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  • Military/civilian Pilots

    To those that are currently pilots (reserve status), what are your civilian jobs? Are you a pilot? If so, what do you do; police, platform, pipeline, aerial photography?

    Is there a great need for civilian pilots (are there jobs available)? Particularly in the gulf coast: Houston, Austin, San Antonio areas.

    Coming out of flight school, is this enough training to be qualified for these types of pilot positions? If not, what else would need to be done?

    Thank you for your time!

  • #2
    Re: Military/civilian Pilots

    I'm not a military pilot, but I am a civilian pilot (just got my IFR ticket 2 weeks ago and 18 hours away from my commercial license). The Gulf Coast is one of the largest employers of rotary wing pilots in the country with companies like PHI, Air Log, Era, etc. that fly in support of off-shore oil and gas operations. The job market slowed down quite a bit for entry-level positions over the past year or so, but things seem to be looking up somewhat now. 3 instructors from my school just got hired to fly tours in NYC, and another 2 instructors just went to Temsco in Alaska.

    EDIT: Also, regarding the Gulf positions, most of them are a 7/7 or 14/14 schedule, so it doesn't necessarially matter where you live. A former instructor from my school lives in Connecticut but flies S-92's for PHI on a 14/14 schedule down in the Gulf. He lives in company housing when he's on his hitch.
    Last edited by 0844; March 29th, 2010, 06:23 PM.

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    • #3
      Re: Military/civilian Pilots

      First, we already talked offline, so feel free to call me with more specific questions & come by & see us... now for the more brutally honest part.

      Second, NO. Most army guard/reserve pilots do not work as pilots on the civilian side. None that I can think of right now in my unit.

      Our part-time pilots are stock brokers, car salesmen, lawyers, engineers... same normal jobs as anyone else. Some guys have done the pilot thing on the civilian side. We have some WOCs & some putting in packets that are CFIs & such, but no one right now that's rated.

      It's a real tough market for commercial pilots right now, both fixed wing & rotary. The jobs that are out there have dozens of folks that'll do it for pennies on the dollar.

      Coming out of flight school, you'll have a FAA commercial instrument ticket with rotary endorsement & about 250hrs.

      An entry-level commercial rotary job is going to start at 1000-1500hrs minimum, if you can get it. That's co-pilot doing some crazy stuff offshore for 40k, again, if you can get it. Medical would be in the 3000hr range, and impossible to get. I don't know about DPS, but HPD selects in-house cops with several years on the street & no flight time to train their way.

      If you're thinking of this as a stepping stone, it's not worth it. You can get the same training faster & with less hassle on the civilian side. Either way, it'll take several years to build the time/experience necessary to get an entry-level job that averages the same as a recent college graduate. You're better off getting a professional degree & after those same years of experience you'll be making twice as much. Feel free to use some of that income to go get a private pilot's license.

      Being an Army Aviator, that has a lot more to do with our mission. Maybe the lift guys are a little different - I don't know, we don't speak the same language most of the time - but, I doubt it. You have to really want to be here to do this, and getting paid (especially if it's elsewhere based on the training/time we gave you) is not going to suffice.
      Last edited by dnall; March 29th, 2010, 07:32 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Military/civilian Pilots

        In our GSAB consisting of Blackhawk, Chinooks, Lakota and Kiowa pilots, we have several M-day guys who also fly civilian. Some are full time airline pilots. Some fly for law enforcement. Several others (including me) are part time CFIs. If you include technicians, than at least half, maybe more have piloting jobs.

        Also a small correction about civilian ratings/certificates: AIRPLANE and ROTORCRAFT are Categories, not endorsements. SINGLE ENGINE LAND, MULTIENGINE LAND and HELICOPTER are Classes on top of the Categories. INSTRUMENT is a privilege added onto a Category/Class. Tailwheel, complex and high performance are examples of endorsements on a rating.

        Out of Army flight school you qualify for a COMMERCIAL PILOT, ROTORCRAFT-HELICOPTER, INSTRUMENT HELICOPTER certificate with the successful completion of a military comp exam.

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        • #5
          Re: Military/civilian Pilots

          Originally posted by dnall
          First, we already talked offline, so feel free to call me with more specific questions & come by & see us... now for the more brutally honest part.

          Second, NO. Most army guard/reserve pilots do not work as pilots on the civilian side. None that I can think of right now in my unit.

          Our part-time pilots are stock brokers, car salesmen, lawyers, engineers... same normal jobs as anyone else. Some guys have done the pilot thing on the civilian side. We have some WOCs & some putting in packets that are CFIs & such, but no one right now that's rated.

          It's a real tough market for commercial pilots right now, both fixed wing & rotary. The jobs that are out there have dozens of folks that'll do it for pennies on the dollar.

          Coming out of flight school, you'll have a FAA commercial instrument ticket with rotary endorsement & about 250hrs.

          An entry-level commercial rotary job is going to start at 1000-1500hrs minimum, if you can get it. That's co-pilot doing some crazy stuff offshore for 40k, again, if you can get it. Medical would be in the 3000hr range, and impossible to get. I don't know about DPS, but HPD selects in-house cops with several years on the street & no flight time to train their way.

          If you're thinking of this as a stepping stone, it's not worth it. You can get the same training faster & with less hassle on the civilian side. Either way, it'll take several years to build the time/experience necessary to get an entry-level job that averages the same as a recent college graduate. You're better off getting a professional degree & after those same years of experience you'll be making twice as much. Feel free to use some of that income to go get a private pilot's license.

          Being an Army Aviator, that has a lot more to do with our mission. Maybe the lift guys are a little different - I don't know, we don't speak the same language most of the time - but, I doubt it. You have to really want to be here to do this, and getting paid (especially if it's elsewhere based on the training/time we gave you) is not going to suffice.
          Realistically speaking, if you were to get selected and serve your Guard commitment, 6x2 (if it even is that), how many flight hours would you finish with on average?

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          • #6
            Re: Military/civilian Pilots

            It's not 6x2. You enlist for whatever, it takes you however long to get selected as a WOC, you then wait however long, then go to school. When you appoint as a WO1, your enlisted contract goes away. You are formally discharged and brought back in as an officer (you don't have a contract, you have a obligation stated in a USC). You have (by law) a 6yr obligation from the day you accept WO1, and a 5yr obligation from the day you get flight orders (start flying). So whichever of those is later would be your earliest point you could get out - why you would get out at that point though I don't know.

            Anyway, how many hours would you have at the end of that? Who knows. It's going to be slightly different on every aircraft. In Apaches, we need more hours in the aircraft cause there's less we can do in a sim and we do flyovers/statics pretty regular. Where lift guys have a lot of state mission - ie If you're flying hawks in a place that has fires, you're going to get more hours than a place that doesn't. If you get deployed, you'll probably get a lot of hours in that year, so when and how many times will you get deployed and to where... yeah no one knows the answer to any of that.

            Anyone considering you for a slot though is going to have a problem with you talking a lot about either the minimum time before you can get out, or the number of hours you can rack up. No one has a problem with you having a commercial flying job on the civilian side. That's probably a good thing for you as a pilot, but we don't want to be a stepping stone for you to go somewhere else. That, and how long before you can get out, indicate you're marking time with us and will be gone as soon as you get yours. We're not asking you to commit up front to 20 years with us. But, we are looking for people who have a very strong sense of loyalty to the unit and fully intend to stay here for the long long haul.
            Last edited by dnall; May 30th, 2010, 06:14 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Military/civilian Pilots

              Originally posted by dnall
              It's not 6x2. You enlist for whatever, it takes you however long to get selected as a WOC, you then wait however long, then go to school. When you appoint as a WO1, your enlisted contract goes away. You are formally discharged and brought back in as an officer (you don't have a contract, you have a obligation stated in a USC). You have (by law) a 6yr obligation from the day you accept WO1, and a 5yr obligation from the day you get flight orders (start flying). So whichever of those is later would be your earliest point you could get out - why you would get out at that point though I don't know.
              If you're prior service Marine Corps can you submit a packet for selection without having to enlist in the ANG, go through AIT etc.?

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              • #8
                Re: Military/civilian Pilots

                Just a point of order... ANG is the Air National Guard. ARNG is Army.

                You do have to enlist.

                That will be against an enlisted slot for some MOS. If your Marine MOS can come over to a slot in an appropriate grade, then you're MOSQ. If not, then it'll depend on state policy.

                You don't technically have to be MOSQ to submit a packet, you just need to be on the books in that state's ARNG so you have a chain of command to sign off your paperwork.

                Some states are going to want you to be MOSQ first. In TX, they take packets from prior service folks w/o going to AIT. They've been expecting non-prior to get MOSQ first. I think that's pretty reasonable.

                I got a couple folks in those situations... 30yo non-prior CFI - right now in 92Y school now cause it's the fastest AIT we could get her through. 11yr prior AF E-5 - straight off active duty, enlisted non-MOSQ, did his packet, boarded, and will catch a school date to report down here in the next couple months. 4yr prior E5 Marine crew chief - enlisted, waiting for his security clearance to come back, will board next couple months, will be down here few months after that. That's just off the top of my head. There's dozens more examples. Again though, it's going to depend to a degree on how your state wants to do business more than any set of rules you can look up. That's all something you can and should research with your aviation WOSM at the SAO.

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                • #9
                  Re: Military/civilian Pilots

                  I see this is an old post, but I was wondering how often national guard pilots fly also. I'm wondering because I know it's more than Once a month.do you have to go to base once a week to fly, twice a week...?

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