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Help for a Navy guy with questions

Old 02-15-2007, 06:09 AM
  #1  
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Default Help for a Navy guy with questions

OK here is my background. I am a Navy Maintenance Officer that will be retiring in anywhere from 1-3 years. I am currently 36 and have been in and around airplanes for the last 20 years. I will either retire at 0-4 or 0-5 (was enlisted for 9 years) depending if I stick around those other 3 years. I will probably do the other 3 years so that I will not only get a larger retirement but also be getting paid well while building hours on the side. I will have a pretty decent retirement check coming in so I won't be homeless. I have a Bachelors degree from ERAU (no I didn't do any flight training there). For years I have wanted to fly and for some reason or the other something always came up. Well now I have made getting my ratings the number one priority and am fast on my way to my private license with the intent to get all of my ratings through CFI. I have no delusions of being a Captain at FEDEX making more money than I can spend. In fact I think my goal would be to end up at NETJETs, though I wouldn't be upset going to an airline that I could make a decent salary and nice travel perks.

OK now the questions

-Once I get my private and instrument I plan to buy my own plane for pleasure use. This will also help me build hours on top of instructing.
-I am hoping to get all of my ratings in a year. I am currently flying at a local FBO and would hope to instruct part time while I am still in the navy so that I can gain experience and build hours. I imagine I should have a few hundred hours once I am ready to punch out of the navy. Would it be a good idea to continue to instruct at that time or maybe go to one of the schools that have a bridge program to get to a regional at low hours? I know that isn't the way most people would go but I am behind the 8 ball with my age.
-Given my situation is there a better path to make my way to NETJETS? I know that nothing in aviation is a sure thing but like I said, I will have decent money coming in and that is the end goal so I can spend a few years of "lean" times.
-I have my A&P license and the 20+ years in the Navy working on airplanes and running the maintenance department. Do you think that this will be a big plus for potential employers?
-I can retire next year at 37 or stick around 3 more years and build hours on the side then get out at age 40. While the other 3 years would allow me to get more done, would it be a better idea to go ahead and get out at 37 and get myself out there?
-Also I was thinking about maybe getting my MEL after my PPL and then doing my instrument training in a twin. That way it isn't a lot more to get both my instrument and also build the multi time at the same time. Is this a good idea?

Last edited by Duksrule; 02-15-2007 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 02-15-2007, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Duksrule View Post
Once I get my private and instrument I plan to buy my own plane for pleasure use. This will also help me build hours on top of instructing.
Since you will be in a decent financial situation, you can do this. Note that pilots who apply for professional positions with flight experience derived soley from recreational flying are at a disadvantage...they like folks who have a track record of juggling customer, mx, wx, regulatory, and economic issues. If you also do a fair amount of CFI work that should resolve this issue. Also be careful with liaibilty as a cfi...you have things to lose... most cfi's own a 1988 civic, a 19" TV, and a nintendo.


Originally Posted by Duksrule View Post
-I am hoping to get all of my ratings in a year. I am currently flying at a local FBO and would hope to instruct part time while I am still in the navy so that I can gain experience and build hours. I imagine I should have a few hundred hours once I am ready to punch out of the navy. Would it be a good idea to continue to instruct at that time or maybe go to one of the schools that have a bridge program to get to a regional at low hours? I know that isn't the way most people would go but I am behind the 8 ball with my age.
Your choice on this...the biggest issue with cfi vs. academy is that the cfi route teaches some responsibility and leadership...you don't need that. However in today's hiring climate you should be able to get enough hours as a part-time cfi over the next few years (of cours hiring minimums can change in a few years).

Originally Posted by Duksrule View Post
-Given my situation is there a better path to make my way to NETJETS? I know that nothing in aviation is a sure thing but like I said, I will have decent money coming in and that is the end goal so I can spend a few years of "lean" times.
Unless you know someone who owns a jet and needs it to fly a lot the fastest route to majors, big cargo, and fractionals is the regionals...lot's of fast crew turbine time. You can usually get to the fractionals with 2500 total time and at least 1000 airline SIC.

Originally Posted by Duksrule View Post
-I have my A&P license and the 20+ years in the Navy working on airplanes and running the maintenance department. Do you think that this will be a big plus for potential employers?
This would be a great plus at small or specialty operators, such as in Alaska. It won't matter much at airlines and fractionals because they employ maintenance people...pilots would not be allowed to work on their planes anyway. And the union wouldn't appreciate it either.

Originally Posted by Duksrule View Post
-I can retire next year at 37 or stick around 3 more years and build hours on the side then get out at age 40. While the other 3 years would allow me to get more done, would it be a better idea to go ahead and get out at 37 and get myself out there?
Your decision...with age 65 coming you would have a chance at being a captain at a major airline someday. Three extra senior years in the left seat of a 787 would pay more than 3 years as an O-5. Do the math...figure out how much more you would make in the Nav (and in retirement) by staying in. Then research pilot pay at the top of the scale, compare the difference. If the difference is large (I think it might be, since you probably don't have any specialty pays), then decide how much of a gambler you are.

If you definately want to stay regional/fractional then maximize your navy retirement.

Originally Posted by Duksrule View Post
-Also I was thinking about maybe getting my MEL after my PPL and then doing my instrument training in a twin. That way it isn't a lot more to get both my instrument and also build the multi time at the same time. Is this a good idea?
I would probably do that. 50 hours of ME time might be enough for a regional and would definately help you to get an MEI job down the road if necessary to build even more ME time. Historically ME requirements at regionals have varied between 50-500+ hours. Right now minimums are very low but that can (and will) change.
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:13 PM
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Back in the olden days there was an AMDO at the E-2 squadron next door that got hired by UAL. He had about 1200 hrs of Navy Flying Club experience as I recall.
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