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View Full Version : Airline to ANG


HarlsBarkley
01-01-2018, 06:58 PM
Happy New Year, everyone.

I'm currently a first officer at a 121 regional and I'm giving some serious thought to applying to a guard unit nearby. Has anyone here joined the ANG after starting at the airlines, or am I crazy to even think of such a thing?

Some background -- I'm in my early 20s and have a 4-year non-aviation degree. After finishing college, I was in touch with a recruiter and had my ducks in a row to go to OTS and hopefully to UPT. Took the AFOQT (got a 97 on the pilot portion, similar percentiles on the other portions), TBAS, etc. Unfortunately, due to my dad becoming ill, I could not commit myself to the Air Force and had to withdraw from the process so I could stay closer to home. At the time, I had my private and instrument and worked to obtain my commercial and CFI certificates. I instructed my way to 1,500 hours and joined a regional in early 2017.

Here's the thing -- I have nothing bad to say about my job. I enjoy the flying and my co-workers. I'm compensated well. I've spoken to folks that I fly with and mainline guys (usually while I'm commuting in their jumpseats) who are retired AF or currently in the ANG about joining a guard unit. Some of them look at me like I'm absolutely nuts. Why, they ask, would I want to pump the brakes on what I've already got going? They ask why I would want to take mil leave for 2-3 years for initial training/seasoning, deployments, a pay cut, delaying a captain upgrade at my regional, and ultimately delaying a possible interview at a major airline?

Frankly, I have wanted to join the military since my last couple years of undergrad and would be especially humbled to be picked up by a guard unit to fly. Ultimately, I do not have my panties in a wad about getting to a major as soon as humanly possible and locking in my seniority number, as many do (not throwing stones, I know seniority is everything). I have (hopefully) 40+ years of flying in front of me, and the guard seems like a good way to serve while also working another job in the long-term.

Anyone care to comment? Open to advice.


galaxy flyer
01-01-2018, 07:42 PM
Best move you could make—personally and professionally.

GF

Armybeatnavy
01-01-2018, 08:11 PM
Happy New Year, everyone.

I'm currently a first officer at a 121 regional and I'm giving some serious thought to applying to a guard unit nearby. Has anyone here joined the ANG after starting at the airlines, or am I crazy to even think of such a thing?

Some background -- I'm in my early 20s and have a 4-year non-aviation degree. After finishing college, I was in touch with a recruiter and had my ducks in a row to go to OTS and hopefully to UPT. Took the AFOQT (got a 97 on the pilot portion, similar percentiles on the other portions), TBAS, etc. Unfortunately, due to my dad becoming ill, I could not commit myself to the Air Force and had to withdraw from the process so I could stay closer to home. At the time, I had my private and instrument and worked to obtain my commercial and CFI certificates. I instructed my way to 1,500 hours and joined a regional in early 2017.

Here's the thing -- I have nothing bad to say about my job. I enjoy the flying and my co-workers. I'm compensated well. I've spoken to folks that I fly with and mainline guys (usually while I'm commuting in their jumpseats) who are retired AF or currently in the ANG about joining a guard unit. Some of them look at me like I'm absolutely nuts. Why, they ask, would I want to pump the brakes on what I've already got going? They ask why I would want to take mil leave for 2-3 years for initial training/seasoning, deployments, a pay cut, delaying a captain upgrade at my regional, and ultimately delaying a possible interview at a major airline?

Frankly, I have wanted to join the military since my last couple years of undergrad and would be especially humbled to be picked up by a guard unit to fly. Ultimately, I do not have my panties in a wad about getting to a major as soon as humanly possible and locking in my seniority number, as many do (not throwing stones, I know seniority is everything). I have (hopefully) 40+ years of flying in front of me, and the guard seems like a good way to serve while also working another job in the long-term.

Anyone care to comment? Open to advice.


I was in your shoes Not to long ago. I say Do it. If you are not picky about what type of plane you want to fly then I suggest you pick the area you want to settle down. For me it was the east coast. I knew eventually I wanted to go back and that’s what I did. No commute and I drive to both my airline gig and my squadron. Let me know if you can any question. Happy to help! Thank you for wanting to give back too.


Essayons


BeatNavy
01-01-2018, 09:38 PM
Lots of regional guys get picked up by ANG units, so it isn't that unusual to do what you’re contemplating. I'm in the process of doing the same thing, but my situation is a little different than yours. And it isn't really a significant pay cut for you by my math. Regional FOs make $40k-$70k. Most regional CAs make $50k-$120k. 2-5 year (your demographic while you'd be on mil leave) regional CAs make $50-$90k, all of which is taxable, and your medical costs money as well. As an O-1 you'd make $3,108 base pay (taxable), then allowances that are all non-taxable: $260 in BAS, $1100 in BAH (Sheppard), and $125 flight pay. So you are only paying 12% tax on around $38k (~$30k after the deduction), but taking in around $18k tax free in allowances. So, first two years you'll take home around $50k, and probably $70k after you make O-2 with more than 2 years, and $90k as an O-3 over 4 years, again all with lower tax liability and medical costs than an airline job. After taxes/medical, your regional CA pay wouldn't be that much more. If the exact numbers are important to you, you can easily make a spreadsheet with the pay differences for each course of action to compare...most of those above figures are WAGs.

Where the real money difference comes is when you'd get picked up by a major in each scenario. You can make spreadsheets with various variables and make an educated guess as to how much each scenario will vary with lifetime earnings, retirement pay, medical, etc. But there are so many unpredictable variables, which make that a very difficult calculation. If you went into the military, you'll never know exactly when you'd get hired at a major as a straight civilian. Also, as an AF pilot, you will be significantly more marketable and a “top tier” candidate for DAL/AA/UAL/SWA/FDX/UPS. There are thousands of regional CAs out there…there are fewer mil pilots (and even fewer mil pilots with 121 experience). Maybe you’d fast track to a major from your regional, maybe not.

Do what you want to do…IMO the lifetime pay is a wash/impossible to determine a significant difference. There are benefits to being in the military that you can’t put a monetary value on (brotherhood/friendships, experiences/stories, pride, etc.). Sounds like you really want to do the ANG thing. How much would that suck to be one of the guys chatting to the former mil pilot guy you're flying with saying "yeah I wanted to be a military pilot, but didn't for X,Y,Z reasons” and at that point you’re too old and have to live with that regret. I've flown with a lot of guys who regret NOT doing the military flying thing, but I've never flown with anyone who regretted flying in the military. I know a guy who will be on 3rd year JetBlue pay going to UPT to fly fighters in the ANG. Sure it’s a pay cut, but where/when else do you get to fly fighters or do anything like it? Nothing you will ever do in life can compare to the experience/challenge/brotherhood of being a mil pilot…especially a fighter pilot.

rickair7777
01-02-2018, 06:55 AM
Sounds like you're a good fit. Also sounds like you'll regret it for a long things if you don't do it.

It's possible you'd get to a major a little faster by staying on the regional track full time, but the mil experience will make you more of a sure thing, with a predictable time line... as opposed to warming the regional bench and wondering why some people get called but others don't.

UAL T38 Phlyer
01-02-2018, 02:52 PM
I have had three or four Regional/Major pilots as UPT students. Highest-time guy had 4500 hours and was a Capt.

They generally do very well, although if you are thinking of a fighter unit...sometimes the “caution to the wind” aspect of that kind of flying (split-second decisions in risky situations) is so counter-intuitive to airline flying, that prior experience can be a hindrence.

ALL of them would say they learned things they never dreamed of prior to mil flying.

I join the chorus and say do it!

HarlsBarkley
01-02-2018, 04:15 PM
Sounds like you're a good fit. Also sounds like you'll regret it for a long things if you don't do it.


Hey fellas, thanks a lot for the detailed and thoughtful responses. I greatly appreciate it and took them to heart.

Rickair hits the nail on the head right there.

As far as fighters vs. heavies, I'm not set on either one, but the units that I'm interested in are either C130s or refueling wings. I totally get why some folks are dead set on fighters, but I don't have strong convictions about it.

ExAF
01-03-2018, 06:31 AM
Hey fellas, thanks a lot for the detailed and thoughtful responses. I greatly appreciate it and took them to heart.

Rickair hits the nail on the head right there.

As far as fighters vs. heavies, I'm not set on either one, but the units that I'm interested in are either C130s or refueling wings. I totally get why some folks are dead set on fighters, but I don't have strong convictions about it.When I started UPT, I wanted a C-141. After flying upside down and pulling Gs I changed my mind. Keep an open mind and all doors open.:D

nh2ri15
01-25-2018, 04:51 PM
Not to hijack the thread, but anyone know what a timeline would look like for someone similar to the original poster? I am in a similar boat, about to graduate UPT and go on to fly C-130s afterwards, but I am on a leave of absence from a regional airline. When I left the regional, I had about 300 hours of part 121 FO time, and overall have a little over 2,000 hours TT, mostly GA. I will go through C-130 training and then return for seasoning at my guard unit, but beyond that, I will be part time and will return to the regional airline. What should I focus on to be more marketable to the Big 3?

Thanks!

rickair7777
01-25-2018, 08:14 PM
Not to hijack the thread, but anyone know what a timeline would look like for someone similar to the original poster? I am in a similar boat, about to graduate UPT and go on to fly C-130s afterwards, but I am on a leave of absence from a regional airline. When I left the regional, I had about 300 hours of part 121 FO time, and overall have a little over 2,000 hours TT, mostly GA. I will go through C-130 training and then return for seasoning at my guard unit, but beyond that, I will be part time and will return to the regional airline. What should I focus on to be more marketable to the Big 3?

Thanks!

You're in good shape. Fly as much as you can on seasoning.

You'll have both mil and 121 tickets punched, so it will come down to flight time, and upgrade (at either job). When you go back to the regional, fly as much as you can, and do what you have to do with the guard.

I would avoid things like voluntary 3-week guard TDY's which will net you nine hours of flight time. If there's plenty of flying either way, do the guard. Once you upgrade, focus on that until you get the other upgrade.

Hawker445
01-25-2018, 09:01 PM
I was LITERALLY going to post the exact same query. Ijust turned 24, however I'm looking at a Regional application right now and wondered if I should do regional first, build seniority and then jump to ANG or vice versa. If you're looking to actually fly and not BS sitting at a desk 70% of the time, I would be doing heavies.


Not to place favorites or toot horns or anything, i was looking forwards to seeing a "rickair7777" response.

Hawker445
01-25-2018, 09:23 PM
I'm also curious if you have to be a resident of the state which the unit is based in.

For instance i live in the SF bay area and the closest to me is the 129th C130 rescue wing (Moffet). Which, sounds more appealing to me. However, they aren't hiring pilots for the next 4 years....So i would need to look a little farther away that have the aircraft i'm looking for. But if Reno has C130s and the only place hiring, making a trip all the way out there would be a pain in the behind.

BeatNavy
01-25-2018, 09:56 PM
I'm also curious if you have to be a resident of the state which the unit is based in.

For instance i live in the SF bay area and the closest to me is the 129th C130 rescue wing. Which, sounds more appealing to me. However, they aren't hiring pilots for the next 4 years....So i would need to look a little farther away that have the aircraft i'm looking for. But if Reno has C130s and the only place hiring, making a trip all the way out there would be a pain in the behind.

Oh the trouble of having to travel one state over (4 hour drive) to try to get hired by a guard unit. What a pain! Some people rush for years, travel across the entire country to rush/interview, get told no over and over, and keep at it until it works out. Congrats to you if you can apply to your local unit and be done with it (or God forbid the one that’s 4 hours away)...but if a 4 hour drive to rush/interview is such a pain in the rear, then being a mil pilot may not be the best path for you. Being a mil pilot has way more “behind” pain than a 4 hour drive to a unit. To answer your question, you can be a resident of any state and be in a guard unit of any state, barring unit specific rules to live within X distance. As a full timer you’d likely have to live there. Curious what you meant in your previous comment about heavies and less BS desk work, too.

BeatNavy
01-25-2018, 10:22 PM
There’s also an F15 unit right down the road in Fresno. Seems more fun than hercs.

nh2ri15
01-26-2018, 01:42 AM
You're in good shape. Fly as much as you can on seasoning.

You'll have both mil and 121 tickets punched, so it will come down to flight time, and upgrade (at either job). When you go back to the regional, fly as much as you can, and do what you have to do with the guard.

I would avoid things like voluntary 3-week guard TDY's which will net you nine hours of flight time. If there's plenty of flying either way, do the guard. Once you upgrade, focus on that until you get the other upgrade.

Thanks rickair! As for the other person inquiring, it may be a bit further away, but if you’re willing to commute or move altogether, the 146th AW out of Point Mugu, CA are hiring this spring. They have C-130J’s and are still located in your home state, although as the other people have said, it doesn’t matter what state you’re from. My first time visiting the state that my guard unit is in was when I was rushing the unit.

Hawker445
01-26-2018, 08:07 AM
Oh the trouble of having to travel one state over (4 hour drive) to try to get hired by a guard unit. What a pain! Some people rush for years, travel across the entire country to rush/interview, get told no over and over, and keep at it until it works out. Congrats to you if you can apply to your local unit and be done with it (or God forbid the one that’s 4 hours away)...but if a 4 hour drive to rush/interview is such a pain in the rear, then being a mil pilot may not be the best path for you. Being a mil pilot has way more “behind” pain than a 4 hour drive to a unit. To answer your question, you can be a resident of any state and be in a guard unit of any state, barring unit specific rules to live within X distance. As a full timer you’d likely have to live there. Curious what you meant in your previous comment about heavies and less BS desk work, too.

Not really saying living long distance from a unit thats hiring would prevent me from joining or would be ungreatful/hate going to and from base. Yea it might be "inconvient" as you might say but it's the same as saying you live a two hour drive to and from home to work everyday... Its the same thing as being an airline guy and commuting to a base a few hours away. You may dislike the commute but doesn't really mean "this may not be the best thing for you" if you enjoy being apart of it, at least the way I look at it.


I'm already fortunate enough to live in a state with a variety of ANG bases. I'd be happy be at any of them with the right aircraft. I mean, I despise LA but I'd go down to March AFB, or point Mugu like the other guy suggested . I'd be more inclined to be with rescue/airlift over fighters.

As for the other comment, I know a UH60 guy or two that sits at a desk 70% of the time of every couple months and complains. There may or may not be an explanation but from what it sounds like If this person WANTS to fly, follow a track that actually flies.

BeatNavy
01-26-2018, 09:05 AM
Not really saying living long distance from a unit thats hiring would prevent me from joining or would be ungreatful/hate going to and from base. Yea it might be "inconvient" as you might say but it's the same as saying you live a two hour drive to and from home to work everyday... Its the same thing as being an airline guy and commuting to a base a few hours away. You may dislike the commute but doesn't really mean "this may not be the best thing for you" if you enjoy being apart of it, at least the way I look at it.


I'm already fortunate enough to live in a state with a variety of ANG bases. I'd be happy be at any of them with the right aircraft. I mean, I despise LA but I'd go down to March AFB, or point Mugu like the other guy suggested . I'd be more inclined to be with rescue/airlift over fighters.

As for the other comment, I know a UH60 guy or two that sits at a desk 70% of the time of every couple months and complains. There may or may not be an explanation but from what it sounds like If this person WANTS to fly, follow a track that actually flies.

I thought you were implying that applying to the unit/interviewing would be inconvenient. It’s a lot easier to not commute to a guard job. And initially for UPT/seasoning you’d be full time and would need to live local. As a new guy trying to fly a lot, being a commuter would make that tough, though if you coupled that with regional flying you would build time quickly. After a few years flying hercs elsewhere, transferring to your desired location is a possibility.

If I were in your shoes, I’d start at a regional, apply to several ANG units, and make the decision once you have a job offer in hand. Once you’re an ANG pilot, moving around in the guard is a lot easier than applying off the street to a unit.

As a prior helo guy I wouldn’t recommend going helos if you want to be an airline guy, but it’s fun flying. If your friends are Army UH60 pilots they probably don’t fly much outside of deployments...that’s how the army is. Not sure about ANG helos. But imo best to avoid helos unless you really want to fly them, regardless. That said, I wouldn’t limit myself to heavies. Fighter dudes spend more time in the vault and less time in the air per sortie than heavy dudes, but I wouldn’t write fighters off unless you just don’t want to fly pointy nose jets. The fighter mafia is alive and well in the airlines.

Hawker445
01-26-2018, 09:14 AM
I thought you were implying that applying to the unit/interviewing would be inconvenient. It’s a lot easier to not commute to a guard job. And initially for UPT/seasoning you’d be full time and would need to live local. As a new guy trying to fly a lot, being a commuter would make that tough, though if you coupled that with regional flying you would build time quickly. After a few years flying hercs elsewhere, transferring to your desired location is a possibility.

If I were in your shoes, I’d start at a regional, apply to several ANG units, and make the decision once you have a job offer in hand. Once you’re an ANG pilot, moving around in the guard is a lot easier than applying off the street to a unit.

As a prior helo guy I wouldn’t recommend going helos if you want to be an airline guy, but it’s fun flying. If your friends are Army UH60 pilots they probably don’t fly much outside of deployments...that’s how the army is. Not sure about ANG helos. But imo best to avoid helos unless you really want to fly them, regardless. That said, I wouldn’t limit myself to heavies. Fighter dudes spend more time in the vault and less time in the air per sortie than heavy dudes, but I wouldn’t write fighters off unless you just don’t want to fly pointy nose jets. The fighter mafia is alive and well in the airlines.

Yea one guy is Army and the other is Marines. But yea stick jockies are a different breed as i'm told. aha

Airbum
02-02-2018, 01:17 PM
I have never regretted my years in the Guard. After decades at the airlines I wouldn't trade the experience of flying fighters for any of it.



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