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11-17-2011, 07:19 AM
I have a little dilemma on my hands. I have 8 yrs in the military (5 yrs enlisted, 3 yrs so far officer AD Air Force). A few months ago, I received orders to change stations from Barksdale AFB, LA to Yuma, AZ. This PCS carries a mandatory 2 yr Active Duty Service Commitment. I already do not enjoy my job for two reasons. The first being, I love commercial aviation a whole lot more than military aviation, it's what I was around growing up. The second being my job is a lot more secretarial than I thought and being sent from station to station, each one being more lifeless than the next, the job and QOL become miserable. My dilemma comes in the fact that if I took the Yuma assignment that would put me there until Nov 2013; which of course is after the 1500 hr rule takes effect. On top of that, I see very little flying in Yuma without driving to Phoenix or San Diego and quite a bit more misery at my job. So, I need some opinions/career advice.
I am 29 yrs old with 400TT and 50ME. Not substantial numbers by any means, but it is something to work with.
If I do not take the assignment, the AF says I need to separate on Feb 1, 2012, no other options. The pay stops, the benefits stop, but maybe my quality of life improves and I can concentrate on an aviation career (pilot or not).
If I take the assignment, I have 2 yrs spent in Yuma with the very rank conscience Marine Corps along with more deployments/field exercises. The benefit would be that my bank account would grow fairly nice, but that is the only benefit that I see. Basically, QOL for the last 3 yrs has been miserable and I need a change.
With all that said, I don't want to be some low time guy stepping into the airlines still wet behind the ears forcing the CA to instruct the whole flight, but stepping to regional (if I can) is still an option I'd like to consider.
Whether you have been in this situation or not, I would love to hear your thought based on the scenario. What would you do?
11-17-2011, 07:54 AM
What do you mean very little without driving o Phoenix or San Diego?
This link lists 5 flight schools in the Yuma area.
List Of Flight Schools in Arizona (http://www.private2atp.com/fbo/AZ.html)
I've spent a bit of time in the area and many friends have lived in the area and seemed have enjoyed the QOL.
Buy a house with a pool, enjoy the water sports ofvthe Colorado River, or turn to ATV fun on the dunes.
I'm not sure what you're worry is with the Marine Corps.
What is it that you are not enjoying about aviation? What is your job in the AD Air Force and what will you being doing at MCAS Yuma?
It sort of sounds to me like if you took the job in Yuma, kept flying on the side, built some more hours/experience, kept the paycheck and benefits son you weren't fiscally challenge during a tough economic time that you just might have good timing for getting out if the 'shortage' materialize.
If you truly dislike your job that much though then your number one concern should be your quality of life, and a person who hates getting up every morning to go to work usually doesn't have a very good QOL and it trickles down to family and friends.
11-17-2011, 11:42 AM
Thanks for the quick response USMCFLYR. I am an Airfield Ops Officer (Air Traffic Control and Airport Mgmt) in AD Air Force. The first two yrs, I was a Tower controller and a little Radar (PAR/ASR). I was at Key Field for those years and went out to NMM for the radar. Nowadays, I do a lot of answering e-mails, reading regulations, awards/decorations, and I occasionally get a chance to see an airplane. Every time there is an airliner in here at Barksdale, I go out to talk to the crew, sit in the cockpit and continue pretending. I don't know what I will do at MCAS Yuma. I don't know where they will place me, but I assume I will be a part of an Air Control Squadron.
As far as not enjoying military aviation, I just like the whole civil aviation experience much more (an airport with gates, rather than just a ramp; civil airliners, the sights, sounds, smells, etc...). I was a ramp agent growing up so I guess that's what I can blame it on.
As far as the flight schools, I have been researching that since I received these orders, but it looks like that list is outdated. I have called several places out there and have heard crickets. I will keep trying though.
If I read you correctly, you do mention the upside of going. Get the pay, get the benefits and build time. At the end of Yuma make another decision: stay or go possibly at a good time, but with good financial backing. Only worry to that is I will pass the date set for the 1500 hr rule to take effect and at give or take at 500 TT and 80 ME (rough estimate by the time I leave Yuma, given how busy I would be) still be far away from that limit.
Again, Thanks for the response and advice, it's always nice to hear another opinion. Just wish I had a crystal ball to see which way would work out better.
11-17-2011, 01:27 PM
Can you not go guard/reserve some where more to your liking, continue serving in some capacity (if it is still a calling for you), continue to get at least some of the benefits/pay, and pursue your other career goals?
11-18-2011, 01:00 AM
Thank you for your service.
I just retired (forced) from the AF in January after 23 years, all of them as a pilot. I also just went through the civilian job-hunting process, and got lucky enough to find one (not a regional, thank God...). You may be intersted in my $0.02:
First, +1 on both USMCFlyer's opinion as well as LowSlowT2 (do I know you? I flew T2s for awhile...).
I think it boils down to what's more important to you: quality of life or getting into a cockpit and chasing the dream as fast as possible.
If QOL is the main driver, then STAY IN. Suck it up in Yuma. Rent a cheap place, get a roommate to reduce expenses even more, and get yourself a college degree for basically nothing. Spend the money you save on flying, either in Yuma or come to Tucson on weekends--plenty of schools here. Get out on YOUR terms, when you're ready, with a degree. Use your veteran's preference to get a governmnt civilian job as an air traffic controller or airfield manager at double your current military pay (those jobs are on USAJobs all the time) and keep flying on the side. Make the airline jump when you really are more competitive. Or go do something else if you change your mind about career path.
If getting into the cockpit is the main driver, then a regional is the only thing you're competitive for, unless you have an in somewhere or your rich family friend owns a bizjet and is willing to take a chance on you. That said, even with a regional, there are LOTS (trust me, LOTS) of more qualified guys out there, and you'll be competing against them. And the aviation job market is very tough right now, ask me how I know. Lots of guys like me out there. Well, unlike me, as I refuse to fly for a regional.
But, if you wanna get in the cockpit ASAP, STAY IN. Continue flying as much as possible locally, in Tucson or Yuma, get your CFI, and instruct your butt off on the side. Then find a school that'll hire you full time to instruct, and PALACE CHASE to a Guard or Reserve unit. You'll build time, make yourself more competitive for that regional airline gig, and keep some income (which you'll need if you're instructing full-time OR working for a regional...) and keep that long-term retirement egg in play.
You might want to PALACE CHASE in the first example too. Hell, you're already trained to do a job the AF needs, might as well keep the extra pay coming in. And in both cases, you'll have the Post-9/11 GI Bill there for you too, which can now is even more useful for flight school and type ratings.
Just my opinion, based on my experience and what you've told us about yourself. Hope it gives you something to think about.
11-18-2011, 02:00 AM
400/50 is not going to get you a regional job, or any flying job besides CFI most likely.
I would stay in, suck it up, collect the $, get a CFI if you don't already have one, and build time. You're probably going to need 1500 hours anyway, those who get in with less are basically lucky in their timing.
11-18-2011, 07:30 AM
Don't pass up an opportunity to eat at Chili Pepper while you're there. You may check out Diamond Air or Bet-Ko as well. I think there is a skydiving place in Somerton as well. You might be able to get a few hours there.
11-18-2011, 12:33 PM
It would probably require an age waiver but have you thought about looking for a pilot slot with the Guard or Reserve? I know several folks coming off AD who were able to get age waivers.
My first suggestion would be to determine whether you really want to be a pilot or not. Your first post suggests something in aviation but not necessarily being a pilot. If you want to work for an airline and not necessarily as a pilot, your decision should be an easy one. Get out, as you can certainly find a job working for an airline that will allow you to smell jet fuel!