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Old 09-12-2017, 12:10 PM   #1
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Default Should I quit ROTC and go the civilian route

I am a Sophmore in Air Force ROTC, and I am currently a professional flight management major working on my instrument rating. Ever since the start of my 200 year in AFROTC, I have been considering dropping the program. I am really losing interest in joining the military after college and thinking about just going the civilian route to becoming an Airline Pilot. My original plan was to get my instrument rating at the end of this year and switch my major to aviation management because if I am able to get a pilot slot through ROTC I would let Uncle Sam pay for the rest of my pilot training. After doing a lot of research and reading online I am considering dropping AFROTC and continue getting all of my ratings/certificates at school and try to land a job with a regional airline after graduation.

What are the Pros and Cons of taking the civilian path to the Airlines?
What are the Pros and Cons of taking the military path?

Thanks for any input and advice.
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:22 PM   #2
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If you have an opportunity to fly for Uncle Sam, you take it. It is the greatest return on investment in aviation.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:16 PM   #3
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If all you want to do is be an airline pilot, quit and go the civilian route. If you want to serve your country, lead some of the finest young men and women in our country, and be a pilot, stay in ROTC. Nothing worse than a junior officer who is only there for themselves, and I speak from having served with them. You should be an officer first, and a pilot second. And yes, the return on investment from learning to fly with Uncle Sam is huge. In more ways than one.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:21 PM   #4
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What is your ultimate goal? I have no personal experience with the military path but if you want to be an airline pilot it seems like that would be a circuitous route to get there.

When I was younger I looked into Army Warrant Officer training as a way to have my flight training paid for but the best advice the recruiters had for me was to enlist, get trained in something else, then try to get a pilot slot. Thankfully I was working with several corporate pilots at the time who had flown Army helos in a previous life and they "counseled" me against taking that path.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBreezy View Post
If you have an opportunity to fly for Uncle Sam, you take it. It is the greatest return on investment in aviation.
Historically true, but today you might well get a legacy seniority number faster by going civilian. There's a little risk there, as job opportunities for civilians are not as predictable as for mil pilots but mandatory retirements dictate that any qualified turbine pilot with a good record should be a shoe-in over the years to come.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:22 PM   #6
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I was in a similar situation as you. In an aviation program and 200 series in AFROTC. I ended up having some knee issues which required surgery and decided to drop the ROTC route and concentrated on finishing up my civilian ratings. Anyway I was able to flight instruct my last year of college and got hired at a regional airline immediately after graduation. Fast Forward 11 years and I am now at a legacy airline (about the same amount of time that my peers in the military were hired.) I do regret not having served in the military and if I could reverse time I probably would have pursued a guard slot. While my airline flying career so far has worked out I will always wish I had been able to serve my country.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:24 PM   #7
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What is your ultimate goal? I have no personal experience with the military path but if you want to be an airline pilot it seems like that would be a circuitous route to get there.
Not circuitous compared to the historic unpredictability of civilian career progress. But right now might be a good time to go the civilian route.

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When I was younger I looked into Army Warrant Officer training as a way to have my flight training paid for but the best advice the recruiters had for me was to enlist, get trained in something else, then try to get a pilot slot. Thankfully I was working with several corporate pilots at the time who had flown Army helos in a previous life and they "counseled" me against taking that path.
x2

The real risk the OP might be taking is incurring s service obligation via ROTC and then being dis-qualified from military flying...still have to serve out your time in a non-pilot role.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:25 PM   #8
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If all you want to do is be an airline pilot, quit and go the civilian route. If you want to serve your country, lead some of the finest young men and women in our country, and be a pilot, stay in ROTC. Nothing worse than a junior officer who is only there for themselves, and I speak from having served with them. You should be an officer first, and a pilot second. And yes, the return on investment from learning to fly with Uncle Sam is huge. In more ways than one.

This. If you're not reasonably passionate about the military, don't do it.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:37 PM   #9
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Do both...go guard/reserve, rock UPT, guard bum to get hours, gets your apps out, get hired at a regional until majors start calling. Best of both worlds without having to put in the 10+ year commitment to active duty.
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Old 09-12-2017, 03:05 PM   #10
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Are you on a full ROTC scholarship (I don't really know how it works, as I was OTS)? If so, how will you pay for college? How about flight training? If you answer that with debt, I'd say stick with ROTC. If your parents have the money, or you do, then, jumping ship might make sense. If you do that, try to get on with a regional then get a Reserve/Guard flying gig. Best of both worlds, but it's not easy, if you want to fly fighters or live somewhere desirable.

Honestly, it probably will be quicker going the civilian route, but I've flown with lots of guys that quit ROTC, or turned down an OTS chance and now regret it.
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