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View Full Version : Airline to OCS


FLYMIA
08-02-2017, 06:33 AM
I know most threads here are about being in the service trying to go airline but I was hoping for some opinions of those who have served about the reverse scenario. I'm currently an RJ captain and 31 years old. My goal is to fly for a major carrier and I am starting to finally send apps out. However, for the past ten years I've always wanted to fly for the military. I pursued the USMC my last year in college but couldn't get a contract in time.
After flying professionally for a bit the desire to serve as an Officer is still something I feel I will deeply regret not doing. I don't care if I fly anymore in military. I was considering going into the Army guard and app,ting to OCS. Do you gentlemen think this would be a major setback in getting to the majors due to the time I'll take out of the cockpit?


Sam York
08-02-2017, 07:41 AM
I'd look to the Guard if I were in your situation.

Adlerdriver
08-02-2017, 07:50 AM
After flying professionally for a bit the desire to serve as an Officer is still something I feel I will deeply regret not doing. I don't care if I fly anymore in military. I was considering going into the Army guard and app,ting to OCS. Do you gentlemen think this would be a major setback in getting to the majors due to the time I'll take out of the cockpit? If you feel strongly about serving as a military officer, I think you owe it to yourself to see if that goal can be met. Once you have a valid plan to attain it, make a decision.

You are past the standard age limit for pilot training in the USAF (and I'm guessing same for USN/USMC), though it sounds like you don't want that anyway. I'm not sure about the Army RW program and what their limits are.

Spending time away from the 121 world and losing currency certainly isn't going to accelerate your path to the majors. Most likely you would need to take mil leave from your current job. I have no idea what the timeline is for an Army Guard officer to go from zero to Lt fully trained and ready. Once you finished training and were established in your Army unit as a traditional guardsman (part timer), you could go back, re-gain currency and pick up where you left off. But I think you could safely say that whatever time you spent out of the RJ cockpit beginning your military service would be that much extra time delay in getting on with a major (on top of whatever delay just to get an interview now).

Good luck with it.


Spike from flyi
08-02-2017, 11:53 AM
The Guard can issue an age waiver; if they are in need of pilots this is pretty easy to get. I'd recommend you apply for everything that you want (including jobs at the majors), and see what looks most promising. You'll make the wrong decision with the information you have at the time. That's how we all got here.

Duesenflieger
08-02-2017, 06:23 PM
Army RW/FW age limits are 33 years old at the time of selection. For the army guard, they typically require prior enlisted. If you are prior enlisted and over 33, from what I have read and heard firsthand from people who have gone through the process, the army guard will be more willing than the Navy and USAF to grant an age waiver. You may want to look into the WOFT program as well. Back in 2009 - 2010, fix-wing slots were being prevalently awarded straight out of Fort Rucker WOFT. The age limit is 33, and having a high number of flight hours will be deemed a plus. The forums on APTAP are also a good resource for learning more about army aviation. There are a few aviation regiments that may take you off the street if you make a good impression for them.

The USAF reserve and ANG are granting age waivers up to age 35. The key is to locate undermanned units (a problem which will only grow worse in time) and start getting to know them. There are some people breaking through and obtaining these waivers (source: baseops.net). Forget about even dealing with the recruiters because as soon as they find out about your age, they will ignore you. If the unit likes you, they will go to bat for you and persuade their recruiters to help you out. I'm above the age limit for UPT as well, but am going to give it a try. At the moment, I have no idea how to discover which units are undermanned. Is shotgun approach the best method, or is there a more efficient way of learning which units are undermanned? I have no contacts in the USAF.

sourdough44
08-03-2017, 04:50 AM
If the military flying position is tight, I'd consider keeping your current job & joining the Guard or Reverves. That way you stay on track with a piloting job while getting your feet wet in the military.

There may be an Officer slot/position available, or even enlist and look to OCS later.

Back to the military flight option. If interested, you need to talk to and apply to ALL who will listen. That means the Coast Guard, Army & everything in between. If & when you were to get a guanteed offer, then the decision is yours.

Back in 81 when I was in Army Basic(National Guard) we had a few college graduates who enlisted to get started.

SaltyDog
08-04-2017, 05:47 AM
......Do you gentlemen think this would be a major setback in getting to the majors due to the time I'll take out of the cockpit?

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA 38 U.S.C. 4301-4335) protects your civilian job while serving our country in the military.
Employers are not legally allowed to discriminate and not hire solely for your current service. You do have to start employment at your employer (airline) at the time the employer needs to hire an employee.
Ideally, you would use the USERRA protections from where you want to be, not necessarily where you are currently employed.

Bucknut
08-04-2017, 05:57 AM
I would look at the Air Guard and get a job in Base/Flight OPS. That is where all the pilots hang out and you will meet some very valuable contacts there. Most Air Guard pilots have airline jobs and these people are good contacts to make.

FLYMIA
08-04-2017, 08:35 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm still trying to get as much info as I can. I have met with an Army Guard recruiter who has put others through OCS. Some Red Flags out the gate were that I would have to enlist prior to OCS. I know other branches don't do this. From what I have been putting together is that Army/GUARD/RES does do this and it is in your contract that you will discharge if not completing OCS. Are there any Guard or Reserve Army Officer's here that can confirm?

BeatNavy
08-04-2017, 09:49 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm still trying to get as much info as I can. I have met with an Army Guard recruiter who has put others through OCS. Some Red Flags out the gate were that I would have to enlist prior to OCS. I know other branches don't do this. From what I have been putting together is that Army/GUARD/RES does do this and it is in your contract that you will discharge if not completing OCS. Are there any Guard or Reserve Army Officer's here that can confirm?

An army recruiter who tells you that you have to be enlisted before becoming an officer/warrant officer/pilot is a liar and you should call him that to his face. That is how a lot of my soldiers ended up enlisted, because they got lied to and enlisted to be crew chiefs thinking it was the best path to become a pilot. We tried to get them to warrant officer and flight school, but it's not that easy. The caveat to that is that if you are sent to OCS/WOCS in any service, you have to enlist prior to commissioning kind of as a placeholder rank while "in" but not yet having earned a commission/officer rank.

As far as your options if not completing OCS/WOCS/flight school, I don't know how those contracts are written. I do know people who washed out of pilot training when I was there on the active duty side just got a new nonflying job and stayed in until their USMA/ROTC commitment was up (or stayed in).

U.S. Army Recruiting Command's Warrant Officer Recruiting Information Site (http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/warrant/prerequ/woft.shtml) This is the best route to fly in the army IMO.

Slim11
08-05-2017, 05:07 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm still trying to get as much info as I can. I have met with an Army Guard recruiter who has put others through OCS. Some Red Flags out the gate were that I would have to enlist prior to OCS. I know other branches don't do this. From what I have been putting together is that Army/GUARD/RES does do this and it is in your contract that you will discharge if not completing OCS. Are there any Guard or Reserve Army Officer's here that can confirm?

I'm going to add some variables here...

First, like you, I began my effort to become a military pilot a little too late. That was back in the 1980s when age waivers were nearly impossible to get in the ANG. I did get a slot but became medically disqualified. At the time, I could have gotten out but chose to stay in non-aviation positions. It turned out to be one of the better decisions I ever made. Now, I'm retired and flying in the airline world.

Second, while I did enlist, there is no absolute requirement for one to enlist before being able to compete for pilot training slots in the ANG/ARNG. It seems to help more with the ARNG. Some recruiters, not all, will tell an applicant they must enlist first. As others have said, this is not true. At the same time, recruiters have their mission and if someone like you walks in, they will attempt to get you to sign the on the dotted line first. Once you've done so, there isn't much they can do for you regarding flight school.

I'm retired from the ARNG, Signal Corps.

Best of luck to you!

Duesenflieger
08-05-2017, 06:32 AM
I was about to add what BeatNavy wrote, but he beat me to it! Check out warrant officer flight training. They deal mainly with flying unlike OCS. Make sure that you contact a warrant officer accessions recruiter directly, though; they have specialized recruiters who handle packages of this ilk and they will give you more accurate details on the process. This site is pretty useful as well APTAP.org - Professionals Helping Professionals (http://www.aptap.org/). I know it's possible to go directly from civilian to warrant officer aviatior in the army guard/reserves, but doing so hinges entirely on the state's WOCS rules and it will take some research. I've only just begun to research this stuff myself, if I find out anything else, I don't mind PMing you info that I find out!

rickair7777
08-05-2017, 08:40 AM
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA 38 U.S.C. 4301-4335) protects your civilian job while serving our country in the military.
Employers are not legally allowed to discriminate and not hire solely for your current service. You do have to start employment at your employer (airline) at the time the employer needs to hire an employee.
Ideally, you would use the USERRA protections from where you want to be, not necessarily where you are currently employed.

What Salty's saying is your best bet would be to get hired at a major, then go to military training. But given your age, the timing to fly RW might be kind of tight unless you're sufficiently competitive (turbine PIC, grades, training record, whole person) that you can get called by majors immediately.

If you really want to fly military, better go do guard/reserve RW right now. The bigs will still be hiring (even more so!) when you get back to your regional plus you'll have military wings. You'll trade a little major airline seniority for a personal passion.

If your priority is major airline seniority, then get the apps out, pound the pavement and get hired at a suitable career destination airline. Then join the military, perhaps fly RW if still young enough, otherwise in a non-flying capacity (age limit for the later is 35 or even up to 40 IIRC).

FLYMIA
08-08-2017, 08:07 AM
The caveat to that is that if you are sent to OCS/WOCS in any service, you have to enlist prior to commissioning kind of as a placeholder rank while "in" but not yet having earned a commission/officer rank.

I think this may be what my recruiter meant, but I'm not sure and will have to certainly clarify it with her when she returns to town later in the week. The confusion seems to be for me that I have to swear in or enlist at MEPS, I may have some incorrect terminology there, and then attend Basic training. So it's not that cut and dry as just saying your an officer candidate who goes to OCS. I'll try to get some clear answers soon.

sourdough44
08-08-2017, 01:04 PM
An enlistment in the Guard isn't the dealbreaker IF one isn't counting on any guaranteed flying/OCS position. One would also have to be comfortable fulfilling the commitment to the end.

The good thing about it is you could keep your day job, after the training absences.

I enlisted in the Guard at 17(with parental permission). I never had expectations with any follow on promises.

As usual, you have to bounce it off the other courses of action you have available. That includes doing nothing and sticking with the status quo.

Homeshopper
08-10-2017, 08:36 AM
There is a way to go active while keeping you seniority going. Not sure how it works but have a few friends that are active duty and still have seniority ticking at the majors. I think it's a win win for every one.

rickair7777
08-10-2017, 08:46 AM
There is a way to go active while keeping you seniority going. Not sure how it works but have a few friends that are active duty and still have seniority ticking at the majors. I think it's a win win for every one.

Yes, it's easy. Hardest part is getting hired by a major while young enough to qualify for AD flight training. If you can do that, then you are totally protected with your civilian job while...

1) Undergoing initial military training.
2) Serving out any obligation incurred from #1

So that takes you to about 12 years. Then you get five years of voluntary mil leave, so you could do 17 years of AD before you had to return to save your job. But there are other types of duty and incurred obligations which would extend that, so there's a good chance you could find a way to get a 20-year AD retirement and then return to the airline with 20 years seniority.

The five year limit is grossly misunderstood...it only applies to truly voluntary military service which is not in support of war efforts. You'd have to try hard to find a military job which is both voluntary and has nothing to do with war efforts right now. I've been in the reserves for decades and have used exactly zero of my five-year limit.

Alfred E Newman
08-10-2017, 09:53 AM
If it does all work out, and you find yourself at military flight training, be sure to do it THEIR way. I went through USN flight training years ago with an x-regional guy who could fly circles around me....but he didn't like doing things the Navy way and he was promptly shown the door.
Good Luck!

PotatoChip
08-20-2017, 08:07 AM
I'm sure this has been repeatedly asked, so I apologize, but what are current regularly given max waivers for age?

Someone said 40 on this thread and I find that incredible.

rickair7777
08-21-2017, 07:22 AM
I'm sure this has been repeatedly asked, so I apologize, but what are current regularly given max waivers for age?

Someone said 40 on this thread and I find that incredible.

I would believe 40 for non-pilots. I can't imagine a pilot waiver beyond 35 years at the outside, the goal is for you to be able to pass a flight physical 20-25 years later as a squadron or wing CO. Not everybody gets there, but they want to stack the deck from the get-go.

Army aviation seems to be more liberal on the age.



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