Airline Pilot Forums

Airline Pilot Forums was designed to be a community where working airline pilots can share ideas and information about the aviation field. In the forum you will find information about major and regional airline carriers, career training, interview and job seeker help, finance, and living the airline pilot lifestyle.




Southwest3
12-18-2019, 04:08 PM
Iím still a student in high school, Iím stuck on either being a professional airline pilot or a police officer. I recently found out that some places offer a volunteer police officer position, on your days off from being a pilot you could work as a police officer. So what do you all think? Should I go for it?


rickair7777
12-18-2019, 07:00 PM
I've known people who did it, but not any more.

Problem being the police unions apparently don't provide legal protection for part time volunteers (understandably). So if (when) you get sued by some scumbag, you're on your own. And you're wealthier than the average cop.

So that's the real issue, if you can find a jurisdiction which provides adequate legal protection, maybe it would be ok.

AirBear
12-18-2019, 07:54 PM
If you've read some of the forums here you'll already know how expensive flight training is. If you haven't read them you're looking at $50K-$100K plus college tuition if you ever want to work for a major airline. Pay is low until you get 1500 hours and then it gets a bit better. 3 years or so of very low wages to get that 1500 hours.

Take a look at becoming a police officer, then maybe work on flight training on your off time. Or perhaps check out the Army's Warrant Officer Flight Training. Mostly Helicopters but the last I heard you can get this right out of high school. We have members on this forum with experience flying for the Army, maybe one of them can update us on what's happening. Once you leave the Army with a lot of Helicopter time you may be able to get on with a police department flying their Helicopters, or perhaps even with the Customs and Border Patrol.


DontLookDown
12-19-2019, 04:51 AM
Part time public service is a great idea, but best not to do law enforcement on a volunteer basis.

Your options could include a part time military police job with the national guard.

If you want volunteer work you could be a volunteer firefighter


Since youíre only in high school, Keep in mind that real life isnít like the movies. If you become a pilot youíll spend the majority of your time sitting idly rather than saving an aircraft from the brink of destruction.

As a police officer youíll spend most of your time writing tickets or getting screamed at by drunk people, rather than shoot outs with armed robbers where you save the damsel in distress.

Of course, either is possible! When choosing a career, pick whatever job will give you the most money and time off.

FollowMe
12-19-2019, 04:57 AM
Why not both? If you have a passion for flying and service I would look into the military first as they will pay you and pay for your training. Once youíve completed your obligation you could transfer that into a career as a law enforcement aviator.

snell
12-19-2019, 07:35 AM
After 38 years in Law Enforcement going from walking a beat to retiring as Chief of Police. I'd recommend against Law Enforcement. This is especially true of "volunteer" special officers. It is not a career to be entered into lightly. Training can be difficult and even the best intentioned actions can reach back and bite ya in the butt. Never having tried any recreational drugs I cant make a comparison, BUT I doubt there is a better chemical for a rush than adrenalin! It does take it's toll however. Put in a busy 4-12 and it takes hours for the high to go away. Do you really want to fly after having not slept well for a couple of days because of a hectic shift? Stick with aviation or commit to law enforcement. There is no such thing as an effective part time cop.

PotatoChip
12-20-2019, 10:56 AM
Iím a major airline pilot and am also a volunteer Fire Police Officer.
Itís not quite law enforcement, however I really enjoy it, and it provides an outlet for that type of work if you are interested. Only about 17 states have Fire Police Officers, and they are quite common in Pennsylvania where I live. Here, we are sworn as officers by the mayor/governance of our city and have jurisdiction under the State of PA. We work alongside our fire department and respond to all calls that the fire department responds to, this may be structural fires, vehicle accidents, elevator rescues, general rescues, etc. We are also dispatched to floods, road closures, or any time the police department needs additional bodies and traffic control.
Our primary roles are traffic control, scene security and protecting our firefighters, their apparatuses, and the public.
We do not fight crime. We have limited detainment powers (such as suspecting a drunk driver), but generally do not get involved in such and radio for a patrol officer.
Itís a great volunteer opportunity, and big part of your community that people donít quite understand. Lots of fun working parades and races as well.

Southwest3
12-30-2019, 03:55 PM
Since most of you said pick one or the other, which career do you think would be the best? Police Officer or Airline Pilot?

rickair7777
12-30-2019, 04:37 PM
Since most of you said pick one or the other, which career do you think would be the best? Police Officer or Airline Pilot?

Some old wisdom from folks who have done both: LE is a great career but a crappy job. Aviation is a great job but a crappy career.

Right now, due to all of the retirements, the aviation career is looking better than it's historical average.

PotatoChip
12-30-2019, 04:49 PM
Since most of you said pick one or the other, which career do you think would be the best? Police Officer or Airline Pilot?

Thatís impossible to answer, but Rick hit as square as you can.
You have to decide want you to do.
I almost joined the CHP because I didnít think I could become a pilot, and it seemed like a good career, but I wanted to be a pilot.
My career to this point has been shaky, incredibly financially unstable, fraught with stress, and frustrating, but Iím finally in a good place. Iím friends with similar aged officers who are better off financially than me, but Iíll quickly exceed them in the next 10 years, and Iíll love going to work. I know they donít. Theyíll also retire 10 years before I do...

PotatoChip
12-30-2019, 04:51 PM
Oh, and you can do both. Plenty of LEO flying jobs out there. The CHP has a whole fleet. Recently flew with a retired helo pilot from the Virginia Beach PD. Worldís your oyster.

DontLookDown
12-31-2019, 07:36 AM
Oh, and you can do both. Plenty of LEO flying jobs out there. The CHP has a whole fleet. Recently flew with a retired helo pilot from the Virginia Beach PD. Worldís your oyster.

When I used to fuel aircraft in college, right after the recession, I asked all kinds of pilots if they enjoyed their jobs.

The only pilots who consistently said yes were the helicopter pilots flying for the state police.

rickair7777
12-31-2019, 08:36 AM
When I used to fuel aircraft in college, right after the recession, I asked all kinds of pilots if they enjoyed their jobs.

The only pilots who consistently said yes were the helicopter pilots flying for the state police.

Presumably you were working a GA field, so didn't talk to any airline pilots.

DontLookDown
12-31-2019, 11:37 AM
Presumably you were working a GA field, so didn't talk to any airline pilots.

It was a GA field, so all the airline guys I spoke to had given up on the airlines. Most had been furloughed too many times and had settled for anything that seemed somewhat stable. Some made the jump over to corporate to get paid a livable wage. That was also around the time the auto companies flew their private jets to ask for bailout money which put corporate aviation in the cross hairs for a while.... so even the best corporate jobs were questionable.

I also got checked out to rent at a local airport with cheap planes. The instructor I flew with was an AA mainline guy in his 40ís who was working as a CFI flying 152ís for prob $15 an hour mostly to stay current. He had been furloughed for 7 months at that point.

This was all 10 years ago. Hopefully itís at least another 10 years before it gets that bad again.

nate5ks
01-04-2020, 02:24 AM
How would major airlines view volunteer time as an officer on a resume? I've wanted to do it a long time (before I even knew volunteer time on an airline app was a thing) but all the better if it can be a career enhancer as well. I've been on the fence as LE certification in FL isn't a short class.

PotatoChip
01-04-2020, 04:10 AM
How would major airlines view volunteer time as an officer on a resume? I've wanted to do it a long time (before I even knew volunteer time on an airline app was a thing) but all the better if it can be a career enhancer as well. I've been on the fence as LE certification in FL isn't a short class.

My JetBlue panel loved it. Also gave me great non-aviation stories to HR questions.

nate5ks
01-04-2020, 01:13 PM
My JetBlue panel loved it. Also gave me great non-aviation stories to HR questions.

Thatís awesome! Now just to convince my wife...

bklynbacon
01-05-2020, 05:59 PM
You can do both, but no one here will be able to convince you to do either one. YOU have to make that decision. I was on the job for 15 years, and decided to hang it up to pursue aviation. Being a cop is NOTHING like you think it is. These days, it's about community control, not law enforcement/crime suppression. You have to think about why you want to be a police officer..then maybe you can answer the question you're asking. So far, the aviation world, in my very limited experience; has been very different. Pilots are more willing to mentor folks coming up through the ranks. It actually feels like what a cop used to be...