.) Currently, as long as you make Major, your "high year tenure" is 20 years. This means you will be allowed to retire from the Service if you so desire.

BeeVee
 

SIG600

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The commitment for the Navy right now is 8 years for Tacair, 6 for Rotary.

As a general rule of thumb I discourage guys from using the military as a stepping stone to an airline career. Once people find out, they'll walk all over you. Plus as you know it's a HUGE commitment, and a LOT of work with no guarantees. The desire to serve and make a difference IMO needs to be the driving force. This coming from a guy that left commercial aviation to Fly Navy. I can tell you with almost certainty I will never go back to commercial aviation or trying to fly for the air lines. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with joining, serving your commitment with distinction, then punching out and moving on. Again, as I'm sure you've told him (like any company or corporation) they're looking to hire future leaders and people that are there to do 20 years, not use it as a stepping stone to something else, however a 20 year commitment would be hard to sell, hence why they start throwing money and other offers at guys when their time is up.
 

Jetlaggy

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My son is in the same boat....has the flying bug and asks me monthly what I think he should do....it's a tough call....
I went the USAFA route and will complete my 20 next May (2010). I can honestly say I have enjoyed most ALL aspects of my military career. Despite previous posts opinion, I have been able to fly 18 of my 20 years in the Air Force (and still made Lt Col to boot). My recommendation to your son would be to follow his heart. If he wants to fly and to serve his country, go USAFA or USNA (or ROTC), kick butt at flight school, and enjoy some of the most rewarding flying his is likely to ever do.

BeeVee

Did you stay active duty the entire time?

Mighty 90
 

Ih8AFYesmen

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The "flying bug".... oh, I remember those days. I would have given my left nut to fly. All I wanted to do was fly airplanes. That goal was what got me through college, all the ROTC b.s., and kept me out of trouble. If all you want to do is fly, I don't recommend the active duty route. They will drill in the "officer first, pilot second" b.s. until the day you leave/retire. They are right, you are an officer first, but what is the definition of a good officer according to whom?!?! A yesman is what they really want. If you can play the game and handle the "created work", you'll do just fine. Not many of fellow pilots swallowed this pill. Hence, a mass exodus when the airlines were/are hiring. Just remember, you'll have to bust your a$$ for the man just to fly your 15-40 hours a month, depending the airframe. Ofcourse, more during a real war. Bottom line is if you don't mind working 12 hours days in the office and fly when you can, go active duty. Maybe the times have changed since I've been out, but I doubt the bull$hit's gone.

I'd look into the guard/reserve and even they are becoming much like active duty nowadays, but still better than active duty. My .02.
 
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