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Requesting advice from the majors to a Navy guy

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Requesting advice from the majors to a Navy guy

Old 03-13-2006, 01:05 PM
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Default Requesting advice from the majors to a Navy guy


Please kick this post to another forum if I have done this wrong. I am looking for advice from the civilian side of aviation.

I am a LCDR FA-18 pilot currently deployed on the Reagan and doing operations in the gulf. I love flying to no end. I enjoy flying around the boat and I love flying fighters. Getting more senior, though, means more ground responsibilities and less flight time. This will be especially true for my last 4 years in the Navy if I stay in.

My plan all along was to do my minimum commitment (11 years), enjoy the time, get into the airlines afterwards and fly in the reserves. 3 years ago (Oct 2003), I took a bonus that committed me until May 2007 to buy some more time for the airlines to sort themselves out. Now I am coming up on a year out and I need to let the Navy know what my plans are.

My last three friends to get out got hired by FedEx, SWA, and JetBlue (one each). I would hope that I could land a job with one of them, but I am not counting on anything for certain anymore these days. I will be able to get out with 2800 TT, 2200PIC, 2200jet. I would join the land of the free, or at least free from ground jobs in the Navy.

My alternative is to stay in 6 more years to make 20. That would involve a 3 year shore duty that should be fun flying, followed by 2 year painful sea tour (probably not flying) and a year shore with a 50/50 shot of flying.

1. Is the job security and retirement worth staying in the last 6 years?
2. Does anyone think the majors will even be hiring in 6 years?
3. Am I giving up too much seniority by not getting out right away?
4. Am I crazy to get out or am I crazy to stay in, or am I just crazy?

I had my mind made up to get out until this week, when several people (some airline pilots) have been telling my wife that I would be stupid to get out. Itís been enough to cause me to waiver on my decision.

Iím looking for honest opinions from people on the other side of the fence. I have long suffered from a bit of ďthe grass is always greener on the other sideĒ syndrome. What would you do? Thanks in advance for your time.
Old 03-13-2006, 01:27 PM
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In my humble opinion STAY IN FOR 6 more!!!

Get as much pension and goverment benifits as you can before you eject!
If you want to work for a Low Cost Carrier, they are just now starting to run into their finacial snags, but if that is your goal then SWA is the best in the Low Cost Carrier business. However I will see those guys running into their snag in the not so distant future as well. The MAJOR airlines have tons of guys on furlough now, and it will take a while to get them back on the property. I also fully expect some of them not to come back at all since this business has gone down the toilet and they have since started in other careers endeavours. I can't speak for the cargo side of the deal since I am not one into flying the night shift, then going home and spending my days off trying to stay awake during the day. Not my cup of tea. I am also not that familiar with how they are doing.

All I can say in the nicest way possible is you would be stupid to bail now. Stay in there for 6 more specially since you do like it anyway.
Old 03-13-2006, 02:55 PM
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Joined APC: Oct 2005
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Stay. The airline industry is still in a tailspin with crooks and incompetents at the corporate controls. The middle east is about to implode with terrorists running Iran and Palestine. We're just one more Islamic nut-case from having over $100 oil and another collapse of the airline industry.

I've been furloughed twice in my over 5 years on the outside. That retirement check will give you piece of mind and flexibilty. The civil airline industry is now a "day-labor" quality job.

Last edited by Slow Roll; 03-13-2006 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:43 PM
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thedude113, you say that you like flying fighters. How do you feel about straight and level, 30 degrees of bank, 1.1 Gs, ILS full stop? If that's not your cup of tea, don't get out. If you can handle it (it DOES beat working for a living), then consider getting out.
Who do you REALLY want to fly for?
Southwest/JetBlue, UPS/FedEx, American/United? Each company is different; a lot like the Air Force vs Navy vs Marines. First figure out what company you'd like to work for.

Let me suggest a career path that would allow you certain flexibilities. How about picking out your favorite airlines (two to three) and targeting them along with a few Guard/Reserve units.
I would also suggest that you consider getting back on active duty sometime after being hired by an airline and finishing out your military career. USERRA allows you to take 5 years of military leave of absence with no penalty. At United, you can take 6 years of military leave of absence and come back with the same seniority as when you left. The big thing is, hiring has continued during that time, so you are much more senior than if you waited until retirement to get an airline job.
Pulling this off is a bit of threading the needle, but it would allow you to accrue seniority at an airline and still get your military retirement.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:03 PM
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Can't give you the, "what you got vs what you'll give up" speech (was never there) But I can speak about Fedex. If you got more than one friend who will carry your resume when you get out and you don't mind flying at night, than Fedex is hiring now, and probably for the foreseeable future. Lot of INTL flying and good equipment, would probably see people you know (lots of Navy here). Just keep asking on this site or the cargo thread.
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Old 03-13-2006, 06:28 PM
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STAY in, Commander. There WILL be majors hiring in 6 years, and we need guys like you fighting on the front lines in the war on terror.

Thanks for your service to our country.
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Old 03-14-2006, 05:33 AM
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Dude STAY IN! I thought I would have a nice retirement with the airlines and now I might be able to rent a single wide at the trailer park and shop at the soup kitchen for supper. How about looking at going from a 6 figure yearly retirement pay to 24,000/yr with the PBGC.I wish I had gone military after college so that I would have a retirement now.Besides someone somewhere will always be hiring when you get out in 6 years.Good luck Commander!
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Old 03-14-2006, 07:08 AM
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I did six years active duty, had some good flying billets lined up, probably an A6 command etc. and got out. Of course that was 1980 so I would say things have changed just a little. You cannot beat that navy retirement. Can you say "healthcare". That is a bigy. It would be great to get hired by FedEx, SWA, JB or UPS. In 1980 it was great to get hired by Delta, TWA, Braniff, AA, United, Piedmont, Ozark, PSA, (fly Falcon 20s for FedEX?). I thought I had a 32 year solid career at my legacy and within one week of bankruptcy they took all but a pitance of my monthly annuity. Unless you have really stepped on it somewhere, you probably have a fairly decent career, will make at least 0-5 and have a fair retirement. I believe in six years the U.S. airline industry will have shaken out pretty good, one way or another. And for me in 1980, you were toast with the airlines after age 32. No one, and I mean no one ever got hired past 32. That is dead now, so that is not even an issue. One question? How long will it take to recoup the money you are going to make in the nav. the first few years of an airline career. Take a look at UPS, JB and some others first, second and third year pay.

Just ask yourself this, where will you be in six years with the Navy and where might you be six years from now with whatever airline. A lot depends on what airline you get hired with, too. Hope this was helpful from an old dog's perspective. Of course I did retire from the reserves, so that will help at age 60.
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Old 03-14-2006, 07:49 AM
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Ex Navy VF1/VF2 USS Ranger circa 1980-1990: Got out in 1990 and never looked back. I would suggest you stay for the 6 especially if you can land good deals from the detailer. Despite all the advantages of seniority, it would be hard for me to walk away from a retirement at your stage. That being said, there are many good companies that are hiring (FedEx, CAL, SWA). With your experience, you should have no problem being competitive at any of the majors. If money and stability are a concern, stay for the six. If you are not concerned about the retirement benefits and you can swallow the cut in pay for a few years you may want to "go for it" and make the change. This is such a crazy business - I don't think anybody knows where they will be in a year - much less six !
Good luck commander, may the three wire be with you...
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:57 AM
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I appreciate the advice. I started my Navy flying career as an instructor after I got my wings, so I flew with a lot of guys who were getting out in the industryís heyday (96-98). They left a lasting impression on me to hope for what they had after I finished my commitment. What I have a hard time realizing now is that they all got on with United, Delta, and American, and they are either barely hanging on or are furloughed now. You are right. Nothing is for certain. Who would have thought the big three would be where they are today? And it is naÔve on my part to think that a similar shift couldnít happen to the current strong companies. I am going to continue to think about it, but I appreciate you guys weighing in on the subject. In the end, choosing between flying and flying still beats sitting in a cubicle or flipping burgers. And Iím sure we were all only a couple of bad choices away from that route at one time in our lives.

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